Over recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of homeopathy for cats and pets in general, and a growing number of veterinary practices now offer this treatment option. Homeopathy can be especially valuable for cats, because it does not rely on potentially toxic drugs and is free of harmful side-effects. This treatment will be most beneficial in the case of long-standing conditions such as skin problems that have not responded well to conventional therapies.
The homeopathic treatment for a condition can vary between individuals, as the cat’s temperament has an effect. If you prefer homeopathic treatment for yourself, why not try it for your cat?
The origins of homeopathy can be traced back to Greek times, although modern homeopathy stems from the researches of a German physician called Samuel Hahnemann in the late 1700s. He believed that giving a small dose of a substance similar to that causing an illness would trigger the body’s defences to respond and overcome the disease. In other words, ‘like cures like’. The system is not like vaccination, however, where the dose builds up immunity: rather, the dose stimulates the body to fight the disease.
The critical aspect was the dilution of the compound. Unlike conventional medicine, homeopathic remedies gain in potency as they become increasingly diluted.
Treating a sick cat with a homeopathic remedy does not differ greatly from using antibiotics, although the frequency of dosage can prove to be more variable, and it is often notrecommended to give this medication with food, which may make it difficult to ensure the cat has taken its dose.
Homeopathy can also have a preventative role. But instead of vaccines, homeopathic vets rely on nosodes. These contain all the symptoms of the sickness, rather than just the virus that spreads the symptoms, for example, and they trigger the body’s immune system to produce protective antibodies in a similar way.
There are over 2500 different homeopathic remedies and more than half of these are derived from plants. The plant’s scientific name is used in naming the homeopathic preparation made from it. So the homeopathic remedy made from deadly nightshade is called Belladonna.
Some of the more exotic ingredients used in homeopathic remedies include snake venom and the ink sac of cuttlefish, as well as rare metals such as gold and platinum.
Homeopathic remedies were tested on human volunteers known as ‘provers’. Unlike conventional drugs, they haven’t been tested on animals.
How are homeopathic remedies diluted?
The so-called ‘mother tincture’, containing the active ingredient, is the starting point, with one drop of this being added to 99 drops of alcohol.
The solution is mixed thoroughly. This creates a 1:100 solution, (one part of the mother tincture in 100 parts), written in shorthand as lc. When this is further diluted (to a 1:10,000 dilution), it is written 2c.
How should these remedies be stored?
Homeopathic remedies should be kept in sealed containers in a medical cabinet away from the light. Most will retain their potency for up to five years.
Can I make my own homeopathic remedies?
No. This is a complex process involving a series of dilutions, and mistakes could be fatal.