#008 It’s not often you find a vet like Dr. Andrea Tasi, who knew even before vet school that she’d do an all-feline practice. What makes her unique, though, is that she shifted her practice to fully homeopathic and that changed everything.
Join us as Dr. Tasi speaks to the uniqueness of this species, the challenges they face in “domestication” (Ha! Let’s use that word loosely), being both a predator and prey simultaneously, the challenges of homeopathy, and how to interpret litter box troubles, the area that leads many cats to be given up for adoption. It need not be so!
Links for this episode
For cat behavior/training information:
TOTAL CAT MOJO book by Jackson Galaxy
THE TRAINABLE CAT book by Sarah Ellis and John Bradshaw
CAT SENSE book by John Bradshaw
All of Pam Johnson Bennett’s books are great too:
THINK LIKE A CAT, CAT WISE, and CAT VS CAT: KEEPING PEACE WHEN YOU HAVE MORE THAN ONE CAT are great references. CAT VS CAT has just come out in a newly revised edition.
Her website is www.catbehaviorassociates.com
My favorite litter is Dr. Elsey’s ULTRA litter. His family owned company makes many nice products including foods (because I know it is pie in the sky that everyone can feed a raw food diet):
Nice high sided/uncovered litter boxes made out of recycled plastic:
IMPORTANT: Dr. Tasi’s practice is all local and is full. She doesn’t offer phone consulting. BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t find an excellent homeopathic vet to help your cats, dogs, horses, what ever!
Simply visit my Recommended Resources page, scroll down to the AVH list and watch the video on my “vetted process” for choosing a good, well qualified homeopathic vet. Distance matters not a lick to get good work done.
Thanks for listening!
If you haven’t yet, please subscribe to Vital Animal Podcast so you don’t miss a single episode.
Vital Animal Podcast: Interview with Dr. Andrea Tasi
Dr. Will Falconer: Welcome everyone, we are on the Vital Animal Podcast. This is Dr. Will Falconer and my next guest is a cat veterinarian, who knew before she ever entered vet school that her chosen practice would be 100% cats. However, add to this professional training in homeopathy and my colleague, Dr. Andrea Tasi, is a very unique person. Welcome, Dr. Tasi.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Hi, Will.
Dr. Will Falconer: So glad to have you here. So I'm just curious, you know, there aren't many like you in the country, I suspect, and you took homeopathy training. Same one that I did and I am guessing that while you knew a whole lot about cats for a long time, your homeopathic training probably shifted your thinking about this unique species quite significantly. Am I right?
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes, very, very much. I knew I had always loved cats, but my homeopathic training made me question, what was it that I loved about cats? What did I love about them? Why did I love them? Then that all led into well, if I love them so much, how can I do better for them? Because I had already come to the conclusion in my conventional practice that despite my best efforts to help them, many times what I was doing was not helping them.
Once I had that different concept of health and disease, it was augmented by understanding and really honoring that, something that I kind of knew, but hadn't really thought about. Just that, cats, they were never really even domesticated animals in one sense. I hadn't really contemplated that so much. We take these animals who by some definitions is not even domesticated and we asked them to be pets. No wonder that they have so many challenges, and then how do I face those challenges and help them better?
Dr. Will Falconer: Right and I had a little episode before you about homeopathy and its challenges. So apparently, you have loved it enough to bear on through those challenges. However, do you have any input on to the challenges that practice brings when you are a homeopathic vet, who does cats?
Dr. Andrea Tasi: It's hard, you know many veterinarians have trained with Dr. Pitcairn and his biggest question to me, has always been when Richard and I have spoken over the years, “Why do so many people who have had this training, not go on to then practice homeopathy?” My answer is always the same, this is hard, and this asks you to look at the world in a completely different way.
To dedicate yourself intellectually, to an entirely different system and to put in a kind of time that was never required for me in vet school. Vet school was easy, all I had to do is memorize stuff. I mean, I know that, now I don't want to make light of that, I know some people have difficulty memorizing things. However, for me, that has always been easy to memorize stuff, but to actually truly think and take a bigger scope of information and then to individualize it. It’s no longer a cookbook, and cookbook is easy and this is not easy. It can be exhausting at times, because the entire system in which our patients live, opposes what we are trying to do.
