These are the basics of my thoughts on health and disease in cats.
Years ago I encountered the notion that cats sicken to death in short order. Now I disbelieve it. The signs of illness are visible for weeks, even months, before death becomes possible/likely. But people don't notice the signs until the cat is too far gone.
You can check out the cat's health each time you see it. It takes only seconds to notice goopy eyes and nose, labored breathing, rough, dry or oily coat, and general droopiness. The sooner you notice signs of illness, the sooner you can treat them. The sooner the treatment, the less likely the illness will become severe and the less likely that strong, possibly dangerous remedies will be required.
Nutrition is the basis for health! It is not a coincidence that the deterioration of the health of cats and people has happened at the same time that their diet has lost nutrition and gained synthetic substances and poisons. It is the poor quality of diet that has caused our health to fail.
Sixty years ago a dentist from Ohio set out to find the real causes of tooth decay and mouth deformities. He found them and more on a journey that took him around the world while he studied the health of many different indigenous and primitive peoples. His findings are relevant to the health of our cats today.
Weston A. Price, DDS, made history with the publication of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration in 1939. He found the cause of tooth decay, deformities, physical degeneration, reduced vitality and fertility as well as disorders of personality, character, and sociability to be deficient nutrition. He proved his theories by successfully treating his dental patients with diet alone.
I strongly recommend you read his book, available in paperback from the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (PPNF), 800-366-3748.
Of particular importance to cat breeders is his theory of intercepted heredity. He believed that weakened, disease-prone offspring are the result of defective germ cells coming equally from each parent. The defective germ cells are a result of deficient nutrition in the parents. Thus each poorly-fed generation begets a weaker generation.
This exact situation— of successive generations weakened by deficient nutrition—was proved to be true for cats by Dr. Francis Marion Pottenger, Jr. He conducted The Pottenger Cat Study between 1932 and 1942. One of his findings was the value of raw meat, raw milk, and cod liver oil as cat food. Another, more chilling, finding was the inability of cats, after three generations fed nutritionally deficient foods, to live long enough to reproduce.
Pottenger's Cats is also available from PPNF.
Your cats deserve the finest veterinarian care available. If you already have cats, or have had them in the past, you may already know a veterinarian you feel comfortable with. Do not assume this person will treat a purebred cat as well as a moggy! Or that they understand the value of good nutrition.
In our area (Marin County, CA) most of the local vets have been brainwashed by the SPCA to believe that purebred cats are undesirable, compete unfairly with the SPCA's cat shelter, and are not worthy of first class care.
So finding a vet is an important task when you are about to acquire a Maine Coon cat. You need a vet who will give your cat the very best care available.
A holistic vet is the best choice, all other things being equal. They can be few and far between, especially in areas remote from large cities and veterinarian teaching colleges. Use the Resources page to contact organizations who have holistic vets as members.
I am a great fan of herbal remedies, flower essences, and colloidal silver. I rely on colloidal silver to treat upper respiratory infections; put a drop in each eye and nostril 2 times a day for maybe 3 days.
Powdered herbs are easily administered. Prepare a water-based herbal solution: Empty 2 capsules of powdered herbal blend into a clean 1 oz. bottle. Fill 3/4 with pure water. Shake well. Administer 1/2 dropperful 2–3 times a day for at least 2–3 weeks. Stop only a week or so after symptoms have stopped.
I rely on slippery elm and echinacea for common ailments.
There are several books listed on the Resources page that are excellent references.
Flower remedies, also known as flower essences, are truly effective remedies. They heal at the emotional, physical, and spiritual levels. I recommend two books to introduce the flower remedies and their uses for healing cats, including cats with IBS.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the name of the condition in people. Strictly speaking, in cats it is called Inflammatory Bowel Disorder (IBD).
IBS is defined by symptoms: diarrhea, perhaps alternating with constipation, steady weight loss inspite of a large appetite, and maybe some vomiting.
After all the explanations about food allergies, incomplete digestion, and overactive immune system, the underlying cause 99% of the time is NERVES.
Treatment should address:
There are two different approaches to treating IBS: pragmatic and holistic. If you choose the pragmatic approach, you can follow it with the holistic approach.
The pragmatic approach has worked for many cats, even mine.
The holistic approach targets the underlying causes and can effect true solutions. It can also take time, so it may not be the first choice for an animal that is seriously ill and deteriorated.
Herbs have been helping people and animals since the beginning. They are easy to administer.
Choose a blend of herbs known to be effective on nerves and bowel tissues. I recommend either of two formulas by Nature's Sunshine:
These are available from Herbal Quizene, 888-664-7430.
A helpful single herb is slippery elm. While it is not enough by itself in a holistic program, it can be used to supplement a pragmatic program (the Hill's C-D).
Flower remedies, also known as flower essences, can be very helpful for healing cats, including cats with IBS. See the left column for details.
The three-page essay "IBS—Cure and Treatment" goes into more detail as well as discusses IBS from the human perspective. You may find it helpful.
I'm opposed to vaccinations. The following list summarizes my thoughts.
A titer test is a procedure that measures the anti-body levels in your pet's blood. It is an option, albeit expensive, for those who may want an alternative to routine vaccination.
Before you let a vet routinely vaccinate your cat, educate yourself! There are several books and websites that discuss vaccinations and their problems.
Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital in Vancouver, BC is one such resource. Dr. Charles Loops' vaccination rant is also interesting. Do an internet search for more.
Keep in mind that vets pressure their clients to vaccinate their pets as a source of income. Don't be intimidated.
Note: Links are provided to other websites as a convenience. They do not imply endorsement. We are not responsible for the contents of other websites.