Archive for the ‘Homeopathy for cats’ Category

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Kittens have arrived!

18 May, 2008

 

1 Hour Old 1

Kittens – one hour old

Even as I write this, Ananda is purring and grunting away in her kitten box to her kittens. She had 5 kittens, born in the early hours of 17 May 2008.

The actual birth process didn’t start until about 2.30am. But the lead-up to it was fraught for both of us. I know I’ve been through it before, but I always worry about what ‘s going to happen. I spent most of the night apologising for getting her in the family way and rubbing her tummy which she found comforting.

There are apparently two types of pregnant cat behaviour. There are the independent cats who prefer to seek a hiding place somewhere to have kittens on their own. Then there are those who seek out their owners help. Ananda is definitely the latter and sees me as midwife and cheerleader.

She had her first kitten on the bed – it was a messy business and accompanied by heart-wrenching screaming. Not something you really want to go through with a beloved pet and something to bear in mind if you’re thinking of going into cat breeding.

Once her first kitten was through and she’d cleaned it up I quickly put it in the kitten box and picked her up and put her in there. She had the next two in quick succession, and then nothing. So after about 2 hours, and after last year’s experience, worried that there were kittens stuck and possibly suffocating, I tried a few homeopathic remedies. Maybe it was coincidence, but literally minutes after administering caullophyllum she had another two. I helped out with all of the births, I cut the cord on 2 of them and helped to dry them because the ones that were born were trying to suckle which made it a bit crowded. But Ananda did most of the work – she’s really got the hang of it now, eating, chewing, cleaning.

That was about 5am and my eyes were nearly glued shut with tiredness. I felt her belly and it still felt swollen. So in the end I decided to wait until the vet opened and ask for a home visit. In the meantime I changed her bedding, fed her water from a dropper and gave her some Arnica and Animal Magic drops which contain Royal Jelly, Ginseng and Honey.

The vet visited and thought he may have felt something, but it was very high up, and if it was a kitten the only way to make sure was with an X-ray. He thought it was probably impacted faeces. As a precaution he administered oxytocin to push any potential kittens or placenta through – I didn’t quibble this time – and said he would pop in after the surgery closed this afternoon. When he came by later, he palpated her again, and he thought this time it wasn’t a kitten – hooray! No need to tell me me how lucky the vet’s is nearby, and it’s something I’m going to have learn to do, to feel a cat’s belly and know whether or not there are kittens waiting to come out and when to wait or when to worry.

I suspect that the mass was probably the 5 placentas Ananda had eaten that morning. She made a relatively quick recovery, considering it was childbirth. She’s a bit anxious and clingy though and whenever I’ve left the room, she’s followed. And what’s happened sometimes is that a kitten who’s been nursing on her teats has held on and then fallen off outside the box. At first I was worried in case it was injured, but praise be, kittens are more robust than you’d think they’d be. In fact, another breeder told me how one of her cats used to rush out of the kitten box with kitten clinging onto a teat, the kitten would fall off, and the impetus of the charge would cause the kitten to slide across the wooden floor!

As mentioned there are 5: 2 gingers (probably male), 1 cream, 1 mackerel and 1 mackerel with white paws. Weights are good, well over the 100g mark each. I haven’t sexed them yet because whenever I pick them up they scream blue murder and Ananda gets upset. It probably feels like some eagle has plucked them up into the sky.

I could do with a good night’s sleep though. I doubt I’m going to get one for a long time. Nursing kittens are noisy when they fight over teats. But I don’t mind – it’s a special time, watching them grow up.

1 Hour Old 2

Kittens – 6 hours old

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Secale – another remedy for the homeopathic birth kit

23 April, 2008

Last year, I posted on the homeopathic kit I’ve put together for the birth process.

The birth last year for my queen did not go as smoothly as with previously litters.  One of the kittens was very large and was born hours late, and sadly, dead.  I’d ignored the vet’s suggestion to use Oxytocin to strengthen her contractions and thought I’d let nature take its course, instead.  I tried 2 homeopathic remedies which had been recommended:  caulophyllum and cimicifuga.  Neither worked.

