Why I Care For & Feed Cats Holistically

My Rosie Posie

Several years before I graduated from massage school (1995), I began learning how certain foods I ate impacted my health, for better and worse. A nutritionist discovered I was allergic to wheat, corn, and most gluten’s, and had a high sensitivity to sugars, which expressed in the form of hypoglycemia, Candida and immune compromised conditions. These factors and others led me to learn about natural foods and supplements.

As I began to nourish myself, whole foods (and healing) became primary, as a means to recover. Adding whole grains, dark leafy greens and meats without antibiotics into my diet, literally changed my addictive living patterns, and shifted my entire life experience into a grounded sense of well-being and embodiment.  During this time I adopted two cats, Gemstone & Cleopatra. I hadn’t had any animals in my life since I was nineteen, and it was then, at age  thirty-two (1997) I was learning how to mother myself and my new adoptees at the same time.

I adopted Gem first and Clea several months later.  When I arrived to pick Clea up from the shelter, she was quite ill.  She had an upper respiratory infection, which I knew nothing about.  With antibiotics in hand, to address the congestion and literal snot running out of her nose, the attendant handed her to me and said she would be fine.

I brought Clea home, put her in a room away from Gem and called the vet.  I was directed to bring her in immediately.  Once examined, the vet hospitalized Clea because she was so ill.  The Humane Society ended up paying for the bill– I’m sure they regretted adopting her out after that.  Once released to come home, I noticed that her stool was bloody.  I had an immediate gut reaction and decided I had had enough of treating Clea with such extreme means.  I was going to take care of Clea and Gem the same way I cared for myself–holistically!  Ten days on antibiotics in isolation was too much for a five month old kitten, who had just lost her mother and her sister.

Clea’s immune system was overloaded.  I was concerned and found a local (well-respected) holistic vet to take her to.  During the appointment, Dr. Pitcairn’s book, Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, was a suggested read.  I picked it up right away and also found Anitra Fraizer’s book, The Natural Cat (the holistic CAT bible).  We began working to heal Clea’s gut and her immune system.  Clea had developed herpes in her eyes from the upper respiratory infection.  After changing her diet and adding supplementation, the herpes didn’t return.

We changed Clea’s diet to raw.   Gem switched over to a raw homemade diet too and Clea’s stool normalized immediately.  With each fresh meal, I watched their coat’s turn into thick beautiful fur.  Shedding became a past time.  Their dispositions were calmer.  They used the litter box less, and there was much less odor when they did!  It was so nice to see the evolution of wellness take place with the feline beauties in my care.

All of this was enough to convince me that holistic remedies were the way for me to nourish the beautiful babes in my care.

Later I learned raw bone (calcium) was not so good for Gem because of his predisposition to urinary crystals and stones.  So I only give him raw meat with no raw bones, and mostly canned food now.

Best Food Choices for Hyperthyroid Cats

I have done recent research (1/17/15) into the foods listed below, to be sure they are KELP-free, and they are.  See them listed in bold below.

As a cat lover, animal professional, and a woman who has cared for four cats the last sixteen years, I have learned a great deal in that time.  Namely, I have learned more about hyperthyroidism in cats than I ever wanted to know, because two of my cat companions became hyperthyroid–a common condition in cats as they age.

Aside from making a homemade diet, cooked or raw, it has been difficult to find a quality canned cat food that does not have the seaweed ‘kelp’ in it, which is a problem for hyperthyroid cats.

By quality, I am referring to foods that are grain free or well balanced, that support superb feline health, bring shine and luster to their coat, and keep fecal odor to a minimum!  This last factor is definitely important when living space is in close quarters (fyi–high quality grain free and raw foods lessen odor, and nothing compares to raw for close to odorless).

Kelp is generally good for us and our pets, as it is full of iodine, which stimulates thyroid activity.  This is good for cats that are overweight, but is not good for hyperthyroidism, in fact it makes the condition much worse.  Due to being overwhelmed with two of my cats passing this year and moving to a new home with my remaining two, finding brands ideal for Gem, the remaining kitty with hyperthyroidism and FUS-kidney failure, didn’t come easily.  Now there is a prescription diet available that has medication right in the food, which I have no experience with.

