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A Dreaded Diagnosis…hopeless or hopeful?

The truth about cat illnesses and disease


The Truth About Cat Illnesses

It makes me so sad when I see posts from friends and strangers alike that their kitty has cancer, is going through toxic treatments, or worse, has passed away from a horrible disease or condition.  Having lost several animals over the years for various reasons, all the heartbreak and painful emotions quickly resurface.  There’s a kinship there–I KNOW what they’re going through, and my heart breaks inside with them.  Dealing with cat illnesses can take a major toll on everyone involved, not just the cat.

Looking back at the kitties I have loved and now are gone, I wish I knew then what I know now!   The sad truth is, their diseases and conditions could have been prevented!!  It’s easy to get angry and point the finger, but the truth is, ultimately it was my responsibility, and I should have been better informed.  Let me give you three examples.

As cat parents we must be our cat's best advocate when dealing with cat illnesses and poor health.


Lessons learned at my cats’ expense

Shasta was adopted at the very young age of 8 weeks from the Houston SPCA back in 1990.  She was a bundle of fluff that cuddled in your lap, and her sweet, passive demeanor was dainty.  Over the years she ate a diet of dry kibble because that’s what I thought cats were supposed to eat back then.  Over the years the brands of kibble I purchased changed to the more “premium” kibble, thinking that was more nutritious.  Ultimately she died of kidney failure at the vet’s clinic, my tears covering her beautiful fur and my words of “I love you” being the last thing she heard.  At the time, I was told that to die from kidney failure was “normal” for a cat of 15 years old.  I should have asked questions like “what causes kidney failure?” instead of accepting the “norm.”

Kiwi was adopted back in 1997 from the Houston SPCA along with her brother Casper.  She was a beautiful Calico/Siamese mix who was very sweet and gentle.  Like Shasta she at a dry kibble diet for most of her life.  She started to develop CKD, or chronic kidney disease, when she was probably around ten.  Over the years that followed she slowly declined, but it was really the last year of her life that she started losing weight and ultimately died just short of her 16th birthday.  The number one cause of CKD is a dry kibble diet because it’s not moisture-rich, requiring the kidneys to work overtime and wearing them out.  The very next day I stopped feeding my cats kibble and we switched over to raw and canned food.  I had finally learned my lesson at Kiwi’s expense.

Kiwi, Snowbear, and Shasta

Kiwi, Snowbear, and Shasta

Tosh was one of Shasta’s kittens that I couldn’t part with when she had a litter of five beautiful babies.  He was a lot like his mom:  sweet, passive, and affectionate.  While he had the same diet as Shasta did, his health ended up compromised for a completely different reason.  Around age twelve or thirteen he started to develop a growth on his hind leg joint which got so big that we ended up having it surgically removed.  It was during this ordeal that I was informed by the vet that this type of malignant tumor (sarcoma) is due to a vaccine as it was close to the injection site.  Now keep in mind, I used to get my cats their annual vaccinations like a good pet parent because that’s what we were told to do.   Typically injection site sarcomas are caused by the rabies or feline leukemia virus vaccines.  Tosh was strictly an indoor cat, and no doctor ever told me those vaccines were 1) not necessary for indoor animals, and 2) causing malignant tumors in animals.  Not long after the tumor was removed from his leg it started to grow back again…and one was also found in his lungs, too.  Because of his age, surgery to remove the tumor in his lungs was not recommended, and it wasn’t guaranteed that it wouldn’t resurface again.  Eventually we said goodbye to Tosh, too, under another flood of tears a few months later when the tumor had grown so large that it was affecting his breathing.

My “Lightbulb” moment!

You think that would have woken me up.  Nope! 😱  It wasn’t until a couple of years later when I was starting to explore natural health and learning how it could apply to my kitties, too, that the light bulb turned on in my head!  Rather than be told by your veterinarian important things like species appropriate diets and when vaccines are contraindicated or unnecessary, you have to learn these things on your own.  As Cuba Gooding Jr. so famously screamed in the movie Jerry Maguire, “Show me the money!”  The business models of most veterinary practices are built around the premise that:

  • Annual vaccinations are necessary and required in order for your pet to be healthy
  • Toxic drugs like monthly flea and heart worm medicines are necessary and beneficial

To make matters worse, vet clinics sell “prescription formula diets” and other food products including dry kibble that contain ingredients that are anything but “species appropriate.”  These practices put our pets on the road to poor health, which inevitably leads to diseases like cancer, IBD, and diabetes, which lead to more vet visits and expensive “treatments” and drugs.   Do you see the money now?

Profit or cure?

Several years ago I had a foot injury that wouldn’t heal after months and months of conventional medical treatment.  I had my own “light bulb moment” on a vacation in Vancouver, BC, Canada, as we were driving through China town.  As I sat in the car wearing one of those walking boots on my foot, looking at all the displays and signs written in Chinese I made a decision to find a Chinese doctor as soon as got back to Houston.  Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years and has a reputation of working well.  Western or allopathic medicine, on the other hand, hasn’t been around very long, (a little over 100 years) and it mainly focuses on treating symptoms, not the cause of the illness or condition.  John D. Rockefeller used his success and influence in the petroleum industry to develop health care based on the manufacturing of pharmaceutical drugs.  Eight weeks after treatment by my Chinese doctor and acupuncturist, she told me I no longer needed to come back.  I was healed!  When did you ever hear a doctor or veterinarian tell you that you no longer needed their services?    This was revolutionary to me:  a doctor who was honest, who truly wanted me to get well and was not just interested in getting more of my money!

If your kitty is facing a scary diagnosis or struggling with a disease of some kind I can’t encourage you enough to “get out of the box” and open your mind to the possibility that there may be a better way to deal with it than the path you are currently taking.  Here are a few questions to ask your vet:



  1.  What’s your success rate with this protocol?
  2.  What are side effects of this medication?
  3.  Can I talk to some of your patients who have tried this medicine/protocol, etc?
  4.  What’s plan B if this doesn’t work?
  5.  How much money can I expect to spend on this long term?

Help is available!

If you find yourself scared or already at your wits end with your cat’s current health condition and want to know where to start looking for options, check out my Resources page on the website.  You’ll find holistic veterinarians and natural health practitioners who can be of help.  Many of these people can do phone consultations, too!  Therefore, if you cannot find a holistic practitioner in your area it doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.  Feel free to reach out to me as well, and I may be able to help point you in the right direction.  Leave a comment below if you are having health issues with your kitty or if you’ve had success with alternative medicine for your pet.  We can all learn from each other!   I don’t want your wake up call to come when you’re saying goodbye to your beloved kitty through your tears.

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