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This is a free email newletter I recieve and will gladly post for your convenience. Please visit the web site www.littlebigcat.com regularly to find out what's new, read our monthly Newsletter and see the new material that is constantly added to our Free Article Library and our Bookstore! Past issues of the CatsWalk Newsletter can be found in the Newsletter Archive.

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Summer Issue, 2005

CatsWalk by Dr. Jean Hofve & Jackson Galaxy Library of Congress ISSN #1550-0764 Volume 3, No. 06 -- Summer Issue 2005: Part II

In this issue:

1. Pets Are a Part of Katrina Story: How To Help

2. Probiotics: A Dietary Powerhouse for Your Cat

3. The Making of a SpiritEssence Remedy: Safe Space

4. Flower Essence Series: Rock Rose

1. Pets Are a Part of Katrina Story: How To Help

By Steve Dale (Marcella Durand contributed)

The loss of human life and property as a result of Katrina is unspeakable. But at least one survivor still had something to hold onto, quite literally. On camera, as she held her soggy kitten close to her chest, she said, "No, I did not lose everything. I thank God for what is spared," as she petted her cat, as tears streamed from her eyes.

The good news is that the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (LA SPCA) was smart enough to heed the warning, evacuating their 263 animals to Houston before the hurricane hit. (Houston proceeded to disperse the animals they couldn't handle to San Antonio and other nearby cities).

In New Orleans, the bad news is that thousands who evacuated leaving their pets behind, assuming they would return in a day or two. Those animals who did not drown are either now starving to death, or have escaped to try and scavenge for food. Prospects of reuniting to ever see their people appear grim.

But humane organizations are hoping beyond hope to have the opportunity to get into the city. As one humane society spokesperson told me, "If we have the opportunity, dealing with pets will be easy compared to what officials have had to confront with at least some people."

The news isn't quite as dismal elsewhere in Louisiana, or in Mississippi or Alabama where there's a greater ability to find lost pets; and make-shift shelters and veterinary care through the American Veterinary Medical Association VMAT Team and volunteers from various other groups are gradually getting organized.

Many facilities sheltering people don't allow animals, quite literally forcing people to give up their animals. In fact, often times this is exactly why some people may not evacuate to a shelter in the first place – they don't want to leave their animals.

People need your help, and the following listing is most certainly is not meant to imply you shouldn't contribute to the Red Cross or other legitimate organizations which fund human assistance. But humane assistance is important too. Companion animals are family to many; entire families require assistance. If you are so inclined here are some verified and legitimate options:

American Kennel Club Canine Support and Relief Fund www.akc.org/news/hurricane_katrina.cfm, or mail a donation to AKC Companion Animal Recovery Canine Support and Relief Fund, c/o American Kennel Club, 5580 Centerview Drive, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606. You may also call 800-252-7894.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (2005 Disaster Relief Fund) www.aspca.org/disaster, or call 212-876-7700, ext. 4516.

American Veterinary Medical Association Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams www.avmf.org, or call (847) 925-8070. AVMF supports state and Veterinary Medical Assistance Team (VMAT) training and equipment for deployment in times of disaster. Make donation to AVMF AVMA Medical Assistance Team, 1931 N. Meacham Rd., Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173

Cat Fanciers' Association (Animal Relief Fund) www.cfainc.org (http://www.cfainc.org/), 732-528-7391. The Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc., P.O. Box 1005, Manasquan, NJ 08736-0805.

Code 3 Associates (Code 3 Associates, Inc. is dedicated to both professional disaster response for animal rescue operations and to training individuals working in animal related law enforcement throughout the country. Also works with EARS –Emergency Animal Rescue Service - from the United Nations) www.code3associates.org, 303-772-7724; Code 3 Associates, P.O. Box 1128 Erie, CO 80516.

Emergency Animal Rescue Service (EARS), United Animal Nations: www.ears.org. Their website is keeping an updated list of temporary shelters in the area that can accept animals.

Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association, http://www.lvma.org, 800- 524-2996. Make donations to the Dr. Walter J. Ernst Jr. Memorial Foundation, 8550 United Plaza Boulevard, Suite 1001, Baton Rouge, LA 70809, Make note on your check that the contribution is for "Hurricane Katrina Relief."

Noah's Wish (an animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to rescuing following disasters). www.noahswish.org, or call 530-622-9313, or send a donation to Noah's Wish, P.O. Box 997 Placerville, CA 95667

Perhaps the organization most in need will be the Louisiana SPCA. It's likely their building has been destroyed—though this is unconfirmed. Their website has not been updated; their New Orleans address and phone no longer exist. It's unclear how to help them today. But at some juncture, there will be directives available through their website: www.la-spca.org/. Other affected city shelters will require help as well. One Mobile, AL shelter site is at www.mobilespca.org.

2. Probiotics: A Dietary Powerhouse for Your Cat

Lately it seems we've been running into a lot of cats--and dogs--who needed some extra help with digestive and other health issues. Probiotics have helped solve the problems for many of these animals.

The term "probiotics" (which means "promoting life") covers a variety of "friendly" bacteria that are beneficial for the digestive tract. These include Lactobacillus acidophilus and other Lactobacillus species, and certain strains of Bacillus, Enterococcus, Bifidobacteria, and Streptococcus, all of which are commonly found in over-the-counter probiotic supplements.

Probiotics are of special importance in cats with any type of digestive problem, including vomiting, hairballs, diarrhea, and constipation. They are essential for animals who are, or have been, taking antibiotics; they can be given both during the course of antibiotics and for at least 2 weeks afterwards. Probiotics are particularly useful for allergies, including atopy (inhalant allergies), food allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Probiotics promote a balanced and healthy bacterial population in the gut, which is important for complete digestion and general well-being. Intestinal bacteria aid in digesting certain nutrients by providing enzymes that the body does not make on its own. These organisms manufacture several B vitamins, and help maintain an acidic pH in the gut. They also prevent colonization of the digestive tract by pathological (disease-causing) organisms such as Salmonella and Candida.