Frustrated that I could no longer give Gem frozen prepared raw food because of his complex condition, I began to search.  The fact that most prepared raw food contains kelp, and feeding raw bones was no longer an option (bone-calcium fuels crystals/stones to form in cats with FUS), I was desperate to find canned food that would nourish him without activating either condition, and a food that met all of my above mentioned criteria.

I spoke of my frustration to Pennye, an owner of The Big Bad Woof.  She directed me to Annamaet’s new cat food, Chicken & Fish-antibiotic, hormone and gluten free food, made specifically without kelp (and with cranberries and DL-Methonine for bladder health).  I don’t feed my cats dry food for many reasons, but I was happy to know about this food and decided to take some samples home and try it out anyway.

I have been feeding Gem and Rosie small amounts of Annamaet every day and they love it, and Gem is doing well with no urinary issues.  Generally though, I stay away from dry and lean toward feeding canned or raw, mainly because I notice their coats begin to thin and they throw-up much more.

For canned foods, I used to feed Nature’s Variety regularly, but Weruva is now at the top of my list.  Their food is ‘above and beyond human grade’ and my cats love it!!!

Since Hyperthyroidism is one of the top five reasons cats visit the vet, I thought cat food manufacturers would make food without kelp, but the majority of them don’t, especially the healthier ones.  Thanks so much to these conscious pet food companies who do, and many thanks to all those that operate with the animals best health in mind.

May your cats be thoroughly fulfilled and nourished, a major task for a cat guardian if the cat has thyroid challenges.

After writing this I decided to do some research to see exactly which cat foods in our store (BBW) are kelp free.  There are many foods that are kelp free (listed below), but not many that meet all of my standards listed above (i.e., healthy coat, minimal odor).

Here are the foods I found and also like:

Freeze Dried:  Honest Kitchen Prowl and most treats with just meat by Bravo, Halo, etc..

Raw:  Aunt Jeni’s Beef contains no bones, Smith Meadows Chicken Hearts (simple and tasty way to increase taurine intake)

Grain Free Canned:

  • Weruva
  • Addiction
  • By Nature (Grain-free canned)
  • Blue Wilderness (Wild Cats, Healthy Gourmet, Wild Delights)
  • Go
  • Evo
  • Verus
  • Wellness Healthy Indulgence
  • Nature’s Variety Homestyle

Grain Free Dry:
Evo, Go, Taste of the Wild, Legacy

Regular Canned:
California Natural, Blue Spa Select, Evolve, Innova,

Regular Dry:
Fromm, Health Wise, California Natural, Blue Spa Select, Sammy Snacks

Stomatisis–A Case for Alternatives

IMG_2134 Late Monday afternoon in June 2011, during my shift at The Big Bad Woof (holistic pet supply store) in Takoma DC, I learned of two 6-week old  kittens had been left outside the front door earlier that morning.  A community member of Takoma Park, where 9 out of 10 members owns a pet, saw them in a carrier and delivered them to a local home-based rescue.

Five days later Sterling and Silver were at the store again, only this time they were up for adoption.  Their small crate was accessible for viewing and easy handling.  The kittens were guesstimated to be around eight weeks old.  They were clearly sick with an upper respiratory infection (very common in kittens).

Sterling was not doing well though.  She was tiny, feverish, sleepy, to the point of almost falling over. Sterling’s brother Silver was rowdy, three to four times her size and playing way too rough with her. Sterling could barely stand up, let alone defend herself.  Silver was sick too, with a bit of pus in his eyes, but his constitution was stronger and his symptoms far less.

