Celeste Yarnall


For many years nutrition experts have repeated what we must all instinctively know:
“You are what you eat.”  We humans add bananas and strawberries to
our cereal on a daily basis.  We order a salad with our dinner . . .
What person wants to eat exclusively out of cans and bags the rest of her life?
So why should it be different for our animals?


The foundation of good health for cats and dogs is nutrition.  I’m sorry to tell you, but optimal nutrition is not available in any bag or can of commercial pet food.  You must make your own dog and cat food yourself.  Only then can you be certain your animal is eating a balanced diet.  Simply changing the pet’s diet resolves most problems; they detoxify their systems and heal themselves.  A nutritious diet for dogs and cats consists of fresh, raw, naturally raised meat or poultry (graded for human consumption, as is everything I recommend for your animal companions); food-processed, fresh, raw organically grown vegetables; and organically grown, slow-cooked oatmeal (for dogs and cats if there are no grain sensitivities.  Supplements are added that provide the necessary organic, whole-food vitamins, minerals, co-factors; and finally, we include a proprietary blend of cold-pressed oils that provide essential fatty acids.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?  Yet, time spent now providing an ounce of nutritional prevention to boost the immune system, may save you time in the future administering costly medications and treatments to repair the damage done to animals that have eaten highly processed, cooked, and preserved commercial pet food diets.

Why raw meat?  Because carnivores in the wild don’t have little stoves to cook their food.  Nature designed for them a species-specific diet that consists of fresh, raw prey.  I use standardized extract of grapefruit (available at health food stores) to treat my meat and poultry.  It’s a natural antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic agent.  (Four drops of this concentrate in a cup of purified water may be mixed into the meat prior to adding vegetables, grains, supplements, and oil).  However, carnivores in the wild do not treat their meat before eating it, so this step is optional.

Dogs require a diet made up of at least 30%, raw meat or poultry protein, 40% carbohydrates (fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and a small amount of slow-cooked oatmeal [if tolerated]), and 30% polyunsaturated fats.  I prefer feeding puppies and dogs 75% meat/poultry and 25% low glycemic index carbohydrates.  This ratio that Dr. Gregory Ogilvie, head of medical oncology and director of the medical oncology research laboratory Animal Cancer Center of Colorado State University, has found is appropriate for cancer dogs (25% carbohydrate / 35-48% protein / 27-35% fact 5% from omega 3 fatty acids).  Cats are obligate carnivores requiring 75-100% raw meat or poultry protein (depending on their health and life stages) and essential fatty acids.  I start kittens at the 100% meat at five weeks.  This ratio can be reduced to 70% as they mature by adding an appropriate carbohydrate, such as pumpkin, baked yams, or zucchini.  Because of this diet, we have no fleas, no fungus, and no internal parasites.  The result:  healthy, glowing coats, clean teeth, fresh breath, and loving dispositions.

My dog, Connie, a sable and white collie, suffered from terrible fleabite dermatitis and was treated with cortisone on many occasions.  Changing her diet to fresh, raw food resolved this problem completely.  A miracle?  No, just a sensible choice.  Nature knows best.  For the last 10,000 years, carnivores have hunted fresh prey.  This was their species-specific diet, until commercial pet food arrived and replaced fresh food in the 1960’s.  Our animals, as a result of this shift in diet, now suffer from almost all of the same diseases we do.

Yes, prey animals are better for our cats and dogs.  The diet recommended here doesn’t quell their desire to hunt prey, but it does provide the best nutritional building blocks to enable them to live in glowing health and heal themselves in the safety of our homes and gardens.

If you provide some stimulating play activity before meals, it helps cats and dogs work up an appetite.  The fishing pole toys provide great exercise for cats, and of course, throwing a ball or going for a long walk are musts for dogs.  Unfortunately, dogs and cats that have been fed commercial pet food have been poorly nourished for decades.  The Animal Protection Institute of America (located in Sacramento, California) published a scathing investigation on the pet food industry in the spring of 1996.  According to this report, “What the pet food manufacturers fail to mention is that meat by-products, digests [animal tissue broken down by chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis], and meals are also filled with other substances such as cancerous material cut away from the carcass, Styrofoam packaging containing spoiled meat from supermarkets, ear tags, spoiled slaughter meat, road kill, downer animals [animals that collapse and die from unknown causes], and others.”

