The One. The Only. The Original.
Holisticat is the oldest continuously operating cat list that discusses a wide range of topics from nutrition to behavior to health issues. It has grown from being focused strictly on cat nutrition, health, and behavior, to become a full-service cat lover's community where we also share fun cat anecdotes, stories, current events, and pictures, as well as provide each other emotional support in times of need.
The goal of the Holisticat website and Community forums is to help sort through the confusing maze of what's safe and beneficial for cats. We do this by staying on top of credible cat nutrition information, and by bridging the gap between the "If it's natural and safe for humans (and dogs), it must be okay for cats" crowd, on one hand, and "If it's not a drug, it can't be any good" allopathic types, by looking for objective information such as academic studies whenever possible. All the while keeping in mind that cats are physiologically unique; what's safe for other species doesn't automatically mean it is for cats.
History of Holisticat™
In 1997 Boo Boo's mom Sandy, frustrated with the lack of attention with regards to cat issues on pet care lists, began the Internet's first truly holistic, cats-only mailing list. When she started searching for ways to help her first kitty love, Boo Boo, who suffered from HCM and CRF, she quickly realized that "pet" lists that lumped cats in with other species sometimes advocated nutritional regimens, as well as health treatments and care inappropriate for cats' unique physiological and psychological needs.
[The famous inspirational Boo Boo kitty]
The famous inspirational Boo Boo kitty
As a former university professor trained in Ph.D. level research methods, she also recognized that much of what was being put forward was based more on speculation and assumption than on sound evidence. Finally, "holistic" was misused more often than not. So she started her own list and was pleasantly surprised to find so many like-minded cat lovers.
Website is Born!
In 1999, the Holisticat web site was created to serve as a companion site for the mailing list. The site is a repository for articles summarizing discussion findings, diet recommendations, health issues, selected mailing list archives, and numerous other resources; many of them contributed by list members. We advocate a raw diet or quality canned foods with an emphasis on treating kitties homeopathically or holistically if at all possible. Allopathic (veterinary) drugs, are not totally rejected; support is given to members to help kitties that must take them. Helping these care-givers to choose gentler and safer alternatives, or whole-body support while on these drugs, is our goal. Holisticat has become one of the largest go-to holistic cat sites on the 'net. Several cat lovers have worked tirelessly over the years to provide a resource for cat moms and dads the world over.
Hosting Server Shut Down...
In early 2005, the server that the Holisticat mailing list was hosted on shut down. Although the list had been moved before from listserv to majordomo hosts, after evaluating several alternatives the list moved to Yahoo Groups. During the time on Yahoo Groups, the list grew from about 500 subscribers to over 1,800, and the traffic count averaged about 50-60 messages per day. While the activity was great, and a lot of kitties were helped, keeping the discussion on topic and cleaning up messages to maintain the quality of the digest and archives consumed untold hours of Sandy's time. Even with the generous help of several volunteers, the task became unmanageable and quite aggravating.
Final Move and Exciting Changes
In February 2007 the list moved again, this time to its own server, using specialized bulletin board software. In order to defray the cost of operating and maintaining the board, a subscription fee is being charged for the first time in the history of Holisticat. But in exchange, the new software allows many conversations to proceed in parallel, with topics neatly presented under specific categories. All this in a fast-loading, and ad-free uncluttered environment.
By contrast, traditional mail-only listserves and Yahoo Groups only allowed a few topics to be discussed at a time, and sorting through the maze was difficult. We were also able to broaden the discussions to include a bit on humans and other species, and add more fun topics, as well as a photo gallery on which members can share their favorite kitty pics.
Although we are currently adding several new subscribers each week, the nature of the new board has freed up Sandy and the volunteer crew to add or improve resources. As a result, the traffic count is significantly higher than ever before, even though there are far fewer but very committed subscribers (about 200 so far).
Sandy's new book, while not earning her any royalties, has enjoyed steady modest sales since it appeared in October 2006.
[Whole Health for Happy Cats]
Whole Health for Happy Cats
While the book is available through a number of sellers, people who buy it directly from Sandy get an autographed copy (with optional custom message) and author's errata sheet. The package deal of book and bulletin board subscription is only available through Holisticat's web site.
In addition to helping countless kitties on the Community Board (and the Yahoo list, etc. before this move), Sandy also offers one-on-one custom consultations for those members that need an individualized treatment plan for their kitties. Her extraordinary insight, experience, and love of kitties is the motivation for offering this extended service. The custom consultation is an on-going process between Sandy and the kitty mom or dad. There is a fee for the consultation because of the individualized nature of the consultation, time consumed, and expertise required. Out of love for kitties, Sandy keeps her fee below the normal rate charged for such a service.
With collaborative efforts by Sandy, Papa J, Shawn, and Jules, the Website is being redesigned and will continually be updated to reflect our commitment to providing a user-friendly atmosphere. Future enhancements to the website and Community Board include a convenient storefront with many of the tools and supplies that members have found useful, but hard to find. And to enrich the Community Board, contributions by Sandy, Shawn, and Jules will eventually include: tutorial videos and slideshows; downloadable articles, calculators, and other reference materials; and spreadsheets and documents for download or by request. We are excited to announce that some of these enhancements are already there for forum members to use!