Probiotic bacteria are normally present in a healthy digestive tract, mainly in the colon. L acidophilus, the strain most often used in fermented products like yogurt, was the first to be isolated and used as therapy, initially to treat constipation and diarrhea in human patients in the 1920s and 30s. In one study, human patients were given antibiotics to kill off most of their normal gut flora. After the antibiotic course was finished, they were then supplemented with L. acidophilus. Even more interesting, the levels of other normal bacteria, such as enterococci, also normalized rapidly. Further studies showed that the probiotics must be taken daily in order to maintain the beneficial effects.

More recent research on probiotics has found that few, if any, commercial probiotic supplements actually contained live bacteria, despite label claims to the contrary. That didn't sound like good news, but it turned out that even these "dead" bacteria had a clear and beneficial impact on digestion. It seems that even after they've given up the ghost, probiotic bacteria still provide nutrients and other immune-boosting factors that help the intestinal cells stay healthy and happy.

It's easy to add probiotics to your cat's diet. While many owners and breeders recommend adding a tablespoon of yogurt to the food, this is not enough to have any effect. Most yogurt made commercially with live cultures contains these organisms at much lower levels, in the neighborhood of 100,000 CFU/ml. It is better and simpler (and definitely more cost-effective) to buy probiotics in capsules and add them to the food. These supplements must be fresh and kept refrigerated to keep the organisms viable. It's fine to use the same probiotics made for humans, and safe even at the human dose. Fortunately these supplements generally have little taste and are readily accepted by most cats if mixed with canned or homemade food.

Even if you're feeding the best commercial food or even a homemade diet, probiotics are the missing link to a truly healthful diet.

3. The Making of a SpiritEssence Remedy: Safe Space

An outgrowth of the original Little Big Cat idea, SpiritEssence is the name of our line of flower essence formulas. Actually, they contain much more than flowers! (See the FAQ on the SpiritEssence website for details.) This month, we want to share how we create our formulas by taking you through the story of Safe Space, the remedy for spraying cats.

One of the wonderful aspects of the SpiritEssence remedies is the fact that they're built from real life experiences. I do a behavior consultation, discuss the problem with Dr. Jean, and we create a remedy for that particular situation. Solutions for the problems we see over and over again wind up in our catalog.

A prime example of this process comes from a case of mine that birthed the remedy we call "Safe Space." Back in 2002, I visited a new client, Nancy, and her cats Blue and Graham*. She had recently moved to a townhome, and since that time Blue was urinating seemingly everywhere. Graham did some hiding when they first moved in February, but it was now two months later and he had adjusted fairly well. I asked Nancy if she was absolutely sure it was all Blue's doing—and she was. She had tried isolating each cat after cleaning up, and caught Blue shortly after the fact numerous times. We also made sure to rule out any medical cause for the problem before my visit. A urinalysis and blood test at her veterinarian's office showed no cause for concern. This set the stage for my visit.

Upon my arrival, I used my blacklight wand to uncover any spots that Nancy might have missed—and judging by the smell, she most definitely missed quite a few! With the lights out, the pattern became very clear, very quickly. I refer to this particular urination pattern as "perimeter marking." Blue had doused everything in the home that represented an "unsafe" boundary. This included the front and patio doors, sliding glass windows, baseboards near windows, and the windows themselves. No place in the center of the home or on walls that didn't border the outdoors was marked. Nancy's new home bordered a large swath of open space. Moreoever, she admitted to leaving a bowl of food out for neighborhood cats.

After explaining the pattern to Nancy so she could see that Blue's actions weren't random, I tried to get her to see the world from his eyes. He had always been the alpha cat in the home, always protecting Graham. Blue must have been witnessing the comings and goings of various critters right up to his very own doors and windows. Not only had his family just moved to a territory he had yet to feel secure about, but with neighborhood cats (and raccoons, foxes, and other "locals") feasting on the plentiful food supply, Blue's instinctual urge to protect went into overdrive. Some overzealous outside cats (most likely unneutered males) had also marked the outside of the townhome.

In short, Blue was suffering from a Napoleon complex: he was completely insecure in his own territory, and thus was striking out in every possible direction. He had become the powerless dictator. Putting his mark along the perimeter was a way of saying to the territorial intruders, "Stop right there! Come no further!" To start to resolve the situation, we had Nancy stop putting food outside. I also had her buy a "Critter Gitter" which is a perimeter alarm. It detects movement within a 40' perimeter, and generates sound and light to scare off the intruders. Also, we put litterboxes and food bowls in various places around the indoor perimeter. The boxes gave Blue positive places to deposit his scent in socially significant areas, and the food would represent another "safe" marker.

Because of the severity of the situation, we needed even more help in this case. I had previously made various essence remedies to help with the stress of territorial insecurity. It was time to make a stock remedy for this situation with the help of Dr. Jean. The prototype of "Safe Space" was formulated and brought back to Nancy and Blue. It proved partially successful, but it was not what I had hoped for. Nancy told me that while the spraying had all but stopped, Blue wasn't sleeping much and spent much time patrolling the windows and doors. Once again, I consulted with Dr. Jean. We added some essences and took others away, and I returned the new formula to Nancy. Within two weeks, all had normalized in the home. Safe Space even had a positive effect on Graham, addressing the last residual trepidation regarding his new home. Nancy applied Safe Space topically to the cats, as well as adding it to their canned food and water. She also used the remedy in a ! plant sprayer (one dropperful in a bottle of spring water) and spritzed the inside of the home liberally. We were thrilled with the results, and subsequently added Safe Space to our permanent repertoire.

The final version of Safe Space includes essences from five different lines:

  • Bach Flowers: Elm, Oak, Vervain and Walnut * Flower Essence Society: Chamomile * Pacific Esssences: Chiton, Pink Seaweed and Rainbow Kelp * Watersong Sanctuary: Eye of God, Hawthorn Tree, Penstemon '96, Russian Olive, White Eagle * Rocky Mountain Essences: Campfire, Mountain Pool, Mosquito, and Wind

As we explore and add new essence lines to our repertory, we will be able to continually update this and other remedies, zeroing in even more effectively on the stresses our animal companions experience. Thanks to Nancy, Blue and Graham for their experience and for helping us to help others.

