Iris gets cancer

Since we feed our animals a healthy, raw diet with whole food supplements, and give them minimal vaccinations, we have tended to assume that their health would improve under our care and we would avoid chronic illnesses. The week before Christmas, we were shocked when our cat, Iris, fell suddenly ill and was diagnosed with advanced cancer. Always a finicky cat, she had become more finicky than normal in the previous couple of weeks, but when she totally stopped eating on December 16, I knew something was seriously wrong. I took the morning off work the next day, a Friday, to take her to the vet to find out what was wrong. The exam showed nothing wrong except a fever, but the bloodwork came back the next day indicating a likely bacterial infection. We were relieved and started her on antibiotics. However, the antibiotics did not improve her symptoms of lethargy and not eating. So it was back to the vet on Monday. Fortunately I had scheduled that week off work due to the Christmas holidays. She got fluids and acupuncture, and we switched her to injectable antibiotics, thinking that the antibiotics were causing her continued lack of appetite. I now had to start syringing food into her, since she hadn’t eaten for several days. I overdid that Monday night and she threw up everything I’d syringed into her. With the continued lack of appetite the next day, the vet recommended further testing, to see if she had developed fatty liver from not eating, or had pancreatitis. So, an ultrasound was run on her Tuesday. I was now thankful to have pet insurance on her, since the costs were mounting up. The vet called Tuesday afternoon with the results and I was shocked to hear that Iris had intestinal lymphoma—the ultrasound showed all the signs of an advanced case. Strangely, this type of cancer, which is very common in cats, can come on suddenly in just a matter of weeks.

The vet, who is holistic, could offer no treatment other than palliative care. In fact, she was talking about euthanasia and hospice care, as our only options at this point. I called our previous vet, a classical homeopath, and her vet tech told me the same thing—that lymphoma in cats is always terminal and there is no effective holistic treatment for it. I was shocked and dismayed by this news. I picked up Iris Tuesday evening, along with a homotoxicology remedy and some Chinese herbs, recommended by the vet. After 2 days of fluids and acupuncture, she was feeling better and I was encouraged to see her eat a whole plate of food at home and play with the laser toy. That was the most food she’d eaten in over 4 days. She also wanted some food the following morning at 5:30 am, though not as much. However, the acupuncture and fluids wore off and she started declining again, becoming lethargic, hiding under the bed and not wanting to eat much. From Internet research, I learned that the conventional treatment for lymphoma is prednisone and chemotherapy, neither of which cures it. They typically only buy a little time. So we quickly ruled out pursuing conventional treatment.

Obviously we couldn’t keep taking Iris to the vet every day for fluids and acupuncture. Not only would that be cost prohibitive but we were traveling 25 miles to the vet. Even though we live in a major metropolitan area, that’s how far we have to go to reach a holistic vet that also offers conventional treatment. Good holistic vets are few and far between. And I would be returning to work the following week and unable to ferry Iris to the vet. With Iris being so ill, we had to act quickly to get Iris eating again if we wanted her to have any chance of recovering or at least improving for a period of time. So, we came up with our own program for Iris, aided by the advice of our holistic human practitioners and an animal communicator. We decided to start giving her both  BioPreparation (BP) F3+ and PSP, a rice-based supplement. These are both cellular foods, meaning they provide food for the cells allowing the body to heal any condition, including cancer. She had previously been on the BP F2+ formula, but the F3+ formula is the one typically used for cancer, as it has more antioxidants. She had also previously been on the PSP, but we stopped using it on our animals last summer when the manufacturer merged with another company and the quality declined. However, I still had some of the original formula stored in the freezer. Also, we had been using an energetic tool with our animals, remedies made by stirring magnetized stili in water, to transfer the energy of the herbs to the water. I consulted with the practitioner selling those to see which ones would be best for Iris now. I started mixing the BP and PSP with the stilus remedies (which are energized water), then syringing that into her. She was still eating a little so I didn’t have to syringe food into her yet.

I also suspected some emotional issues going on, which could have precipitated her current illness. In early November she had been stuck in a tree for 2 days and nights before we found her. I felt that could have brought up some issues of abandonment and feeling unwanted, that were already present. She got sick after that with an upper respiratory virus, which she was still recovering from.

