After years of learning Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), including a trip to study in Beijing, China, I almost gave up trying to use Chinese herbs for my feline patients. Cats are masters at detecting even minute quantities of prescribed herbs in their food. My patients often refused to take their herbs regardless of what form I used: powder, pills, tea or a poultice.

After purchasing a radionics machine, I could make an energetic copy of the Chinese herbs into a solution of water and alcohol. This solution is succussed by tapping fi rmly on the palm ten times prior to each use. The solution is then applied transdermally at the rate of one drop twice daily for most of my feline patients. I apply the solution on the skin in front of the ear, pinnae, paw pads or any place on the body where there is little or no hair. Since most patients object to cold solutions being placed on their skin, I do not recommend refrigerating the energetic herbal solution.

If a patient objects to transdermal application of herbs (some cats mind the wet, even when it is room temperature), I have the owner give the same dose of the energetically made herbal solution (which has no taste) in a small amount of food.

Although it takes a few days longer to see therapeutic effects from an energetic herbal solution used transdermally, and a bit longer still when it’s put in the food, there is a much higher rate of owner compliance, along with happier healthier patients. Feral cats would certainly benefit from this as you could see them actually eat the dose in the first bite of food.

Most of my canine patients easily take Chinese herbs in powdered form mixed into their food. However, for the few finicky dogs that refuse herbs in food, I make an energetic copy on the radionics machine and have the owner apply it transdermally at the rate of one drop twice daily. Again, it takes a few days longer to see therapeutic effects with this method, but the dogs definitely benefit from receiving the herbs in this manner.

I have a similar approach for using Western herbs in my feline patients. A tincture (alcohol extract) of the herb is applied transdermally at the rate of one drop on the skin for most patients. They are dosed twice daily, or more frequently depending on severity of the symptoms.

For example, for cats with symptoms of FLUTD caused by crystalluira, I use a combination of Sweetleaf, Graveroot and Horsetail. This tincture helps with pain on urination, resolves hematuria and dissolves crystals. When the symptoms are initially severe, I have the owner apply one drop on the skin four or fi ve times daily for the fi rst few days of treatment until the patient is urinating a normal frequency and amount. I then reduce the treatment frequency to twice daily for three to four weeks, or until a urine specimen has been rechecked and found to be normal.

For my canine patients, I use the same technique by applying Western herbal tinctures at the rate of one to three drops on the skin depending on patient size.

Whole herbs, whether Western or Chinese, are the best. However, I have successfully treated ferals, the big cats at The Wildcat Sanctuary and my chickens, goats and alpacas using this method. I dispense the energetic solutions, as well as herbal tinctures, in ½ oz or 1 oz amber or blue glass dropper bottles.


Dr. Susan Swanson graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. She owns the Cat Care Clinic in Mahtomedi, Minnesota and co-founded Caring for Cats, a no-kill shelter for cats, in 1999. She also co-founded the Feline Leukemia Care Center, which provides a lifelong home for FeLV positive cats, and is working to develop a holistic treatment regimen for the disease. Along with practicing traditional Western Medicine, Dr. Swanson specializes in holistic modalities including TCM herbs, acupuncture, nutritional supplements, Western herbs, essential oils, gemmotherapy, flower essences, homeopathy, Reiki, and cranial-sacral therapy.