Is your feline friend stressed or ailing? This Japanese therapy is a gentle, noninvasive way to give healing energy to kitties in need.

My friend Janet feeds several feral cat colonies throughout San Francisco and also frequently rescues and gives aids to these kitties. Recently, she took two feral kittens into her home until the SPCA could evaluate their adoption potential. Thus far, their future didn’t look promising; Janet had been scratched and bitten, and had to wear gloves when reaching into their cage to feed or clean them.

I offered to use Reiki to help calm and heal the kittens. I placed a chair about ten feet from the cage. The kittens, one gray and one black, stared at me, terrified. The black one stood in front of the gray, clearly protecting her little brother. The other members of Janet’s cat family were also interested in the new arrivals. One of these cats, Honeydew, had been rescued and adopted by Janet from the same colony. Still quite feral, she had hidden herself in another room when I arrived.

This healing modality can generate relaxation and peace in even the most stressed-out cases, and is ideal for shelter and rescue cats.

Before I began the Reiki treatment, I set my intention to offer the kittens some healing, but let go of my expectations about what might happen, understanding that they need only take what they were comfortable with – which might be nothing at all. I visualized myself several feet away from them and not breaching this space. I also avoided eye contact so as not to push any kind of physical connection with them. I closed my eyes, rested my hands on my lap, and began to offer Reiki.

Calming the kittens

As I began the treatment, which involves simply connecting with the Reiki energy and then “holding a healing space” for the cats, I focused on a feeling of peace and tranquility inside myself. It was obvious the cats were tremendously fearful and stressed, and I knew Reiki would help them relax. I also visualized Janet and what a safe, good person she was. They were in a good place where they would have food and shelter.

Although I didn’t open my eyes for nearly a half an hour, I felt the energy flow strongly through me as sensations of heat and buzzing in my hands, arms and body. The best description of what it’s like to offer Reiki is how it feels to be in a deep and peaceful meditation. I knew from the strong flow and relaxation I felt that the kittens were accepting the energy.

At the end of the treatment, when I began to feel the energy dissipate and my mind return from the deep meditation I had entered, I opened my eyes. The two kittens had moved to the front of the cage, as close to me as they could get, and had fallen fast asleep. Honeydew had also come out of hiding and was curiously watching me from just a few feet away. As I made eye contact with her, she held my gaze quizzically for a long moment, then looked at the kittens and back to me. Then she disappeared as silently as she had come. It was as if she was telling me: “I felt the energy, too. Thank you for helping them.”

What is Reiki?

If you are looking for a gentle noninvasive technique for supporting feline wellness, look no further than Reiki. This healing modality can generate relaxation and peace in even the most stressed-out cases, and is ideal for shelter and rescue cats. Reiki can also help speed healing after surgery or illness, reduce the side effects of medicine and other treatments, relieve pain, improve behavior problems, heal anxiety-related issues and, when physical healing isn’t possible, ease the transition into death.

Reiki is Japanese in origin. “Rei” means “spirit” and “Ki” means “energy” so the word literally translates to “spiritual energy.” Reiki is also a spiritual practice, albeit one without dogma and beliefs, so it is compatible with any religious philosophy. With just the ingredients of your heartfelt intention to help your cat, and your cat’s acceptance, anyone can begin to experience the healing power of Reiki energy. To become a certified practitioner, however, you’ll need to find a Reiki teacher near you and take a class.

Your intention and commitment to “doing” Reiki (medi- tation and opening to the flow of energy) is important to your own development and healing, as well as your ability to connect with animals successfully. On a personal level, practicing Reiki can deepen your intuition and cause tremendous internal healing on all levels.

The way and flow of Reiki is toward perfect energetic balance, so it always finds the origin of a problem (since all health problems are “disease” or imbalance) and supports energetic harmony (rebalancing and clearing the energy “flow”). Reiki’s harmonic nature also makes it completely safe and ideal for use with other modalities, both conventional and holistic.

Cats are especially sensitive to Reiki energy and will benefit greatly from treatments at a distance.

Healing from a distance

Cats are especially sensitive to Reiki energy and will benefit greatly from treatments at a distance. As I did with Janet’s feral kittens, this involves meditatively and respectfully “offering” rather than physically and actively “giving” Reiki with physical contact (as is often done in human Reiki treatments). Incorporating this philosophy with all cats, even those comfortable and familiar with humans, results in a greater openness from the animals and better success in their treatments.

In just one treatment, Janet’s kittens showed improvement. As early as the next day, she was able to reach into the cage and hold and pet the gray kitten. The black, although still fearful, refrained from attacking her hands. Soon, with continued Reiki, patient work and lots of love from cat socializers, the kittens learned to trust people. Within a few months, Cody and Millie were adopted into good homes.

As this story illustrates, Reiki is safe, gentle and effective. Our feline friends are so much more aware of this subtle energetic communication than we are. See what they think of Reiki, and you never know – you might fi nd yourself trying a treatment, too!