Friday, December 8, 2023
cat photographsEmeraudefoster catsJojoLakotaveterinary medicine

Acupuncture for Lakota and Jojo, and a New Name?

siamese cat getting acupuncture
Checking other meridians after the first few needles.

When Michelle Elgersma offered to stop by today to pick up the tees she’d won in the HCMT auction, she also let me know she was a licensed veterinarian and offered an acupuncture treatment for Lakota; though it may not heal him it can certainly help him to feel better.  I welcomed Dr. Michelle’s offer and looked forward to meeting her as well as learning more about acupuncture used in this instance.

Lakota is still alert though not walking well, but surprised me by eating a little breakfast this morning since I still serve them “both” even though he rarely eats. Jojo ends up eating just about all the food as well as anything else I bring in to tempt him, like baby food, but an adjustment of his qi in certain areas could bring about a change for him, and if not it can at least make his last days more comfortable.

siamese cat getting acupuncture
Feeling along Lakota’s spine.

Acupuncture, a form of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and one of humanity’s oldest healing practices, involves stimulating recognized spots in the body, most often with needles, in order to balance the flow of “qi” through natural pathways in the body known as meridians. Points around the body are each associated with individual organs and the functions of those organs and bodily processes. The body is a system, and keeping the entire system in balance keeps the body from disease.

After meeting Lakota and checking his tongue, still pale with his anemia and even a little yellow from possible jaundice, and his pulse, weakened and uneven from one leg to the next, Dr. Michelle said she’d just do a little bit of an adjustment for him. Too much change in his qi could completely take him off-center, so she would just try to stimulate the areas that were failing.

siamese cat getting acupuncture
The treatment area is ready complete with tablet computer.

We took Lakota into the studio to use my work table’s convenient height and good lighting. Dr. Michelle felt along his spine to find the points that correspond with especially his kidneys and bladder. “The bladder meridian runs from his eye to his back toes, and most are bilateral,” she explained as I envisioned two lines of energy running that length symmetrically along either side of his spine. She gently inserted a tiny needle into kidney point “bladder 23”, then continued along counting rib spaces to “bladder 17” to help with his blood.

While this was very ancient medicine, a very modern tablet computer was involved as well, for information, to show me a diagram, and to keep time.

With these two Lakota visibly relaxed and even began to turn his head upside down, his personal sign of relaxation and confidence. Three more points on the insides of his back legs and on his stomach were also as tonics for his kidneys and blood.

siamese cat getting acupuncture
Lakota relaxes as his acupuncture treatment takes effect.

The needles were to stay in place for about 15 minutes and he had no problem with that though he shifted around a bit just for his own comfort and possibly as he felt his energy changing. One needle popped out and we joked that that particular point was finished.

After removing the rest of the needles Dr. Michelle checked his pulse again. “You should detect a change in the pulse afterward,” she said. His pulse was nearly the same but slight differences could be noted, and in Lakota’s condition this was about what we’d expected.

She offered to treat Jojo as well, and I explained how the girl had been shy and timid, and had been known to vomit frequently though she’d stopped since she’d been here. Dr. Michelle explained about “liver qi anxiety” and “rebellious qi” that kept her always on edge. I’d used several essences on her and Lakota when they first arrived, then focused on one intended for anxiety on Jojo for some days after that, but she was still wary and somewhat distrustful. After her little exam this weekend she came home more trusting and affectionate, and after her acupuncture treatment this afternoon for spleen qi deficiency she is downright giddy, talking to me, giving me face rubs and even licking my hand.

black cat getting acupuncture
Jojo gets her treatment.

I’m so grateful for these treatments for these two, and Lakota and Jojo seem to be as well, and we all thank Dr. Michelle for bringing her kit. She and her husband are actually Canadian but have arrived in Pittsburgh for her husband’s employment. “Years ago, I had the good job at a large animal vet north of Toronto and my husband commuted two hours each way for work each day, then he found the good job in New Jersey and recently found other employment here,” she said.