If any of my patients have to dabble into the world of conventional medicine, my colleagues are doing their best and they are conventional. But anything they do is generally antagonistic to what I'm trying to do and it's just very difficult. My life circumstances made it such that I could persevere through these difficulties and I just love it. When I read the Organon, the thing that most made me know this is what I was going to do, was that I could just see the truth in all this. Now, at times, I regret my choice to pursue this because it is so difficult, but I could never turn my back on it. Because my conscience can't turn my back on the truth, I can't turn away from the truth. I know the world doesn't view it, in a big sense as truthful, (homeopathy), I always tell [inaudible 4:58] this is the most maligned modality of all. Yet it is it is the pure truth, it's the thing that always holds up.
Dr. Will Falconer: Same now it was 200 years ago.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes, I tell folks, I had to throw away all my veterinary school texts and old journals, because they are all obsolete; nothing from homeopathy is obsolete! I love that.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes and I mean, the rewards of having the animals come in who have struggled through conventional medicine and not gotten better. I mean, the words out of many clients mouths in my practice was, “I just spent thousands of dollars trying to fix this animal, and she is still not well.” Then they land on my doorstep and say, do your homeopathy, let's try this as the last resort and the rewards are always like, “Wow, I could do that? Amazing!”
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yeah, I mean, you said you know that I get it, actually even at a different level. You get: “I spent all this money and my animal’s not well.” I get, “I spent all this money and nobody can even tell me what is wrong with my cat.” Because in the absence of defined, often histopathological meaning someone has harvested some laboratory sample of tissue or some laboratory diagnosis. You know, it's a conventional vet, and I respect this, what are you going to treat if you can't hang a name on it?
Now I tell my clients, I don't need to name your cat's disease, I'm going to still consider what organ systems are involved and all of that. But I'm going to work with simply the symptoms that the patient is showing and that's a huge difference. Because especially for cats, the path of diagnostics is exhausting and stressful for cats. Cats going to the vet clinic, I mean, name me one cat you have ever met who really wants to go to the vet. In my few years, a couple years of working with dogs, I met dogs who kind of seemed happy to see me. I never met a cat who seemed happy to see me, never.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes, right on. Yeah, that is one of the beauties of homeopathic practice, for sure. Well, I wanted to ask you that, while there has to be a bunch of home management things that cat owners can learn from you, that are not typical things they might learn from someone in a non-homeopathic cat practice. Would you share a few of those things with us?
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yeah, I mean, I think that probably what I see in cats, more than anything, I see two main categories of issues that present to me and it's kind of both ends. It's kind of the GI issues that sort of start at the mouth and end at the bum. You know, everything from vomiting cats, and I can't emphasize enough, cats aren't supposed to vomit, they are not. If your cat is vomiting, and vomiting and my definition is anything that is coming up even hairballs. If your cat is vomiting frequently, something is wrong with your cat. Cats are not supposed to throw up one or two times per week, any more than you or I are supposed to throw up a couple times a week.
Dr. Will Falconer: Beautiful.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: I think a lot of what I come back to trying to manage from a preventative or treatment sense is proper nutrition. That is probably something we could talk three hours on, but I think that now I am trying to feed these obligate carnivorous predators, the right food. So I am a big fan of feeding them correctly or as correctly as I can. Then from the other end of things, in terms of behavioral issues, and physical things, too, is a lot of cats have issues with elimination problems, urination problems, defecation problems, going outside the litter box, etc.
It's the number one reason behaviorally why cats get relinquished to shelters. Is that they are, I am going to say pee or poo, because everybody knows what pee or poop is, they are easier than urination and dedication. That peeing and pooping outside the box can be real problems, reflections of mental, emotional or physical problems in cats. I spend a lot of time counseling folks to sort of manage that. So I have been known as kind of Dr. Litterbox, because of the advice that I have.
