Both cats and people do better when they stay calm and healthy. But changes to a predictable routine can put Kitty’s tail in a twist, and cause stress and anxiety that can even make her sick.
One of the best ways to soothe pet nerves is with flower essences. Several products are available, and are a “vibrational therapy” made from the essential oils of wild plants, trees, and bushes. One of the best known, Bach Flower Remedies, consists of 38 individual essences made by infusing spring water with wild flowers either by steeping in the sun or by boiling. Bach Flower remedies are designed to re-balance the body's emotional energy fields to normal.
What Are Bach Flower Remedies?
Bach Flower Remedies were created by British physician Dr. Edward Bach in the early 1900s. He believed disease to be a physical sign and end product of unhappiness, fear and worry, and identified twelve “pathological emotional states” in people that the essences are designed to treat:
- Mental torture or worry
- Indifference or boredom
- Doubt or discouragement
- Pride or aloofness
Cats Aren't People!
While I'm sure cats feel and express emotions such as love, we can't know with certainty they feel such things as "self-distrust" or "pride." But holistic veterinarians have used the remedies with success, by attempting to identify the emotional state.
The great thing about Bach Flowers is they can be used safely by anyone. Even if you use the wrong remedy, although it may not help it won’t cause problems. The essences are easy to use. They don’t work in all cases, but when they do, they tend to work very quickly. You can combine them, but will get the best results by limiting to no more than three at a time.
Treating Cat Emotions
Each individual flower essence treats a specific type of anxiety. The essence Mimulus, for example, is good for soothing fears while Rock Rose deals with terror. Vervain calms nervous energy and Vine helps stop aggression. They won't cure behavior problems by themselves, but can help when used alongside other techniques.
Occasionally more than one flower essences is combined into one remedy. The premixed Rescue Remedy, for example, contains the essences of Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose, and Clematis. Rescue Remedy is considered an “emergency remedy” good for any kind of sudden stress or shock.
You can find Bach Flower Remedies at most human health food stores. A number of veterinarians and pet product stores also carry them, and they’re available over the Internet. They come in individual glass bottles, and need to remain in glass and kept away from direct sun, microwaves or heat.
How To Use Bach Flower Remedies
While you can take the remedies undiluted, it’s best to prepare a treatment bottle from the full-strength “stock bottle” you purchase. Here’s how:
- Obtain a glass 30 ml (1 oz) dropper bottle and fill with spring water (not tap water).
- Add two drops of your chosen Remedy to the new bottle of spring water. It’s best to limit this to three Remedies in the same bottle. Shake well, at least ten times (practioners call this “succussing”).
- (Optional) Add one teaspoon of EITHER brandy, apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerin to the treatment bottle as a preservative. Be aware that this changes the flavor so choose wisely based on how you plan to administer the remedy to your pet. I suspect that most pets do best with no preservative or the vegetable glycerin.
- Store the stock bottle and treatment bottle in a dark, cool place. The stock bottle should last for a very long time in this way.
To treat your cat, use the treatment bottle and shake it each time before putting three drops in the water bowl for Kitty to sip all day. It won’t hurt if the other pets also drink. Alternatively, you can mix the drops into a teaspoonful of plain yogurt for the cat to take as a treat.
Since it’s a vibrational energy medicine, practitioners say that simply dripping the two drops on the cat’s forehead or a paw also works. But when giving the drops directly don’t let the dropper touch the skin, fur or mouth or you’ll contaminate the bottle.
Holistic veterinarians usually advise giving three drops, one to four times a day as needed, until your pet acts like she feels better. More is NOT better—Bach Flower Remedies work best over a longer period of time.