Wednesday, July 15, 2009 3:40 PM

The Reading List for Pet Owners

You probably won't be surprised to learn that I read a lot of books. I have always loved books, and they are the first item on my procurement list whenever I start a new project about which I know very little (like blogging). I've learned Pilates, weight lifting, how to make homemade pet food and herbal treatments for almost any health problem from reading books. Long ago, I learned that my love for books could bankrupt me one day, so I usually limit book purchases to reference materials. Not only that, but I "test-read" books by borrowing them from the library before I buy, to be sure that they are something I really need to stock. I thought I would share some of these outstanding texts with you, as well as how they have helped me with my animal care research.

First on the list is the Merck Veterinary Manual. My copy is a holdover from my veterinary science studies days (I won't say how many years ago that was) and I still refer to it to this day. If you have any animals around, you should get a copy. It's pretty pricey, but well worth the cost as it has information in it that you won't find elsewhere. It has tons of livestock info, something you just never know when you might need! I've used it recently for the "goatie" blog, to look up "swine flu" to try to figure out what all the fuss was about (good husbandry never goes out of fashion, duh) and as an excuse to put another photo of one of Miss P.'s goats, Badger, on my blog. So useful!

Another book I used recently for the goatie blog is called All About Goats by Lois Hetherington. Definitely written for the goat farmer, it was very good at pointing out the value of good animal husbandry when it comes to keeping animals healthy and happy.

A book I have found to be a lifesaver (literally) is The New Natural Cat by Anitra Frazier. I bought this book when Sweet Pea's kidney failure suddenly got worse and she was refusing to eat. By following Frazier's advice, I was able to buy Pea almost one more year of good, quality life before she had a relapse. I still refer to it not only for this blog, but when I need to make up a natural concoction to treat common problems like eye irritation, constipation or vomiting. I strongly suggest this as a reference for any cat owner.

When I decided that the only safe way to feed my cats was to make their food myself, I borrowed Home-Prepared Dog and Cat Diets by Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, PhD. I immediately knew that I needed to have this book on my reference shelf. It was out of print at the time, but was reprinted due to the melamine scare in 2007. It is a very technical book,
but is so jam-packed with information about nutrition and health issues of both cats and dogs that no pet owner should be without it. Happy reading!

Update: One night last week, we heard some unusual barking in our front yard. We are quite sure that it was our Gray fox, and wondered if our cats were observing out of their large cat-room window. Early this morning, we saw the vixen trotting by within six feet of the front of our house, stopping to look directly at that window! I'll bet she's trying to figure out how to get to those three tasty morsels she saw there recently. Yikes!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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