Dr. Will Falconer: But so important, right? I mean, and the thing that came to mind, as you were saying that about the vomiting was we have two words that are operant. We have got common and normal and what you are saying is, it is very common for cats to vomit, but it is not normal.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Absolutely not and that's actually the problem and that you saw that probably when you shifted to homeopathic practice. That you realized that many things that you thought of as common and normal. You began to understand with a shifted concept of what is health and what is disease. That many of these common things, they are abnormal, they are a reflection of mistunement, disturbance of health at a deep and chronic level.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes. So I know we could go into food for a whole episode, but let's just touch on maybe kibble versus raw. What do you see when people make the shift in your practice? What do you see when they say, “Oh, I just can’t?" That sort of thing.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Well, so I think there is a spectrum of changes that I see and I try not to ask too much of the cat. Or I try to customize what I ask of the cat, depending on the cat's age and level of health. The younger the cat is, the healthier they are, the more I can, I use expressions “to push them around.” In terms of saying, okay, you are eating Purina Cat Chow, but you are a year and a half old. Guess what, dude, I am going to take you to raw rabbit pretty darn fast, and you are probably going to be pretty happy with that. Whereas if I encounter an 11 year old cat who's been eating mostly dry, maybe a little bit of canned throughout his life. To take that cat from that diet to a raw food diet may be a bridge too far in one jump. Cats are very much creatures of routine, they stress very easily when their routines are changed and so you have to really do things incrementally. So that you don't stress out the cat and stress out the cat’s owner, too.
I always say sure, give the cat a chance. There is a subset of cats at no matter what age, or level of health, that if you present them with a good quality raw meat diet, they’re just like, “Where has this been all my life?” And they tuck right in and it's all good, but the older they get, the smaller that...Oh, can you hear my cat in the background there? My cat is hollering at me right now. The older the cats, the smaller the subset of those cats will be to shift that way. Then you have to take them gradually and I do think that good quality raw diets, while incredibly helpful are also not a panacea. They don't fix everybody and there are some individuals, especially as their health is significantly mistuned, who can't handle them. So you have to learn when to stop pushing for those cats. Because you will make the owners upset and angry and you will make the cats more sick if you end up calorie depriving them.
Dr. Will Falconer: So you have to step in at that point as a homeopath and start curing the chronic mistunement or the chronic disease.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Right, and understand that the power of homeopathy is such that you can work through a less than perfect diet. If your remedy choice is really correct and your assessment and approach to other things in the cat's life can be good. So I've had very good results at times in cases where I really didn't change the diet to the degree that I thought it should be. So we do the best we can again, it's having the power of homeopathy behind you. However, the more you can remove the obstacle to cure of poor nutrition, probably the better you are going to do.
Dr. Will Falconer: Right, yeah, I think in the dog world, I am probably a little more on the dog side of things, we see between 60 and 85% of the animals get over things like chronic allergies when we shift them to raw food. However, there is this bunch that won't move, or they'll get better to a degree. But then it's like, okay, whatever's left, that's what you’ve got to go see your homeopathic vet about.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes, for sure. Yeah, when I have patients go on to raw food diets, the most striking thing that people always tell me is the change in the coat quality, often within two to three days.
Dr. Will Falconer: Isn't that amazing?
Dr. Andrea Tasi: And it's like how can that be? I mean, our hair, it's dead. It is not alive, so how can it change? Yet people say, I can't believe it, he looks completely different, he feels completely different and it's been less than a week. I am like, I don't know how to explain it, but yay.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes, I know, I am saying the same thing, it’s like, over a weekend, they've gotten better. Then I had the opposite experience, I had them go off a good kibble, they were dogs, off a good kibble to a crappy kibble called Science or something. You know, over the weekend, because they ran out of the good kibble. The coat went to hell, they started itching, two dogs, unrelated, same family. And on Monday, the healthy food came in, and they went right back to normal, like within a half a day to a day, and I went, “That is impossible.” She said, I saw it, my husband saw it, it is real, I am like okay, I don't know enough.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: I can believe it, I know that when I change how I eat, I can very quickly see changes in my skin, that probably nobody else notices, because who is looking at me closely. But I eat a plant based diet and if I eat animal products, I don't look good and I don't feel good. I am not saying that is right for everybody but I noticed that almost instantly if I diverged from that. So yes, it seems possible, so there you go.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes. It's like the humbling part of homeopathy practices, we've got to step back and watch the animal and trust that what they show us is real. They are not making it up.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Oh, right. I mean, this is what, you know, you said it, I am sure and I said, you know, I have to teach my clients, “You just have to tell me what you are seeing.” Because the cat’s going to tell us as much as they can. I mean, cats are, you know, we had a brief discussion about probably less demonstrative overtly of many things than dogs, because they are. This is actually an important point, I think that a lot of people don't understand that this whole concept that cats hide things, where does that come from? Why is that?
