Spirit Essences

Allegra and Ruby like it hot

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Their mom, not so much. Actually, I do like hot weather and don’t mind temps in the 90’s – but not when those 90’s are inside my house.

We were affected by the massive power outage that hit the Mid Atlantic after a severe storm known as a “derecho,” a term I don’t ever want to see in a weather report again, came through here this past Friday night. But why don’t I let the girls tell you what happened.

Allegra: Friday night, we were all snuggled up in bed with Mom, and I had just started to drift off to sleep when out of nowhere, this rush of wind hit the side of the house. It felt like the whole house was shaking!

Ruby: Wha? What’s happening? I was sleeping!

Allegra: I jumped off the bed and ran to my safe place.

Ruby: Mom? Why are you getting up? We just went to bed!Continue Reading

Allegra’s World: overcoming fears

Allegra_tortoiseshell_cat_at_window

Hi everyone, it’s Allegra! Today, I get to brag a little. I wasn’t going to even write about this, but Mom is so proud of me, and she said if I should share with all of you how brave I was last week.

Those of you who’ve known me for a while probably remember that I used to be very scared of bad weather. I know lots of kitties are afraid of thunder, but my fears went beyond that. I even felt afraid when it rained a lot. The way that rain sounds against the roof and windows – oh, it was just so scary!

Thankfully, I have a good, safe place for riding out storms. There’s a small bathroom in our basement. It has no windows, so it’s nice and dark in there. There’s a shower stall with a curtain, and that’s where I hide: in the far corner, behind the curtain. It’s cozy and quiet there.Continue Reading

Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

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By Dr. Karen Becker

I often write about the uniqueness of felines. Your kitty is not only very different from dogs – she stands apart from most other species.

Her physiology is distinctive. Her nutritional requirements are unique among mammals. Even the way her body is constructed – her incredible physical flexibility – is distinct from most other creatures.

Another thing that is very unusual about our kitty companions is their tendency to develop a weird disorder called feline hyperesthesia. This is a medical term for what is more commonly referred to as “rippling skin syndrome,” “rolling skin syndrome,” or “twitchy cat syndrome.” Other technical names for the condition include neuritis and atypical neurodermatitis.

Signs and Symptoms of Feline Hyperesthesia

The word hyperesthesia means “abnormally increased sensitivity of the skin.” It’s a condition in which the skin on a cat’s back ripples from the shoulders all the way to the tail. Continue Reading

New Partnership with Spirit Essences

Spirit Essences flower essences holistic remedies for pets

I previously introduced you to Spirit Essences, the line of flower essences owned by nationally known feline behaviorist and star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” Jackson Galaxy. The company was founded in 1995 by Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veteriarian.

One of the many things that drew me to Spirit Essences was the fact that the spring water used in the essences is enhanced with Reiki energy. Both flower essences and Reiki are vibrational healing modalities, and as such, the two compliment each other perfectly. When Reiki energy is channeled into a vibrational remedy, it provides a balancing energy that further enhances and optimizes the specific energies within the remedy.

I am honored to announce that I have been asked to provide the Reiki that goes into the spring water used in the essences.

Continue Reading

Ruby’s Reflections: Fireworks and Vacuum Cleaners

kitten cat on window perch

It’s about time that I get to write on here again. Just because I’m little doesn’t mean I don’t have lots to say!

You’ll be happy to hear that I’ve refined my wake up tactics. I’m quite pleased with myself! In addition to bouncing all over the bed, I’ve now added chasing my tail to my repertoire. I dance and whirl around like a feline dervish (I have no idea what a dervish is, but it sounds cool), but I can never catch it! It’s a little frustrating, but quite entertaining! And evidently, it adds to Mom’s morning pleasure, because her groans get even louder than when I just jump up and down on top of her. Sometimes, she even participates in the game by giving me a gentle kick from under the covers. I love that! It makes me slide off the bed, and I jump right back on, and for good measure, I bite Mom’s toes through the covers! Wee!!! Sometimes, I get distracted because Allegra wants to get in on the game and starts to chase me out of the bedroom, so Mom gets a few extra minutes of sleep. Suck up! I think she just does it to earn brownie points with Mom.