  • Names have been changed to ensure privacy.

Check out our Bookstore for in-depth publications on many feline health and behavior topics! Titles include: "Allergies to Cats", "What Cats Should Eat", "Fat Cats", "Feline Diabetes". "Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease", "What's Play Got to Do With It?", "Inflammatory Bowel Disease", "Interpreting Lab Values", "Moving: Making a Smooth Transition with Your Cat", and "Introducing Your Cat to Your New Baby".

4. Flower Essence Series: Rock Rose (Helianthemum nummularium)

This is an ongoing series of articles on the Bach flower essences. We will be looking at each essence in turn, and its special indications in cats. This month, the featured essence is Rock Rose.

The Rock Rose, also called Sun Rose, is a perennial of dry, sunny places. It is a common wildflower in England. Despite its name, Rock Rose is not a true rose, but is a member of the Cistaceae family.

The keynote of Rock Rose is "panic." Dr. Edward Bach put Rock Rose in the group of flowers for "those who have fear". He said that Rock Rose is "The rescue remedy." He suggests Rock Rose for emergencies, including "accident or sudden illness, or when the patient is very frightened or terrified, or if the condition is serious enough to cause great fear to those around." Rock Rose is the foundation of the five-flower combination Rescue Remedy.

The Rock Rose cat may be virtually paralyzed by fear. This is the cat who freezes in the back of the carrier at the vet's office, wide-eyed and almost in an "altered state" of panic. This terrorized state may also manifest in frenzied escape behaviors such as biting at the bars of a carrier or cage door or going completely ballistic. In the vet clinic or other strange situation, this cat is can literally be "going in seven directions at once."

Rock Rose is not for the cat who is simply nervous, but it is often justified for use in feral cats, or cats who are ill or badly injured.

In many cases, a cat needing Rock Rose could instead be treated with Rescue Remedy, and vice versa. Rock Rose is found in the SpiritEssence formula Graceful Aging, and as part of Rescue Remedy in Adjustment, Declaw Remedy, Easy Traveler, Feline Performance, Feral Cat Rehabilitation, Foster Care Remedy, Nervous Nelly, Nightmare Remedy, Orphan Wildlife, Public Speaker, Scaredy Cat, Separation Anxiety, Stress Stopper, Victim, Water Horse, and Wildlife Rehabilitation.

Please visit our web site www.littlebigcat.com regularly to find out what's new, read our monthly Newsletter and see the new material that is constantly added to our Free Article Library and our Bookstore! Past issues of the CatsWalk Newsletter can be found in the Newsletter Archive.

Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to your cat-loving friends! If you received this from a friend, you can sign up for your very own subscription at www.littlebigcat.com! Subscribers are also entitled to receive updates and announcements of interest to our members.

Your feedback is very welcome! Please contact us at info@littlebigcat.com with your comments.

April '05 Issue

CatsWalk

by Dr. Jean Hofve & Jackson Galaxy Library of Congress ISSN #1550-0764 Volume 3, No. 04 -- April 2005

1. Homemade vs. Commercial Food for Cats (and Dogs!)

2. Cat Cloning: The Catman Ranteth

3. Flower Essence Series: Pine

1. Homemade vs. Commercial Food for Cats (and Dogs!)

Preparing a home-made diet for one's pets is a bit of a challenge. However, it is no more difficult than feeding one's children a balanced and nutritious diet. Most human beings seem to be able to do that, since we have survived as a species. As any parent knows, it is not essential to balance all the nutrients in each individual meal, but over time the intake of nutrients in a varied, healthy diet will be balanced.

What parent would ever consider feeding their children only processed food out of cans, boxes and bags? We know it's important to eat fresh, raw fruits and vegetables. Similarly, it is better for our animal companions to eat fresh, raw foods appropriate to their species, than to be fed processed, preserved foods for their entire lives. The popularity of commercial pet foods is due mainly to their convenience; and to massive advertising by pet food companies seeking even more profit than the $25 billion a year they already make.

If you're considering home-preparing food for your pets, get educated about it. There is a wealth of books, articles and Internet sites to go to for information and guidance on suitable foods and nutritional balance. See our article on "Easy Homemade Diets for Cats and Dogs" for more information on how to get started. Don't take shortcuts, and don't get lazy—preparing your pet's food at home takes a firm commitment.

You'll have to decide between raw and cooked meat diets. Raw meat diets are very popular, but not all pets will eat or can handle raw meat. For instance, a cat with gastrointestinal problems such as inflammatory bowel disease might be better off starting with a cooked homemade diet, then gradually converted, if desired, to raw. There are things you need to know about feeding raw before making the leap, but it's easy to find out how to do it safely by reading books or checking the Internet.

The dangers of handling raw meat in the preparation of a pet's meal are really no greater than those associated with making yourself a hamburger for dinner. No one advocates forsaking ordinary hygiene in the handling of raw meats (and items in contact with raw meats, such as food bowls, utensils and cutting boards), and in other animal-related activities. To acquire a zoonotic (animal-to-man) infection is not all that easy, if you use common-sense precautions.

The weight of practical experience by owners, breeders, and the holistic veterinary community, is on the side of natural diets. Very few problems have arisen; compared to the legion of allergies, skin disease, dental disease, obesity, bladder infections, diabetes, and other health problems encountered by animals on commercial diets

Conventional veterinarians, whose nutritional education is limited and commonly provided by pet food companies, are generally very resistant to the idea of feeding homemade meals and/or raw meat, claiming that it poses a danger not only to the animals, but also to the humans who prepare the meals. We'll look at the "dangers" of raw diets next month.

The most impressive evidence for homemade diets is the testimony of dozens of pet guardians, breeders, and veterinarians. Not only have I personally seen the improved health and well-being of pets on good homemade diets, but I have received dozens of first-hand reports from pet guardians citing increased health and vitality, as well as rapid disappearance of medical problems, from itchy ears to seizures.

