Homeopathy for Cats: How Does Treatment Work and What Happens?
01.01.2024 - Reading time: 5 minutes
Homeopathy has a long tradition in human medicine. In 1796, the German physician Samuel Hahnemann published his theory which states that a disease is the expression of an imbalance in one’s attitude towards life. According to Hahnemann's conception, diseases can be cured by administering substances that produce symptoms in the patient similar to those of the disease itself. These mostly herbal or mineral substances are diluted with liquid or rubbed in with lactose - the homeopath speaks of "potentiation". They are administered to the patient, in each case adapted to the clinical picture and dosed according to precise instructions. The idea itself was not new: Hippocrates and Paracelsus already dealt with similar approaches. Homeopathic methods are not recognised by orthodox medicine. But the question is, what does this have to do with the diseases of domestic cats?
How does homeopathy work for cats?
To date, scientifically substantiated studies have not been able to establish any healing successes in the investigation of homeopathic treatments that could not be explained by the placebo effect. According to this, the belief in the effectiveness of the medication activates the patient’s self-healing powers: a psychological effect, at least in human patients. In the case of a cat treated homeopathically, the influence of the placebo effect can be ruled out, because the animal will not make a causal connection between its complaints and an administration of medication. Nevertheless, many owners swear by homeopathic remedies when their animal has complaints and claim success. How does it work and what exactly happens when using homeopathic treatments on cats?
A cat treated with homeopathy is not interested in the remedies, but as a cat owner you will know just how sensitive the animal is to emotional attention and general moods. The sick animal will certainly not miss it if it is treated with special attention and care. This extra dose of human attention will not go unnoticed by a cat and naturally acts as a positive stimulus. Critics of homeopathy point out that the owner’s belief in the efficacy of the remedy influences his interpretation of what constitutes an improvement in the animal’s condition.
Which diseases can be treated homeopathically in a cat?
Advocates of homeopathy also refer to the sensitivity of cats. Accordingly, our cats react particularly well to homeopathic preparations. Regardless of the reason behind a positive response to a homeopathic remedy: In the homeopathic treatment of cats, globules – which are small balls made of a neutral carrier and the potentised active ingredient – or drops are recommended, for example, for the following symptoms of illness: abdominal pain, conjunctivitis, bladder problems, diarrhoea, vomiting, exhaustion, coughing, mourning, bad breath, rolling, weakness, indigestion, wound healing. Various preparations are available for each symptom, some of which can be combined.
As the owner, you can find out from lists and tables of appropriate sources the exact remedy suited for your pet. Well known substances in cat therapy on a homeopathic basis include: calcium carbonate, graphite, nux vomica, bryony, pasque flowers, white arsenic, mercury, podophyllum (a type of barberry) and aloe. Due to the extremely low content of active substances contained in the dilutions, toxic substances such as mercury are only present in such small traces that there is no danger of poisoning. The homeopathic substances can be obtained from specialty shops or pharmacies. However, responsible animal homeopaths point out that such symptoms can also mark the beginning of a serious illness that should be treated by a vet. Small ailments and minor illnesses, however, can certainly be successfully cured with homeopathic remedies, according to their proponents. It is up to you as a pet owner to decide on an appropriate treatment method for the health of your pet. Our veterinary team at Dr. Maxi Zoo is here to help you with your personal situation. You will have the opportunity to get the opinion of experienced vets via video consultation.
Are there also veterinary homeopaths?
Notions of homeopathy in the context of veterinary medicine already existed in the early 19th century. In 1837, a “Homöopathische Arzneimitteltellehre für Tierärzte” (Homoeopathic Medicine for Veterinary Surgeons) was published. The underlying assumption of these early currents was the fundamental comparability of diseases in the human and animal organism – at least as far as the symptoms were concerned. Nevertheless, homeopathy for animals only gained widespread attention in the post-war period. Since then, a number of veterinary homoeopaths have emerged who specialise in the treatment of animals.
Homeopathy has even been officially approved as a treatment in some contexts. It is surprisingly widespread in organic farming for the simple reason that farm animals entering the food chain must not be treated with antibiotics. The EU regulation on organic farming explicitly mentions homeopathy, together with herbal medicine, as a treatment method to be carried out as a matter of priority before – under strict conditions – conventional medicines may be used. The ulterior motive here, however, is not the improved effectiveness of homeopathic preparations, but rather the avoidance of pharmaceutical residues in meat, milk or eggs.
What should I watch out for in general?
When administering homeopathic remedies, do not give the animal drops with alcohol as a solvent for the active ingredient. Cats are masters at finding and weeding out tablets and the like, that you try to slip into their food. The trick is to crush the powder and sprinkle it on to the cat’s paw. The animal will reflexively clean its paw and ingest the substance orally. In the interest of your cat, even as a homeopathy advocate, you should not waste any time when dealing with acute emergencies, infectious diseases or severe organic disorders and consult a vet before the animal’s organism suffers irreversible damage or endangers other animals or humans through infection.