Happier and Healthier Cats

Anitra Frazier is one of our country’s pioneer cat professionals and teachers—she is truly a national treasure! At 85 years old, she’s spent nearly a half-century working with cats and learning from experts in the holistic cat health and behavior field.

While working as an in-home cat groomer for a veterinarian years ago, Anitra noticed that many cats’ coats were dull and unhealthy. She suspected the cause to be allergies, eating disorders or communication problems. Anitra began discovering solutions to some of these problems by paying close attention to the cats and working closely with the veterinarian and the cats’ parents. Since that time, she has gathered a treasure trove of information and knowledge about cats and their health, which she shares in her book, The Natural Cat.

In this video, you’ll be treated to many “cat wisdom nuggets” from Anitra. With compassion, humor and rare insight into the minds of our cats, Anitra will share tips and tricks on:

  • How to simply and easily enrich your cat’s life to prevent and even correct behavior issues
  • How to transition your cat to a raw diet. (hint: it’s not as difficult or complicated as you might think!)

And under the video you will see the answers to many of the questions asked by our cat guardians, answered by Dr. Christina Chambreau.

Dr. Christina Chambreau took some time to answer the questions that came in.

Q: What can I do about a cat who walks through the house at night, loudly howling? He's fine during the day. He was a feral I rescued as a runt kitten from one of my colonies. He's about 17 now, and all my cats are indoors only. ~ Cinnamon

Many cats develop this night time disturbance as they age. This can be from dementia, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, hearing loss, hunger and other possibilities. Holistically, there are ways to address each of these issues, even if the cause is not defined. 

  • As an All-Access member of Holistic Action! you can post on the forum: any other symptoms, when it started, is there a pattern to it, what you have tried so far, physical and diagnostic health tests in general. Then the veterinarians and community members can make suggestions. 
  • I would suggest doing the free Holistic Pet Health 101 course which will give you some basic health information and, in lesson 5, how to find holistic veterinarians with whom to work. 

To start now, you can try any of Anitra’s geriatric cat suggestions (review the video). Often useful are flower essences. Rescue remedy is available in many stores now, and in all health food stores. Put a few drops of the people rescue remedy in an ounce of water and use that to dose your cat. A few drops before bed in the mouth if easy to do, or on the paws. Put a few drops whereever the cat sleeps. If there is a favorite toy, put a few drops on it. Jackson Galaxy solutions has Night Owl Remedy. Try some catnip to roll in at night if your cat loves and sleeps after catnip. Feed a snack before bedtime. Try different fresh food diets and treats to rebalance the energy field.Try a consultation with Anitra Frazier. 212-663-0122.  You may also want to consult with an animal intuitive.

Q: One of my precious senior cats has CKD and anemia. I do subcu, a lot of supplements, Pet-Tinic, several homeopathics, and raw chicken livers. But she seems weak lately. Is there anything else I can do? ~ Cinnamon

Many cats do develop kidney disease as they age, though less likely when treated holistically. You are doing a lot of great things already. All-access and Premium members have many resources at the Holistic Actions! website, especially for cats with kidney disease. 

Anitra’s book has been my main recommendation to clients along with the Holistic Actions! site. Diet is certainly important. Heart meat, a little liver, chicken, turkey, etc are great. You may need to puree the food, and as Anitra said, feed frequently.  Be sure you are warming the Sub Q fluids before giving. Vitamin B12 can be added to the fluids to help nutrition and appetite. 

There are many other supplements that may work a bit better now than Pet Tinic. Homeopathic medicines are most effective when they match the individual and the responses are carefully evaluated. For instance in the beginning of my practice I treated a cat who would not even tolerate fluids. He had all the individual characteristics that matched one homeopathic medicine. Giving that daily, feeding fresh foods and with no other treatments, he lived a great life from 16 (when values were so high euthanasia was recommended) to 22 when he was ill for a week and died in her arms. You may need to work with a homeopathic vet (can help by phone if not near) for the best chance of success. Read lesson 5 in the Holistic Actions! Pet Health 101 course to help find one.