People everywhere are turning to organic foods and non-toxic medical treatments for themselves—do our animal companions—who trust us utterly to provide for them—deserve any less? While most commercial foods are "adequate" and will keep our pets alive, they do not provide the "optimal" nutrition our animal companions need for vibrant good health and long life. And even those few courageous pet food companies who are truly trying to produce a decent food at a reasonable price, suffer from the same problem as all pet foods—it's all highly processed, "dead" food.

Even if you can't commit to completely home-preparing your pet's diet, adding a little bit of fresh meat, even a couple of times a week, will be very helpful and provide many benefits that processed food simply doesn't have.

Have you visited our Free Article Library lately? Recently added or updated articles include: Vaccination, Feline Dental Care, Food Allergies in Cats, and Mad Cow Disease and Your Pet.

2. Cat Cloning: The Catman Ranteth

Back in November 2004, we took our show on the road, enjoying a weekend in our booth at the Cat Fanciers Association Annual International Cat Show in Houston, Texas. The convention center was filled with cats, breeders, visitors and vendors from all over the country. Personally, I was impressed with the entire row dedicated to local rescue organizations, where dozens of adoptable cats and kittens found new homes.

However, there was one specific booth that I was wary about. As we arrived in Houston, I saw it in the newspaper headline: "Cloned Cats Make Houston Debut". The accompanying picture showed the donor cat and cloned kitten being exhibited at the show, "Mango" and "Peaches." I knew I was in for a long weekend of keeping my temper in check.

Genetic Savings and Clone (GSC) made their presence very well known at the show, with an enormous booth, 60" flat screen TV's playing the history and the promise of pet cloning over and over, and the hourly display of the two cats by white-shirted, wide-smiling employees of GSC. I treated it very much like a car wreck on the highway. I didn't stop, but I sure rubbernecked. To my satisfaction, it seemed like the show-goers were following suit. There wasn't much interest in sinking the advertised $50,000 into the pipe dream GSC was selling.

Fast-forward five months. Dr. Jean and I are putting together this month's CatsWalk, and I'm drawing a blank on a good topic. Dr. Jean suggests cloning. I recoil. We pride ourselves on being fairly good about not being "soap-boxy"—that is, we have definite opinions that we feel set Little Big Cat apart from others, and that's all well and good. Although any reader knows right away where we stand, we try very hard to educate, not offend. That being said, I simply can't approach this topic without steam blasting out of my ears. Having worked in animal sheltering for many years, the following is my opinion…no, let's be honest—the following is my rant.

Where to start? How about the promise to pet guardians that they will never have to deal with the inevitable facet of unconditional love that we dread so much—loss. "It's OK," GSC essentially says, "For just $50 grand, the normal cycle of love, loss, grief and rediscovery can be short-circuited altogether. In fact, we guarantee that your cloned cat will look like your old cat and be healthy!" These are promises that they can't possibly keep. A genetic clone does not necessarily equal an identical twin, as the very first clone CC, demonstrated (see photo below). CC is tabby-and-white with no orange at all, unlike the donor, a torbie-and-white cat with lots of bright orange in her coat (erroneously called a calico by GSC, which also refers to calico as a "breed."--and they know so much about cats!!). In fact, Texas A&M University, where CC was actually produced, says that "cloning results in a genetically identical animal, but not necessarily one that looks! or acts the same." (Emphasis added) That's a far cry from the optimistic-sounding double-talk from GSC.

Since CC was born in 2001, and all 5 kittens cloned with the newer technology in 2004, we know nothing at all about the ultimate health and longevity of these walking feline experiments. Remember Dolly the sheep, the first cloned animal? She was euthanized at age six due to lung cancer and progressively crippling arthritis. In fact, most cloned animals have been born dead, deformed, or sickly, and those that survived at all usually died young. GSC claims that their new cloning technique has solved this problem, but with results of their touted new technology all less than 1 year old, there may be some unpleasant surprises awaiting them down the road.

Furthermore, there's one key element GSC does not, will not, and cannot guarantee—the one thing the guardian is missing the most—the temperament and personality of the lost pet. It's the old nature vs. nurture debate, taken to a new level. Take the two "exhibited" cats we saw in Houston. By the time we saw those kittens, they were about three months old. Obviously, spending their kittenhood cannot duplicate the early life of the donor cat, which often is unknown (note how little CC is gingerly held in the researcher's gloved hands in the photo above!).

By twelve weeks, kittens' personal and social dynamics are well developed. The purchaser is bound to be disappointed when the cloned kitten doesn't act the same way her old cat did: doesn't sleep on the pillow, or love to have her head kissed or her tummy rubbed. Flexible and unpredictable personality traits can lead to dissatisfaction. This is likely to be exacerbated by the fact that the guardian spent so much money—buyer's remorse. Will the clone remind the person of death? Of a mistake? Will the innocent victim of science wind up in a shelter? GSC certainly makes no offer to take them back or re-home them if the client is not satisfied.

Yes, I feel sorry for animal lovers manipulated by tugging at their very emotional core. But what gets me most is the fact that every year millions of animals are killed in this country's animal shelters for lack of homes. We just don't have enough homes for all of the extra pets produced in the U.S. We don't have nearly enough money to fund local spay and neuter clinics, let alone to keep local shelters from crumbling. And someone in the name of loving animals is going to blow $50,000 on a "designer pet"? GSC says it's no different than any other luxury purchase. Yeah, right—except that a Lexus doesn't have feelings. And I haven't even touched on the "surrogates," the mother cats who birth these kittens, and all of the kittens that die within days—nearly half of the kittens born alive.

We continue to be in a time of crisis here, folks. Our collective consciousness should have no room for luxuries like cloning or hypoallergenic cats (don't even get me started on that one!). The time for this "weird science" is not now. Not until every last animal who needs a home has one. Not until the dedicated workers in 5,500 shelters across the country don't have to include killing friendly, loving, healthy animals on their daily list of chores.