Silver (now Sam) was sweet, though he seemed frustrated and angry, or maybe he just had lots of male kitten testosterone to express.  Unaware of the impact he was having on Sterling, I am glad I intervened to help, ultimately adopting them both.  With conscious attention and boundary setting, Sam shifted quickly.  With observation it was easy to see he was jealous and insecure…more about his viscous behavior later–it is coming full circle with conscious everything (love, communication, food, medicine, and play).

I couldn’t bare to watch Sterling suffering so.  I bought a sling-pouch, put her in it, pulled her close to me and carried her around all day while I worked.  She was ever so grateful and sweet.  She most definitely needed an advocate, a mother, and a nurse. Familiar with the typical Rhino upper respiratory virus cats commonly get, I felt confident I could help restore Sterling to health with homeopathy, whole raw food, and love.  I took her home that night.  I convinced Karin I wanted to help the kitten, so she agreed and supplied me with everything necessary, including the antibiotic for her eyes.

IMG_2133I had a great deal of experience with with the Rhino virus, with my cat Cleopatra as a kitten, and my other cats over the years. Little did I know then that we were not dealing with the Rhino Virus.  It was the Calici Virus, which I had never heard of in seventeen years of cat care.

I ditched the antibiotic and learned she had been given a vaccination during her short duration at the rescue.  I gave her two different remedies.  Immediately Isis began doing much better (gave Thuja 30c and Plustilla? I think–have to look up notes), and within two weeks significantly better, but she continued to have watery eyes, especially the left eye.  Maybe she had an ulcer.  I’m wasn’t sure.  I read more, relating her symptoms to swollen inflamed gums and her leaky eye.  I gave her a high dose of Cal Carb (based on poor teeth, gums swollen…), which worked for a short while, but the symptoms continued.

IMG_2156

Isis (Sterling) found a comfy cubby and some friends.

I felt the vaccine given to Sterling was making it harder for her to heal.  She was too small and ill to handle the effects of the vaccine and fight the virus off, and also deal with the underlying abandonment and apparent lack of immunity transferred from her mother.  Silver and Sterling had a great deal to heal from, not just the virus.

In the meantime, my two much older cats contracted the virus.  It was a nightmare!  I had let the kittens run around in the room my cats most frequented (they were living in a small bathroom), which was a mistake. One we all paid for dearly.

Gem and Rosie, fourteen and fifteen at the time, had less and less interest in food, which I thought was strange because they loved food!  I was baffled, especially with Gem being hyperthyroid–he was always hungry.  Then, they began to express symptoms–copious amounts of drool and I realized they had the virus.  Mouth ulcers were preventing them from eating.  The kittens didn’t have any of those symptoms, so I was seriously confused, as I didn’t know drooling and horrible smell were Calici virus symptoms.

I feverishly sought the right remedy for the kittens and my older cats.  A friend lent me Dr. Don Hamilton’s book, Homeopathy for Small Animals.  His book is phenomenal for those interested in homeopathy.  In it, I found several remedies listed that matched the older cats symptoms, known to treat the Calci Virus.  I took my cats to the vet.  It was clear they had Stomatitis–very serious and difficult condition to treat.  Under her supervision, Mercurius Solibus 30C was given via dropper bottle and succussed (succussion) and given as needed–which was often.  Gem lost five pound’s and had to be force fed twice a day, along with subcutaneous fluids, and two herbal formulas. One for pain (Lemon Balm tincture) and the other to jump start his immune system (Wei Chi Booster).  Gem had a very serious and complicated health condition(s) already.

Three weeks and counting, Gem and Rosie finally began to get better.  The kittens though, were still shedding the virus (fluid coming from their eyes, especially Isis), but otherwise wild and crazy like any other kittens.  They lived in the bathroom.  Isis-Angel’s (Sterling) eye symptoms seemed to be connected to her lungs (she coughed and wheezed) and Sam (Silver) seemed to get better, and then get re-infected by Isis.

Fifteen years of consciously raising cats and I had not heard of the Calici Feline Virus, and now I knew more than I had ever hoped to.  For homeopathy to work, you have to find the right remedy.