Q: We recently took in a 9 year old female we’ve been caring for since birth. She was part of an outdoor community in the greater LA area where we live. Over the years we’ve seen her go through cycles of pulling out patches of fur from biting at it, apparently from itchiness. We’ve always believed it’s an allergic reaction to fleas. Now that we have her inside, is there something natural you’d recommend we could treat it with? She has a few bite marks - small punctures- where she’s sort of gnawed at her back hind leg, where the issue seems to be centered right now. We have been feeding her Honest Kitchen and sardines for two weeks, which is better quality food than what the community cats are fed. Maybe it will clear up on its own now? I don’t see any actual fleas on her body, but is there a natural flea remedy that works that you’d recommend? Thank you! ~Sianna

Feeding the better food (for now Honest Kitchen) may be all she needs to regain health and stop itching. I think you said it has only been 2 weeks inside. One thing you will learn in working with and reading Anitra’s principles or taking the Pet Health 101 course at the Holistic Actions! site is that if an animal can keep the energetic imbalance expressing symptoms on the skin, it is fairly balanced. The focus is to improve the balance rather than stopping the skin symptoms. 

Now, FLEAS. As an All-Access or Premium member of Holistic Actions!, you get my e-book, Fleas Be Gone (or you can buy on Amazon). Anitra’s book also has a section on fleas. First, check to see if there are fleas. 

  1. look for adults – hard to do as they are fast;
  2. use a very good flea comb; 
  3. put the cat on a white surface (pillow case, etc) and scratch behind ears and above the tail. If black grit comes off, dampen it. If it turns red, it is flea feces. If not it is just dirt.

If there are fleas, there are LOTS of holistic approaches, so get the book or read on Holistic Actions! site. 

FUR PULLING: I suspect the fur pulling is not from fleas, so it reflects an internal imbalance that is triggered by anxiety (so flower essences, acupressure, energy healing like Reiki/Bengston/Eden/more may be enough to resolve the issues or you may need professional help from a holistic vet (see the Holistic Pet Health 101 course, lesson 5, for ways to find them).

Q: How to transition a kibble addict to wet or raw food? ~Dorothy

Great question and Anitra did make several suggestions and has more in her book. We have many suggestions at Holistic Actions! forum and nutrition areas. 

  • The first step is to not leave dry food out. 
  • Play hard (remember there are mousers and birders) before meal time and put down just 1/4 teaspoon of any people food – chicken, parmesan cheese, sardine – anything you have in the house, baby food or canned food. 
  • If not eaten in 10 minutes, put down the dry meal. 
  • Next meal finely powder the dry food and roll some fresh food in it or sprinkle on top of canned food.  Petessences.com has a “switching food” essence that may help (100% safe). Patience is needed.

 www.littlebigcat.com has some more ideas and the Holistic Actions! members are full of suggestions that have worked for them. Sometimes deep holistic treatments and balancing are needed with homeopathy or Chinese medicine.

Q: Our 2 year old kitty (3/4 Maine Coon, 1/4 Savannah) survived horrible Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) during his first year by taking tons of Gs-441524. He now has inflammatory bowel disease and we're having trouble curing this as well as figuring out what to feed him. Any advice would be welcomed. He's currently on part hydrolyzed dry food and part wet fish broth salmon/tuna/other types fish foods. He ate a mostly chicken-based diet up until the IBD was diagnosed. He tested + via salivary IgA testing for beef & milk allergies. Obviously he gets no milk or beef of any sort, and I'm afraid to give him any chicken or turkey. We just started a little lamb and duck in his diet. He's still on prednisolone, cerenia, CBD caps, and mirtazapine qod. He has greatly improved but still hard to feed, and weight tends to drop. IBD under control as far as Ultrasound & bloodwork shows. (I'm a Naturopathic Physician and KNOW there must be a better way!!) ~Leslie

Kudos for your cat surviving FIP!! Your question is too deep for a quick answer. As you may guess from your practice, your kitten, especially with IBS at age 2, will need careful holistic treatment. It is very possible, especially with very careful individualized homeopathic treatment that he can be completely healthy and live a long life. Gail Pope (www.Brighthaven.org) adopted hundreds of cats who were 16 and older, and many lived to 28-30 and one to 34, even with major illnesses.

