The homeopathic consultation starts with the following statement: ‘A lot of change happened over the last year. She adapted very well. Belle has been in kennels often this year. She was not used to this.’
The reason for the consultation (Jan 04) is bad breath and general unwellness. Belle had come back from a 2 week stay in the cattery 2 weeks prior to the consultation and she does nothing but sleep and her coat looks bad.
A clinical examination reveals a chronic gingivitis. There is a little tartar and the gums around the teeth are inflamed: Belle suffers with the common, difficult to eradicate cat gingivitis, usually caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the gingival sulcus with a tendency to progress to root infection.
On several occasions before, her teeth have been cleaned (de-scaled) but the smell usually comes back very soon. There is a blackish, fluid, sticky discharge on her teeth. Her appetite is poor and she drinks more. This is a potential dangerous situation in cats, usually kidney failure is lurking around the corner.
Belle is a ten year old pedigree British Short Hair cat.
The owner tells me further:
‘She is like a dog because she has taken the place of the dog. My dog died 2 years ago. Belle was aloof before. She did not miss the dog, she just took his place.
Belle did mourn when the other cat died. She howled once the next day and that was it. The other cat loved Belle, Belle was her support.
I cannot have another dog as long as I have Belle.
My house sitters used to call her the Empress. One day she did not like the house sitter and she ran away for eleven days. The house sitter was so taken up by the other animals that Belle decided to move to another part of the house. When the house sitter kept on bringing her back to where the other animals were in the house she decided to run off.
Belle is a very good hunter, she spend all summer hunting and fishing since we moved from London. She spends most of the time outside.
She is very sociable and mixes with all the people in the room. She will speak to you and mews every time you touch her. She is a strange cat; it is as if she is saying hello to me when she mews. Since the dog died she has been coming up more and more and asks kindly to be stroked. When our other cat was playing with the dog she sat back and watched, she never joined in. She used to enjoy the company of the other cat, she allowed the other cat to do anything to her.
She is very confident.
She asks me to stroke her but she is not clingy, she doesn’t like to be picked up. Where she used to be reserved she now likes the contact. She settled in very well when we initially moved to London and then later again when we moved back to the countryside.
When she comes out of the cattery, it usually takes a few days before she forgives me that I went away.
This time she refused to play with the people in the cattery; she looked at them as if they were mad to want to play with her.
She changes her sleeping places all the time. Sometimes she will lie on top of my head.
Once I stopped her from killing a bird and she never killed a bird since.
Belle used to follow me and the dog around the house. I had to shut her in because she would have followed us out when we were in London.
She acts as if she owns all the gardens. All the neighbours like her.’
During the consultation, Belle sat quietly on the desk I was writing on or moved to the window to look outside.
The gingivitis appears to be a constant feature. After every de-scaling intervention, the bad breath soon returned.
I sense a contradiction in the case. Although her owner says Belle is confident, I am not sure she always is. She waited for the dog to go before she put herself forward. Since then she enjoys being stroked but only very kindly asks for it although she must really like the contact if she ends up sleeping on top of her owners head (confident). She ran away when the house sitters intervened in her ‘daily life’. In the consult room she behaves very confidently.
There are issues about going to the cattery. Although Belle seems to cope very well moving back and forth to London, going away from home is an issue and appears to have started this episode of illness.
I make a repertorisation using the following: (Radar 9.1)
- Mind, homesickness
- Mind, confident
- Mind, confidence, want of self confidence
- Mouth, inflammation gums
Kali-phos comes out as first choice. This is convenient because Kali-p is associated with gum problems, it has some reputation to be effective in cats and more so, what I knew about the remedy fitted the atmosphere of the case.
Belle took the remedy in 30C, liquid solution, twice per day for 3 days.
Three years later her owner told me how she slowly, over 3-4 weeks, improved and never looked back with gum problems since. She also told me Belle had become more settled and confident.
A few words on the remedy.
The remedy is usually associated with weakness and lack of resistance of the body. Some talk about headache of the student who is studying too much.
Nervousness, brain fag, lassitude, irritability, decay, shyness, great despondency about business, are the words used by Boericke and others to describe this remedy. These are indications more associated with its qualities/use as a tissue salt.
Vermeulen writes: Nervous exhaustion (neurasthenia) which makes Kali-p patients LOSE their self control. There seems to be a combination of Nux-v, Sepia and Zincum features.
Masi’s approach proposed the following essence of the remedy: ‘Intellectual weakness and lack of resistance of the body. Wants to possess the divine intellect and therefore does not need the help of the divinity to think, is not dependant on the knowledge of others. Sensitive to bad news and everything that is not predetermined in/by his own intellect. Cannot communicate with others because Kali-p refuses to receive any teaching form an ‘Intellect’ separated from his.’
Marc Brunson brings his own vision by saying: ‘Kali-p wants to understand but refuses any help in the acquisition of knowledge. There is no irritability in the refusal of help. If he cannot understand he will do nothing with a tendency to give up.’
Belle appears to me to want to be ‘master of the situation’ but not in a dominant way. It is as if she has to know where she stands. My interpretation is that she has to ‘understand’ where she stands. This is of course very cat like, but Belle pushes things further than the average cat and she is affected by it to the point of falling ill. The confident aspect comes from her self- assurance: Kali-p thinks she’s in possession of knowledge and does not need to refer to anybody else. But she becomes unconfident when things don’t go as she expects them to.
Let’s have a look at the first phrase of the consultation: A lot of change happened over the last year. She adopted very well. Belle has been in kennels often this year. She was not used to this.
A first phrase in a consultation is often important. In this case this first phrase seems a statement of how well Belle is coping with her life, still later it appears that this is just what caused Belle’s illness. Did the owner not say that Belle would not cope with a new dog coming in the house? She ran away when she could not cope with the house sitter. Again this suggests a weakness in her adaptation capacity. For adaptation one needs understanding or comprehension of the situation.
The conclusion we can draw is that Belle could very well adapt to the things she understood and were part of her ‘repertoire’ but that when things happened to her out of what was her repertoire she could not cope and found it difficult (impossible?) to adapt.