Christmas is the time of year when humans are giving and receiving. It is also the time of year when individuals are inclined to purchase cute kittens and puppies as gifts for their family. The initial union is filled with much optimism and happiness but after a few days, the reality of looking after a kitten or puppy start to become apparent. The strain on the family from sleepless nights, the smell of wee and poo, causes the owners to justify their behaviour of shouting and hitting their baby animal for all of the wrongdoings that have occurred. Next come the excuses as to why they cannot keep the baby animal, how the animal has caused them so much stress. We have barely reached New Year’s Eve and the baby animal is now coming to terms with a new home in a Rescue Centre.
Let us wind back to the beginning of this baby animals life, nestled in the bosom of their mother with their siblings keeping them warm. Life is very simple; with nothing more to do than eat and sleep. In the wild feral kittens would stay with their mother for up to 8 months and puppies, if allowed to follow their wolf relations, would stay with their mother for up to 18 months. Yet we humans have a magical number of 8 weeks.
In reality it makes sense to the breeder as the babies are growing rapidly therefore eating more, their hearing and eyesight is developed and they are becoming more aware of the big wide world around them. Unfortunately in some baby animals, especially those younger than 8 weeks, being taken from their mother so early can cause a catalogue of behavioural problems. Hence taking us back to the original opening paragraph, our lack of animal understanding and early abrupt weaning can have catastrophic possibilities for the baby animal.
The simplest way to describe why behavioural problems would manifest is to look at it from another point of view. For example; a young child taken from a family and forced to live in the wild, with wolves, has not learnt the basics of how to be ‘human’ from their mother or siblings. There have been documented cases of feral children in the past which showed that they lacked basic human skills such as how to use a toilet, how to stand up straight. The biggest revelation is their complete lack of interest in any human activity. They are disconnected with the human world around them. We are in essence doing the same to our animals, by taking them from their mother at such a young age and expecting them to understand the laws of the human world, even though they have barely learnt the laws of their own animal kingdom.
If a dog does not learn that he is a dog and how to communicate with dogs, there will be a blurred line of an animal being a dog but thinking they are human as they have been taken away from their mother far too young. We then expect them to play nicely with the dog in the park but in reality they have not learnt the skills and dog language to do so. They become fearful of other dogs, and this fear often turns into an outburst of barking and biting from which then they are then labelled aggressive. Animals who have been taken from their mothers often feel that the world is scary; cats will spend a lot of their life hiding and dogs will often find it difficult to relate to other dogs.
Holistic help for Early Abrupt Weaning
Flower essences can offer support to animals who are suffering with Early Abrupt Weaning; they offer emotional support and open up the ability to change. They support the animal in having more confidence, which in turn means that they will feel braver. They will be able to experience new things and in turn will learn that the world is not as scary as they thought. Flower Essences are very gently and work at the individual pace that the animal needs.
The following flower essences (brand name in parenthesis) can be of great help:
- Honeysuckle (Bach) – Supports animals to leave the past behind and to live in the now
- Walnut (Bach) – Support animals to adapt to change
- Cosmos (California) – Supports animals in communicating with other animals and differing species
- Mimulus (Bach) – Supports animals who have a known fear
- Aspen (Bach) – Supports animals who have an unknown fear
- Dog Rose (Australian) – Supports every day fears and lack of confidence
- Cherry Plum (Bach) – Supports animals who lose control such as biting
- Cow Parsnip (Alaskan) – Supports animals to adapt their new surroundings
- Mariposa Lily (Californian) – Supports animals being introduced to their human
Make up a treatment bottle taking 2 drops from your chosen flower essences above and put in a 30 ml (1 oz) dropper bottle filled with spring water. Give your animal 4 drops 4 times a day.
With cats that hide, you can support them by placing them in a cage in the room where you are. They will not be able to run and hide but will learn that the world is ok and also feel safe in their cage. I used this technique to introduce my new kittens into my home and also to my two Springer Spaniels. It worked brilliantly.
With animals that suffer from Early Abrupt Weaning, we need to understand that a lot of their problems are due to them feeling fearful and insecure. They find new experiences scary as they do not have the communication or social skills to deal with it. They like routine and can be unpredictable when pushed outside their comfort zone. Re-socializing them to new practices will take time, so move slowly and allow them to show you the pace that you both need to work with. Flower Essences can play a big part in helping them to adjust.