Another source of meat that you won’t find mentioned on pet food labels is dogs and cats.  In 1990, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that euthanized companion animals were found in pet food.  Although the pet food industry denied the report, the American Veterinary Medical Association confirmed the story.

The greasy smell that exudes from your dry food emanates from sprayed-on, refined animal fat, kitchen grease, and other oils too rancid, or deemed inedible for, humans.  Restaurant grease has become a major component of feed-grade animal fat for over fifteen years.

Let’s just sum it up by saying that all of the above so-called “food” materials are either canned or extruded into pellets in the form of dry food that usually includes a ration of the minimum daily requirement of cheap, synthetic vitamins and minerals.  Then the bags of dry food are bombed periodically with an insecticide to prevent protein-eating parasites from dining on their contents.  Even if the ingredients were perfect to begin with, once you cook, can, bag, and preserve, you have only empty calories that remain.  This is why I make my own food and have raised 8 generations of Tonkinese cats on my diet and supplements.

Another abuse of our animals that may shock many of you is conventional vaccines, which are yet another blow to our cats’ and dogs’ immune systems.  Even though most traditional veterinarians recommend annual vaccinations, this does not mean it is safe to do so.  Traditional vets are taught:  Let’s protect the body because it can’t possibly protect itself.  But could nature have been this far off base when it designed our animals’ immune systems?  As a result of too much vaccination, we have an epidemic in cats of a cancer referred to as vacsosarcoma (a cancerous growth that develops at the vaccination site.  The holistic veterinary community is well aware of the dangers of conventional vaccinations as well as “booster” vaccines that traditional vets recommend be given on an annual basis.  Dr. Ron Schultz, writing in Kirk’s Current Veterinary Therapy, says, “A practice that was started many years ago and that lacks scientific validity or verification is annual revaccination.  Almost without exception, there is no immunological requirement for annual revaccination.  Immunity to viruses persists for years or for the life of the animal.”

Many of the world’s foremost holistic veterinarians, including Dr. Christina Chambreau, Dr. Russell Swift, Dr. Charles Loops, and Dr. Richard Pitcairn, agree that commercial pet food and excessive vaccination are behind the many chronic diseases being dealt with today in veterinary medicine, the likes of which were never seen before routine vaccinations and commercial pet food became the norm.  Dr. Pitcairn, a renowned holistic veterinarian who specializes in homeopathy, has said, “If I may venture to make a prediction, it is that 50-100 years from now, people will look back at the practice of introducing disease into people and animals for the purpose of preventing these same diseases as foolishness, a foolishness similar to that of the practice of bloodletting and the use of toxic doses of mercury in the treatment of disease.”

What can we do?  Holistic health care offers a variety of choices for our pets.  The use of homeopathic nosodes are an alternative to annual immunization, and homeopathic remedies are currently being used by many holistic veterinarians to treat the symptoms of “dis-ease.”  Herbal remedies also may be used medicinally as well as nutritionally.  Flower essence therapy, a holistic approach for mental well-being that helps one to manage stress and various behavioral problems, is also valuable, as are the healing powers of acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic, magnet therapy, aromatherapy, touch and massage techniques.  All these treatment approaches are gentle, effective ways to augment the natural diet and build up the constitution of the animal, and they can be lovingly administered.  After all, love is the reason we are here sharing this physical experience, and love is what our dogs and cats give us unconditionally every moment of every day.  You can return that love with natural pet care.

Opening quotation from Natural Cat Care by Celeste Yarnall, Ph.D.   Celeste Yarnall’s  Natural Cat Care 
(Formerly Cat Care, Naturally) and Natural Dog Care  (Charles E. Tuttle) detail the myriad holistic 
health care alternatives available for treating cats and dogs.  Both books are based on her personal 
philosophy of providing  the best possible species-specific natural pet care.

To order the book, or for information on Dr. Yarnall’s, natural diet recipes, Celestial Pets ®
product line, as well as consultation by appointment, please call (818) 707-6331.

For a complete investigative report on the dangers of commercial pet food, 
call or write the Animal Protection Institute of America:
P.O. Box 22505, Sacramento, CA  95822, (916) 447-3085, FAX (916) 447-3070

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