As an educated pet owner, I try to handle to basics on my own, since I’ve been working with cats for a long time, and I defer to the vet on a regular basis.

Thus, patience and discernment are needed when determining what is working and what isn’t.  In cases like these, patience can be hard to find, but homeopathy has come through too many times for me and my cats to deny its power and efficacy now.

Desperate, I decided to contact Dr. Hamilton to determine the best remedy for the kittens.  We focused on Mercurius as well.  During this time, I had to move and didn’t have a home for the kittens to come with me.  Because of my stress about the whole situation and moving, I took the kittens back to the vet, after I got them situated in a bigger more accepting environment.  We changed the dosage from 30C to 200C and the kittens began to make marked improvement.  I was feeding raw organ meat with Honest Kitchen Prowl Chicken, Answers Raw Goat milk (Isis laps it up like it is going out of style), ByNature canned food, Stella & Chewy freeze-dried and anything else of high quality.

In a new stress-free setting, aside from me not living with them, the kittens had an entire bedroom to roam around in, a bed to sleep on and two large windows to observe the world through.  I visited twice a day to feed, play and clean-up. The kittens were very happy, though it was clear Sam’s behavior was going to be an issue.  Sam needed lots of attention. When he didn’t get it, he took it out on Isis.  When we played, Isis was fast, spontaneous, courageous.  Sam was more reserved, and became sheepish when Isis injected herself.

In early stages of life the immune system is developing.  Kittens that have well-balanced environments (still with their mothers or with a nurturing substitute that encourages homeostasis), who are fed wholesome food, and have limited exposure to the outer stresses of modern life, of course have a better chance at building strong immune forces.  When they are exposed to the common air-borne upper respiratory virus they usually are strong enough to fend it off.

If they do get the virus their immune systems work diligently to recover, which is not such a bad thing, because in essence the virus is helping to develop their immune system.  Kittens whose basic survival is threatened and are ill right off the bat have more difficultly gaining immunity, especially when they are also given a vaccine while they ill and so young.

The challenge grows then if they get a virus and can’t ward it off, because medical intervention is clearly necessary and yet typical medicine doesn’t incorporate emotional stressor’s in the treatment protocol.

Allopathic medicine has its place and is generally chosen in emergencies and when it’s the only medicine one has been exposed to.  Here’s the nice thing:  there are alternatives, and comprehensive approaches to health and healing, outside of the convention model, are available.  

I personally am committed to the holistic path, for many reasons.  This article or blog entry begins to explain why.

The standard protocol to treat upper respiratory infections is antibiotics and vaccines, but the holistic approach is much more gentle on little bodies and souls, and more effective in building immunity both in the short and long term.

Whatever is suppressed in the immune system in the beginning stages of life continually shows up in the animal or persons health, many times in a serious manner.  Thus here’s where homeopathy is an ideal alternative.

In the case of Isis and Samson they were given a distemper vaccine just after they were found abandoned, while they were sick.  This is not a smart or caring thing to do (in my opinion).  Vets and owners can learn a great deal from avoiding this tactic.  While the immune system is busy building antibodies to ward off an illness, it can’t handle an immune suppressant to boot!

My experience with my own cats (my cat Clea almost died from FVR as a kitten and was put in ICU for ten days on antibiotics and was given a vaccine at the shelter prior to my adopting her–then she had health issues her whole life), educating myself about natural holistic medicine from reading the most up-to-date holistic books, working with and for homeopathic veterinarians over the years and being a professional animal intuitive and empath gave me direct insight into what was going on with the kittens.

I am not a vet and I’m not suggesting antibiotics and vaccines are not appropriate, though I do have strong opinions about it.  What I am suggesting is making educated choices based in integrative and mindful approaches, rather than surrendering to one-stop-shop thinking.  Our culture is generally so disconnected, disembodied from feeling and understand how important, valid, and loving it is to utilize healthcare approaches that are inclusive of the mind, body, spirit and soul, that we follow–many times blindly–the advice of “authorities” without ever tuning into the message of the moment, listening to what our little friends truly need.  Even if we feel we don’t have the ability to hear what our animals are saying, if we have the willingness to educate ourselves about alternatives, we are well on our way.

