Last Updated on: March 8, 2013 by Ingrid King


If you’ve ever been interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture or acupressure, and how it might benefit your feline family members, you’re going to want to read Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure.

This comprehensive guide covers

  • a thorough introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concepts and theories
  • how these theories and concepts are applied in a feline acupressure session
  • 33 feline health and behavioral conditions that may benefit from acupressure
  • extensive drawings of acupressure charts, meridians and points

If you’re expecting a simple guide that tells you to “push here and your cat will feel better,” this is not the book for you. This book requires an indept study of TCM concepts and the patience to understand the drawings and descriptions that help you locate acupressure points on your cat.

As a Reiki practitioner, I appreciated the section on Feline Acupuncture Session Protocol, which stresses that an acupuncture session is “a dynamic, energetic interaction between two equal partners: you and your cat.” As such, the practitioner (in this case, the cat’s guardian), needs to center herself and be fully present for the cat, for the entire session. The protocol also emphasizes the importance of letting the cat be the guide as to how much touch is wanted and appreciated, which requires really tuning in to your cat.

I’ve always been fascinated by TCM and have seen the benefits of acupuncture on pets in the veterinary practice I managed. I’ve also experienced acupuncture myself and have found it extremely beneficial. The concept of being able to provide acupressure for my cats resonates with me, and this book is a good first step. I’m not convinced that you’ll be able to truly learn this modality without some in person or online instruction, but the book provides a wonderful and thorough introduction. Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute, cofounded by the authors, offers numerous online and in person courses.

About the authors: Over the past 18 years Nancy Zidonis has co-authored acupressure texts and developed equine, canine and feline meridian charts as well as acupressure training programs. She teaches acupressure throughout the US and Europe and is a founding board member of The International Alliance of Animal Therapy and Healing (IAATH). Amy Snow has combined her professional publications background and experience in the healing arts with her love of all animals in co-authoring this book. Teaching acupressure allows her the opportunity to offer people and animals a meaningful way to care for each other.

This book was sent to me by the authors. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

9 Comments on Review: Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure by Amy Snow and Nancy Zidonis

  1. I purchased this book at the school where I completed my acupressure practitioner certificate. There are two approaches to animal acupressure. One essentially transposes the points used on a human body to other species. The other utilizes traditional point systems for dogs, cats and horses which are a part of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine).

    This book appears to be based on the human-centered point system. I don’t say there’s no value in that, but each species is unique (a point often overlooked in holistic care for companion animals), and the differences can be important. I suspect the system which has been observing and correcting itself specifically for use on cats over hundreds (maybe thousands) of years is more likely to be accurate and useful. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find English-language materials about the traditional systems for animals.

    My other major issue with this book is that it’s pretty much useless for helping you find the points on your cat. A diagram of a skeleton is not an effective guideline for locating acupressure points in any species. In my (human-focused) acupressure training, point charts showed points on the surface of fully fleshed humans, and that was just the beginning. We received extensive instruction on locating each point, in relationship to indentations, temperature changes, muscles and other fleshy landmarks, not just bones, which are often nowhere near the surface.

    Kitty points are tiny (width of a kitty toe), which means your relatively gigantic fingers have better odds of hitting them by accident, but you may also hit adjacent points on completely different meridians, so I can’t really advocate the “general vicinity” approach.

    I applaud them for the effort, but to be completely honest, I have owned this book for a decade, and rarely found it useful. It is, as other posters have observed, a good intro for those who are not familiar with acupressure, but not a practical manual for treatment without additional one-on-one training. As far as I know, no such manual for feline acupressure care exists (I have yet to even see a good charts for cats), and I sure wish someone would write one!

    • Thank you for your thoughtful feedback, Cat. I found your comment on how you learned human points particularly interesting, as it confirmed for me that there’s more to it than just diagrams.

  2. I know from experience that Reiki works for animals, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Acupuncture or acupressure would work too! We have yet so much to learn about things like this.

  3. Thank you..i am completely sold on this book…would like to be able to study it and teach it! i find it amazing the results occurring so quickly..and to be able to help with neorological disordes is truly amazing.. is this available for dogs? thanks, Lyn

  4. Hi.
    i found this book to be very beneficial.. i have a kitten that was born with no use of his back
    hips and legs..he could only drag himself along. My vet suggested physio, which i tried for several days with no results. I started to use Reiki and as i have been studying Kinesiology
    i had purchased this book in view of learning it for animals.. i checked the book and began using the suggested points in the diagram…on the second day he moved one leg by himself
    day 3 he was standing up by himself for about 5 seconds day 4 he was taking steps…he also had no bowel control so i began working on that as well and his bowels now work…day 8..he had a setback when his bladder was swollen as he couldnt control that either..A trip to my wonderful vet and he emptied his bladder enough to make him comfortable..told me he only had a very slim chance of making it but if he couldnt use his bladder or bowels himself, was not much hope..continue what i was doing…i began using the points in the diagrams for his bladder and 24hrs later he walked to the tray and did his first wee by himself! he is now walking everywhere…climbing and playing…eating and drinking well…he was only 250 grams at 3 weeks while his siblings were 600 grams.
    He is still extremely small, but one very determined little man – Tiny Tim – you can see progress pics of him on my web. – – i am very grateful that i bought this book. i will certainly be using and recommending it..thankyou..Lyn

  5. Very interesting, it would make a good read even if it’s not quite a beginner friendly practice, I’m still curious about the topic.

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