  • Anitra Frazier’s talk and book cover some supportive care and nutrition, so do get her book. As an All-Access member of Holistic Actions!, you will have a wealth of information to access on the site and with the monthly calls with Dr. Jeff or myself, webinars and more. 
  • You can learn how similar it is to treat animals and people at NaturopathicCE.com for my talk on homeopathy for pets (if you do homeopathy). 

Since he is on the drugs, I would strongly suggest working with a professional veterinary homeopath to get him most quickly weaned off them. As he recovers, you may be able to take over his homeopathic prescribing. As you know when treating people with deep imbalances, patience and careful record keeping and observations are so important. The Healthy Cat Journal is one benefit of an All-Access member of Holistic Actions! (or order it at www.ChristinaChambreau.com). Continue trying a wide variety of foods, temperatures and textures while you are connecting with a veterinary homeopath.

Q: I have a 12 year old male tabby in remission for diabetes. I want to make his food but do not know what meat and portions to use so he has high protein, low carb and low phosphorus ~Kat

How wonderful that your cat is in remission for Diabetes. Is he on insulin or did diet resolve his diabetes? Often diabetic cats will resolve on their own. Anitra Frazier does address diabetes in her book and in consults. Feeding the basic fresh food diet is all you need to do because it is naturally low in carbs. There are some meats and vegetables that seem to help animals with diabetes (see books by Frazier, Pitcairn, Basko). It is best not to think “cat food” but rather what would a cat eat in the wild. As Anitra said in her talk, feeding a variety is important. Do take the Holistic Pet Health 101 course on the Holistic Actions! site as it covers some basic feeding questions. As an All-Access member you would also have access to many conversations and classes about diabetes and feeding. For the very best health (and I know cats who lived to 34 and 38) when there has been serious illness like diabetes, a homeopathic or Chinese medicine vet can be essential along with your supportive love and care (see lesson 5 in the 101 course).

Q: Could you please talk about cats with otherwise laid-back, easygoing personalities, who chew their stomach fur excessively? Possible causes and remedies, or any experiences you have had. Thank you!

There can be many causes for fur pulling and chewing, so many different ways to permanently resolve the problem. A consultation with Anitra can help you figure this out. First think about when this started. Was it after a vaccine, a diet change, a move, changes in the household (COVID changes, maybe), new furniture or carpeting, etc.  Anxiety is a major trigger, so even though he seems very laid back, it can still be possible. If it is always on the belly, has he also had any digestive symptoms? Is he walking well, or not wanting to jump as much (joint pain could cause licking)?  The very best would be if there is a great holistic vet within driving distance (I bet he is fine riding in the car!) who could do a chiropractic exam (I know of several belly biting cats who were quickly resolved with a few chiropractic adjustments) along with a Chinese medicine exam with pulse and tongue diagnosis. At the Holistic Actions! website there are a lot of resources you could try even without knowing the cause. Flower essences (even the readily accessible rescue remedy) orally and topically for a month; acupressure; different energy approaches (Bengston, Reiki, Eden, HTA and more); switching to a variety of fresh foods rather than commercial diets (as Anitra discussed) and more. Keeping a journal of the changes with each approach you try is important (free for All-Access members or at www.ChristinaChambreau.com). Lesson 5 in the free Holistic Pet Health 101 course talks about how to find a holistic vet with whom to work which is the very best approach.

Q: I have a 12 yr old male kitty (that we adopted 8 yrs ago) who loves to eat! If I gave him what he wanted, he would become obese, so I use portion control (with raw food). My question is how do I strike the best balance between giving him enough to satisfy him (or get close) and maintaining a healthy weight where he's maintaining muscle mass and not gaining fat. Thanks! ~Steve

Your cat is very blessed that you are feeding raw and are watchful or he may be very obese! 

  1. exercise and portion control.
  2. try different, lower calorie foods so you can feed more of them.
  3. Try different frequency of feeding. 
  4. Feed a wide variety of foods, and best not to use prepared raw foods.  
  5. Speak with an animal communicator. 
  6. Join Holistic Actions! to share with others in the community and learn from our resources. 
  7. He may need deep energy healing with veterinary homeopaths or chinese medicine veterinarians.

