We asked holistic feline behaviourist, Julie-Anne Thorne, how she started getting interested in the key role complementary treatments can play in integrated veterinary care. This is her story:

Pickle was my baby girl. She was my very own cat when I left University. She got the best of EVERYTHING! You know those pictures on the internet and all those cat-related memes about spending money on the cat rather than myself – yup that was me!

Pickle the complementary cat-alyst

Pickle was a very poorly cat. She was diabetic, with irritable bowel syndrome, dandruff, arthritis and occasionally a touch of pancreatitis. Pickle was my inspiration to research, learn and train in animal-based complementary therapies and treatments. She was also the catalyst that helped me to create my business ~ Naturally Cats, Holistic Help for Cats and Their Guardians. 

Pickle was put to sleep at 17 years of age. She was a tremendous ‘old lady’ and even though she was very clunky when she moved, needed steps up to the sofa and our bed and missed the litter tray more often than she made it into the tray, she responded so well to the complementary treatments I offered her. 

She had accupuncture twice along with other complementary treatments but she was never good with strangers and was resistant to receiving healing from them.  

Instead, I gave her my own form of healing almost daily.  When we were having cuddles my hands would invariably get hot and the ‘energy’ was flowing. Reiki was the first complementary treatment I investigated because of her. We were sat on the sofa one day and I just kept thinking in my head ‘help me heal her’. When we checked her blood glucose later that evening it was the lowest I had ever seen. Let the Reiki journey commence.

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Cutting a long story short the final piece of the puzzle, and probably the most profound change in my life, was when I did an applied zoopharmacognosy certificate and diploma. WOW – you can use plant-based remedies to heal – who knew?!

Pickle loved the weekly offerings of barley grass and spirulina, both of which are great sources of nutrients and an immune boost which also help to reduce inflammation in the body. As much as it drove my husband a little crazy with the green powder that ended up everywhere, she loved it! I tried it mixed with a macerated oil but she just loved the dry powder neat.

I also regularly offered her macerated oils such as St John’s wort, bladderwrack and calendula. Again another source of vital nutrients and a great addition to her daily pain meds. 

Essential oils

However the one treatment that gave her the most relief was essential oils. Yes, I know people think you can’t use essential oils with cats but I’m here to say that is totally not true. As long as you use them safely – but that’s for another blog! She would often select wintergreen which helped with pain or German chamomile that would soothe her tummy.

True integrated veterinary care

Amongst all of this we also used allopathic medicine. Pickle had to have daily insulin injections, she had pain meds and more.

What’s the takeaway message from this blog – be open. Ask for help. Complementary therapy and treatments are just that – they can complement allopathic medicine in such a great way that we can look after our senior animals and can do our very best to support them in their later years.

Julie-Anne Thorne is a holistic feline behaviourist. She created Naturally Cats to provide holistic help for cats and their guardians. She uses a combination of environment enrichment, behaviour modification and botanical remedies to help support cats emotionally to remove problem behaviours. She adapts her approach for each situation to give the cat a voice when working with a family. She helps to educate feline guardians so they can provide for their cat and watch them thrive not just survive.

Visit Julie-Anne’s website. Visit her Naturally Cats Facebook Page and Facebook Discussion Group.

Links to treatments mentioned and other blogs of interest

Visit the Modalities section on the website for more information about the treatments outlined above and how to find a practitioner or vet.

For similar blogs see the following: 

Disclaimer – Where blogs have been created by a guest author, CAM4Animals has reproduced this in good faith but cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies of information in it or any use you make of this information

The veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 restricts the treatment of animals (usually other than your own*) by anyone other than a qualified vet. Always consult a veterinary surgeon if you are concerned about your animal’s health. *For full details visit the RCVS website