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© Chiara Marrapodi 2015

As special family members our pets well-being is important to us.  Statistics show that our pets suffer from many of the same illnesses we humans do.  We often attribute human-like traits to our furry companions and believe that our own needs are theirs.  In scientific circles this is terms anthropomorphism.  We believe that if something is good for us it is good for them.  Smudge taught me otherwise.  I soon realized on my journey towards her good health that I needed to shift my idea of what was good for my furry family member.  She was suffering from seizures under the bed every time she ate and her intestines were severely bloated. She was in a lot of gastrointestinal pain.  I began to educate myself and realized that as a cat she is an obligate carnivore.  This meant that the kibble and cooked food I was feeding her filled with artificial preservatives, cooked food and the multitude of isolated vitamins.  After many tests with no tangible results I decided to look at the wild cat’s diet.  As I researched I realized that what we feed our pets is totally incorrect for their body type.  If we look at their wild ancestors this gives us a good idea about what their real needs are.  It also disappointed me to realize that I had been projecting what I thought was important for her without taking her “real” needs into account, from her species perspective. The disappointment I felt in myself for missing the point and forcing my ideas, thoughts and way of life on this beautiful being consumed me.  I realized then that I owed it to Smudge to honor her for who she is and to change her diet and lifestyle based on her species specific needs, not what was most convenient to me. 


I weaned her off her kibble and cooked wet food and began to slowly introduce raw meat to her.  She took to it like a fish takes to water.  Over time, I began to add raw bones and organs to give her a well-rounded diet basing her diet on the idea that in the wild she would hunt for birds, mice, rabbits and other small mammals.  Having found a wonderful organic farmer who was able to supply organic rabbit she began to thrive.  Her once jaundiced yellow eyes began to change to a beautiful pale green.  Smudge went through a detoxification stage and then began to be more playful, energetic and talked a lot more.  Her seizures stopped and so did her bloating.  I was so relieved to see that she was doing so much better and that she was able to have a full life again.  She was metamorphosing into the beautiful multi-colored tortoiseshell she was meant to be.


I realized that diet has a lot to do with not only good physical health but also mental and emotional health too.  I wanted to ensure she had exactly what she needed and realized that being an indoor cat was not the best thing for her.  She needed to sniff the fresh air, bask in the sunlight and feel the pads of her bare paws directly on the soil.  So I ensured that she began to have daily walks outside, had open windows whenever possible and allows the sunlight to filter all part of the house depending on the time of day so she could find her favorite spot and bask in the photons.  She knew exactly what I was doing and my intentions and began to have a little hop in her step!  Our animals are a reflection of us, often they mirror our imbalances, they also show us what we are missing in our lives.  Just like them we need fresh air, good, clean food, water and a dose of sunshine each and every day.  Gone were the days of worrying about her shaking under the bed from the high sugar content (high fructose syrup) in the kibble and being exposed to grains, she is an obligate carnivore, her staple was meat, raw meat not cooked.  She taught me to follow my intuition and to listen to her closely.  She showed me and spoke to me about what she liked and didn’t like.  Although she said she liked the kibble I knew it was because it was addictive and this is why weaning was important - she complained at the start but we got through that together and she is a well rounded mature adult now!


Diet and lifestyle is not the only ingredient for a healthy, happy pet!  Pets are affected emotionally and psychologically by their environment.  In fact they are very very sensitive and they read our hearts so when we feel something deeply it affects them too.  Regardless of objective scientific findings about animal consciousness thus far, I cannot dismiss the reactions I see in Smudge when she is exposed to new environments, scenarios and the breadth and depth of emotional feeling she has.  One day I stubbed my little toe on the side of my bed.  I was in agony and was squealing with pain, the tears flowing down my cheeks.  Smudge had been in the lounge area potting around when I saw her running to the bedroom at top speed.  She came up to me with a very concerned look on her face.  I placed my toe in front of her so she could sniff it (animals use their nose to investigate their environment).  I heard her say “you are alright, it’s nothing” as she was satisfied I would live she promptly turned around and sauntered back to the lounge!  This touched me so deeply that a wonderful creature heard my cry for help and ran to me to check I was alright.  Don’t we owe it to these graceful, gentle and pure of heart creatures to provide them with a diet, lifestyle and emotional well-being that is species specific?  I believe they deserve at least that from us.


So Animal Health Coaching is all about good health through prevention, it’s about getting to know your pets from a new perspective - from their perspective!  It opens the door to a veritably enriched relationship with your furry family.  It takes an integral approach looking at the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects - the whole animal.  Coupled with animal communication it is a powerful way to bring balance into both yours and your animals lives - you will be surprised by what you find out from your pets, there is more to them than meets the eye!



A.C.A.N. Certified Animal Naturopaths, Animal Health Coaches and practitioners certified in animal naturopathy or nutrition do not provide medical diagnosis, prescribe medications or perform surgical procedures. A.C.A.N. expects Certified Animal Naturopaths and those certified in animal naturopathy only provide the professional services set out in the Scope of Practice and strictly adhere to the Code of Ethics identified on the American Council of Animal Naturopathy (A.C.A.N.) website. Source:- www.animalnaturopathy.org

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