During my time working with Dr. Carol Lundquist and Dr. Monique Maniet, I saw over and over how a homeopathic approach cured cases that traditional medicine was unable to address.  In Dr. Pitcairn’s book, Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, there are several homeopathic remedies used to treat the Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis. With Sterling and Silver, I followed Dr. Pitcairn’s homeopathic protocol, in his book…, and gave Silver (now Isis) Pulsatilla 30C, one pellet every four hours, three times.  She did improve, but still had pus.  I then gave Thuja 30C to clear the vaccine.  She improved again, but this still didn’t clear up her eyes all the way.  I used eyes drops (herbal).  Now the pus was mostly gone, but not fully and her eyes continued to weep constantly with clear fluid.

I began to add Colostrum and Astragulus into their food, but this did not clear up their eyes.  They needed a stronger and more specific remedy for their eyes.  I ordered Calcarea Carbonia 10M (per Dr. P). (all of this was done prior to giving 200c Mercurius).

Calcarea Carbonia is specific to eye problems.  I used it in the past, when Gem my fourteen year old cat, had gotten a scratch many years before in his eyes.  We tried the homeopathic approach and another alternative and it was not working, so we put him on a steroid, which still didn’t clear it up.  Then we went to an eye specialist.  He prescribed the same steroid my doctor had given us, but to be administered in a more frequent rate.  The next day, after our vet visit, I put the steroid cream in Gem’s eye.  He turned to me and said if you do that again I will leave!  We went back to the holistic vet and chose another remedy, Silica, and his eye improved immediately.

UPDATE (2012/13):

I have been waiting to finish this article and waiting for positive results to occur with Isis and Sam’s health, and we finally have super good news.

The plaque on their teeth is FALLING OFF, yes falling off, the gums are back to normal, no reddness, and their other symptoms, conjunctivitis has almost completely dissappeared.  Isis has some residual residue and Sam no longer has any.

Today, February 26th, I checked their teeth, after playing and clipping nails, and to my delight all the plague on their teeth has disappeared!!!!!!!!  I credit this to the raw diet.  In late January I completely shifted their on and off again raw diet (feeding lots of canned food, with a few morsels of dry maybe every 3 months) comprised only of COOLING meats, and raw GOAT’S MILK.

I took Isis to see Dr. Maniet in January, to follow up from an appointment we had in December when we started her on Silicea (which matches her symptoms perfectly).  I wasn’t sure Silicea was the right remedy, as she was still having so many symptoms.

Food combinations are just as important as the medicine.

After having Dr. M. confirm Silicea was the right remedy, I realized a few things.  The first was the Chicken and Lamb I was feeding was introducing too much heat into the kittens systems (see Chinese Medicine food combining chart at bottom of the blog), thus inducing chronic inflammation in their gums.  Plus I was feeding lots of “processed cooked” food (canned), although I also fed the new Sprouted Dry Food numerous times throughout this time.  Right when I made this connection, I made a solid commitment to feed the kittens only Rabbit or Duck (very cooling meats) and Raw Goat’s Milk.  Dr. M and I had also discussed the possibility of worms.  The “kittens”, now two, were constantly asking for food and burning a hole in my wallet.  Four or five times a day they wanted to eat.  Dr. M said even if worms don’t present in a fecal, they can still be there.  A few weeks after I made the commitment to change only to raw rabbit and duck, I was talking with Mindy at the BBW in Hyattsville.  She was buying a bag of food grade Diatomacious Earth to give to her feral cats (since they live outdoors making them more susceptible to worms).  She encouraged me to buy a bag to address my cats “starvation”.