Q: How to ensure the cat i's getting enough protein at this stage of his life where he apparently needs more and knowing whether the increase in protein is putting on muscle or being stored as fat? Thanks! ~Steve

You could consult with a veterinary nutritionist. If you are feeding a variety of proteins, I think he would get enough.

Q: How do you recommend healing a wound once abscess is gone? Our cat scratches off the scab and it starts to bleed again and this has been over 3 months. We treated her with hot compresses & colloidal silver and it drained. However, once it gets better it must itch because she scratches at it and it bleeds again. She no longer goes outside alone as we walk her. The vet experience traumatized her. We are very concerned. ~Theresa Staber

There are many holistic ways to heal wounds that will not heal. Colloidal silver is certainly one of them. In older cats it takes much longer for wounds to heal. Calendula topically can often help. At the Holistic Actions! Forum we have had several amazing reports of healing. Sometimes professional care with a veterinary homeopath (can be done by phone which is less stressful for an older cat with bad memories of a clinic) is needed to finally resolve the wound. www.theAVH.org, or read the free Holistic Pet Health 101 lesson 5 on finding a vet. And in the future you can continue to work with a holistic vet for most of your cats’ care. 

Q: When a cat scoots on their bottom is it always worms or could it be constipation? Our cat did this last night and we removed poop from her bottom that had a consistency of clay. She has lost some weight since her surgery in December but she eats a lot. I check and never see worms. ~Theresa Staber

  1. The scooting may have been her attempt to get rid of that clay lump you had to remove.     
  2. Scooting is often caused by anal gland problems. We have discussed this at the Holistic Actions! Forum. The anal sacs are expressed each time a stool passes through. This is a way that cats mark their territory as the anal smell is not related to what they eat. You can often open the anal canal with 5- 10 minutes of hot compresses, maybe with rescue remedy drops in the water.       

Older cats rarely have worms, but only the tapeworms would be seen by you on the stool. The others pass eggs that need a lab test to detect. There are many other causes of weight loss, which is of much more concern, so I would recommend finding a holistic vet with whom to work. 

Q: When a cat yowls are they in pain? What can we do for them? Our older cat cries or yowls sporadically through the day and night. Sometimes in another room from us as well as in our bedroom at night. Theresa Staber

A yowling cat may be in pain, but often older cats yowl for many other reasons. Careful observation and note taking may help you realize what is going on. A great chiropractic, chinese medicine or homeopathic vet can help you decide.                  Often in older cats it is from loss of hearing, or dementia, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure… There are many different holistic treatments depending on the cause. One that you can try while deciding on your next steps is to give flower essences which are 100% safe. Rescue Remedy is readily available at stores – put a few drops in an ounce of water and dose from that. Put a few drops of the dilution in the food, rub on the fur. Anitra Frazier talks about this in her book and a consult with her may help. Music (Lisa Spector creates music for pets) and lots of extra attention, cozy warm nooks may help. You may need professional holistic veterinary care.

Q: One of my cats presumably has asthma (so the vet thinks, after ruling out chest infection) but I don't want to put her on steroids. Do you have any advice? I use a diffuser with aromatherapy oils for animals and it seems a bit better but she's still wheezing on and off. ~Karin Michielsen

The diffuser is certainly one step in the right direction. Because asthma can be life threatening, I would recommend beginning now to work with a homeopathic veterinarian (they can help by phone, even from different countries).  www.theAVH.org or www.IAVH.org I have resolved asthma with homeopathy even after cats were on drugs, but it is easier to do before drugs. The free Holistic Health for Pets 101 course will help you improve all aspects of her life along with your overweight cat. We have a respiratory course for All-Access members as well.

Q: One of my cats is obese and I have been trying to put her on a diet (restrict her food intake and switch to Blink which is a less commercial food and lots more meat/fish content) for about 1,5 years but I can't get her to lose the weight she needs to lose. She's about 6 kgs which is classified as obese. ~Karin Michielsen

Your cat would benefit from switching to feeding raw. Good for you to be watchful about the weight. A few suggestions: 

  • Exercise a lot along with portion control. 
  • Often just feeding a meat and 10% pureed vegetable diet will pull the weight off. 
  • Try different frequency of feeding. 
  • Try catnip just before feeding or if she is hungry after feeding. 
  • Speak with an animal communicator. 
  • Join Holistic Actions! to share with others in the community and learn from our resources. 
  • She may need deep energy healing with veterinary homeopaths or Chinese medicine veterinarians.