The next day, Wednesday, we were able to get an appointment with an animal communicator we know, who confirmed that Iris had some serious issues going on around feeling unwanted, not just by us but throughout this life and past lives. The tree incident brought all that to the forefront. The communicator said Iris was not ready to leave her body and did want us to help her recover, if possible. So we went thru the (by now long) list of options:

  • From the vet: subcutaneous fluids, homotoxicology remedy and Chinese herb
  • From the human practitioner: Intramax (liquid supplement) and Maitake mushroom extract
  • From our experience: BP F3+, PSP, stili remedies

Iris was overwhelmed by all these options and asked us to whittle it down to half this. We felt we needed to get maximum nutrition into Iris since she hadn’t been eating, so the BP and PSP were top priority to us, even though energetic testing of Iris by the human practitioner had shown Intramax and Maitake as top priority. Also, Iris said if we wanted to do the homeotoxicology remedy from the vet, then we couldn’t also do the BP and PSP. And she did not want the Chinese herb at all, insisting it would make her stomach hurt. By negotiating with Iris (via the animal communicator), we settled on mixing together the Intramax, BP, PSP and stili remedies and syringing that into her, plus administering subcutaneous fluids. I was worried not to be doing the Maitake but Iris insisted it was too much for her body to add that to the mixture. Maybe in a week or two we could add it.

Iris also wanted to talk to us about our other cat, Simba, insisting that he was getting more attention and privileges than her. She felt neglected and unwanted by us, like she always got the “short end of the stick”. She said everyone else’s needs came before hers. So we discussed some options for providing more attention to Iris and keeping Simba away from her. It became clear from talking with the animal communicator that Iris was quite unhappy with the situation and this certainly could be contributing to her illness.

We started with the agreed-upon program of supplements right away. I had also put out a request on Facebook the day Iris was diagnosed, for people to send prayers and healing energy to Iris. Since some of my friends are Reiki masters, this meant she got remote Reiki treatments, which I am sure helped. (In fact, Iris told the communicator that we were giving her too much Reiki and not to overdo it.)

I didn’t want to get my hopes up but was pleasantly surprised to see Iris quickly respond to the program. Her appetite improved, so we didn’t have to syringe any more food into her, just the supplements. She didn’t eat as much as when healthy but over the course of just a couple of days, started eating more quantity and more frequently. She wanted to go outside, and was happy when I took her out on a harness and leash (I couldn’t let her out loose like before, as a sick cat would be easy prey for a predator, plus she could start feeling ill and hide under a bush, where we would never find her.)

Update as of 1/4/11

Iris was acting so well by now that we wondered if she even still had the cancer. We were really astounded at how quickly she had improved. She was eating normal amounts of food, playing and asking to go out. I no longer had to administer subcutaneous fluids to her, as she was eating sufficient food to stay hydrated. I saw the human health practitioner this day, who still picked up cancer in Iris with her energetic testing. The BP F3+ did not test good for her, showing that it was stressing her kidneys. Also, the Intramax liquid supplement no longer tested good. In contrast, the BioSuperfood F2 formula tested good. We had only started the Maitake a couple of days ago, just giving 1 drop/day. The practitioner suggesting giving 3 drops 2x/day. I was reluctant to switch from the F3+ to the F2 formula, as the “3” formulas are indicated in the case of cancer. On the other hand, she was still testing as having cancer, so I decided it would be worthwhile to switch and see how she responded. We could always switch back to previous formula if Iris started declining.

Update as of 1/9/11

So far, Iris is doing well on the supplements suggested by the human health practitioner. We are now giving her daily:

  • 2 drops Unda 1 (homeopathic drainage remedy for the liver)
  • 1 capsule BSF F2
  • ¾ scoop PSP
  • 6 drops Maitake mushroom extract
  • When possible, we add some Wild Kitty supplements to her food, which helps to balance the raw food with any missing nutrients

Iris continues to eat well—we feed her about 4 times/day. Every day she is waking up Russell at 5 or 6 am asking for food, thus interfering with his sleep. Later she gets breakfast, dinner and a late night dinner. I syringe the BSF, PSP and Maitake into her 2x/day, as it’s too hard to do it 3x/day on workdays. Yesterday, when I took her outside, the harness seemed snugger, as if she’d gained some weight. She continues to play every day and asks to go out. This morning I heard her playing with a ball outside my bedroom and right now she is trying to catch a bug on my bed. We’ve made an effort to give her more attention and not just leave her alone upstairs (where she hangs out to be away from Simba), and she seems happier.

So, we are hopeful now that she will recover from the lymphoma. If not, then at least her quality of life is drastically improved, as she is clearly feeling well now. We are glad that we did not listen to the vet’s prognosis and just give up and put her to sleep. It seems there are some illnesses for which even holistic vets can offer no effective treatment, as the treatments that could help are not widely known or have been used mainly in people and not animals. I don’t know if anyone has used holistic treatments on a cat with lymphoma and seen it get well–I found nothing on this when searching the Internet.