I found this website, which answered all my questions and educated me about feeding DM to my cats. The hunger patterns subsided immediately.  The combination of DM, raw food (usually raw Bravo rabbit or Stella Chewy freeze-dried duck) mixed with ANSWERS Raw Goat Milk, a raw egg (their new raw cat food formula is amazing (I feed this to Rosie too), plus the homeopathic the kittens taking, they are moving out of auto-immunity into true immunity!  I couldn’t be more thrilled and happy to see them make this huge shift.  It’s much easier on them and me.  I have been worried about affording to care for them with a diagnosis of Stomatitis.  A very serious and difficult condition to treat.

Most cats treated conventionally for Stomatitis, eventually end up having all their teeth pulled. 

Over a period of feeding this way for five weeks, all their gum inflammation is gone, except for two teeth on Isis (they look as if they never came in all the way).  She needs more time to heal, as her auto-immune dis-ease, and response was much more serious than Sam’s.  I have a bottle of Silicea made from one 200C pellet, spring water and Gemclear from Dr. M.  I have given her the remedy five times, succussed (this means it builds in strength each time the bottle is hit against the palm).

Typically, Stomatitis is treated by cats having their teeth taken out and live their lives on cheap dry food made with grain and chicken, rather than getting the nourishment they really require.  I am of the Do-No-Harm ilk, and follow-thru with the natural path, for as long as it takes.  And it can take awhile sometimes.

INTEGRATIVE (MEDICINE) comprises not only the integration of eastern and western medicines in the treatment of a patient or illness, it is also the combination of various methods and modalities, possibly all natural, to bring full wellness into being within the  patient.  For instance…

Update: 7/25/14
Checked Sam’s teeth today, since I’m thinking about putting this case study forward.  His teeth look amazing and his gums near perfect (gums around one tooth on left side red).  One would never know he had any problems.

Isis is another story.  Her gums are red, inflamed – worse on the left.  I haven’t been consistent with her treatment though.  We have just moved into temporary living and may be moving again next week into new permanent space.  She still needs coaxing to eat sometimes, but mostly she needs lots of coddling.  She’s also a crier.  I feel she needs Chamomila.  I need to pick some up and make a bottle.

HIGHLIGHT – Sam has made miraculous strides in allowing his nails to be clipped!  I made an aggression formula (FES) and he has responded fantastic.  I put the remedy on his paws/pads and around his ears and he melts like butter.  Also he is doing well during the day in one room with Calming treats, Animal Relief Formula in his water and whole food breakfast.

UPDATE (5/1/15): Nourishment of Isis/Addressing Sam’s Heat (Aggression & Hyper Behavior)

Canned Cat Food for Urinary-Kidney (with no by-products)

Davescatphospork

A few weeks ago I stopped by The Big Bad Woof in Takoma, DC to pick up some cat food, and noticed this new cat formula on the shelf.

Dave’s Pet Food has come out with a low phosphorus formula, made without meat by-products and the like.

It literally turned my head!  I have worked with animals for many many years and the only canned food for cats with urinary issues is made by Hills/Science Diet.

It is so refreshing to see a smaller company come out with a formula to help cats who suffer, without having to compromise on quality.

I often wondered why the big pet companies didn’t come out with a formula like this, as well as one for hyper-thyroid issues.  Science Diet has finally done the later, and it’s SO refreshing to see a smaller company, like Dave’s come out with a Restricted Diet cat food.

Thanks Dave’s!  More cats in the US are happier to be eating your food.

Time for Hyperthyroidism Medication

Recently, we started Gem on methimazole for his hypethyroidism and he was so grateful.  He actually turned around, looked at me, and said, “It’s about time!”

I was fearful about giving it to him, because Clea didn’t do very well on it, but Gem is doing just fine.  He is now getting a very minor dose, via transdermal compound that gets wiped into his ear–no more shoving a pill down his throat!  He is gaining his weight back and is much calmer.  Gem is a big cat–15 lbs during his prime, and now weighs 10 lbs, so I’m very happy to see his weight increase.