I think understanding it is really helpful to understand that yeah, they're carnivorous predators. However, their small size means that they are also prey animals and they are very unique as a species to be both predator and prey. Any prey animal evolutionarily, has always been designed, like hide it, hide it, don't show your weakness because someone's going to come and kill you and eat you. Once folks get that concept, they begin to better note how to watch their cats, how to interpret things. I said, just for me, just understanding that concept was a huge thing, because I never really thought about that before I did homeopathy.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes, it's a beautiful thing. I think the question that came up for me was from a reader who said, “The most vexing thing about raising my two cats to be at their optimum health is their evolutionary habit of not showing signs of being sick until it's too late. So as a result,” she said “I am paranoid about every little thing, inspecting their stool shape, size, color, overanalyzing their activity levels, watching them eat.”
I think you can overdo that, perhaps, but keeping track of those things in a diary, boy, that is important for a homeopath to hear about.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes, I definitely think there is a balancing act, isn't there? That we want observation, but observation that is driven and clouded by anxiety will never get us anywhere, and will, often I think, feed into the mistunement in our pets. Because anxiety and fear are contagious, they are contagious. I don't want to say they're going to make your animal sick but you're going to misinterpret things or do things. It's just, I tell folks that you got to just sort of take a deep breath and stop being motivated by anxiety or fear. Because it's simply the contagion of it all and our actions and our decisions are never good when based on anxiety and fear.
The whole concept of homeopathy and the vital force, well, there's the individual's vital force, your cat, and you. But then there's the vital force of your family and your family includes your animals. If that is changed by your anxiety, it's going to mistune the vital force of the family, of you and your pets and it can be a vicious cycle.
Dr. Will Falconer: Beautiful.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: So I tell folks, you just have to let go. You just got to let go and observe and to recognize that no matter how good a job we're doing in cats, we will always have the limitation of them as a species. Making it harder for us and that is not our fault and that's just the way it is and we can't fault our.... You just have to go from there and understand that, at least when you are working with homeopathy, you can do something with earlier observations of symptoms then you can in conventional medicine, because when I was a conventional vet, if people did pick up tiny little subtle things, and come in and talk to me about them. There’s wasn’t anything I could do about it any way.
Dr. Will Falconer: Exactly.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Because as a commercial vet if you can't measure it, take a picture of it, have it show up in a lab work or on your physical exam, then you can't make a treatment plan for something you can't diagnose. Then you and I as homeopaths now know that if we do pick up something earlier, we understand now that disease has this progression, that the very first part of disease is a change in sensation. Then we progress to a change in function and then we progress to some physical pathology. So we have those first two steps that we can act on as homeopaths, if we've got information.
Whereas conventional vets, we couldn't act until that third step where there was physical pathology to pick up on an exam and lab work, so we can always do better with homeopathy. We can always progress more, but we will always be limited by the nature of cats and that is okay. That is just how it is, it's just how it is. There is a lot of things that aren't in our control and we just have to work with what is within our power.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes. So, say someone has a cat with litter box issues, the number one reason cats get surrendered. Is there some way that the owner can start teasing that apart and saying, is this a behavior issue, is this elimination issue?
