written by Suz Speirs, CECP/CBCP
Sushi is a beautiful, long-haired cat with Siamese markings who was adopted by my sister and brother-in-law from a shelter several years ago. Not much is known about Sushi’s past, except that he was declawed by a previous owner. At the time this seemed like an advantage in terms of Sushi’s adoptability, and my sister and her husband took Sushi home with great hopes for a happy life together, grateful they need not worry about protecting the upholstery of their new furniture.
Any of us who have adopted pets from shelters realize there may be risks involved in accepting responsibility for animals that have histories that are a mystery, and it didn’t take long before my sister began realizing that Sushi had some issues. He was a biter. And for my sister, with a serious auto-immune disorder and with whom I have been working as a Body Code client, the final straw occurred when I was visiting from out-of-State. Sushi didn’t just nip her, but took a chunk out of her hand that broke the skin and became dangerously inflamed. Was this aggression the reason he was abandoned by his previous owner, and was Sushi a “lost cause” destined to be returned to the animal shelter?
After tending to the wound, my frustrated Sis asked me if we could try some Body Code and Emotion Code work on Sushi to perhaps get to the bottom of his behavioral problems that were preventing him from acclimating to home life. Everybody wanted to love Sushi, but his attitude was totally in the way. It was certainly worth a try.
What I found when I proxied him broke my heart. In tears, I learned of the sadness and trauma, panic and heartache, vulnerability, depression and resentment that were flooding the system of this poor cat. And why? Declawing. I have since learned what a barbarous practice it is, convenient for the owner but highly damaging to the cat, and comparable on humans to having the ends of our fingers removed at the last knuckle. Declawing can lead to a myriad of health issues, both physical and psychological. According to the Humane Society of the U.S., “medical drawbacks to declawing include pain, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), lameness, and back pain. Removing claws changes the way a cat’s foot meets the ground and can cause pain similar to wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. There can also be a regrowth of improperly removed claws, nerve damage, and bone spurs.” And if that isn’t enough of an insult to our feline friends, studies by The Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also indicate potential behavioral issues. Cats that may have previously been friendly and trusting could become antisocial, disoriented, anxious and aggressive due to their new feelings of vulnerability. A sense of overwhelming helplessness could turn a sweet kitty belligerent, which in turn can deeply affect his overall relationship with his care-taker creating yet another layer of family stress.
It seems our friend Sushi had been severely wounded by this surgery and needed some help, fast, (and so did his mom!) I worked on his paws and nervous system, applying Body Code and Emotion Code techniques to help him move past his trauma as well as current feelings of sorrow, fear and abandonment regarding his lashing out at my sister. We resolved the painful memories that were still affecting the quality of life for him and his humans. It feels great to report that as a result of employing these techniques, Sushi now has a new lease on life and has become a happier, healthier and more cooperative part of the family. With no more biting.
My own cat Kia has a similar story. Plagued with chronic fear and shyness, it took one and a half years in relative confinement at the animal shelter for her to find a new owner willing to work with and patiently bring her out of her shell. She practically lived under my bed for many months. After my training I began employing the Body Code and Emotion Code applications to her issues, and over time she has developed into a social animal enjoying a warm, affectionate and playful relationship with me and freely greeting friends and strangers alike into my home.
This just proves to me that our little four-footed, furry friends are not so different from us humans. While the Body Code was developed to assist people, I have found that it naturally lends itself to similar application for pets and other animals. Who knows, we may someday be talking about using these techniques to also balance and heal our relationships with plant life and Mother Earth herself! Why not?