Reiki for Stressed-Out Cats
Got a stressed-out cat? Here is everything you need to know about reiki for cats—from what it is and how it can help your cat to remote reiki, plus four tips to soothe your stressed feline friend.
“Your cat is angry,” revealed Rose Proud, an animal communicator. After a catfight in our home, I called Rose’s online radio show—just to listen in, of course.
Yet, I soon found myself on the air, spilling the sordid details of how our feisty tuxedo cat, Buba-ji, injured his brother-from-another-mother, Deacon, resulting in a steep veterinary bill and stress for all involved. I was now failing miserably at getting Deacon to take his meds and to bring peace to our house. My heart was broken. And I needed help.
Misplaced Cat Aggression
Bub’s attack was the result of seeing a wild cat outside our kitchen window. Because he couldn’t attack that cat, he bit a substitute.
In some ways, it’s similar to when you have a bad day, and, out of frustration, you snap at your mate. But, in cats—what with their sharp claws and fangy teeth—the acting out can be vicious.
Most vets advise to place the cats in separate rooms, and then slowly reintroduce them to each other. But what’s frustrating is there’s no telling how long this process will take. Some cats recover within hours. In our case, two weeks later, Buba-ji was still trying to attack. I was desperate.
What Is Pet Communication?
“I tune in to your animal companion to help you better understand each other, enhance mutual respect and enjoy a deeper bond,” says Proud of her work as a pet communicator.
I admit I was skeptical. And, yet, when she told me Bub was angry, something clicked. I had been unwilling to consider my cat might be carrying resentments—about me. As Proud gently asked me questions, I realized lockdown was affecting not only us, but also our cats. Bub no longer had the alone time he might need because we’ve taken over his favorite couch. Further, we rearranged the living room and removed something he liked to climb on.
Whether Rose was communicating with Bub, or just skillful at handling me—or perhaps both—I don’t know. But she helped me consider my part in Bub’s emotional turmoil.
How Reiki Can Help Your Cat
After talking with Rose, I began to think about possible disconnects in Bub’s mind/body/spirit. I wondered, could reiki help?
“Reiki is a holistic Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation, and spiritual healing,” defines NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital online.“People are susceptible to illness when there is a restriction in the flow of energy and Reiki seeks to restore it.”
Over 60 hospitals in the U.S.—including Yale New Haven and Columbia University Medical Center—now offer reiki for humans as part of hospital, clinic, or hospice programs. As happened with yoga and meditation, the medical community is no longer blasting reiki with quite so many accusations of pseudoscience. Many holistic animal practitioners also now offer energy healing.
Yet, in this time of lockdown, my options for taking Bub somewhere were limited. It was time to think creatively.
How Reiki Works
While there is no agreed-upon theory for how the modality works, “the concepts underlying energy therapies such as reiki have theoretical commonalities with a variety of models in physics," notes Institute for the Advancement of Complementary Therapies founder Pamela Miles in the journal Alternative Therapies.
“Bioelectromagnetism, quantum physics, and superstring theory are consistent with Asian scripture in suggesting that very subtle vibration may be the substratum of reality as we know it,” she says, “and, therefore, such vibration may have a role to play in health and disease.”
Remote Reiki to the Rescue
So, if reiki is biofield energy, just how far can it travel? To find out, I reached out to Marshall Hammer of Reiki for Today, who provides remote Reiki for animals (and their humans).
“I found Reiki out of necessity,“ explains Marshall. “I needed to reconnect with my body's messages. I hadn't been listening for such a long time; I could no longer hear. Reiki helped me get back in touch with myself.”
Could Hammer help Bub get back in touch with himself? At the agreed-upon time, Hammer started directing reiki energy at us from her office.
Meanwhile, I took Bub into the bedroom and put on a Spotify soundtrack Hammer sent me. I ditched my phone, slowed my breathing, and sat present to the moment with Bub. He purred, rolled on the carpet, and pushed his head into my hand. Soon, his tail stopped thwapping, and his constricted pupils enlarged, a sign he was relaxing. He even did an I-trust-you squinty half-blink. Usually restless, he settled into a blissful 45-minute chill. Usually fidgety, I fell asleep.
After our session, remarkably, Bub seemed different. And I was a lot less skeptical about what is possible from a distance. While I may not be able to prove what happened or why, I became more aware of Bub’s emotions and needs, as well how my changes to our home might impact him.
Within a week, Deacon began joining us for our weekly reiki sessions. Admittedly, the dynamics in our house may not be purrrfect yet, but we are getting closer.
Read about five spiritual lessons we learn from cats.
Four Tips to Soothe Your Stressed-Out Cat
Mantra time. Mikao Usui, founder of what we refer to as reiki, offered his students five guiding precepts. Try saying them each morning with your pets: Just for today, do not anger. For today only: do not worry; do not anger; be humble; be honest in your work; be compassionate to yourself and others. Repeat as often as needed throughout the day.
Bathe in sound. Check out the Pet Therapy Music for Deep Relaxation of Cats and Dogs playlist on Spotify.
Remote reiki. Schedule a remote reiki session for your pet.
Go pro. If you are a healer type interested in helping animals, take an animal reiki certification course.