There's not enough room here to present the cases for both sides. The American Anti-Vivisection Society presents a powerful case with their report, "Pet Cloning: Separating Fact From Fluff" at www.nopetcloning.org. As a direct response to this report, GSC put up its own defensive site, www.defendpetcloning.org. (It is interesting—and significant—that GSC found it needful to rebut AAVS point for point!) I'd encourage everyone to check out both of these sites and draw their own conclusions. The GSC site is so obviously full of vagueness and spin it would make a politician blush. At least the AAVS presents solid facts, although slanted to support their purpose to shut this practice down.

Finally, I'd like to make a plea to anyone who is entertaining the thought of cloning their animal, or even putting tissue in a DNA "bank" for later consideration. You know what it is to love an animal. You know that love is transcendent and unconditional. Your pet asked for so little and gave you back so much. Now think of her as part of a whole. Your love can be such a staggeringly powerful thing in this world, which has treated our pets as disposable for so long.

So, forget what your $50,000 could do for your local shelter; how many meals could be fed, cages improved, blankets provided. Forget about what $50,000 could do for an organization like Alley Cat Allies (www.alleycat.org) that traps, neuters and releases thousands upon thousands of our nation's feral cats every year, stopping them from breeding and preventing the birth of millions of more kittens who would, at best, live brutally short lives. Forget all of that.

Just remember that your love for the whole can be taken straight down to the shelter where you can save an animal from death. If you're not ready, if the grieving is too heavy on your heart, just go visit. Just touch a cat or a dog for a few minutes. Sign up to volunteer. Brush them. Walk them. Cuddle them. No matter how wonderful a shelter is, it's not home, and these animals will be so thankful to receive your touch, your love for the whole that might have gone unexpressed since the death of your companion.

The bottom line? Don't clone! Of course, like I said, I'm not here to report the news this month—I'm here to rant.

Footnote from Dr. Jean:

One of GSC's clients, who gene-banked his dog's tissue, says "…I had this one very special relationship with this one dog, and I know that I'm not going to find that relationship with a dog that I get out of shelter." Horsefeathers! The only reason he couldn't find just as deep and wonderful a relationship with a shelter dog is his own stubborn refusal to allow it.

Every animal is unique, and our relationships with them are also unique—but every bit as wonderful. For every pet I have loved and lost, I, too, have said, "There will never be another Spirit (or Poco, or Willy, or Frazier…)." And indeed, there won't ever be another identical animal. But I love my current 5 cats every bit as much, and they are all 100% as special to me as every beloved pet from the past. In fact, I think I love each new animal more than the last, as I personally grow and mature in my own capacity to love. People looking for the same animal they once had are missing out on the most vital, most precious parts of life: change, growth, and new experiences of the blessing of love.

In the Spring, nature calls, and the pheromones are flying. Many cats feel stressed and threatened by all the springtime stimuli--even to the point of spraying or unusual aggression. A fun, simple way to help your cat feel confident and secure is Play Therapy, explained in detail in our special report, "What's Play Got To Do With It?" Find this and other in-depth publications on many other feline health and behavior topics in our Bookstore! Other titles include Feline Diabetes, Allergies to Cats, What Cats Should Eat, Fat Cats, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Interpreting Lab Values, Introducing Your Cat to Your New Baby, and Moving: Making a Smooth Transition with Your Cat.

3. Flower Essence Series: Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

This is an ongoing series of articles on the Bach flower essences. We will be looking at each essence in turn, and its special indications in cats. This month, the featured essence is Pine.

The Scotch Pine tree used by Dr. Bach is native to Europe, but is just one of hundreds of species found around the world. Pictured above are the cones of the Scotch pine, and lodgepole pines in the northern Rocky Mountains. While we usually think of pines as belonging in the mountains or northern latitudes, they are very adaptable, and there are species surviving in almost any habitat.

The keynote of Pine is "self-forgiveness." Dr. Edward Bach put Pine in the group of flowers for "despondency and despair". He said that Pine individuals are "those who blame themselves. Even when successful they think they could have done better…they are hard-working and suffer much from the faults they attach to themselves." Pine is essential for emotional healing in cats who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or relinquished. Like children, cats are totally self-centered and are unable to look at things from another point of view. In the case of Pine, the cat assumes that anything that happens "must" be his fault. If the cat ends up in an unpleasant situation, he feels guilty for having caused it, even when he is totally innocent. This can cause serious depression and other emotional problems that can be remedied by Pine.

The Pine cat is often the one who goes into the litterbox after another cat to "clean up", if the previous cat's "business" was not properly covered. This cat may spend an excessive amount of time scratching in the litterbox or grooming because of its feelings of "unclean-ness." This is similar to Crab Apple, but the Pine cat hangs onto his guilty feelings and is never satisfied, while Crab Apple tries to get rid of them.

The Pine cat may "look guilty" whenever his guardian yells or argues. However, because Pine cats assume the blame even when it is not their fault, never assume that the guilt is warranted.

Pine is found in the SpiritEssence formulas Emotional Release, Foster Care Remedy, Rescued Dog: Abuse and Appropriate Elimination. Related remedies include Rocky Mountain Essences "Lodgepole Pine" (helps release the past and move forward without regret--found in Adjustment, Creak-Away, Emotional Release, Feral Cat Rehabilitation, Graceful Aging, and Well Horse) and "Twisted Pine" (helps to acknowledge and release your past so you can get on with your life, found in Immune Support and Rescued Dog: Abuse).

Please visit our web site www.littlebigcat.com regularly to find out what's new, read our monthly Newsletter and see the new material that is constantly added to our Free Article Library and our Bookstore! Past issues of the CatsWalk Newsletter can be found in the Newsletter Archive.

