CATS AND HOMEOPATHY -
A MARRIAGE MADE IN HEAVEN
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.
THE MINIMUM DOSE
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).
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
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.
- 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
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
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
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.
THE VITAL FORCE & HERING'S LAW OF CURE
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.
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
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.
CATS & HOMEOPATHY
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
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!
"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
Maybe one day you
will owe your health to the simple fact that you consulted this book in
order to help your cat."
D.V.M. Your Healthy Cat
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