Q: Are there any new safe methods of controlling hyperthyroidism in cats?~Dawn

Homeopathy and Chinese medicine can resolve most cats’ hyperthyroidism.

Q: Why aren't cats who get blood clots not taken as seriously as dogs by vets? ~Dawn

Cats with blood clots, especially in the aorta are considered an emergency by conventional vets.

Q: How to rehab a cat who has had a stroke? ~Dawn

Many veterinarians are being trained now in Rehab – which is great after a stroke. Check out caninerehabinstitute.com and ahvma.com, for CCRT or CCRP certified vets or PTs in your area.  We have had several speakers on rehab on our webinars and I am sure Anitra Frazier would have some ideas as well.

Q: What to do if your cat has been misdiagnosed by a vet? ~Dawn

Diagnoses can be very difficult, especially in cats as they tend to hide their symptoms very well. If you feel a vet has been really negligent go to the state board. If you just feel they missed the boat, do not return to them.

Q: What do you think of many DMV’s trying to treat early chronic kidney disease by recommending the special prescription diets? Many cats will not eat these types of foods and it seems like a waste of time and money. What do you recommend to treat early CKD?

The best food for cats with early renal disease is a fresh food diet. As Anitra said in her talk, feeding a species appropriate diet is always best – for any condition. When I was merely a conventional veterinarian, I only knew about pet foods, so I did recommend reduced protein. What I did not know is that the reason they helped a little was that their protein was so poor, and over cooked, that feeding higher proteins caused harm – again, because of poor quality. In addition to feeding the best quality ingredients, using many different holistic modalities to balance the energy field will often prevent further kidney damage. The following can be learned by you and done at home: acupressure, chinese herbs, food therapy, Tui Na; flower essences; energy medicines such as Reiki, Bengston, HTA, Theta, Quantum. At Holistic Actions! and in Anitra’s book The Natural Cat, there are many more suggestions, even for different possible blood tests and urine tests you can use to monitor kidney function. If any symptoms persist, or you want the best – veterinarians trained in homeopathy, TCVM, chiropractic and more may be needed.

Q: I have a seven year old black cat named Cinders. I have had her since I found her at 3 weeks of age. She is raw fed and looks to be the picture of health. I've had her to my vet twice since I discovered discoloration in the iris of her left eye about a year ago. She was diagnosed with melanoma, but the vet said her eye appeared to be healthy. It doesn't seem to be affecting her vision, but the discoloration is spreading in the eye. Is there anything I can do holistically to support her eye health? ~Kathy

At this time though, I would strongly suggest you begin to work with a homeopathic veterinarian (www.theAVH.org) and they can help by phone, or a great Chinese medicine one (www.TCVM.net). At least get an exam if possible from them. Keep a journal recording any changes. Work to maximize health in all the ways Anitra spoke of Monday night and see if they begin to get smaller.                           

A second opinion, especially from a holistic vet, is definitely indicated. It could be that the behavior changes Cinders had are related to the eye spots. Do create a timeline of any of her issues, looking for anything that may have been a trigger. One of the benefits of being a member of Holistic Actions! is the community can help you decide if your choices are helping deeply and give you more things to try.

Q: I rescued two cats (sisters, Nutmeg and Gabby) when my neighbor moved and abandoned them. Cinders has never been around cats, and my sister and I have not been successful in trying to integrate the girls with her. Cinders attacked Nutmeg and injured her once when she got out of my room so I am afraid of another such episode. Someone suggested putting Cinders on Prozac, which I will not do. What holistic solutions are there for cats who need to chill out so they can coexist peacefully? ~Kathy

Holistic solutions so cats can get along (at least tolerate each other) abound. Anitra discussed a few at the webinar Monday night. Good for you to not want to use Prozac – side effects and it usually stops being effective.           

Jackson Galaxy has books, articles and the flower essences designed by Dr. Jean Hofve, several of which are for multi-cat household problems. And there are several other flower essence companies with behavior treatments.