This year, at the Natural and Organic Products Europe show, Helios the homeopathic pharmacy was exhibiting, and one of their homeopaths was on the stand.  I took the opportunity to discuss what happened last year, and she had another suggestion, the remedy Secale.

According to the Helios own-guide to Homeopathy in Childbirth, “Secale … like Pulsatilla, intolerant of stuffy rooms, but emotionally more stupefied in labour, with much longer contractions.  If these stop, trembling may start.  Most often used to antidote ill-effects of Syntometrine, often routinely injected to speed up expulsion of placenta.  Can be used to encourage a retained placenta to be pushed out naturally if contractions are too weak.”Helios Homeopathy in Childbirth kit

Another suggestion was to use the remedies in a higher potency than 30C, in fact to use them in 200C potency because the birth process is a particularly intense experience.  This advice went against what I was taught about using the minimum dose, but I was open to anything that would help my cat.

I bought the Helios homeopathic kit for childbirth which contains 18 remedies for use before, during and after labour.  (Aconite, Arnica, Bellis per., Calendula, Carbo veg., Caulophyllum, Chamomilla, Cimicifuga, Gelsemium, Hypericum, Ipecac., kali carb., Kali phos., Phytolacca, Pulsatilla, Secale, Sepia, Staphisagria).  Some of the remedies I already have, but this kit had them in 200C potency.

I truly hope that I will not have to resort to any of the remedies to assist in labour, but it pays to be prepared.

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Homeopathic Birth Kit

5 March, 2007

Here are the most important homeopathic remedies I have on hand during birthing. They are not always used, they are there just in case. I know some breeders use them pre-birth, to prevent certain conditions, but that is not classical homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies should only be used only when there is a symptom, not to prevent a symptom – this latter is allopathic thinking. If you use or take homeopathic remedies to prevent something, chances are you could prove the remedy, i.e. induce the very symptoms you want to avoid. Sorry to go on and on, but I do worry about people who think homeopathy is harmless, when it’s actually very potent.

1. Arnica 30C – good for blunt trauma, bruising, bleeding and shock. Indispensable for post birth, to bring down swelling.  It is the No. 1 remedy in any first aid kit.

2. Caulophyllum 30C – used only when prolonged contractions are not resulting in birth, or when there is uterine weakness and nervous exhaustion during the birth.

3. Cimicifuga (or Actaea Racemosa) 30C – symptoms as with caulophyllum but the queen will also be agitated and fearful.

4. Carbo Veg 30C – aka the “corpse reviver”. If you’ve had to revive a kitten that was born not breathing, you may wish to follow-up with Carbo Veg if it isn’t breathing strongly.

According to Dr. Richard Moskowitz in his book “Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth”:

“For the newborn with respiratory distress and persistent cyanosis [i.e. blue lips], Carbo Veg can actually save life and prevent irreversible brain damage.”

I used this myself in a newborn kitten I had to revive – I dissolved a pillule in a cup of water and put just one drop into the mouth of the kitten.

I also have a good 43-remedy kit from Ainsworths.

Arnica and Carbo Veg can usually be found in a good homeopathic kit.  Caullophyllum and Cimicifuga may have to be bought separately.  You can also get homeopathic birth kits, but I have found that the remedies are at 200C potency – I was advised by Michelle Bernard of Blakkatz that this is too strong, but some homeopaths believe that giving birth requires that level of potency. Helios do a birth kit at 200C potency. Ainsworths do a general dog kit and a cat kit (but without the birthing remedies, alas), but honestly, I think they’re overpriced for what they are: sure, the pillules are softer and therefore easier to dissolve, but what you’re paying for is the swanky wooden box in which the remedies are housed. It’s a very nice swanky box, though. You don’t need the pill to dissolve to work, all it needs is to touch the tongue of the dog or cat. And if you dissolve the pillule in water, it’s easy to administer, anyway. So save your money and spend it on the 43-remedy kit instead. If it’ll do for humans, it should do for cats!