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yeah, so I spent a lot of time thinking about this and I think that, the first thing if a cat is having a litter box issue is, I mostly want to find out is this is this cat urinating outside the box? Is the cat defecating outside the box, is it both? Because my sort of decision-making tree is a little bit different for things. Probably the most common thing is the peeing outside the box. Because that blends over into the whole issue of lower urinary tract disease, bladder problems, cystitis, whatever we want to name it in cats. Which is such a common problem, so I try to fit...
So let's just say a cat’s peeing outside the box, the first thing I'm going to try to find out is, has the cat had an examination? Had a urinalysis, you know, diagnostics are still an important part of my practice, because I can't speak to my patients. So I am still running urinanalysis, checking things, but a lot of this can also be determined by the cat's behavior. The cat who is voiding emptying its bladder, sort of large volumes outside of its box, is a cat that I am going to approach differently than the cat who is doing the classic urinary tract discomfort. Infection, inflammation, symptoms of small amounts of urine here and there, or back and forth to the box and the like.
So mostly, I know, one of my first distinguishing things is, where is the cat going? What's the volume of the urine and what's the frequency that the cat is going? If we have little bits, increased frequency, things like that, I want to look at a urinalysis, because that is a cat who I suspect has some sort of inflammatory condition going on in their urinary tract. This is a really important part, a lot of people call me and say, “Oh, my cat gets urinary tract infections, and I need help with this.” I am like, well, your cat probably doesn't have urinary tract infections. Even the conventional world recognizes that about 80 to 90% of cats who have these sort of bladder symptoms do not have bacterial infections driving this. They have sterile inflammatory processes driving it.
Dr. Will Falconer: Good point.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes, and those cats need homeopathy because in conventional medicine, there is no resolution for those cats. There is a lot, and in an increased number of things that recognizing that this can be stress related, boredom related, things like that. However, everything conventionally will say there is no cure, it’s just management. Whereas you and I both know, that many of these cats can be cured with homeopathy.
For the cats, but there is a lot of cats are just unhappy with their litter boxes. This is where it's so easy sometimes for these cats who are just peeing outside their boxes. Large volumes with no signs of inflammation or discomfort to just simply think about presenting them with what makes them happy as a letterbox versus what makes us happy as a person. So...
Dr. Will Falconer: Good point. Hold that thought for a minute, I just want to make sure our listeners understand the difference that you made between inflammation and infection.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Good point.
Dr. Will Falconer: So infection means there is bacteria present, and what Andrea just told us is that a high percentage of these cats with urinary tract problems frequently go into the box small amounts, scanty urine. All that stuff drives us nuts, drives them nuts. They are bacterially sterile, and the treatment they commonly get? Antibiotics.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes, in conventional veterinary medicine, there is a strong movement to move away from the antibiotic treatments. So the good folks at academic levels who are teaching, practicing veterinarians are saying this is probably not bacterial. But there is still a vast overuse of antibiotics and it's not good for the cats. Because anytime we take an antibiotic, it disrupts all those wonderful germs that are supposed to be living in us and keeping us healthy and it's a risk to the world. Every time any one of us takes an antibiotic, we are then shedding antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Every single time we use antibiotics, we are adding to the problem of resistant bacteria in this world and that is a bad thing. Because even though I am a homeopath, I realized there is still going to be a role at times to save folks’ and animal’s lives with antibiotics. We will lose that role if we continue to use them as non-judiciously as we have. So very, very few cats need antibiotics. The older cats, if you are over 12 or 13 the chance of bacteria being involved, it does go up for sure. But in most of the cats who are non-seniors, it is extremely rare that bacteria is driving the train in these cats.
Dr. Will Falconer: Really good to know. So how have you found some litter boxes become happier with management?
Dr. Andrea Tasi: All right yeah, so it's actually very simple. You really just want to, I used the “keep it simple, stupid.” Though I was told that the kinder acronym or the kind of way is “keep it simple, sweetheart.” I always think that the answer to almost any question for cats is to think about what would they be doing in their natural existence. So cats evolved in the desert, they want to eliminate in something that is soft and dig-able, like sand. They have an instinctual desire to go to a pretty clean spot every time to be able, to dig and to cover. They don't go into little caves or hidey holes to go pee or poo.
