This is a true story that demonstrates the concept of synchronicity, intention, and determination. Synchronicity was defined by Jung as “meaningful coincidences.” Read below to find out how one breed of cat benefited from a series of synchronicities.
In 1999, I lost Scooter, one of my two cats, due to old age. My husband reluctantly asked that we not get a new kitten since he had a mild cat allergy and he would like to breathe better at home. I understood. But this was a problem for me as I love cats. About that same time, a friend purchased a Burmese cat so I decided to go online and check out pictures of the breed. While there, I was surprised to see many breeds of cats that I was unfamiliar with. I started clicking through and found the Siberian Forest Cat, a recent import from Russia, that claimed to be hypoallergenic. Supposedly, people who are allergic to cats did not react to the Siberian! I wanted one but cringed at the $600 asking price. So my husband suggested we breed them and I agreed, not realizing the incredible amount of work that goes into raising cats and keeping them healthy in a cattery situation.
Fast forward 3 years. I’ve learned a lot about raising cats in a cattery environment. I feel like an amateur vet. We’ve had a few litters. My very first female Siberian is a beauty but just before giving birth to her 3rd litter, she dies. The autopsy showed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This is a heart disease that causes abnormal thickening of the heart muscle making it harder for the heart to pump blood.
After the grief subsided, I recalled the vet saying HCM was genetic. I began to ask other breeders what they knew, and whether they knew other Siberian cats that had this disease. I discovered very quickly this was not a good question to ask a breeder. The reactions I got ranged from "it’s a nutritional disease and your fault for feeding her bad food" to "there is no heart disease in MY lines so go away (and be quiet!)"
I tried to quietly research the lines myself to identify where the defective gene was coming from. I was getting nowhere. I was being shunned by other breeders out of ignorance and fear that their cat lines would be implicated.
So I asked the spirits for help: I set my vision that the information would come forth and we would identify the source in the pedigree lines of the cat or cats that were carrying the gene. We still had a small breeding pool in the US and this WAS possible but the emotional backlash of the other breeders at this point was stopping me. And in truth they didn’t understand and there was no one reliable source of information. Many thought it would be impossible to find out which cats carried the gene since it appears sometimes late in life and only 50% of the offspring carry it.
So I’ve got my request in with the spirits. I’m excited about the possibility of solving this problem and saving some future cats. But I’m getting nowhere.
A few months later a man called from Albany OR just 30 miles north of where I live. He wanted to breed Siberian cats. Now there were only 30 breeders in the US at this time so the fact that someone so close to me wanted to start a Siberian cattery was highly unlikely. He too was an allergy sufferer. I invited him to test his allergies at my home with my 3 adult Siberians. While here I discussed the HCM research I was attempting to do. He volunteered to pursue the research – turns out he had a rare genetic disease himself and knew how to do the research. He’d had papers published on his research and consulted regularly with other researchers in the field – his only formal education was in landscaping, the rest was all self-taught. He also proved to be one of the most persistent people I have ever met. When he wanted to get to the truth, he would not give up and through the countless phone interviews he did with other Siberian cat breeders, I gave him the catch phrase of “the one who has the super power of death by talking” – he would not take no for an answer nor would he allow people to hang up on him.
Eventually: Five breeders from around the world devoted many hundreds of hours reviewing pedigrees, making phone calls, studying lines and mapping cases. Some breeders agreed to release their health information so we were able to puzzle together the answers to where the gene was coming from. We were amazed at the progress that followed and compiled information from catteries around the world. At the time, we reviewed pedigrees from 80 HCM positive cats. Washington State University accepted our work and began genetic testing in a search for Siberian HCM genes.
During our studies, we uncovered cases of Siberian PKD, Polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disease and identified four separate points of origin. We discovered one single mating is responsible for the vast majority of PKD in the Siberian breed.
We also began studying claims of hypoallergenic Siberians and developed methods for a verifiable laboratory test. Several University researchers became interested in our work and undertook studies of their own.
So from the death of one cat and the request for help from the spirits on a vision that was purely good hearted, a person was directed to me that had the highly unusual technical and persuasive skills to pursue the heart disease issue. We identified the lines that carried the defective gene. Also as a byproduct, the kidney disease infiltration was identified plus allergy tests were designed so that breeders could confidentially place kittens in high allergy households- households where folks could not breath if they were around high allergy cats.
So that was my contribution to saving the Siberian Cat Breed from heart disease. And I did it by setting my intention, requesting help from my Spirits Allies, holding the vision, maintaining excited expectancy and trusting the process. There was also a lot of time invested and sheer willpower to keep it going. But I never said it was easy!