We had some excitement the other night. All of a sudden, there were all these weird noises coming from outside. It didn’t sound like thunder, I already know what that sounds like, and unlike Allegra, who’s afraid of storms, that doesn’t bother me at all. But this was different – kind of a popping noise, followed by some swishy sounds, and then it sounded like sssssssss, weeeeee, ppppoooowww! I had to go see what that was! I ran to all the windows and looked out, but couldn’t see anything.  Mom said it’s called fireworks, and that it was coming from some neighboring yards.  Allegra, of course, was afraid of the noises and hidden away in her safe spot behind the downstairs shower curtain. Mom gave her her magic water (Ingrid’s note: Spirit Essences Stress Stopper has worked really well for Allegra’s fears of storms and loud noises), but she still wouldn’t come out.

I’m not afraid of anything! I’m a brave kitten! Bring it on! What? What did you say, Mom? Oh. Alright. There is one thing I’m afraid of, and that’s the monster Mom brings out once a week. She says it’s called a vacuum cleaner, but that’s far too kind a word for something that roars and eats small things that are on the floor. I mean, what if it eats me? I’m small! Oddly, Allegra isn’t afraid of the monster at all, she just sits a few feet away and watches Mom push it all through the house. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because she’s bigger than me, and the monster can’t eat her. Thankfully, I found a place where the monster can’t get me: right on the very top of our big cat tree in the living room. I can keep an eye on things from up there, and keep a safe distance. So far, the monster hasn’t figured out how to climb.

And just so you can see what I have to put up with, here’s a video of me taking a leisurely bath (aren’t I just too cute!). And then – well, you’ll have to watch to see what happened!

Allegra’s World: Help from Flower Essences

Allegra The Conscious Cat

I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I last wrote on here! Well, not exactly – Ruby and I told you about our tunnel adventure a week ago. That was really something! I’m happy to report that the evil tunnel has remained calm, and that we enjoy playing with it again.

Everything is good here. I really like having Ruby around and I hardly ever get annoyed with her anymore. I still wish she’d tone it down a little when Mom gets our food ready. You wouldn’t believe the screaming that’s going on then! Like Mom isn’t getting our meals ready as fast as she can. Ruby really needs to cut her a break. But, I guess that’s why I’m the big sister. I’m the patient one. It’s good to be me.

Speaking of food. A pet food company sent Mom some cans of food that Mom says they want her to write a review about. We mostly eat raw food, but about once a week, Mom gives us canned food, too. I like both kinds. I think Ruby does, too, although with her, you’d probably never know, I think she’d eat anything Mom puts in front of her. She’s also very interested in whatever Mom is eating.

But I digress. So these cans of food have been sitting on the counter for a couple of days, but neither Ruby nor I can figure out how to open them. I wish Mom would hurry up already and let us try them. I told Mom I should probably be the one to write the review, but she obviously hasn’t made up her mind about that. But one way or the other, you’ll see a review soon. (Or else, you’ll see a news report titled “Cat Figures Out How to Open Can” because it’s just too tantalizing to have these cans sitting on the kitchen counter, right where we can see them!)

The only thing that’s been happening that I’m not too crazy about is the frequent storms we’ve been having. They haven’t been bad ones, but I hate any kind of storm, even just a rainstorm. The sound of the rain hitting the house really scares me. I run downstairs and hide in the shower stall behind the curtain. It’s dark and quiet in there, and it makes me feel a little safer.

Mom has been giving me magic water twice a day (Ingrid’s note: I give her Safe Space for Cats by Spirit Essences), and when a storm is coming, she gives me even more magic water (Ingrid’s note: I either give her Stress Stopper by Spirit Essences, or a blend of Anxiety and  Animal Emergency Care by Green Hope Farm Flower Essences), and it helps make me less afraid, but during storms, I’m still not comfortable being anywhere else in the house except in my safe shower stall. Mom comes and checks on me frequently to make sure I’m okay and tries to coax me out, but I’d rather stay in my safe space.

What I don’t understand is why Mom can’t just make the bad weather go away. She can do everything else to make my life nice, why not this? I mean, come on, she can even open cans of food! Changing the weather should be a breeze compared to that!

