Most of my readers would know I began rescuing cats in the early 80s and continue to today, usually having a household averaging nine cats with regulars and fosters from neonates needing bottle feeding to geriatric kitties on the last steps of their journey. I feel confident in my ability to not only take on rescues in nearly any condition but also advise and answer members of my rescue group because of the knowledge I’ve gained through working closely with veterinarians along with wisely using a library of comprehensive reference books.
Amy Shojai’s book is one I’m happy to have on my shelf. The whole title is Cat Facts: The A-to-Z Pet Parent’s Home Care Encyclopedia, Kitten to Adult, Diseases & Prevention, Cat Behavior, Veterinary Care, First Aid, Holistic Medicine. I’ll just call it Cat Facts for brevity, but the book really is an encyclopedia of conditions, symptoms, terminology, procedures and information from generalities to details that, at one point or another, you need to know about feline care.
I began rescuing thinking I knew quite a bit about cats. Growing up in the 60s before spay and neuter was a regular thing, cats and kittens were everywhere, with little care, and pretty much anything you did for them was an advance in their care. After all, cats are no-care pets, right? Just feed them and give them a roof over their head and you don’t need to do much more, a real easy-care pet for someone who doesn’t have much time but still wants a pet.
Yes, of course I had a lot to learn, and only a portion of that was through experience. Because cats “didn’t need much care” I encountered a lot of “old wives’ tales” for healing wounds and curing diseases, some of which had a medical basis and some of which actually worked, and some which totally frighten me to think about them now.
But through the cats who entered my life I found it important to get to the bottom of a situation, really learn more about feline health with each new cat and understand even basic things like pregnancies and kitten development, diet and behavior, and that meant both unlearning a lot of incorrect knowledge along with learning new information. Having rescues coming to me in various states of health I had lots of questions. I could only find the answers through two sources—several patient veterinarians, and a library of trusted, comprehensive reference books.
Even with all that as a background, Amy’s book Cat Facts is full of information that I found I needed. In the intervening decades medicine for animals has advanced from spay/neuter and a few vaccines to the high-tech world it is today, and I find myself three decades later updating a lot of what I learned in the process. Gathering this information over a period of years in a scattershot sort of way I also ended up with a lot of holes in my knowledge, even basic terminology, and I’m thankful to have basic information I missed along the way at my fingertips.
The book has over 200 entries that range from “Acne”, “Abscess”, “Acupuncture”, “Administer Medication” to “Yellow Fat Disease” and “Zoonosis”, and covering such various topics in between as “Finding Lost Cats or Stray’s Owner” and “Skunk Encounters”. Photos both decorate and illustrate the text, and illustrations demonstrate how to trim cats’ claws and show us the male and female feline reproductive system and more. Entries on “Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy” and “Flower Essences” describe without judgement what is known of these alternative therapies and how they affect your cat.
For quick reference the book includes a chart of symptoms and conditions they may indicate, and information on that condition gives home care or first aid, veterinarian and holistic treatments, and preventive advice.
The entry on poisons includes a poison first aid chart including substances and plants.
In addition you’ll find lists of websites and contact information for cat organizations, animal welfare organizations and veterinary resources.
The comprehensive index makes it easy to find information.
Along with my own fosters I’m always available to members of my rescue to answer fosters’ questions about health and behavior, deciding if we need to do something now or just observe and what to look for, and having basic explanations and terminology at my fingertips in this book is wonderful. As long as I can get the cats sleeping on the books to move.
Amy Shojai is a nationally known authority on pet care and behavior, a certified animal behavior consultant, a spokesperson for the pet products industry, and the author of 30 nonfiction pet books. She also writes THRILLERS WITH BITE! which includes the dog-viewpoint thrillers Lost And Found, Hide And Seek and Show And Tell. Amy has been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and in USA Weekend, The New York Times, Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, Woman’s World, and many other leading newspapers and magazines. She has also been a featured pet care expert on Animal Planet Dogs 101, Cats 101, Petsburgh USA/Disney Channel program, Good Day New York, Fox News: Pet News, NBC Today Show, WGN-Chicago “Pet Central” and “Animal Planet Radio” and many others.
I own two of Amy’s books which I read and used before I ever met her through the Cat Writers’ Association, of which she is one of the founders and past presidents. Amy currently lives with her German shepherd Magic and two cats, 20-year-old Siamese mix Seren, a very lucky former stray shaded tabby Karma, and one human plus lots of other critters on their north Texas land, but the dedication in the front of her book shows we all begin with one special creature who becomes our muse:
For all the cats and dogs
Who have touched my soul—
And for one special
Who started it all.
Still missing you.
I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, and I am glad to have the information contained as part of my library as well. I read the Kindle version on my phone and computer, but I intend to buy the book as well.
Cat Facts is available from Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.
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Weekly schedule of features:
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Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
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