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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Of Friendship and sharing - and alternative medicine

Dear George,
I have to thank you for helping me making so many friends through your blog! This means a lot to me since I’m not as outgoing as my sister. But, I can say now… that I have my own little “gang” here…sharing tricks and tips on how to train our humans to…perfection (in serving us, of course) ☺
There are two things I’d like to share with all the cats on your blog.
The first one is an article I’ve just read in the last issue of Namaste Magazine ( regarding the problems with “vaccines”. Its title is “We must be blind” and it was written by Catherine O’Driscoll based on her own experience and research. The second one is about a book entitled “Your Healthy Cat” by H. G. Wolff, D.V.M (subtitled “Homeopathic Medicines for Common Feline Ailments”). We heard our humans talking a lot about the book. We found out that Dr. Wolff is a homeopath/veterinarian from Germany and this is the very first translation of one of his books. ISBN 1-55643-113-9
I’m still curious how we, cats, will take “homeopathic medicine” (even if this alone is a whole chapter in the book). Also, the doctor is talking about weight gain and (Herbie….you won’t like this one) he says that “any cat that weights over 11 lb or 5 kg is overweight. Of course…..he suggests “different” approaches ☹
So, dear George, I wonder what is your take on these two topics? Did you ever take an homeopathic remedy? Or do you know of any cat using homeopathy?
It would be nice to hear from other cats too.
Hugs Cayenne

Dear Cayenne,
I welcome the chance to discuss this. I am totally sceptical about alternative medicine and I'm definitely not in favour of the anti-vaccination movement. Unvaccinated dogs, cats and humans are at risk of serious illnesses. There is no evidence whatsoever that homeopathic nosodes work - and so they create a false sense of security.
Yes, if your cat or dog lives in a country area and doesn't meet other dogs, it can probably get away without being vaccinated and, yes, vets probably vaccinate more than is necessary. Indoor cats in the UK, for instance, only need very basic vaccinations just to ensure they can be put in a cattery. (I know of only one cattery locally that will take a non-vaccinated cat and it is filthy and ill managed and I wouldn't let Celia put me in it even for 24 hours.)
I have been vaccinated against cat 'flu and in my early years against feline leukaemia, because I am a free ranging cat. I get about a bit and Celia wants to protect me. There is no evidence that, if a cat is healthy, vaccinations are dangerous. There's a good discussion about what vaccinations are necessary, to be found on either or the American Association of Feline Practitioners guidelines on In the UK, where there was a big fuss against human vaccination (due to a scientific article which has now been proved to be false), measles and other serious childhood illnesses are now coming back. Children are now at risk of serious illness or death due to bad science.
So, you can see where I stand in this debate, Cayenne. I was a rescue kitten and during my time in Cats Protection, the adults cats in nearby cat chalets, who had been picked up as strays, told me about the miseries of unprotected street life. They were at risk of FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), FLV (feline leukaemia virus), cat 'flu which kills kittens and leaves adults permanently impaired in health, feline enteritis anc chlamydia. Stray cats die of these illnesses if they don't starve first.
Nor do I believe in homeopathy. I don't know of a single properly designed trial that suggests that it works.n Not one. Homeopathic medicines, however, don't do harm because they are so "weak". That's something. And, I will admit that homeopathic vets have one great virtue - not their medicines but the way they treat their feline patients as a whole. They don't just jab in antibiotics. They look at a cat's whole lifestyle. I wish traditional vets would do that too.
While I am on about it, I don't believe in unqualified humans treating cats (or themselves) from a book. Don't let your human do it, Cayenne. If you are ill, you need a properly qualified vet. If she believes in homeopathy, pick a qualified vet who does homeopathy. Luckily I know she is a great cat owner so you needn't worry. There may be useful information in the book but it will be no substitute for proper vet care. When Celia was a pet agony aunt she was horrifed by the number of people who treated cats with remedies that were usually useless and sometimes highly dangerous (herbs for cats with impaired digestive systems, for instance).
So, Cayenne, protect your health. Make sure your human takes the good things from the book but gets proper veterinary treatment when it matters. We are worth it.
PS. I believe the illnesses that plague dogs are more likely the result of inbreeding within a small gene pool (the breed) than from vaccination. Luckily you and me, Cayenne, are proper healthy moggies.


  1. My human has been taking me to get the proper shots all my life. In fact, she has to have proof that I've received my rabies shot, or she could get fined and I could get confined. Then we are issued these small tags which are numbered so you can trace it to a specific dog or cat. We have no choice, it's the law.

    I'm so glad to see that I'm well under being over weight. I'm barely 10 lbs., and I get to eat at will. My sister, was really overweight, she weighed 12.5 lbs. I'm working on my summer weight, so I'm lean and fast so I can catch all those delicious baby rabbits and tasty lizzards.

  2. Dear George,
    Sometimes I wish there were some homeopathic alternative to the dreaded Rearguard we rabbits need to prevent Fly Strike. It makes me quite poorly for about two days.
    Love, Harvey

  3. Dear George,
    I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to answer you over the weekend.
    Thank you very much for being so concerned about my well being.
    Please, rest assure that I'm well taking care of. We (Fluffy and I) are healthy and happy and vaccinated kitties :-)
    We've never been sick, thanks God, but we do have good doctors if we need one. By the way, naturopathic medicine is regulated in Canada.
    But....I thought it's interesting to hear what other have to say about this topic. After all ...we need to be well informed and consider both the pros and contras to be able to educate and train our humans, don't we?

  4. Dear George,
    Please smile! The only "herbs" we eat there are "cat grass" and "catnip" :-)
    Tonight we (Cayenne and I)got each a mouse filled with catnip!
    We had much fun....even if I prefer to real thing (sorry...the mouse liberation front):-)

  5. I went few times to the vet because I got myself in trouble, but I wasn't on any medication so far!
    The only thing I'm "my treats".
    The last "technique" to get them is pretending that I don't hear "my mommy" calling me to come home at night! She start shaking the bag to tempt me and when I show up...she has to give me some :-)
    Isn't that great? Humans are SOOOOO predictable!

  6. Well here's a shout out and props for acupuncture! (considered an alternative) I had really bad oral facial pain with terrible twitches caused by a clumsy vet extracting my teeth. This arrogant vet wouldn't even acknowledge that the twitches were a problem, yet alone offer help or referral other than massively invasive general medical tests (I'm 19 so that was a no go) So my apes sought out their friend who is a vet who does acupuncture - overnight a 75% reduction in twitches ! I get a treatment at home every 4 weeks or so and it has really helped me big time.

    Not all alternatives are the money making tools of charlatans!

    What is needed is for both orthodox and alternative practitioners to get together properly in an adult fashion and put up their treatments for proper evaluation. Now if homeopathy turns out to be a way of instigating the placebo effect, then that could be very valuable. I have my own thoughts on how that works with animals, but this isn't my blog! hehe!



Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online