flower essences for cats

Flower essences have been used since ancient times to provide vibrational healing for mind, body and spirit for people. Hildegard von Bingen (12th century) and Paracelsus (15th century) both wrote about the use of flowering plants to treat health imbalances. The healing method became better know in the 1930’s when Dr. Edward Bach, a British practitioner of homeopathy and bacteriology, developed his range of 38 essences known as the Bach Flower Remedies. The most well-known of his remedies is probably Rescue Remedy®.

As interest in holistic modalities for animals increases, flower essences are being used as a gentle, yet effective tool to enhance and improve their overall well-being.

Cats seem to be particularly responsive to these essences. They can help with a wide range of feline problems, from stress to litter box aversion to territorial issues.

What are flower essences?

Flower essences are obtained by extracting the vibrational healing properties of the blossoms after leaving them in sunlight and pure water for several hours. The resulting essence is then diluted out even more, and preserved with alcohol, usually brandy. Some flower essence manufacturers use alternate preservatives such as vinegar. The preservatives do not alter the vibrational quality of the essence.*

How do flower essences work?

Emotional and mental imbalances, if left untreated, will eventually manifest as physical illness. This is no different for cats than it is for people. Flower essences are vibrational medicine. They work in the energy field, similar to homeopathic remedies. They are safe to use, and, unlike some herbal treatments, do not interfere with allopathic drug treatments.

What types of problems can flower essences help with?

Flower essences are particularly effective for behavioral problems and stressful situations, whether it’s a move, trip to the vet, or a new cat in the household. I’ve used Rescue Remedy® for may years for my cats prior to visits to the vet, or during thunderstorms. (I also use it for myself during stressful situations.) I’ve been using flower essences to help with some of the behavior challenges Allegra was dealing with when I first adopted her, and I credit the progress we’ve made in no small amount to the essences.

How are flower essences administered?

Flower essences can be given orally, mixed with food or water, rubbed on the inside of the ear, or rubbed into the fur at the top of the head or base of the tail. Since they’re energy medicine, the only thing that matters is that they get into the cat’s energy field – how that is achieved is of secondary importance.

The Bach Flower Essences are widely available in health food stores, including national chains like Whole Foods. There are many other lines of essences available. I use the Green Hope Farm essences for Allegra.

I’ve recently become interested in Spirit Essences, the only line of flower essences developed by a holistic veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve. Spirit Essences is owned by nationally known feline behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” Jackson Galaxy. During my interview with Jackson for The Conscious Cat, he graciously offered to send me a couple of his essences for Allegra. I’ll let you know how she does with them.

If you haven’t used flower essences for your cat, I’d encourage you to give them a try. If you have used them, I’d love to hear your experience with them.

*Please note that flower essences are not to be confused with aromatherapy or essential oils. Essential oils are generally not safe to use around cats. This has become a hotly debated topic in holistic circles. Even though some practitioners or suppliers of essential oils will claim that their products or techniques are completely safe for cats, the fact remains that cats have a unique physiology and process these oils differently from other species. Some oils can even be deadly to cats. I do not recommend the use of any essential oils around cats.

Photo: morguefile.com

16 Comments on Flower power for your cat: gentle healing from flower essences

  1. Hi Ingrid,

    I use essential oils for myself and they are helping greatly, but wanted to check with you on how long after applying them to myself, is it safe for the cats to be around me (not licking etc). I also use the Bach flower essences, as I was referred my animal communicator – these have been a Godsend with handling stress for our remodeling. I now just use them daily as preventative.

      • Thanks so much Ingrid. I don’t use tons of them at a time and never tea tree oils- I am very alarmed that Dr Becker would advocate the oils, as this why I thought they were okay. Can you help me with guidelines on how long to keep the kitties away after applying?

        • I don’t know enough about essential oils to answer that question, Sharyll. I think the safest course is to not use them around cats at all – so perhaps apply them, let them do what they’re supposed to do for you, and then thoroughly wash the area where you applied them before you come in contact with your kitties?

  2. Pingback: Conscious Cat Sunday: 15 minutes of fame | The Conscious Cat
  3. Amy, thanks for coming back to give us an update. I’m so happy to hear that “Scaredy Cat” is starting to make a difference for Lucky! Sounds like he’s getting quite brave!

    Please do let me know how the “Trauma-Free” works for your foster kitty.

  4. I’ve used flower essences for years for different cats, especially to calm the difficult periods of adjustment between my cats Flunder and Otis. I never got it right for Flunder – whatever I tried I always had the feeling that the essences were too powerfull for him. Otis on the other hand reacted well. So for him they have been supportive (combined with behavioral training) for his development from an abused and horrified cat, scared of people, panicking whenever he felt “caged” by a closed door to a proud an relaxed cat, who was curios to the world and welcoming and loving to every animal and person he met.
    I highly reccomend to give essences a try even if sometimes your first choice of chosen flowers might not be right. Give it a second try and watch your cat – you’ll learn from your pet, when you are on the right way.

  5. I’ve been using Rescue Remedy for my foster cat Zanzibar (who had a very bad time of it at the shelter) and my cat Lucky (who has remained anxious even after almost 4 years with me), and it has seemed to help them both. I recently ordered a bottle of “Scaredy Cat” from Spirit Essences and have been putting it in everyone’s water, since they are all a bit anxious from my attempt to integrate Zanzibar with the rest of the household. I’m not sure yet if it’s helping, but I hope it will!

      • I’ll definitely let you know! I’m also trying to figure out how to use my limited Reiki skills to get super-scaredy cat Lucky to accept Zanzibar (whom I would like to adopt, if I can do it without ruining my cat-hold). My father, who practices both Reiki and Mari-EL says that Lucky thinks Zanzi will be displacing him, which is why he acts so badly whenever Z is out. Any suggestions on how I can get through to him that he’ll always be my beloved Luckness Monster would be greatly appreciated!

        • Amy, I’ve found that sometimes, cats who don’t take Reiki from their loving humans will take it from a stranger. My theory is that, because of the emotional connection, the human tries too hard to direct the energy rather than just letting it flow, and for some reason, that might be too intense for some cats.

          • Thanks, Ingrid! I hadn’t thought about that. That’s a good lesson for a Reiki beginner.

          • I wanted to give you a little update on the “Scaredy Cat”. I haven’t noticed any changes yet with Casey or Squeaker, but Lucky – who seems anxious every moment of his life, poor baby – does seem to be making some improvements. The last time I got the vacuum out, he actually stayed where he was the whole time (I did choose not to vacuum near him) instead of fleeing in terror the moment he saw it! And last night when he saw something that disturbed him, instead of sort of “head-bobbing” towards it, then running away, he went up to it, then tried to give it a smack-down! It was too funny. I gave him lots of head-scritches and told him what a good, brave boy he was!

            I just ordered some “Trauma-free” to try with Zanzibar, my traumatized foster kitty. I may try that with Lucky, too, if I can find an appropriate glass bottle with dropper to share it out. I’ll also keep you posted on how that one works. Z. clearly suffers from PTSD from his time at the shelter (and maybe with his former family, too), so I think this combo will be more helpful to him than the Scaredy Cat.

  6. I’ve used flower essences for years, usually for critical management of a condition, usually stress-related. Aside from Rescue Remedy and other related essences that help a rescued cat deal with things immediately and throughout their life, I’ve used Olive for chronically ill and end stage cats, much to their comfort as their body deals with pain and discomfort. The worst they can do is not work because they aren’t the right ones for the situation.

    • That is one of the nice things about flower essences, Bernadette – they can do no harm. It can sometimes take time to find the right essence or blend of essences, though.

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