So to give a cat a litter box that makes them happy, I want it and it's simple, I want an uncovered relatively large box and large is relative to the cat size. You know the cat who’s six pounds needs a different size litter box than the 23-pound Maine coon. Which means cat needs a box that is appropriate for its size, not covered. In that box, over and over studies have shown and my experience has shown as well, cats wants an unscented, finely textured, clay based litter or something very close to a clay based litter. We do not want scents, we do not want fragrances, we do not want plastic liners, and we do not want deodorizers, anything like that.
Dr. Will Falconer: All human things.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: All human things, we don't want the litter box built into some interesting looking little cabinet that the cat has to climb in through a hole for and all that. We just want just want a nice open litter box. We want that litter box placed somewhere where it is relatively quiet. You know that the cat doesn't have to go past the dog crate or past the washing machine, that's on an imbalanced spin cycle going, ‘polka polka polka’. We don't want the litter box somewhere where there is no ambient light. You know people think cats can see in the dark, cats can't see in the dark, cats can see terrific in low light. But if your basement has no windows and no light and your litter boxes down there, if there's no light down there for you to see, cat can't see either.
Dr. Will Falconer: Interesting.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes, so just a matter of giving them that and I often am using non-litter boxes for litter boxes. I have people going to tarjay, Target, Walmart, wherever they want to shop for an under the bed storage box that they throw the lid away. Not one on wheels, not with a one a lot of ridges in the bottom, just a simple plastic box. Then putting two to three inches of a good clay base litter. Am I allowed to mention a brand that I think is head and shoulders above other?
Dr. Will Falconer: Sure.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: So I am a complete fan and have no business ties whatsoever with this company but Dr. Bruce Elsey, who is a cat veterinarian in Colorado. Dr. Elsey, that is e, l, s, e, y, has a litter company and all his litters are great. Dr. Elsey's Ultra-litter is the litter that solves more problems for me. Bruce has done a lot of work with this, he is not a personal friend but I've met him over the years at conferences. He knew that he could save lives by developing a litter that made cats happy to use the boxes. It is the only litter I have used for more than 20 years, I recommend it all the time. Sometimes just as a matter of an uncovered box in the right location with Dr. Elsey's, or a similar unscented finely textured clay based litter and bingo. The cats will use their litter boxes, so it's just a great product.
There is a whole bunch of other alternative litters on the market now and some of them are good. But all these grain based, these corn litters, pine litters, cats don't like them, they don't like them. Even though I know that from ecologically and all of that it's all good, but just keep it simple and keep it clean. Scoop the box, two to three times a day, when people say, “How often should I scoop my litter box?” I have my smart alec answer and that is, “How often do you flush the toilet? If you to go to a public bathroom, and there is three stalls, and two of those toilets have some mess in them. You are going to go to the third toilet and use the clean one. So the cat is going to want the same, the cat wants a clean place to go. So there's nothing to substitute for keeping the box clean.
Will Falconer: Beautiful and again, this could probably be a whole episode. But if you had just maybe two or three things to help keep a cat emotionally healthy. While it is being owned as a creature who is not used to being owned and being in our environment. Which is totally not a hunting and running around in the wild environment. What would those couple things be Andrea.?
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Play, all cat play is modified hunting behavior. Whenever a cat is playing, all play is some component of hunting. The spy, stock, chase, pounce, bite sequence, which is all part of hunting, that's what play is and cats typically don't get enough of that. In the wild, studies have been done and it shows that cats need to catch about seven to eight or nine mice per day to meet their nutritional needs. Every time they catch a mouse, there are two to three failed attempts for that. So I was taught, I think this was from Peter Neville, who's a cat behaviorist in England. That’s basically hardwired into the cat's brain is about 25 to 30 chase sequences a day. That is what cats were put on this earth to do. How many cats get enough play and activity to engage their brains in that way?
So play, want to play, throwing toys and cats are so individualized, you really have to figure out what your cat likes. People tell me, “Oh, my cat won't play with this or won’t…” you have to keep trying until you find something. Sometimes the older the cat, the less vigorous the play may be. But one thing that I know won't work is, if you have a room with a rug and 50 toys sitting on it, just sitting there still, that's of no use to the cat. Cats are completely caught up by something moving, so you have to get things moving so the cat can hunt.