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March '05 Issue

CatsWalk newsletter is included below.
CatsWalk by Dr. Jean Hofve & Jackson Galaxy Library of Congress ISSN #1550-0764 Volume 3, No. 03 March 2005

In this issue of CatsWalk, we feature:

1. Grounding Techniques for Our Animal Companions

2. From the Galaxy Files: "Sometimes It's Not What You Know..."

3. Flower Essence Series: Olive

1. Grounding Techniques for Our Animal Companions

We all know how important it is for us to stay grounded in order to remain mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy.

Because our pets tend to mirror us, their guardians, anything that we do to keep ourselves more focused and grounded also helps them in the same way.

Animals are natural healers. In their relationship with humans, pets can get into difficulty when they try to help us heal. Our domestic dogs, cats, and horses have made a sacred agreement with the human race to walk with us, teach us, and help us return to our Source. In honoring this agreement, many animals, especially cats, will take on our energetic imbalances and sometimes even our physical dis-eases in their own bodies, as a way to relieve us of these problems. To help prevent them from taking on too much, say to them often, "The best way to for you to help me be happy and healthy is for you to stay happy and healthy!" They will respond to this assurance and limit how much they take on.

However, our animal companions may need a little extra assistance to stay grounded. There are several easy methods to accomplish this.

EFT. The Meridian Therapy, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a great way to center and ground animals. (For details on how to do EFT, please see this article.) Just working with the meridians to balance the animal's energy can improve its sense of groundedness. Balanced energy is, almost by definition, grounded energy.

Some of the set-up phrases that you might use if you feel that your animal companion has lost its groundedness or its sense of safety might be:

"Even though Fluffy seems to feel disconnected…" "Even though Max is acting as though he feels uprooted…" "Even though Sadie is having a difficult time with this transition…"

When you work with EFT in 15- or 20-minute sessions, you'll discover that after the first few rounds (in which you might be feeling a little awkward and have trouble coming up with new set-ups), your intuition will start to suggest phrases or ideas that you'll want to incorporate in your next few rounds. And of course, don't forget the value of EFT in keeping yourself grounded, which helps your pets because their energetic patterns are linked to yours.

Visualization. Helping your animal remain grounded can be as simple as working with visualization. Create an image of your pet, or just watch your resting pet, and visualize light descending from above into the head, moving as a column through the body, and spreading downward, like roots, deep into the earth from the feet. The light can be golden, green, or white. Finish by surrounding your animal by a bubble of protecting white light (or whatever color light symbolizes it best for you).

Many cats (and dogs) also enjoy meditating with their guardians; so include a grounding visualization if your pet joins you in your quiet time.

Hands-On Treatments. Reiki and other hands-on treatments, such as TTouch, and massage, can be very helpful not only for healing but also for dealing with emotional and mental issues; they can easily be adapted to aid in grounding for your pets. Dr. Michael Fox's revised and updated books on dog and cat massage are easy to read and follow.

Even more effective than massage alone is to work the body and its energy fields in conjunction with visualization; feel as well as see those roots growing from the paws into the ground.

Exercise and Play. Working the physical body is, of course, the most effective method of grounding. Dogs need regular exercise such as walking, agility work, or just fetching a ball. Cats are a little tougher to exercise since most don't much care for the Stairmaster, but daily play sessions are wonderful for a cat's physical, mental, and emotional health. "Play therapy," a specific method of play, engages the cat's hunter instincts, and satisfies them in a very deep way. See this article for an introduction to the most effective play therapy techniques. And check last month's issue of CatsWalk to learn about the latest craze, cat agility!

2. From the Galaxy Files: Sometimes It's Not What You Know...

There are many reasons I love my job as a cat behavior consultant. There is the satisfaction of solving problems that could potentially lead to tearing a once close bond apart. I come from the shelter world, and it is my overall objective to prevent cats from being relinquished for behavior problems that could be solved with a little education. I also love teaching cat guardians more about their companions. Any information about cats in general that one didn't know prior to our consultation can only help to strengthen the bond.

With each new challenging case, I'm strengthening my technique, which in many ways is still in its infancy, even though I've done hundreds of consultations. I believe strongly in what the science of behavior has given us; there are dozens of books and myriad studies published about why cats do what they do. But there are always a few things that need to be trusted to something outside of "book-learning". What is the system, the values this cat is being exposed to now, and how did he or she grow up? This is the intuition that is hardest to describe to most clients—I need to establish a one-on-one relationship with each four-legged client I meet. I don't claim to be an animal communicator. But from lessons learned from so many cats, I can tell you the first—they don't give up their secrets easily, especially if not shown respect, if they're not "asked". It's simply not polite to poke around their litterboxes, their favorite snoozing spots, and their sprayin! g spots without so much as a "how do you do?"

And all of this is a lengthy introduction to my recent consultation with Melissa and her friend Kahuna (the names have been changed to protect the innocent…and the crafty). I was brought in for what Melissa termed "out-of-control peeing." After ruling out medical problems by a veterinary exam, we met on a cold winter night, which fazed Kahuna not at all. Being a long-haired cat, he strode into the house and shook his tuxedo coat as if he were in the tropics. Melissa also introduced me to her house full of roommates, four in all.

From the outset, one thing that struck me was that the roommates, in describing Kahuna's misdeeds, all seemed much less concerned than Melissa. This was particularly odd since it was their belongings that were being hit. Melissa kept interjecting her embarrassment and hoping she wouldn't have to "get rid of Kahuna."

A few other details of the situation: Kahuna shared his space with another cat, Twinkle, whom he regarded with suspicion or outright disdain most of the time. Kahuna preferred to eliminate outdoors, where he spent a considerable amount of his time, instead of the litterbox. I was also warned by the roomies that he was pretty "bitey," and to watch myself. He never marked anything in Melissa's room, unless it had the scent of someone else. The roommates had already learned to pick up any dirty clothes lest they be "Kahuna-fied."

Upon sitting with Kahuna, and "asking his permission" to involve myself in his workings, I felt that he was not willing to let me in. Sure he curled up on Melissa's bed next to where we were sitting and watched us talk, but he was beyond wary. I had to constantly remind myself that hands were a no-no, at least not yet. He really had a trust issue, and a protection issue over Melissa, and what he considered her to be—the most important part of his domain.

