Linda Fiorelli has a BS in Business administration, 25 years Auditing & Accounting. 10+ years volunteering with Southern California Abyssinian Rescue as a foster family.
Why do you use an integrative approach?
Abyssinian cats are extremely intelligent and very sensitive, we call them the “border collies” of the cat world. As a result, their reaction to being uprooted from their owners includes anger. My traditional foster rehabilitation includes: understanding, empathy, patience, interactive play, food, toys, communication, etc. I've tried other "aides" for traumatized foster cats; but when I had a very angry cat, I started using the Spirit Essences, Trauma Free & Stress Stopper. SUCCESS!
What alternative modalities do you use with your patients or clients?
I talk to the cats to gain their trust & cooperation. I also use visualization, imagery and be sure I have a calm energy. Southern California Abyssinian Rescue is great about getting all of our rescues necessary wellness checks and vet care. I take my foster cats to my vet, who is very open to Spirit Essences & other alternative methods. WE DON'T DECLAW FOR ANY REASON. I have a friend who does Reiki and we also use two professional animal communicators.
Tell us about your most memorable patient or client and their case?
Three years ago, I got Ruby, an 8-year-old Abyssinian, owner surrender, who was purchased as a kitten when their son was 10. When their son went to college, they didn't want her anymore. She was ANGRY and rightfully so. At that time, I had fostered over 20 Abyssinian cats and I can usually win them over within a few minutes. They know I hear them, they trust me and we move forward. This was a whole new level of rehabilitation, and it was very frustrating for me. After over a week, she still was ANGRY, and would lash out at me when I was putting her food down. I would sing to her, play with a wand toy, but had to keep a baby gate between us to make her feel safe. She was making some progress but it was slow. I tried other "remedies", but nothing worked. I watch My Cat From Hell (MCFH), and my husband suggested that I look up the MCFH website to see if there was anything to help this situation. I read about the essences, and tried trauma & stress. Within three days, she started to rub up against my legs, no more lashing out at me! The essences enabled Ruby to walk out of her black, angry, cloud and leave it behind her. My colleagues at Southern California Abyssinian Rescue were so excited that the essences worked, they ordered essences for their foster cats with similar great results.
What's a common question, concern or misconception you hear about the integrative approach, and how do you address it?
I’ve seen comments on social media that the Spirit Essences are just water. I actually don't care what is in them, THEY WORK. I've used them very successfully for three years now, all with similar success. Often I use a series of essences as the cat progresses. Initially stress and trauma, then if the cat is still facing challenges, I identify the issue and then adjust our therapy including play, leash training, grooming, meeting new people, whatever.
I adjust the essences: Peacemaker, Bully, Happy Tummy, Loss, Healthy Helper, Traveler, Intensive Care, Changing Times, as we go through rehabilitation. I have an entire shelf of my pantry filled with the different essences.
In order to help educate more people about an integrative approach, what are some resources or thoughts you'd like to share?
Life is not a one size fits all--different situations with animal welfare should embrace a variety of modalities that are appropriate for each individual case. PEOPLE, PLEASE DO YOUR homework when you are looking for an addition to your household. Many people love the exotic look of Abyssinians, Ocicats & Bengals. But they have no idea that these intelligent, energetic cats need an abundance of exercise, mental & physical stimulation well into their senior years. If you want a cat for your child to pick up and carry around, or you love your antique silk sofa & display your glass figurines all over the house, THESE ARE NOT THE RIGHT CATS FOR YOU!!