Additionally, the vet told me to go ahead and feed him fish, even with his FLUTD condition.  Most fish, in the Chinese Wisdom Traditions and Chinese Medicine, is considered cooling (see food charts at bottom of blog).  Inflammatory processes are produced by heat, so feeding a cooling food can be quite helpful.

Gem was very happy–he loves fish.  I stopped feeding the lamb and chicken so much, but the vet did say its all about balance, so he gets some of that too, in moderation.

I hope this info helps your kitty and you to establish greater well-being and health.  Check out our additional post below, Best Food Choices for Hyperthyroid Cats, for other insights in foods for hyperthyroid cats.

All the Best.

More Food Choices for Hyperthyroid Cats

IMG_0021Recently, I have been happily and sincerely considering the curious results I am having with feeding my cat, Gem, raw organ meat (specifically raw kidney and raw heart from a local organic farm).  Since I have added this into his diet his hyperthyroid symptoms are minimally presenting!

About a month ago, I made an appointment to take him to the holistic vet (also a seasoned homeopath) because he has been so out of balance.  She saved his life two winters ago, since that time he has been on an herbal formula for the thyroid and a homeopathic for his heart (given as needed).

Because of what happened to Gem while taken western meds and the effect they had Cleopatra when she was alive, we are completely interested in routes that provide less stress and better results.  Pilling Gem everyday, two times a day is stressful for me and him.  I don’t have difficulty with it, but sometimes my schedule is so busy I forget, plus he hates it, though manages it well.  Additionally, as of late he seems to be increasingly desirous of more and more food.

Working at a holistic pet store that partners with many local organic and anti-biotic free farms, I am privy to lots and lots of choices all the time.  Lately, we have had frozen raw kidneys available.  I began feeding kidneys for the first time last year, mostly cut-up chicken hearts on top of Honest Kitchen–they gobble right up!

My vet has always said food is the best medicine.  Over the years, I have attempted to feed the best quality food possible.  With Rosie and Gem both having heart murmurs and my new kittens (a year old this month) who were under nourished when I took them in (Isis is now 7 pounds) and always hungry, I am constantly considering their diet and how I may enhance their health and well-being.

In feeding Gem kidney (lamb) and I noticed right away that he seemed different–more relaxed and more satisfied.  He has put on weight, is less hungry, his coat is smoother and he seems better overall.  So I canceled his appointment with the vet.  I am curious though, to see if his thyroid levels have come down, so we are going in late July.

Why would feeding kidney and heart help Gem?  In holistic and Chinese Medicine, you feed the body that which it is deficient it.  In this case, Gem has a heart murmur and he has had bladder/kidney imbalances since he was a kitten, in addition his  hyperthyroidism, which was under 5 (though his levels were going up!).

Since the thyroid and the kidney are part of the endocrine system, and thyroid imbalance stems either from the kidney or the pancreas, it makes sense that feeding Gem kidney meat would influence his overall wellness and his thyroid (endocrine).  Additionally, mucus is considered dampness in Chinese Medicine and cooked food (canned) may contribute to dampness (see food chart on home page to learn more about food and their temperatures).

I feed the other cats raw diets with crushed bone, but Gem can’t have the bone, so the organ meat has been a perfect way to nourish him.  He is becoming renewed, though I do have mixed feelings about furthering Gem’s life and well-being from the auspices of a slaughtered lamb (feeding fresh organ meat puts me more in touch with the animals that are killed so they may eat).

I hope this information is helpful.

Is It Cat Scratch Fever?

IMG_0049Several months after Gem began taking medication for his diagnosis of heart disease, via the cardiologist, he suddenly had no ability to even lift his head or move and his breathing was seriously labored. I took him to our regular vet–Veterinary Holistic Care.  Dr. Maniet (seasoned holistic vet and homeopath) was out of town (who’s been our vet for sixteen years). We met with Dr. Raichura.  When she drew blood, it came out like water!  I immediately felt it was due to the aspirin he was taking. Cats metabolize aspirin differently then humans do, so it’s risky to give it to them.