No Annoying Ads
While everything will always be available to Community Board subscribers, the design of the site will always be such that subscribers will never be involuntarily subjected to advertising or other commercial offerings. In short, there will never be ads on the subscriber's side of the site.
To summarize, if you are searching for a wonderful, caring community of cat lovers with invaluable advice and support, please join us at the Holisticat Community Board. Holisticat can help you make vital decisions for a naturally healthy, happy, and well-fed cat
Boo Boo was rescued by his papa John in the Spring of 1989 age unknown. He and his beautiful blue-eyed sister Tasha lived with a junkie who neglected them to the point of abuse. When he came to live with John, he was in very bad shape:( But with lots of TLC, he blossomed and grew to become a handsome playful fluffy kitty.
In April of 1989, I saw Boo at his dad's place. There he was, sitting on the coffee table posing for me. As soon as I sat down, he jumped on the couch beside me and started purring. He had the neatest loudest, most amazing rumbling purr I have ever heard.
I had never even touched a cat, let alone pet one before I met Booey. It was truly love at first sight for both of us. He picked me to be his mama, and I fell head over heels in love with him. Since then, I have become a cat fanatic. Boo Boo and I had many happy years together (though not enough, of course), and for that I will be eternally grateful.
[Boo Boo, a classy gentleman (1987 - 1998)]
Boo Boo, a classy gentleman (1987 - 1998)
In April of 1997, Boo was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure (CRF) and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM). I was devastated when the vet gave me the grim diagnosis. She said this was the worst possible combination because he had fluid around the lungs/heart area so anything that took fluid away from there, would do the same to the kidneys, which were already working overtime and needed fluids. I took him to a specialist who performed an ultrasound, confirmed HCM, and told me to give Boo Cardizem and Lasix. He told me that nothing could be done for the kidneys or the heart at that point. He was given 2-3 weeks to live, max.
I read every little piece of information I could get on CRF and HCM focusing on natural alternatives for treating them. I took him off Lasix around day 3 and never did give him the Cardizem. Instead I started him a gentle natural regimen on day 4, which he stayed on pretty much till he passed away on Dec 11, 1998, in his sleep of a heart attack.
I hope this gives people who are dealing with both these diseases hope because neither of these diseases is a death sentence. Certainly if Boo who alas was not a raw-fed cat until it was too late, could enjoy a good quality of life for 20 months after he was diagnosed with two serious diseases, so can other kitties. Think positive, and don't give up hope.
I will add that Boo Boo never had a great appetite, he just was never a chow kitty. So what little appetite he had went away, and sadly never came back. We sensed he was going to starve himself to death if we didn't intervene. So we started assist-feeding (AF) him.
He was a real champ and gamely put up with it. John and I know had we not been able to do that, he wouldn't have been with us long past his diagnosis. Please do try AF even if you think your cat won't accept it. Read our account of Boo and AF here. Get Falconer's gloves, buy a kevlar suit, or look into a feeding tube; do what you have to:)
Boo got 3 doses of an acute homeopathic remedy (based on his symptoms) when he was first diagnosed. His symptoms (pulmonary edema, no appetite, and lack of energy among other things) all resolved with the remedy and Dandelion Leaf tea. After that he got a dose of his constitutional remedy as needed.
That as well as his supplement regimen which included Taurine, L-Carnitine, Co-Q-10, Fish oil, Rehmannia 6 or Six Flavor Tea pills, Potassium Gluconate/Tumil-K (he had low potassium), and other herbs/supplements in rotation kept him symptom-free until his last few minutes on this earthly plane.
[Boo's big sis Tasha who we lost in Jan '97]
The night he died, I came home late from teaching a class, and we cuddled and played till pretty early in the morning. I am so glad I treated each day as if it could be the last together, and told him I loved him more than anything in the world.
When I awoke at 8 a.m. and looked over at his basket, he was lying in it with his eyes closed and a very peaceful look on his face as if he was sleeping soundly. I was used to checking his heartbeat and respiration, so I was always attuned to the way his body moved with each breath. I knew right away something was wrong, and sure enough he was gone.
I'll end with a cute story - one of the most healing moments came a few minutes after I discovered Booey had died in his sleep. As I was still taking it all in, I feel this tug on my jammies and a certain monkey cat named Pigpen tapping her paws at me as if to say "Cry on your own time, lady. It's breakfast time for the rest of us, so chop chop". I laughed through my tears and was so glad I had a bratty monkey to help me get through such a tough time.
Cats are so amazing and adorable. Honestly without the other kitties to comfort me, wipe away my tears, and shower me with love, I don't how I could have kept going. Oh, and bucketfuls of flower essences helped a lot too.
Note: Since homeopathy should be tailored to the individual cat, I didn't mention either of Booey's remedies. Please consult someone who knows what they're doing, ahem I was born with homeopathy training in the wombWink
For more information on homeopathy and cats, read the Homeopathy article in our "Healthy" section.