When a cat is hunting, playing, I guarantee you that is when that cat feels most themselves and we all have had that experience. That there is something we like to do in our life, that when we’re doing it, we feel most self-actualized. And most like, “Oh my god, this is exactly what I'm supposed to be doing right now, this is exactly who I am.” That is what cats feel when they are playing and hunting. We are too busy sometimes wanting to cuddle and pet them and hold them and that is all well and good. But, that is nowhere near as good for their psyche as letting them be the predators that they are.
Dr. Will Falconer: Beautiful, wow that is great. Andrea, any final points? I don't want to keep you too long, but this has been super.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: I feel like we have just started, I could go on and on.
Dr. Will Falconer: Yes, and I do, if you are open to it, I would love to have you back to go deeper on things.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes, I think that would be fine. But now I think it's really understanding who your cat is. You have a little tiger who is living in a cage the size of your apartment or your house, if it is an indoor cat. If your cats are lucky enough to be able to go outdoors safely and I let my cats outside and I know that's very controversial. I am off the hook a whole lot for some of this, because I watched my cat spend 30 minutes chasing cicadas around the driveway. I don't feel bad at all when she kills and eats them and I know that when she comes in, I probably don't have to play with her anymore.
However, when I lived in an apartment in Philadelphia, my cats did not have any of that. It was all on me to make them, you know, allow them to be cats at times and not just to be pets. Because that is really the thing that homeopathy has most taught me is that, in becoming pets, these animals have given up a tremendous amount, they have given up a tremendous amount. It is a real concession on their part and yeah, their lives are in some ways easier and safer, but that doesn't mean their lives are richer or better, necessarily.
Dr. Will Falconer: A good point, we have taken them out of the context of nature to have them in our homes with us.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes, and you know, I don't want to romanticize nature, you know, what do they say?
Dr. Will Falconer: Sure, you can die in nature,
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Life in nature is nasty, brutish, and short at times, but there is still the sort of sovereignty. And generally in nature you are doing what you were supposed to do and our cats don't have a lot of opportunity to do that anymore.
Dr. Will Falconer: So I am getting the word “honor” coming up, it's like, we need to honor who they are, right? As best we can, within the confines of our environment.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Yes. Because I think that is really what love is about, in any healthy loving relationship. The basis of that, between people or whatever is honoring that other individual for who they are, and not projecting. There is so many problems with us, in our relationships with people or animals. Projecting our wishes, our definitions, our preconceptions on other folks or on other animals and it's the source of so much conflict, disharmony and just bad stuff in the world. So yeah, homeopathy has really taught me that in so many ways in my life. It just the understanding of honoring the individual, honoring the individual.
Dr. Will Falconer: Beautiful and that is true across species lines.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Absolutely.
Dr. Will Falconer: And it applies down to everybody else. Yeah and then you take it even wider and you go honoring the soil. So we're not killing the organisms in the microbiome and the soil. How are we farming? How we are bringing food and market, etc. etc. It is all about honoring, ideally.
Andrea, this has been super, I really enjoyed my time with you. It’s been years since we touched base, and your name just popped up to me and I went, oh, I've got to get Andrea on the show. So I'd love to talk to you again and we'll decide on a future time and a future subject that we can go deeper on, but until then, thank you for being here.
Dr. Andrea Tasi: Oh, you are very welcome. Thank you for asking me. This is a great honor, thank you.
Dr. Will Falconer: You are welcome. So that is it for this episode, everyone. We will be back each week with a new episode and look forward to hearing more about cats from Andrea Tasi VMD in the future. Bye for now.
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Next week: Thomas Sandberg, an animal naturopath who’s changing the world’s expectations of dog and cat longevity with his extensive study on raw feeding. Great Danes started it, living into their teens, when their “norms” were often 6-8 years of life, tops. Don’t miss this one if you’d like your animal to be a healthy,Vital record breaker!