It was only then that Melissa started filling me in about his past. Until he was about 9 months old, Kahuna had been a "road cat." He had been traveling with a band in their van. He never had a home at all besides that van. They would camp at night, and let him out to "go" in the dirt. When they stayed as guests in towns where they played, they would make a crude, temporary litterbox with some dirt in it for him. When they got to Melissa's, she got them to admit that this was no way for a cat to live, and they left Kahuna with her. She and the cat immediately bonded, and all was well until last summer, when Kahuna was about 2 years old.

One problem I could easily identify was that although Melissa's roommates were exceedingly kind to Kahuna, they were somewhat transient. There always seemed to be someone new coming or going in his world. It was also a very social home, with many friends dropping in, and the volume level rising accordingly. Also, I was fortunate enough to see an interaction between Kahuna and Twinkle. Kahuna started stalking and then chasing Twinkle. Twinkle, who had been described to me as quite the victim, stood up to Kahuna as she was cornered, and hissed. Not only did he back off, he ran off under a bed. These two cats had only been living together for a few months, and as I explained to Melissa, it takes an average of six months for cats to settle into a relationship.

As Kahuna began to open a bit to me, I was also able to relate better to Melissa. She began to see the cause and effect between Kahuna's worsening behavior and their eroding bond. Every time she speaks, or in my view, even thinks about "getting rid" of him, his territorial security plummets, and the likelihood of him marking to ease that stress goes up. After all, we're talking about a cat that, through his most socially formative months, had no real concept of what territory could feel like. For the only bond he's truly known to be threatened regularly makes matters even worse. Melissa thought I was nuts, but I said that the first order of business was restoring trust in their bond, and there was no better way to do that than through play therapy (see this article). Just make sure to do it as described every day, and the results would amaze! Also, Kahuna had to be kept away from her boisterous friends. That means that during parties, or even smaller get-! togethers, he should be kept in Melissa's room. The noise might remind him of the upheaval of his former life, which will set him off again.

It's a hard thing to tell a cat guardian to ease up, but it was crucial in this case. I had to let her know that the roommates were okay with it as long as she was trying, that the places being hit were clothes that they could wash or hardwood floors, and that it wasn't happening that often, at least not as much as many of the cases I had seen. She had to learn how to forgive Kahuna right on the spot, since, just like a young child, his universe revolved around her approval, and he had no idea why she suddenly hated him so much.

By this point, Kahuna was allowing me to gently stroke him. The touch opened up a brief channel between us, and I just had to ask Melissa if he had traumas with being brushed. She told me, quite surprised, that he had come to her one huge matted mess, and had to have them all cut out. Brushing was a whole new, if not completely fun experience for him.

I had to impress a few final thoughts on Melissa. The first being that I thought if she lightened up on him, he would begin to lighten up on the situation, and it would begin to take care of itself. If a new roommate moved in, she should keep Kahuna out of the room altogether for a few months, but otherwise I sensed his pattern coming to a close. I thought the essence remedy "Safe Space", which was formulated specifically for territorial insecurity, would be perfect for him (see SpiritEssence). Finally, she had to settle in with him. Instead of looking for the quick fix, like "he'd better stop peeing or I'll get rid of him," she needed to look at the long view: "This guy is with me for better or for worse so let's settle in together and find a way to work his stress out". One thing I told her to do was to keep asking him to release his past to her. Since he's already so bonded to her, it would certainly help to give over those primal fears of abandonment ! that he must have. Melissa had already spoken of her openness to the idea of non-verbally communicating with him. I asked her to keep asking him to surrender. "Surrender what?" she asked. "He'll know what you mean," I said. "Keep it a simple request." Of course, what I was alluding to was his paranoid sense of losing control of what little he had gained. It was almost like Kahuna had a "Napoleon complex."

Six weeks later, Kahuna's accidents have stopped completely, and most importantly his relationship with Melissa has re-flowered. All she needed was to understand him as a cat first, and as a being who had a beginning without her, second. She showed great empathy by getting him off the road in the first place, and now she faced some more advanced challenges in keeping him under her roof.

I do love my job. Thanks, Big Kahuna, for reminding me, in this evolving process, that it's not all about changing positions of litterboxes or the brand of litter. Sometimes it's not "what you know" but who you get to know.

Do you have a question or problem with your cat's behavior? Call Jackson at 720-938-6794 for a free intake 10-minute interview to determine the best way to resolve it!

3. Flower Essence Series: Olive (Olea europaea)

This is an ongoing series of articles on the Bach flower essences. We will be looking at each essence in turn, and its special indications in cats. This month, the featured essence is Olive.

The olive tree, an ancient native of Syria, has been domesticated for thousands of years. The fruit yields oil and can itself be eaten, but only after pickling in lye or brine because of its bitterness. There are hundreds of species.

The keynote of Olive is "regeneration." Dr. Edward Bach put Olive in the group of flowers for those with "not sufficient interest in present circumstances."He said that Olive individuals "have suffered much mentally or physically and are so exhausted and weary that they have no more strength to make any effort."

The exhaustion of Olive is physical and complete; whereas the exhaustion of Hornbeam is more emotional. Oak cats are tired but keep going like Energizer bunnies, but Olive is simply stopped at the end of the road.

Olive is beneficial for cats who have been through serious illness, injury or surgery and their recovery has slowed or they have ceased healing. They seem not to be able to push through this plateau. Olive may help terminally ill cats rally one more time, although one must consider the stress versus benefit to the cat of trying to stimulate healing at the end of life; the remedy formula Rainbow Bridge should also be considered at such times.

Olive restores strength and stamina when the cat is physically drained. Olive is one of the remedies in the SpiritEssence formulas Easy-Breather, Happy Tummy, Metal Horse, Safe Space, and Balance for the Rescuer (Rescued Dog Formulas).

Holiday(November-December)2005

Available online http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.php?action=nlarchive&show=volume3no09!