Are you afraid of storms? What does your Mom or Dad do to help you not be afraid?

Up close and Purrsonal with Jackson Galaxy, Star of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell”

If you haven’t watched Animal Planet’s new show “My Cat from Hell,” you don’t know what you’re missing. Jackson Galaxy, the star of the show, knows cats like no other. Cat behaviorist by day, musician by night, bald, bearded and covered in cat tattoos, he’s anything but your typical cat guy.

I had the opportunity to chat with Jackson yesterday while he was in between media appearances (since the launch of the show, Jackson has appeared on Access Hollywood, Fox and Friends, and taped a segment for The Daily Show, among others). It only took a few minutes of talking to him to realize that appearances are, indeed, deceiving: underneath the hip surface lies a sensitive, caring guy who genuinely loves cats.

Jackson is a cat behaviorist who has been called anything from a cat whisperer to a cat shrink to a cat trainer. He actually prefers to be called a “cat listener.” He doesn’t like the term cat whisperer, because, he says “it conotates exclusivity. It says I can do something you can’t.” His goal is to make everyone believe that they can do what he does. According to Jackson, what it really comes down to is a case of “slowing your head down long enough to listen to cats.”

Jackson’s mission is to reduce the number of cats in shelters. Based on Jackson’s experience, most behavior problems in shelter cats are not that tough to solve. He’s found that frequently, an hour spent with the cat and her human guardians can take care of the problem and prevent the cat from being returned to the shelter.

Jackson worked in shelters for many years, and later partnered with Dr. Jean Hofve, a holistic veterinarian. They called their business Big Little Cat, honoring domestic cats’ wild origins, and offered in-home mind body consults.

Jackson solves common and not so common behavior problems. He works with cats either during in-home consultations (in the Los Angeles area) or remotely. Consultations involve taking a detailed history, meeting the cat and her family, and watching the cat  interact with everyone and everything in her territory. For remote consultations, Jackson requests that the client provide a video showing the cat’s home, feeding station, and litter box locations. He says this way, he can pick up details that a client might not even think to provide by just filling out an intake form, no matter how detailed the questions may be.

He employs a variety of techniques, some traditional, some holistic, and some, according to Jackson “I’ve been told are completely off the wall.” His approach is all about giving the human guardians a deeper understanding of why cats act the way they do. “I always come down on the side of the cat,” says Jackson. Most feline behavior problems have very little to do with the cat, and everything to do with the fact that as humans, we ask cats to co-exist with us in environments that don’t always support their natural instincts.

“My Cat from Hell” features what most cat owners would consider hard core behavior issues. From spastic cats that threaten to break up relationships to aggressive felines that leave their owners bruised and bloody, these cats are not your average housecats. Each episode features two cases, showing the problem, Jackson’s initial visit with the cat and her guardians, and a follow up visit two weeks later. I asked Jackson whether it was really true that these cases are resolved in what seems like such a short period of time, or whether there was some artistic license to adapt what he does to fit the format of an hour long show. “The improvements really happened that fast,” said Jackson. He credits this to the fact that the cats’ guardians really did the homework he recommended after the initial session. Jackson has no doubt that being on TV provided added incentive for the cats’ guardians: “when you know you’re going to be on TV, you don’t want to look stupid!” In his real life cases, he usually tells clients that improvements may take 4-6 weeks, but much of that timeframe depends on how much the human guardians are willing to follow his recommendations.

Jackson also owns Spirit Esssences, a line of flower essences he developed with holistic veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve. Flower essences are dilute extracts of  flowers and plants that work on the body’s energy system to create emotional, spiritual and physical balance. He uses the essences in every case he works with.

If you’re not already watching the show, tune in tomorrow night. Jackson told me that one of the two cases that will be featured in tomorrow’s episode was the most dramatic he’s ever worked with: a completely feral cat who was adopted out by the shelter under false pretenses. The cat’s new guardians  were told the cat was 70% domesticated. You’ll have to watch to see what Jackson calls “miraculous results.”

For more information about Jackson Galaxy, please visit his website. You can also find Jackson on Facebook and Twitter