Dr. Michelle had also mentioned that since they’ll be staying in Pittsburgh she is nearly ready to open her mobile veterinary practice in the area. I’m thrilled to hear there will be another mobile veterinarian—I’ve worked with the same mobile veterinarian for nearly 20 years and I know this is why I’ve been able to care for all the cats I’ve rescued and lived with so effectively. While Dr. Michelle will also be seeing canine patients, I see a greater number of mobile veterinarians as a benefit for feline health since one of the greatest objections to feline health care is that cats find going to the veterinarian a frightening experience and it’s difficult to pack them up and take them there. It’s quite different for the kitty if they don’t need the unfamiliar and upsetting experience of being packed in a box and taken in the moving vehicle to a noisy, smelly place.

. . . . . . .

I’m not sure where Lakota is headed with his condition, but I know his time is brief; though he ate today he is having increasing difficulty walking and his front paws are beginning to “knuckle under”, and I have to check the litterbox he sleeps in frequently so that he’s not sleeping in wet litter. But I am always happy around him and Jojo licks his head now and then. He appreciates this—who wants a bunch of sad creatures around at a time like this?

And as for Jojo, I think she still has some time with us, though I feel I need to find a new name for her. I usually try not to change an animal’s name unless it feels inappropriate for them, as it did for Peaches and Cream, formerly Angel and Rosebud, but did not for Namir and Kelly. But in six weeks I still don’t remember this name in association with her, nor have others, including Dr. Michelle today.

I’ve been sensing something to do with her lovely bright green eyes, like Emeraude, which was a popular perfume when I was little, and it also means “emerald” in French, which relates our girl to Mlle. Daisy Emerald, Giuseppe’s French-Canadian amour. And she is stately with long tresses, or they will be at some point. I can call her Emma now and then too, a name I also like.

So please send Lakota more purrs, and Mlle. Emeraude as well.

black cat with catnip toys
Jojo has her catnip close at hand.

. . . . . . .

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Thanks to everyone who’s voted for me and everyone else in the Petties! I hate to ask anyone to vote every day, but many of you have been telling me you have and I can’t thank you enough for your commitment. I’d love to bring home $1,000 for Frankie’s Friends, especially after taking Lakota to see Dr. Morrow at their clinic on Saturday. Dr. Morrow, who founded Frankie’s Friends, not only smiles through a six-minute spay but she also smiles through examining a critically ill cat and giving some pretty bad news about the results of blood tests too, and that’s not easy, I’m sure.

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14 thoughts on “Acupuncture for Lakota and Jojo, and a New Name?

  • Paulette Smith

    Sending loving purrs from Norway . Acupuncture was a big help with our Hallie’s asthma. I hope it does as well for Lakota and JoJo.

    • Thank you, Paulette, and I’m glad to hear acupuncture worked for you and Hallie! It’s working very well for Jojo/Emma already, Lakota is at least more comfortable.

  • Many comforting purrs for Lakota and sweet Emma.
    They are such lucky kitties to have you.

    • Thanks, Debbie! I’m more glad than ever they came into my life, and Lakota had a few really good weeks.

  • We’re big fans of acupuncture. Ernie has been diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease and he had several acupuncture treatments to help with back pain. We hope the treatments help Lakota and Jojo. Acupuncture can help in so many ways.

    • Island Cats, I’ve never had a reason to use it until now and I’m very impressed with Jojo/Emma, Lakota is more comfortable. We hope it works for Ernie!

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    guys…ONE oh de nice thingz bout St Francis iz him iz all ways reddy ta send blessings….
    ~~~~~~~~~ heerez a bunch…..

    • Tabbies, we get the feeling St. Francis has been hanging around our bathroom taking care of the kids.

  • I loved Emeraude (yes I know I’m dating myself). Gemma is also nice – you could spell it Jemma, as a nod to both her old name. Send lots of love to Lakota. xo

    • Vicki, it’s okay, we’re from the same era, though I never knew that lovely perfume actually meant “emerald” despite the green color and faceted bottle. Jemma is nice, and already she answers to Emma where she rarely answered to Jojo.

  • Long purrrs for all of you.
    I’m glad they found you, and I’m sure they are too.

  • It’s wonderful to see a Lakota relaxed and comfortable with Jojo-Emma (how about Gemma? It’s an old italian/Greek name meaning “jewel” or “precious stone.”) I’m constantly amazed by cats and their insight. I hope that at the end of my days, I can be as graceful and generous as Lakota is.

    • Lynda, Vicki, above, also mentioned Gemma or Jemma! She is a real gem and already likes Emma. Yes, I hope someone is around to care for me in those end days, though I feel I’ve got a lot of cats to care for before then.


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