We have encountered this in our business where my husband has seen numerous dogs recover from IMHA (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia), an almost always fatal illness that neither conventional nor holistic vets have an effective treatment for. Russell has seen dogs totally recover from this after taking our algae supplement (BioSuperfood or BioPreparation). It’s interesting that when the owners tell their vet about how their dog recovered, typically the vet is not interested. It just doesn’t fit into their “box” of how they understand the world, particularly if they are a conventional vet.

We have never had a pet with cancer before, and with our pets being on such an excellent diet (raw food), the question arises, why did Iris get cancer? So, I dug out her old medical records from her previous owner, and saw that she had been vaccinated 3 times (once each year) for the feline leukemia virus. We have only had Iris since August 2007; prior to that she was in two foster homes for a year and then owned by a vet tech before that. So we are seeing the consequences now of her previous poor diet and over-vaccination. When I looked up feline leukemia on the Internet, I learned that the leukemia virus causes lymphoma in cats. So, it is not too much of a stretch to think that the leukemia vaccine could also cause lymphoma in some cats. (The vet tech at my previous holistic vet’s office agreed with this assessment.) Also, there was the emotional trauma Iris experienced when stuck in a tree for 2 days and nights in early November. The vaccinations probably predisposed her to lymphoma; then the emotional shock precipitated the cancer. From our research and study, we knew that vaccinations were damaging to the body—now we have first-hand proof. We hope that with the cellular nutrition we are giving her now, that we can reverse this damage sufficiently for Iris to become healthy again.

Update as of 1/18/11

Iris continues to improve every week. When she was sick, she was eating quite small amounts so we were having to feed her frequently. This week she is back to eating normal amounts at meals so we are not needing to feed her as often, and she has stopped waking Russell up every morning at 5 or 6 am for food. We weighed her a couple of days ago and she has gained 1-1/2 pounds in the past month! So she has gone from not eating at all a month ago to eating normal amounts and putting on weight. She is actually starting to look a little chubby. She is also coming downstairs again in the evenings now, to get attention, food and playing, instead of just staying upstairs by her cat tree all the time. We are really astonished at how quickly she has recovered. Russell is so amazed he keeps saying, “maybe she just had IBD”, but the ultrasound clearly showed enlarged lymph nodes, fluid in the abdomen and a possible mass in the abdomen (tumor), in addition to the thickened intestinal walls (that by themselves could be IBD, but with the other findings, clearly indicate lymphoma). The vet had no doubt that Iris had advanced lymphoma and told us our only options were euthanasia or hospice care. We have talked to 3 different holistic vets now about lymphoma and they all told us the same thing: “There is no effective holistic treatment for lymphoma.” We don’t know if Iris is free of her cancer yet but at this point, she is free of symptoms, defying the expectations of all veterinarians, holistic or conventional. We hope that if Iris continues to improve and do well, that at least some of the holistic vets we know will show an interest in how we were able to help Iris get well, so that other pets can benefit from what we have learned.


Today I saw the human practitioner who has been helping us test Iris and determine the best supplement program. She is no longer picking up cancer in Iris, just “toxicity”. Iris only needs 3/4 tsp. of PSP now and 1 drop/day of Maitake. So if she has any residual cancer, it is a small enough amount to no longer show up in energetic testing. Iris is actually acting more “well” now than before she got sick with lymphoma. She is playing a lot, eating normal amounts at meals and asking to go out. We are very hopeful now that she will make a complete recovery. Eventually we will redo the ultrasound to see what it shows, but that will be stressful on her so we are not doing that anytime soon.

UPDATE: Iris’ cancer recurred in July 2011. To find out what happened (she is fully recovered as of 7/2012), read the new blog posting here:

8 thoughts on “Iris gets cancer

  1. I was surfing the net for answers re: maitake supplement and I found this site. You seem quite knowledgeable in natural remedies so if you don’t mind, can I ask you a question?
    I rescued a Shar pei with vitamin B12 deficiency about 16 months ago (Sedona is his name). He was having some skin and coat issues. The vet of course recommended antihistamines and bathing with medicated shampoo. But one of the women at the rescue recommended Maitake supplement. (What finally helped was increasing his cobalamine injections). He has b een on the maitake for at least a year. I was giving 1 dropper twice daily after consulting with the rescue woman who also is a practicing, I guess you would say Herbologist. At one point I increased him but she cautioned me aobut him being on higher doses for extended periods so I tapered him back down over a month. This summer he started having allergy problems again (not as severe as initially) and I increased his maitake to 2 droppers twice daily, the plan being just to get him through the summer. But 3 to 5 weeks ago, he started being picky with his food (he normally eats like a lab, fast and completely). He would leave food with maitake on it so I thought he could taste it and didn’t like it so I cut back again to 1 dropper. He still was picky so I stopped using it (he was basically leaving it in the bowl so I thought why waste it). He still would leave some food on the plate but all the dogs were doing that and I thought the heat was making them less hungry.