Working with a pet psychic like Kate Solisti, Joan Ranquet, Janet Dobbs or many more can help sort out the issues and may help. There are also plug in pheromone releasers that have helped many cats’ behavior issues. We discuss this at Holistic Actions! and have had webinars on this and anxiety issues that members can access, or live talks that All-Access members can use to post questions. 

Q: Gabby is stressed and fearful, and her being closed in a bedroom with her sister to keep them safe from Cinders is taking a physical and likely psychological toll on her. She constantly licks herself, and her lower legs and abdomen are bare from the constant over grooming. What can we do to help her? ~Kathy

Everything I suggested in the prior answer can help Gabby. In addition, review Anitra’s talk about environmental enrichment. Until you have found a solution – and there will definitely be success – you may need to alter your schedule so you spend computer time, reading time, etc, in Gabby’s room.                               

Another resource for all of them is music. Lisa Spector did a webinar recently for Holistic Actions! and her music has helped a lot of cats.                                          

If Gabby does not respond to the suggestions in the prior answer you may need a consult with a veterinary homeopath (can be done by phone).

Q: Do you have a recommendation for Raw diet for a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy 15-year-old cat who’s been eating raw his whole life thanks to you? 😘 He also gets an intermittent soft stool - I give him pre-and probiotics and psyllium but I’m looking for any other recommendations to help him in that area. I want to thank you because without you I would never have known about raw food. You are truly a pioneer and thank you for your life‘s work! It has meant so very much to me all these years! Thank you! ~Robin

At this time though, I would strongly suggest you begin to work with a homeopathic veterinarian (www.theAVH.org) and there are some who can help you by phone; or local excellent TCVM vet (www.tcvm.net).

Q: My two indoor/outdoor female 2 yo cats are litter mates and were best buds for the first 16 months. Since then, Tu is very averse to Ona. Is there anything I can do to help them reconcile? Tu is frightful but not timid. She jumps at any sound, even one she should seemingly expect. She sometimes seems very out of sorts, but I don’t know why. Sometimes she comes home seeming disoriented. Is keeping her indoors 100% of the time the answer? Ona is very attached to me. She is a lap cat, a cuddler, always running to greet me. She is like a dog. Tu, however, is sweet and loves me (comes to sit on my lap when I’m in her space (the basement) or outside. Is this just her nature, to keep more separate, or does she perhaps prefer to be in a single pet household? ~Meg

For your questions about both cats, the answer is that it depends. There is no way of knowing for sure what will work the best.                                

A consult with Anitra Frazier may help you decide which of her many suggestions from the talk or her book.                                                        

Cats, like people, do change personalities and preferences as they age and there is no one right way to be. Sometimes consulting with a cat communicator can help you figure out what is going on in their minds.        

Flower essences help wonderfully with cats and are totally safe.             

 Sometimes the pheromone plug ins can be very successful.                    

Joining Holistic Actions! gives you a community of people with whom to share your observations, successes and failures.

Q: Are there treats or food you suggest feeding a 9 1/2 year old male cat to help clean their teeth? Do you suggest taking him to the vet to have teeth cleaned even if I see no symptoms of teeth or gum issues? ~Mick Green

The very best way to keep teeth clean is to feed a fresh food diet, as I think Anitra covered, especially with big enough chunks that they can sink their teeth into the meat or bones (like chicken necks or backs).             

Teeth brushing may be needed until you have discovered what he needs to never build up tartar.                                                                                    

I do recommend finding a local veterinarian who is trained in chiropractic, chinese medicine or homeopathy to do your annual exams to help you decide on no dentistry (teeth really are clean and there seem to be no problems at the tooth/gum margin), anesthesia free dentistry or a dental with anesthesia. We do discuss this a lot on the Holistic Actions! Forum.

Q: How can you help a cat urinate in the litter box? What are ways to help an under-socialized cat who will bite/scratch even with very little stimulation?

Anitra covered a lot of litter box strategies in her talk, so do review that. For both the litter box and the cat who bites, a consultation with Anitra may be the cat’s meow for you. Sometimes a consult with an animal communicator can help a lot as well. Flower essences can be put in each cat’s food and are 100% safe. Energy medicine like Eden, HTA, TTouch, Reiki, Bengston can be very useful.