In addition, the classic guide to homeopathy for childbirth and pregnancy is Richard Moskowitz’s “Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth” – it’s for humans, but is very applicable to cats as well.

In all instances of dosing, the rule is: one pillule. Wait. If no results in 10 mins, re-dose. A safer way is to dissolve in water, then dose. If no results, agitate the water by either stirring it, or hitting the bottle against your palm, several times. This potentises the solution and increases its strength. Then dose again.

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Homeopathy (1) – Why I use it

5 November, 2006

I was first introduced to homeopathy when Sophie, my tortoiseshell moggie, developed cancer. She’d lost a lot of weight, her liver values were abnormal, she had a palpable tumour in her abdomen. The vet said 3 months max. We decided that at her age (14 years plus) and in her weak condition, surgery or even chemotherapy would have been cruel. He put her on steroids which stimulated her appetite briefly, but had no effect on the tumour or her weight.

So I went the alternative route, and one of the therapies I looked into was homeopathy. The homeopathy I took Sophie to was also a vet. However, the homeopathic consultation was very different from the conventional veterinary procedure. The homeopathic vet wanted to know what Sophie’s personality was like, whether she’d had any emotional shocks, trauma in the previous months, what her diet was. Then he prescribed some remedies: Nux Vomica, Carcinocin and Lycopodium, one tablet of each remedy to be taken twice daily for 2 days followed by the next remedy and then the next.

Unfortunately, the treatment didn’t have the miracle effect I was looking for. None of the other alternative therapies I tried succeeded either. And I was reeling from an enormous bill from the homeopathic vet which was far higher the consultation charges of a conventional vet. Plus after the initial consultation if I’d wanted to ask the vet anymore questions, there would have been additional charges. Homeopathy was such a strange territory for me, I would have appreciated some hand-holding from the vet. Maybe I was asking too much of someone who had to make a living from animals, maybe I an idealist who thought alternative therapists should not to be so mercenary. I was pissed off, to say the least – what was the big deal in homeopathy?

Then after a long period of grieving, I got a pair of kittens – a Bengal and a Maine Coon.

The Maine Coon was going to be my breeding queen. But when she first started calling, she started peeing inappropriately, on the door mat, in the bath etc. I was advised to get her checked by the vet, because one of the causes of inappropriate peeing by cats is a urinary tract infection. (Apparently some say that the pain of a UTI drives the cat to pee in the owner’s presence, as a means of telling the owner that something is wrong.) True enough, the vet took a sample of her urine and confirmed that she had a UTI.

The conventional method of dealing with a UTI is with antibiotics, and that’s what she got, an injection of, and a week’s supply of tablets.

A week went by and she was still peeing in the wrong places and her eyes were willing me to help her. So, back to the vet, more antibiotics, different ones. Another week in which the door mat got replaced by a plastic sheet, another test and still the UTI persisted.

It didn’t take rocket science to see that the antibiotics were not having an effect. But as far as the vet was concerned, there was no other choice but the antibiotics route. In the meantime my girl was in pain and I would have done anything to get her a cure.

So how did my girl’s story end? Happily this time.

I was then in correspondence with Michelle Bernard of the Blakkatz cattery in the US. If you’ve read my last post on raw feeding, you’ll know that Michelle is the guru on raw-feeding for cats, and she also has a wealth of holistic knowledge based on years of breeding cats.

I was at my wits end when I told her about my girl’s UTI, and Michelle very generously responded with her time and help. She asked me questions about my cat. About what was happening in her life at the moment. What her personality was like. And then she prescribed a homeopathic remedy: Pulsatilla.

Why Pulsatilla? Well, Pulsatilla is one of the remedies used for cystitis (which is a urinary tract infection). But Pulsatilla also has an affinity for personalities which are gentle, yielding and affectionate and that was my girl inside out. The Bengal girl was bullying my Maine Coon girl and Michelle felt that the stress of the bullying while she was calling may have triggered the UTI.