In this issue:

1. Announcement: HSUS Developing New Resources for Feral Cat Management

2. News Alert: Sugar Substitute Dangerous for Pets

3. News Alert: Humans Can Be Bad for a Cat's Health

4. Flower Essence Series: Scleranthus (Scleranthus annuus)

1. Announcement: HSUS Developing New Resources for Feral Cat Management The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is developing new programs designed to help communities across the country manage feral cat colonies.

The HSUS will collaborate with Neighborhood Cats, a New York City based organization dedicated to the humane management of feral cats. By working with Neighborhood Cats, The HSUS is developing more resources to help feral cat caretakers around the country. The HSUS's new resources will include: • A new statement supporting Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) programs • An online course through Humane Society University for feral cat caretakers • An online course through Humane Society University for animal shelters and adoption groups • A day-long workshop on feral cats at The HSUS's annual Animal Care Expo in Anaheim, Calif. in March 2006 • Increased support materials for handling obstacles to feral cat management The HSUS launched its Safe Cat campaign in 2003 to provide people with real solutions for keeping their pet cats safe and happy by providing a stimulating indoor environment and supervised outdoor access with the use of a harness or a special cat enclosure. However, feral cats who cannot be socialized may not thrive as indoor pets. They may be one or more generations removed from a home environment – victims of abandonment, lack of supervision, or accidental loss through no fault of their own – and may live in a group, or colony, of similar cats. The goal of any feral cat management program should be to stabilize and eventually eliminate the existing colony through attrition. "Every community has different resources and each must consider many factors when deciding how to help feral cats," said Nancy Peterson, companion animals issues specialist with The HSUS. "Animal shelters and welfare organizations can play a role in programs to manage feral cats, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the entire community to work together to care for and reduce the numbers of feral cats." The HSUS's renewed commitment through additional resources on TNR should encourage all members of the community – local citizens, veterinarians, animal shelters, policy makers, public health departments, and businesses – to work together towards a goal of non-lethal approaches to feral cat management. The group will soon be launching a feral cat resource center through its website at www.hsus.org/cats to help communities make TNR with ongoing management a reality.

The holidays are coming! At this time of year, there are many additional stresses for all of us, including our pets! Our newest SpiritEssence, "Holiday Stress Stopper," was designed to help both people and animals cope with the pressures of this joyous but hectic season. Check it out today!

2. News Alert: Sugar Substitute Dangerous for Pets

Xylitol, a sugar alcohol commonly used as a sugar substitute, can pose a grave danger for pets. There have been reports of serious adverse effects, including seizures. Xylitol is very sweet, and dogs in particular may find it very tasty. Consumption causes a rapid drop in blood sugar levels similar to an overdose of insulin. If untreated, brain damage or even death may result from the lack of blood sugar, which the brain relies on as fuel for its functions.

According to Dr. Eric K. Dunayer, a consulting veterinarian in clinical toxicology for the poison control center, "Signs can develop quite rapidly, at times less than 30 minutes after ingestion of the product. Therefore, it is important that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately."

With the holidays coming up, and many humans trying not to gain weight with all the feasting and merriment, be sure you check labels on any sugar-free or low-carb items in the home, and be especially careful to keep items containing Xylitol away from pets!

If you're planning to travel with your pets during the holidays, get helpful tips in our newest Library article on Traveling with Cats!

3. Humans Can Be Bad for a Cat's Health

October 20, 2005, Press Association, London: For years, household pets have been blamed for triggering allergies and asthma, but new research accuses owners of causing the same troubles in their animals.

Vets say cigarette smoke, human dandruff and dusty houses can all contribute to breathing problems in the family cat. About one in 200 felines suffers from asthma, compared with one in 12 adults.

As in the human form, it can be worsened by trigger particles such as dust that inflame the airways and make breathing difficult. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

A team of feline clinicians at Edinburgh University's Hospital for Small Animals are looking at the condition in cats.

"We find that bringing asthmatic cats into the hospital here and removing them from the standard triggers like dust and smoke can improve their condition," said Nicki Reed, of the Royal School of Veterinary Studies.

Pedigree and oriental breeds, like Siamese cats, are more prone to the disease, the vets say.

Do you have an asthmatic cat, dog or person in your household? Besides physical conditions, stress is another known contributor to asthma. SpiritEssence's "Easy Breather" remedy helps reduce stress and thus eliminate one major component of asthma. EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) can also prevent and even abort asthma attacks in all species.

4. Flower Essence Series: Scleranthus (Scleranthus annuus)

This is an ongoing series of articles on the Bach flower essences. We will be looking at each essence in turn, and its special indications in cats. This month, the featured essence is Scleranthus.

Scleranthus, also called "knotgrass", is a small, unobtrusive plant that grows in sunny, sandy locations.

The keynote of Scleranthus is "balance." Dr. Edward Bach put Scleranthus in the group of flowers for "for those who suffer uncertainty". He said that Scleranthus individuals are "those who suffer much from being unable to decide between two things, first one seeming right then the other. They are usually quiet people and bear their difficulty alone."

While it's hard to tell if a cat is having trouble making up its mind, Scleranthus does have some very important applications in animals.

Scleranthus is a wonderful remedy for all types of balance problems, including arthritic stiffness, dizziness, vestibular disease, and vertigo. It is also great for animals who get carsick. It can also be used for animals with epilepsy or other seizure disorders by helping them regain their equilibrium after a seizure episode.

Scleranthus is extremely useful in helping animals keep their emotional balance. Therefore it's especially appropriate to use any time there is a major change or event, such as moving or traveling.

Scleranthus is found in SpiritEssence formulas Adjustment, Ultimate Adjustment, Creak-Away, Declaw Remedy, Easy Traveler, Metal Horse, Water Horse, Graceful Aging, Obsession, Stress Stopper, and Well Horse.

Important Announcement: Due to rising costs, SpiritEssence must raise prices as of January 1, 2005. This will be the first and only increase in our more than 10 years in business. So be sure to stock up at 2005 prices!

Last edited by tiffany.   Page last modified on December 07, 2005

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