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Paula Greatbatch, whom readers may remember from our November/December 1992 "Holistic Companions" profile puts it simply: "My cats don't like to be messed with."

It's hard to find a more compelling reason for the use of classical homeopathy, a form of medicine where one dose (easily dropped on a squirming tongue) can make the difference between life and death or between chronic illness and a life of freedom.

A cat's dignity can easily be offended by an over-zealous guardian, intent on cramming every known healing substance down the throat of a wiggling Muffy. Sometimes it may be necessary. But more often than not, a few quick pellets landing on Muffy's tongue will do the job just as well.

In this article we'd like to examine a few of the building blocks of homeopathy and then look at why this is such appropriate medicine for cats. In addition to providing us with "simple medicine" classical homeopathy provides a philosophical tool with which to understand the whole process of health and healing.


In philosophy there is a rule known as Occam's Razor, which says, "The simplest explanation you can find for something his probably the truth." In other words, don't build a library of theory when all you need is a line of explanation.

This is what modern physics is all about: finding the simplest, most elegant explanation for all phenomena in the universe. It's called the Unified Field Theory and they're still working on it.

When Samuel Hahnemann discovered homeopathy in the eighteenth century his first insight was "The Law of Similars," which observed that a substance had curative power based on its ability to produce the symptoms of an illness in a healthy person (more about this next).

However, although this law allowed him to choose medicinal substances which could cure, he found that aggravation from the medicine was too intense. So he gave smaller and smaller amounts of medicine.

To make a long story short (or to potentize the story) he eventually discovered that by diluting and shaking (succussing) the original substance in water again and again he not only reduced the aggravation, he increased the healing power of the remedy.

So, in line with the law of Occam's Razor, we now have a medicine which does more with less! This process continued until there was nothing left of the original substance except an inexplicable energetic imprint.

This understanding - that less is more - has continued to influence the work of classical homeopaths to this day. Although there may be situations where daily doses of a low potency remedy are prescribed, often one dose is given and the client is told to "wait and see what happens."

There is a certain Zen-like, mystical quality to this rule. It is, first of all, a picture of efficiency. Never use more effort than is needed to effect an action. How many of us have watched athletes or dancers in motion and marveled at the stream-lined nature of their movement? With less effort they accomplish more.

We often wondered when reading Anitra Frazier's books why she seemed so cautious in the feline dosage sizes she recommended for both nutritional and medicinal substances. In light of "the magic of the minimum dose," we can see how an understanding of homeopathy may have influenced her thinking. Not only was she cautious to avoid toxicity, she understood that less often means more.

The Law of Similars is a simple law, but it forces us to change our assumptions about the nature of illness.

The Law of Similars, as we said before, says that any substance that can produce a particular set of symptoms in a healthy person, can cure those symptoms in an ill person. The goal of a homeopath is to discover a "symptom picture" that matches the symptoms associated with a remedy as listed in books called Materia Medicas.

So how does this change our notion of illness? The underlying assumption of this law is that the symptoms of illness are an attempt to cure disease, they are not the disease itself. The belief that symptoms are the disease is so ingrained in our society (see the countless ads on television for symptomatic relief) that it is really difficult for us to understand the opposite.

Yet, this idea presents a fundamentally more positive view of life, a view which sees living creatures as having been endowed with the ability to heal themselves. It is also an empowering idea an done that makes us more responsible and capable of taking care of ourselves and our animal companions.


When we ingest the homeopathic remedies what happens? According to Samuel Hahnemann, it is the Vital Force which responds to the remedy. Vitalism is a theory which predated the current biochemical understanding of life by thousands of years. It says that our spirit, our soul, creates the physical substance of our bodies.

This aspect of Hahnemann's theories, as well as his concept of a Disease Miasm (next issue) have been ignored even by practicing homeopaths over the years. But today we are seeing a return to Vitalism. Nurses are being taught Therapeutic Touch (used to adjust imbalance in "energy fields") and doctors are attending seminars on the spiritual aspect of disease.