All heart medications were stopped, including the aspirin. Dr. Raichura gave Gem a shot of penicillin and prescribed several more over the next three days to bring his high fever down.  As I observed Gem during those days, it was clear he was not getting any better. I brought him back in. Dr. Pema was on duty. She thought Gem may have Cat Scratch Fever. All his symptoms pointed in that direction, but Gem’s main symptoms occurred more in humans than in cats, though he did have a constant fever, weight loss, and anemia. We spoke with the cardiologist about the heart medication and its side effects–she had never seen a cat react as Gem did in all her years of practice. I told her, I thought I had given him aspirin two days in a row, rather than separated four days apart, but she didn’t think that would generate a fever. Then we discussed Bartonellosis (Cat Scratch Fever).  She thought it was a good possibility Gem may have it, which was good news. If it was Cat Scratch Fever, Gem had a good chance of surviving. We did another blood test to check. It was negative.

Gem’s case was complicated. He had a long history of FUS and now a heart murmur and asthma which appeared six months earlier, along with a mysterious rash that came and went on his belly for six months. Everything we tried didn’t clear it up. Finally we gave antibiotics and more diet changes and it cleared up (turned out that Gem was eating the tenants cat food–Meow Mix).  The other issue was borderline hyperthyroid levels, but the doctors, including the cardiologist, were not convinced he was hyper-thyroid.  But if his heart condition was caused by his thyroid, it was reversible. I though, continued to feel that the baby aspirin had to be part of Gem’s anemia and collapse.

I told Dr. Raichura and she agreed, continuing with aspirin for Gem’s heart condition was risky, and the conventional method and Chinese Medicine, were not giving us the results we were hoping for in this case. She suggested I make an appointment with Dr. Maniet, who has worked with thousands of complex cases over a twenty-five year period. My cats have been her patients since they were kittens, and we (my cats and I) trust and know the holistic path much more than the conventional.  Many folks think homeopathy, and other alternative practices, are a hoax or are invalid, which is truly too bad for them. I choose the most energetically alive approach (mindful and integrative), rather than going through a somewhat limited and narrow approach (allopathic) to what is possible regarding healthcare choices for me and the cats. In this case, even though we still couldn’t link Gem’s fever with any known condition, we certainly had nothing to lose, especially since the conventional approach seemed to be harming more than helping.

homeopathyWhen we saw Dr. Maniet she suggested that since Gem was used to natural medicine that we stick to it.  He was dying right before us.  I a split second of seeing Gem, Dr. Mainet said “Naja, he needs Naja.”  Naja is a homeopathic remedy made from Cobra venom. When victims are attacked by a Cobra, its bite leads to enlargement of the heart and respiratory failure–the two main symptoms Gem was suffering with. Homeopathy works by taking minute diluted amounts of a plant substance to avoid disagreeable side effects (in this case venom), which is then mixed with alcohol and water. This mixture creates a mother tincture, which is then diluted further and compounded with a milk base to form what are know as ‘pellets’.  When the remedy is taken, the body’s innate immune system is stimulated to bring the body into homeostasis, creating harmony with the waging symptoms within.

Dr. Maniet seemed sure about her conclusion, and we decided to trust the homeopathic approach that has worked for us so many times in the past. My cats have been patients at Veterinary Holistic Care since they were kittens. I even worked there for many years and earned great respect for vibrational homeopathic medicine. It had cured many ailments me and my cats suffered from over the years, with no negative side effects. We experienced strengthened immune systems and healing each and every time.

She made up a dosage bottle for us. We went home, I gave him the remedy and Gem’s symptoms abated overnight!  I gave him a dose of 4-5 drops each time he had symptoms of labored breathing. With each application, the symptoms disappeared. Six months later, Gem continues to be better, his thyroid levels continue to be borderline and his heart murmur is not detectable at all!

Thanks to conscious medicine, Gem is alive today living a happy healthy life. Thanks Dr. M.

(Gem lived for three more years after this.  He passed at seventeen in the care of Dr. Maniet, myself and Robin Byrd)