Monday, July 16, 2012

Homeopathy, the medicine my Cat taught me.

My cat Bailey was sent home to teach me about Homeopathy and with that came the lessons of patience, persistance and never ending love.  It was October 2006 and a crisp, fall day.  I had several pies in the works, apple and pumpkin and right in the middle of my pie baking session I decided I was going to bring the a new cat home.  I had hemmed and hawed about this decision over the last few weeks after seeing the cat at PetSmart. 

I already had two cats who were about 5 years apart in age and I really felt that the younger one, Ben needed a playmate.  So, with pies ready to be cooked  on the counter, I called up my girlfriend and said "hey, want to go get a kitten with me?"  She thought I was now going to be officially labeled a "Cat Lady" with three cats, but off we went to the pet store.

He was such a little go-getter, running around and playful.  I thought he would be perfect for my little boy Benjamin.  Excitedly, I told the women that I would take the cat and it was then that she told me, he came with a sister.  Ok, I came for one cat, not two!  But what could I do?  I wouldn't dare split them apart, they were family!  Tenth Chance Shelter was working with PetSmart to adopt the stray kittens they had found.  I couldn't say no to animals who had no home, so off we went, Kit and Kat with their adoption papers were now offically a part of my family and I would most definitely be called the crazy cat lady with four cats.

They were so adorable, little balls of black fur, they looked like they were related to Ben who also was all black.  That certainly wasn't intentional on my part to have three black cats but here we were.

Not minutes into the drive home, sneezes were being heard from the back seat of the car. Ok, maybe they had an itch or something.  We stopped for some cat food and other supplies and I decided to check in on the cats just to make sure they were ok.  Well, the one who was sneezing had discharge coming from his eyes and didn't look all that good.  Today, I can tell you it was Bailey.  I don't remember now who was Kit and who was Kat.  Thank god I changed their names to Bailey and Bella.

I got the cats home and made them comfortable in their own room.  Bailey looked like he didn't feel well and continued to sneeze. It was a saturday night, so no vets were open except the emergency clinic.  As I finished up the top crusts of the pies and slid them into the oven, the house began to smell like apples and pumpkin, the smells of autumn.

I checked in with the kittens every half hour, Bailey slept and raised his head every time I would come in the room but he still wasn't the rambunctuous cat that I had seen days before. I decided to call the emergency clinic at 10pm, as I was getting worried about him.  I knew that cats could die from respiratory illnesses if you didn't address them right away.  The clinic told me to watch him and if I felt he was getting worse, to bring him in.  They thought he would be alright until Monday. I wasn't so sure about that.

The night progressed with all the deliciousness of the pie smells and a contented household full of four furry friends settling in for the night.  I must of slept for all of an hour and just couldn't help myself.  I put on my robe and checked on Bailey at midnight.  His eye discharge was now getting worse and he wouldn't even lift his head off the bed.  Time to go to the ER!   I quickly scooped him up, put him in a crate and we were off to the clinic, on our very first night together. This little guy was not going to die on my watch.

The Emergency Room was packed at 12:30 and I could hear each tick of the clock in the waiting room as I anxiously awaited our turn. I put my hand in the front of the crate to touch Bailey so that I could reassure him that all would be ok. He laid there and looked at me with trusting eyes.  I could not let this little one down.

Finally, it was our turn and sure enough Bailey was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and was given antibiotics with orders to follow up with the vet on Monday. The vet confirmed calicivirus on Monday and we were sent home with yet another set of antibiotics.  I had a schedule taped to my refridgerator of what to give on what days and when. This cat was really sick and I had only had him for a few days.  The shelter told me they would take him back, but after I researched calicivirus and found out that its typically seen in cats who have lived in shelters, there was no way he was going back.    Bailey was mine to nurse back to health and love with all my heart. 

And that I have done and continue to do so every precious day we are together.

After a year or so of antibiotic and steroid therapy, I knew it was time to change course. All that I had learned about human healthcare had taught me enough to know that a constant diet of steroids suppresses the immune system and the patient/animal could surely die of  some other ailment.

The allergist that the conventional vet referred us to wanted to put Bailey under to test for about 5 different things, all with a drug therapy or chemotherapy outcome.  I told her that I would prefer that my cat not be put under anesthesia and then drugs and I knew intuitively that he did not have cancer! So, chemotherapy wasn't going to enter the picture and I wouldn't put him through that even if he did.
I told her that I thought there was another alternative approach and she looked at me like I had ten heads.  Well, I knew that there were a vast array of holisitc treatments and approaches to treat humans why wouldn't there be for animals as well.  She stated that she didn't know of any and I politely told her that Bailey and I would be going home and doing our own research to help heal him.

This started our journey together down the holistic healing pathway. And what an adventure it has been!  I found a vet in East Aurora, a small town outside of Buffalo, who practiced acupuncture, herbal and homeopathic medicine for cats and dogs.   Her name is Dr. Alisa Koenig .

This concludes the first part of our story. Won't you join us for part two?
                        Bailey and Mommy (aka Kimberley)

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