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Top Veterinary Reference Books for Cat Owners

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Any home library of books on cat care must include one or two veterinary reference books to be complete. Knowing the normal conditions of a healthy cat's physiology, how to spot symptoms of illness, and what to do about them are integral to the responsible care of cats. These veterinary reference books will provide needed help and support for the concerned cat owner. Some are more comprehensive than others, and you may want to choose more than one.

The Cornell Book of Cats

Published by the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, this book is a must-have reference for the feline enthusiast who wants to keep on top of his or her cat's health. In addition to expansive information on feline disease, the Cornell Book of Cats offers advice on nutrition, first aid, feline behavior, and a section on cat breeds. This book is admittedly not a substitute for veterinary care, but will help the reader understand the treatment choices offered by veterinarians.
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The Veterinarians' Guide to Your Cat's Symptoms

Although this book is small, I like the way it is organized. The first chapter gives a brief description of the functions of parts of a healthy cat's anatomy to make it easier to pinpoint abnormalities when they occur. Other sections cover basic feline care and help for behavioral problems. But the real value of the book lies in its flow charts of the 200 most common symptoms of illness, conditions they might indicate, and what to do about them.

Merck Veterinary Manual (8th Edition)

The Merck Veterinary Manual has long been acknowledged as the "bible" for veterinary students. The knowledgeable lay person who has an insatiable hunger for more information on pet health will find this book invaluable. If you are not familiar with veterinary terms, you will need an accompanying book on vet terminology, but the added expense will be worthwhile in exploring this reference book and completing your library on pet health.
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What Your Cat Is Trying to Tell You

Subtitled "A Heal-To-Tail Guide to Your Cat's Symptoms And Their Solutions," this reference book offers just that. The first chapter covers emergency symptoms - those that we commonly think of as "emergencies,": along with step-by-step first aid measures to take before or during the trip to the veterinarian. But also included are those subtle symptoms that only someone completely attune to their cat's normal condition would spot. Don't let the low price influence you - this book is a keeper.
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Learning Veterinary Terminology

Although intended as a textbook for veterinary and veterinary tech students, this book will help the lay person's understanding of the "tech-speak" his veterinarian uses. Learning Veterinary Terminology includes anatomical drawings and has an extensive index. If you routinely walk away from a veterinary visit thinking, "Huh?" this book will be useful. It also provides a helpful adjunct to the Merck Veterinary Manual.
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Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary

This reference book may contain more information than most cat owners really need or want, but for veterinary students, vet techs, and cat aficionados hungry for more information, it is a must-have. All aspects of veterinary science are covered, including clinical practice, anatomy, physiology, pathology and therapeutics.
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