The mental, emotional, and physical layers of life are expressions of the Vital Force and any imbalance in the Vital Force can manifest itself in these three levels. Disease according to classical homeopathy is a sensitivity of the defense mechanism of the Vital Force to a specific "morbific influence." This clearly explains why some people get ill in the presence of a particular virus or bacteria and others don't.

The theory also foreshadows a law of cure set forth by Constantine Hering, an American homeopath. Hering's Law of Cure says that cure should proceed from the mental level outwards to the physical level. In practice this is often observed in homeopathic cures. If you give a cat a remedy that is appropriate, you will often see an immediate mental/emotional response of contentment. Although the final "physical" cure may take some time, it is firmly established if signs of mental/emotional improvement appear.


On the basis of Hering's Law of Cure we can further predict that any medicine which suppresses the physical response of the body to disease will only cause the illness itself to go deeper into the body. If a disease is not allowed expression on the physical level, it turns inward, expressing itself in either mental/emotional symptoms or in more vital physical organs.

This understanding of the action of disease suppression is of great value in evaluating any form of medicine, whether it is synthetic drug or herb or homeopathic remedy.

But its greatest value is in helping us understand the danger of corticosteroid drugs and other symptom suppressing medications so commonly used by veterinarians. Even conventional vets recognize that they are merely covering up the symptoms when they use steroids. But they don't understand the profound danger this poses for the extended well-being of the animal.

Disease needs to be dealt with. In much the same way that emotional problems or political problems or financial problems have a way of getting worse if they are avoided, disease can take on monstrous proportions if it is not dealt with at its inception.

The goal of homeopathy is CURE. This may seem like a natural assumption for any medicine, but it is not. Often conditions are merely "managed" and people or animals end up being on suppressive medications their entire life, greatly restricting their freedom of action and enjoyment of life.


What makes homeopathy especially appropriate for cats?

In situations of extreme illness homeopathy may be the only choice available. Cats are notorious for not eating when they are ill and medicines administered by food or using food itself as a medicine would be out of the question. Remedies can easily be mixed in distilled water and given by dropper. Although some cats are notoriously difficult to pill, administering a homeopathic remedy is usually very easy. Even one pellet can start a response. We have even heard stories of people who put a remedy in a small bit of food and got a healing response.

Since you would not have to give a remedy as often, the cat could be allowed to peacefully tend to his own recuperation. Cats are known for having nine lives and part of this mysterious reputation may have to do with their ability to retreat into an inner healing state.

The introverted nature of the cat may indeed have something to do with his receptivity to medicine which stimulates an inner response. Someone once told us that they thought that homeopathy only worked on Tibetan monks high in the Himalayas. Certainly there are many case histories which prove that homeopathy can work on anyone. But cats do have a meditative, serene quality, and an ability to concentrate intently for long periods of time (especially when flies, birds, mice or squirrels are involved).

And certainly cats are patient, probably more patient and at ease with illness than their guardians. This patience fits perfectly with a system of healing which requires a "wait and see" period.

Dr. Pitcairn, in an article for Resonance, the journal of the International Foundation for Homeopathy, wrote "because I am working with animals, it is possible to treat with only homeopathic remedies, relatively free of the social necessity to also use allopathic drugs and diagnostic techniques that tend to cloud the picture of a remedy response. When cures or marked improvement occur in these cases, it is very difficult to explain these away with the answer that it is 'placebo' or 'imagination.' Thus, homeopathy with animals becomes a way of demonstrating effectiveness of the method in a most practical way."

In using homeopathy we show respect for our cats' nature and for the force which creates and nurtures us all. In the process we gain a method of extraordinary healing power. Thanks, Cats!

-L. Granfield

"It may be that after you experience the favorable effects of those remedies on your cat, you will decide homeopathy is the thing for you in case of illness. Perhaps you will look around to see whether you can find an appropriate doctor.

Maybe one day you will owe your health to the simple fact that you consulted this book in order to help your cat."

-H.G. Wolff, D.V.M. Your Healthy Cat


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