The Pulsatilla worked. One dose of 30C, that’s all it took. I felt I was on the brink of something mysterious but wonderful with homeopathy. In the hands of a master practitioner, homeopathy is a powerful tool, and I was fortunate to have Michelle Bernard there to guide me. (And I’ll tell you something else … unlike the homeopathic vet who charged a small fortune, Michelle didn’t ask for anything – that’s a big-hearted person. But I sent her a payment because that was only fair.)

Then Teddy, my neuter boy fell suddenly ill. We were out one day, when we got home Teddy was lethargic and had runny poo. Later, he climbed onto the bed and lay there not moving. At first I thought it was a bit of a tummy problem but the next morning he wasn’t any better. What got me really worried was that the Bullying Bengal had placed herself next to him and was warming him with her body and licking him as if to comfort him.

I rushed him to the vet. He had a temperature. It was an infection. At this point you would have thought I’d learnt my lesson and gone down the homeopathic route, but no … I panicked and allowed the vet to give him an antibiotic jab, his explanation being that in Teddy’s weakened state, it was easy for secondary infection to set in, and the antibiotic was to prevent that from happening.

Poor Teddy. The antibiotic jab didn’t help. I remember carrying him into the garden for fresh air and he just staggered around.

So … yes, I went to my healer of last resort, Michelle Bernard. I don’t think she was too impressed by the fact that Teddy had already had an antibiotic jab because apparently the energy of the antibiotic would interfere with any homeopathic remedies. If he hadn’t had an antibiotic, then possibly Belladonna might work because of the sudden and acute nature of his illness

But I remembered how my girl responded to Pulsatilla even though she’d been on antibiotics. So I tried Belladonna. I was lucky and Teddy got visibly better before my eyes.

So you might be thinking … maybe it was the antibiotics. But the antibiotic had been administered the day before. I believe it was the Belladonna because of the speed of his recovery. It showed me that the correct homeopathic remedy, properly selected, works.

After that incident I realised that I needed to know more about this non-orthodox method of healing. I was also conscious of the fact that I could not keep running to Michelle every time there was a crisis. So she recommended that I enrol on an on-line beginner’s course on homeopathy, run by Sheri Nakken (a nurse and qualified homeopath): http://nccn.net/~wwithin/homeo.htm. I highly-recommend this course as a good introduction to homeopathy. I also recommend reading Michelle Bernard’s very comprehensive and easy-to-understand explanation on homeopathy on her site: http://www.blakkatz.com/homeopathy.html – she says it better than many other sites devoted to homeopathy.

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Raw Feeding guru: Michelle Bernard of blakkatz.com

5 October, 2006

I have been warbling on in the past few months about the benefits of raw-feeding for cats, and probably gave you the impression that I know it all.

Not at all.

Most of my knowledge has come mainly from the leading authority on raw-feeding for cats: Michelle Bernard of the Blakkatz cattery in the USA.

Whenever anyone writes to me asking for advice, I point them to her web-site: http://www.blakkatz.com.

She’s made it easy for people who are interested in raw-feeding – she’s done all the research into cat nutrition, she’s worked on raw-feeding recipes and more importantly she walks the talk where holistic rearing is concerned: Her cats are 100% raw-fed and she uses homeopathy to correct health imbalances.

And if you’ve been looking for a book on raw-feeding for cats, she’s written the only one that is backed up by scientific research and years of experience. It’s called: “Raising Cats Naturally: How to care for your cat the way nature intended”.

There are other books on raw feeding, but not one specifically for cats – that’s an important distinction because some raw-feeding books may have recipes for dogs which have different nutritional requirements to cats. Her book also has a clear explanation on how to use homeopathy for cats.

She’s been the source of encouragement and inspiration for people like me looking for a safer and healthier way to raise their pets.

And oh … she writes a great blog too … you’ll love reading about her cats, the litter of kittens she’s recently rescued, and her wonder dog, Angelus, a Border Collie!

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Kittens – The Birth – Tuesday, 10 July 2006

5 August, 2006

AnandaKittens3

The kittens were born on Monday, 10 August 2006 between 7.35pm and 9.30pm.

They were due to be born on Tuesday which is day 65 and the average gestation period for a cat (actually it can be anything from something like 60 days to 74 days).

