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Tails the Asthma Cat

Faculty Case – Homeopathy School International

February 15, 2006, Boulder, Colorado

Tails is an orange Tabby cat about 2 years old; neutered with all of the “normal” vaccinations; average size and weight; very playful and friendly (once he adjusts to you); purrs frequently and vigorously; loves to be petted. Tails suffers from Asthma.


Tails and his sister, a tortoiseshell, were taken to a shelter when they were kittens. Tails was adopted when he was 5 months old. He is very active and purrs loudly. Tails adapted well to another cat already in the family.

Around May 2005, Tails was having difficulty breathing. The vet indicated that he thought it was hairballs, so the owners added oils to his food to help pass the hairballs. In November 2005, Tails was having trouble breathing again, so they returned to the vet. This time, a different vet, indicated that the cat had asthma. The vet x-rayed Tails and found there to be a low-grade bronchial infection that was subsequently treated with antibiotics. They also gave him an inhaler, containing a low dosage of steroids. The vet indicated that asthma develops in cats at around 18 months of age. She also indicated that dust could aggravate the situation and that any dust catching toys should be eliminated.

About Tails

He eats small amounts of food often, and likes someone to be with him when he eats. He purrs loudly while eating if someone is there. (Apparently, orange Tabbies are prone to be overweight.) He drinks fairly frequently. He also startles easily. For example, if someone knocks at the door, he jumps and runs. He will come out later if all is safe. He is sleepless and annoyingly active at night. They actually try to “keep him up from 7-10:00 p.m.” so that he is more likely to sleep at night. He definitely likes company. He is very playful and often plays with the other cat. He is “sweet” and loves attention. He seeks out warm places (by the radiator, heating pipes), but will also sit by an open window. His stools smell offensively. He has fits of coughing with hacking. He also has hard, dry discharges around his nose. The owners use the inhaler when he is having a particularly bad attack.

The asthma attacks sometime occur during the day, but the worst come on around 2:00 a.m. sometimes lasting to 6:00 a.m. Tails sometimes has an attack when the owners return home or after he has played hard. The attacks seem to be aggravated by dust. The attacks also seem to follow over-excitement. They cannot identify any event or changes that precipitated the first attack.

When he has an attack, he sits up on all fours, stretches his neck out, chin low, and coughs in a hacking manner. The episode is sometimes only two or three hacks, and sometimes up to ten. Then he seems to stop, but may have another a few minutes later. There appear to be no discharges. Placing pressure on the rib cage does not seem to bring on an attack. Other than the attacks, he is playful, energetic and affectionate.

During normal breathing he breathes deeply (labored). The depth of the breathing is very apparent, but there also appears to be a spasm of the diaphragm between the inspiration and the exhalation. It almost looks like one might imagine a hiccough to look like if it could be observed. The “spasm” seems to take place at what would be the base of the rib cage. This breathing pattern can be observed when he is standing or lying on his side.

Mental/emotional Symptoms:

  • Grief (shelter, abandoned?)
  • Desires company, likes attention
  • Startles easily

Physical Symptoms:

  • Attacks at 2:00 a.m. Sometimes lasting to 6:00 a.m.
  • Paryoxsms of coughing and deep (labored) breathing.
  • Respiration – asthmatic
  • Respiration with spasm
  • Stool offensive odor

General symptoms:

  • Eats frequently
  • Likes warmth of heater
  • Likes open air of window
  • Exertion agg.
  • Dust agg.

Case analysis:

Based on the summary of symptoms and referencing them in the Synthesis Repertorium (in homeopathic terms: repertorizing) and based on Roger Morrison’s indication in Desktop Companion to Physical Pathology Kalium-Carbonicum one of the most important remedies for asthma was given. The time frame of the asthma (after 2 a.m.) and the starting from noises were strong symptoms listed in this remedy.


  • 2/22/06: Kali-Carb, 30C (30th dilution), pellets dissolved in water. No change.
  • 3/5/06: Report: “Tails began hacking at 2:06 a.m.”
  • 3/06/06: He seemed to not hack at night, but had some attacks during the day.
  • 3/08/06: Report, “He is bad again.”
  • 3/09/06: Repeat dose: 30C Kali-Carb in water, succussed (shaken)
  • 3/16/06 Report: “The last few days (3 days), Tails has been hacking much less and is much more active.
  • 3/17/06: Report: “Tails has not hacked in 3 days.”
  • 3/18/06: Report: “Tails has not hacked in 4 days. He does sneeze a little though.”
  • 3/22/06: Report: “Tails is great.” No more sneezing. He got into a pile of dust and did not sneeze. He is playing again with the other cat and is sleeping on the bed again. He is back to his “old self” – playing and purring as he did when we first got him.
  • 5/07: Moved from Boston to CA without incidence.
  • 3/9/13: No further indications of asthma.
HSI Staff

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Barbara Seideneck

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning is young.

Henry Ford