Those of you who are clients know I always discuss diet with you no matter the emotional or physical ailment. New clients are usually calling about severe and/or conditions that have been ongoing for years. In these situations, I advise not only on quality foods but also specific proteins/vegetables per their animal’s condition. That is how important I see food. Here is another example how “healing” foods can be.
Several months ago I adopted a four-month old cat from a rescue group. My two adult cats were not happy; I was fortunate that the worst behavior was hissing and batting at the new one versus brawls and spraying. I decided to name the kitten Gracie, recognizing the grace she extended to my two adult cats. She continues to “work” with them, and though these two adult cats are a tough crowd to win over, Gracie continues to try.
As the cats are having their challenges, I’m having mine. My eyes are swollen, I’m sneezing, my ears and throat tickle, and my hands would itch like I had petted poison ivy instead of a cat. Having had cats in my home for 20 years with no problems, it actually took me time to recognize that I’m having an allergic reaction to Gracie. It was so severe that the whites of my eyes were bubbly and blistery. It was painful plus all the sneezing and itching. After a week I decided I would have to return her as I could not imagine continuing to live like this.
As I held Gracie to guide her into the carrier, I was stunned how much she fought. She was determined not to get into the kennel. Here is this little cat, and I barely had the strength to get her into that carrier. My mind flashed back to the only other time I had used the carrier for her to bring her home. At that time it warmed my heart how she just walked right into that carrier. Now, a week later, a totally different scenario.
After crying for two days about letting Gracie go, I called the rescue group to see how Gracie was doing. They informed me that she was at a local pet store up for adoption and assured me that she was just fine, had readily gone into their carriers and the kennel at the pet store, that she is just that easy going and flexible to change. Instead of this making me feel better, as much as I wanted to believe that, I realized that it was less about Gracie being easy going and more about her having given up. She had been moved several times, and I suspected she realized there was no use in continuing to fight the kennels and carriers.
I told the woman from the rescue group that I wanted to try again as I believed that once she was on a better diet for a longer period that the situation would improve. Gracie had only been here a week which was not long enough for the better diet to kick in so to speak, and in the meantime I would need to be wiping her down with a washcloth to help me from being in too much contact of her saliva. I was upset that I had not thought about that earlier. Thankfully trainer Katie K-9 brought that to my attention.
I can’t blame the rescue worker in questioning me as she reminded me how bad my allergies had been. She even commented that she could hear over the phone that I was sounding better without the cat in my presence for a couple of days. To her credit she agreed to let me try again. It was late in the evening; the store would soon be closing so I had to rush as I could not bare Gracie spending another night there.
I saw Gracie in her kennel; I made hand movements to get her attention. I didn’t necessarily expect her to really remember me, but I did expect her to react to the movement of my hand. She looked right through me, like she was totally checked out. AND when I picked her up, she felt limp—lifeless, and I knew there was a part of her that had given up as I suspected.
She did not walk in the carrier nor did she fight it. She was just limp as if to say, “whatever”. As we drove home, I could feel the allergy symptoms surfacing. I was shocked how quickly they started showing up in my body. For a few seconds, I thought, I better turn around and return her cause if it’s this bad already…. But by then I knew the store would be closed so we continued on home.
At home as I open the door of the carrier, she bolted. I knew she was scared, running for cover, to hide. But half-way down the short hallway, she stopped. She looked around; she looked at me, and then hopped on the couch and smelled it. She hopped to a chair and smelled it, hopped to another chair and smelled. She then sat still like her brain was trying to compute. I went to her, sat down to touch her; she basically dropped to her side and sighed. It appeared at that moment it clicked with her that she was “back”. Soon she was playing with all her toys and running around as she had done previously. All the while my adult cats have this disgusted look on their face, their eyes squinting, looking at me with a message of, “What! she’s back?!?!?”
For the first week I would wipe Gracie’s fur with a warm, moist cloth several times a day to remove as much saliva from her fur as possible. As time went on I did it less, and all the while my symptoms were becoming less. Currently I no longer wipe her nor do I have any allergy symptoms. I believe the good diet finally mellowed out her saliva so to speak. Because she is healthier, I am healthier. A win-win!