I was expecting them on Tuesday because last year their mother was spot-on day 65. But no, this year she was a day early. (not sure why she was early … maybe because there were 7 kittens? Maybe because it was a full moon and it’s a documented fact that more babies are born at the full moon?)

On Monday morning I woke up and found my girl rooting round the foot of the bed. Oh-oh … that was what she did the previous year just before giving birth. So I watched her carefully, but she wasn’t nesting or settling, so I went off to work.

I decided to play safe and left work early. Good thing too. I got home and she was restless and unsettled. For two hours I shadowed her (she probably thought I was mad and just wanted to be left alone!). Finally at about 7pm I took her into the bedroom and she jumped on the bed and started crawling under the blanket and moaning. I’d got two boxes ready for her, but of course, being a cat who knew her own mind, it was a comfy bed she wanted, just like last year. So I spread towels and Pampers Babychanging Mats, plonked her on them, and prepared to wait.

At about 7.30pm I went out of the bedroom to speak to Hubby. I was gone just minutes. When I returned to the bedroom she was gone from the bed. Oh no! Relief when I saw she’d gone into one of the kitten boxes I’d prepared.

Then I heard a squeaking noise, and I realised that she’d had a kitten in the five minutes I was away!

I looked in the box and mum was busy doing everything she had to do – she didn’t need my help at all until a few kittens on. (for last year’s litter I’d had to break the sac and cut the cord for the first kitten).

Anyway, there were seven of them. Was I expecting seven? Well, last year there were six kittens in the litter so I was hoping for six. But for me, it was more important that she have a safe delivery so six, four, three kittens – the number wasn’t important. At least two kittens would be good though, so I could at least cover the stud fees.

The first two kittens arrived in a hurry, within 10 mins of each other. Then there was a long wait of about 30 mins, and I remember thinking “two’s a good thing really – means she’ll have plenty of milk for them.”

After number four arrived there was another long break and I was honestly happy with just four. Mum did seem rather big for just four kittens, though. Maybe it had just been pregnancy fat.

Then after another long wait came kittens five and six. For kitten five I had to cut the cord because she was getting tired.

I almost lost kitten seven.

By then, my girl was (not surprisingly) exhausted. I was counting placentas and wasn’t sure if the sixth placenta had come out or not. So when she gave a throaty cry I just thought she was giving birth to the placenta, especially because she swung round and then lay down abruptly. Hubby who was watching said “isn’t that a kitten behind her?” I said “naw, that’s the placenta”. Mum just lay there looking exhausted. A few minutes later I looked closer at her and saw something sticking out under her. It looked like either the end of a cord or … a tail.

I immediately lifted Mum up and it was a kitten. I felt as though I had been kicked in the stomach – it was a kitten and still in its sac. I pushed it towards Mum and she sniffed it but didn’t do anything. So I tore open the sac and cleaned the kitten up.

It wasn’t breathing.

I pushed it towards Mum and she just ignored it. So I had a dead kitten on my hands and it was all my fault.

Out of desperation I did something I’d read about but was hoping, as a novice breeder, never to have to do. I picked the kitten up and put it between my hands, head secure between my fingers, and I flung my hands down to try to shake any fluid out of its lungs.

Still no signs of breathing and Mum couldn’t understand why I kept pushing it under her nose. It was a black kitten, it was perfectly-formed, there was nothing wrong with it. Just that it wasn’t breathing, and I was probably too late to save it.

So I held the kitten between my hands and shook it again. Then massaged it with a towel, trying not to cry.

Suddenly its sides expanded. Just once. Then again. Mum nosed it.

I had a homeopathic remedy on hand, carbo veg (aka “The Corpse Reviver”). It squealed as I picked it up. Yes, it was definitely breathing! I did debate whether or not to give it the carbo veg, but decided to be safe, and gave it a drop.

I put the kitten down and Mum started cleaning it.

The colours and sexes of the kittens: Two tortie-mackrels (girls), one silver mackrel with smoke (girl), three cream tabbies (boys) and one red (i.e. ginger) tabby (boy).

To date, all healthy, breathing and suckling well.