    One morning the neighbors brought him home as he had escaped and gone under their camper sometime in the night. He vomited that day and the next. I took him to teh vet and long story a little less long, she thinks he has immune mediated hemolytic anemia.

    Now of course, I am TERRIFIED that I have given him this illness (or triggered a disease he was predisposed to) by using the maitake, or overusing it, or stopping it too suddenly. Do you think this is the case?

    Thank you.

    • I sent you a private reply but I’ll also post here that I am not aware of any herbs that can trigger IMHA. A quick Google search finds that Maitake has been used by people long-term as a food. Since Maitake tests good for my cat with energetic testing, that leads me to think it is a fairly benign herb, since cats are so sensitive. Their livers lack the enzymes to process herbs and drugs tolerated by dogs and humans, because cats are pure carnivores and therefore don’t need those enzymes to process toxins found in plant foods. However, I am not a veterinarian or a professional herbalist, so I am not professionally qualified to state the Maitake is safe for dogs. If you’re concerned about it, I would suggest consulting with a professional. My husband’s experience in dealing with customers whose dogs have IMHA and the experience of holistic vets is that it often comes on after a toxic exposure, such as vaccinations, heartworm meds, application of flea and tick remedies or exposure to a high level of pesticides (such as those applied to golf courses). We have seen some customers’ dogs fully recover from IMHA after the use of bio-algae concentrates, when the vet had given up on the dog.

      Any time a pet changes its eating habits like your dog did, it’s a good idea to have a vet check them out soon. That’s what happened with our cat Iris–she became more finicky over the course of a few weeks, but we just attributed it to her upper respiratory illness and the stress of having been stuck in a tree for 3 days before we found her, in early November. Then one day she stopped eating totally. She was refusing her favorite foods. I took her in to the vet right away, thinking that I was probably over-reacting and that it was something minor. So, I was rather shocked to find out that she had advanced intestinal cancer at that point and the vet was telling me my only options were euthansia or hospice care, that my cat was on death’s door. This was a holistic vet and she told me there were no holistic options that would cure the cancer. Instead of putting Iris to sleep, we decided to see if we could get her better with natural remedies and we quickly got her eating again. She is now acting totally normal again–you wouldn’t even know that she had cancer. Just this morning she was jumping around in delight on the platforms in the new cat enclosure we put on our porch.

  2. Pingback: Iris’ cancer returns | The Pursuit of Wholeness

  3. Thank you for taking the time to post this inspirational story! I am so happy for you and for Iris! You are so fortunate to have had access to the holistic vet. Congratulations on your extreme tenacity in treating her. I am amazed.

    I am eternally grateful to Russell Louie for providing BioPrep F3+ which has healed my Possom dog from Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. I expect her to be weaned off predisone soon.

  4. Pingback: The cat who refuses to die | The Pursuit of Wholeness

  5. You don’t seem to mention it here but I’d say fighting spirit from all the involved parties helped a lot, refusing to give in is so important. Conventional medicine seems more and more like a scam to sell us bogus pills that do nothing but make profits for people. I’m glad you had the sense to look elsewhere.

  6. I also was surfing we re Maitake. Specifically, I wanted to know how much I can give my 13 year old cat Mitzie who has been diagnosed with nasal carcinoma.
    Reading your account of all you have done for your cat, I am encouraged to give my cat Maitake and some other herbal remedies. Thank you!
    Best wishes to Iris!

    Ursula Jansing
    Clinton NY

    • I’m sorry, I don’t know the appropriate amount of Maitake for a cat. I can’t remember how much we gave Iris, as we only had her on it for a couple of weeks, then we dropped it as we were giving her too many things and we had to simplify. It would be best for you to consult with a professional herbalist or vet to get the right amount to give. It wouldn’t be legal for me to give you an amount, anyway, since I’m not a vet. If you can find a holistic vet where you live, they can advise you on which herbal remedies are safe and how much to give. You need to make sure that whatever you give is safe for cats, as their livers don’t have all the enzymes that humans and dogs do, to detoxify chemicals. So they may not be able to tolerate some herbs that are safe for us. If you don’t have a holistic vet, then you may be able to find out thru research on the web which herbs are safe for cats. Maitake is sold in supplements for pets, including cats, so it is safe, as is the Morinda herb that I give Iris now. Good luck with your cat. Iris has taught me not to give up–she has been on death’s door 3 times now and made full recoveries each time.

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