Several years ago we had a very unusual – and frightening – occurrence at our house. Our cat Cailie was happily sunning herself on the kitchen windowseat, a gentle breeze coming in from the screened window as she looked out over our courtyard. Her back to me as I walked into the kitchen, she let out a piercing shriek as she turned to look at me.
Afraid that she had somehow been hurt, I tried to pick her up as she ran by me, to no avail. She ran upstairs, where I let her be.
Several hours passed, and I sat on our couch with my husband waiting impatiently for her to come down. Finally, she appeared at the foot of the stairs, and I walked to the kitchen to get her a treat. As soon as I was gone, she jumped on the couch, sniffing where I had sat, and began meowing loudly.
As I came back into the living room, she let out a high-pitched frightened shriek as soon as she saw me, and ran to hide under the china cabinet. As I walked into the room and by her, she cowered, crying out. This from a cat who never made a sound. Who loved being with us, who was as gentle as gentle can be. At first afraid that she was going to be aggressive toward me, I soon realized she was incredibly frightened of me. She had been my soulmate, and it broke my heart.
My husband took her to the vet – alone – since being near me caused her intense anguish. Nothing was physically wrong with her. Weeks went by with no relief. I could not be in the same room with her, without the shrieking and cowering. At a loss, we contacted our vet again, who told us that before he tried meds (which may or may not work), we should contact an animal behaviorist.
Ready and willing to do anything, as we knew this could not go on much longer, we found a wonderful behaviorist who agreed to work with us by phone.
She told us that Cailie was suffering from “redirected aggression”, a term I had never heard of. She said that Cailie had likely been scared by a neighbor cat outside the window who had been bothering her, at the very instant I had walked through the doorway and she had thereby “transferred” her intense fear of that cat to me.
The behaviorist gave us several tips to try and get Cailie to see me as “good” again, and not someone to be feared. I was the only one to feed her, and I was to carry a wand toy with me at all times, so that I could “play” when the cowering started. I was to ignore her shrieks, and walk confidently by her, so that my vibrations did not negatively affect her.
The behaviorist also recommended that we start working with flower essences.
Flower essences are not drugs or essential oils or aromatherapy. They are “vibrational” and use the energetic signature or vibration of the flower(s) to positively influence imbalances in the body of the animal. They’ve been around for years and years. Paracelsus, a great healer of the 16th century used a form of flower essences to help his patients, and perhaps more well-known, in the 1930s Dr. Edward Bach developed Bach Flower Remedies, the most well-known of his being Bach Rescue Remedy.
Flower essences help solve behavioral problems by correcting energy imbalances, helping the pet to feel more secure, happier, and helping with negative emotions. They are infused in purified water and preserved with alcohol, most often brandy, but the amount is very minute, and most often not a concern.
Because they are not medicinal, flower essences are safe, gentle, effective, and harbor no side effects. They also do not adversely affect any medications the pet may be on. Still, I kept my vet in the loop on what I intended to try.
And so we started on the flower essences, putting them into Cailie’s water, and continuing with the behavioral modifications suggested to us. Although the effect was not immediate, it was nothing short of remarkable. We went from a house where I could not be in the same room with my cat, and in our darkest days thinking we would have to give her up, to a slow and consistent return to normalcy. Cailie lost her fear of me, and returned to her former lovable, gentle, and affectionate self.
I have since used flower essences with our rescue dog, Abby, as she struggled with separation anxiety during her intial period of adjustment to a new home. Flower essences can be used for bullying behavior in a multi-pet household, litterbox problems, spraying, fearfulness, travel anxiety, aggession and many other “behavioral” issues with great success.
They can be put into water, food, on toys or treats, sprayed in crates and carriers, on bedding, or massaged directly onto the skin. It is best to dispense the flower essence in the way that is least stressful for your pets. More than one flower essence can be used, but they should never be mixed together as it will be too overwhelming for your pet.
Flower essences should be stored out of direct sunlight, preferably in a cabinet, and out of reach of children. Avoid contact with the eyes. Flower essences should not take the place of care by your vet, and your vet should be informed of the remedies that you use on your pet at all times.
Flower essences are just one of nature’s little miracles.