Book Review: “New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats ”

Mimi's first idea.
Mimi’s first idea.

Recently we apparently had a little virus among the felines here, and for some reason Mimi seemed to catch it the worst. She began vomiting repeatedly late in the afternoon on a Saturday, stopped, then started up again twice, and did not eat dinner. We ended up in the emergency hospital, two of the boys missed meals the next day but caught on again later, and Mimi wavered, a little lethargic. A virus will run its course, but with her history of GI issues and for general comfort I would also offer palliative measures for her in doses of sub-cutaneous fluids and in the form of alternative healing: slippery elm bark tea, a reiki session, and NES biofeedback and energy healing. By Tuesday she was bossing me around again.

I appreciate being able to understand conditions my cats may have and take a hands-on approach at treating them, but I am not a veterinarian. Even with all my experience with a couple hundred cats from birth to death and a big variety of ailments, I do my best to understand both condition and therapy and still use the guidance of a professional.

I have seen too much of the good in natural healing alternatives used alongside modern veterinary medicine to not include them in a holistic plan for my household of felines. I first began learning about alternative methods in the late 1980s just out of general interest, soon enough for practical use as rescues came in with difficult conditions, and then Kublai developed the auto-immune condition that ultimately ended his life. I was lucky to find veterinarians who would answer questions and dispense the herbs, essences or therapies, and I began collecting books from publishers whose choices I trusted.

Mr. Sunshine, Jelly Bean and Dickie in my cat book library in 2010
Mr. Sunshine, Jelly Bean and Dickie in my cat book library in 2010

One of the books I purchased in hardback as soon as it was published through Rodale Press in 1999 was the hardback version of New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats by Amy D. Shojai. This book was released again in a new edition in 2016 with the same information I have found helpful for many cats and conditions for nearly 20 years.

The book covers information and recommendations for treatments including herbs, acupressure, massage, homeopathy, flower essences, natural diets and healing energy, organized by condition. Beginning chapters discuss the history of alternative healing and the value of using it with pets under the direction of a veterinarian. Following chapters discuss individual therapies in depth including detailed charts of acupressure points, an explanation of choosing and using flower essences and a discussion of the ingredients in commercial pet food, even the benefits of exercise, and reasons for giving these therapies a try in healing your pet and keeping it healthy.

The majority of the book is an encyclopedia of over 1,000 “Common Health and Behavior Problems” organized by condition in alphabetical order. I remember being thrilled to find this practical arrangement—for all the studying and research I’d done, matching the therapy with the condition was very complicated, and then finding cat-specific information almost impossible. Each entry begins with signs and symptoms of the illness and the probable causes of it, instructive on its own, especially for a beginner. The entry then makes treatment suggestions from each of the appropriate therapies, and how that therapy would help in healing the condition, marking the therapies considered the best choices for the condition and a list of “experts” who contributed to the entry. Where it’s appropriate entries also include a clear recommendation of when to call the veterinarian, and brief case histories of how alternative therapies helped a pet with the condition.

New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats
New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats

New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats made a huge difference for me in explaining conditions and therapies, and giving me options for contributing to the healing and ongoing health of my cats. Just reading through it is informative, and having that information at hand when caring for a pet is an invaluable resource. You may even find useful information in working with your own health, because many of these therapies are universal.

This book is available in print, audio and electronic through Amazon, Audible and iTunes. The second edition was published by Furry Muse Publishing. Visit Amy’s website for all the links to purchase and read.

Along with my own fosters I’m always available to members of my rescue and friends to answer 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 and in Amy’s Cat Facts is wonderful. As long as I can get the cats sleeping on the books to move. I did reference Natural Healing numerous times for Kelly for her timid behavior and the conditions she developed in her last months.

Kelly and Dickie relax on a hot summer afternoon.
Kelly and Dickie relax on a hot summer afternoon.

About Amy

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.

I actually owned this book long before I met the author and reviewed it of my own volition.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: “New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs & Cats ”

  • January 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    B, thanx for sharing this; I’m going to check this out; we aren’t big fans of the traditional
    veterinary methods around here ~~~~ L ♥♥♥♥ hugs to the crew

    • January 29, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      I hope it comes in handy, Tabbies! I’d be lost without both my veterinarians and this book.

  • January 14, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks for a great review. Dad is getting this to help Rumpy with his Asthma and Buddy with his Lymphoma

    • January 15, 2017 at 9:56 am

      I’m so glad I had the chance to bring it to you, Timmy. I had a kitty with lymphoma and a kitty with an osteosarcoma, not to mention Stanley with his ongoing urinary issues, when I purchased it and I was able to put it to use right away. It’s been a constant reference for all these years. Good luck with Rumpy and Buddy!


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