When using herbal remedies for cats, it is important to seek the advice of a veterinarian prior to beginning any treatment or use ready-made supplements for cats. This is essential if the animal is pregnant or nursing.
If used correctly, herbal treatment for cats can be very effective, and many of the herbal remedies that adults use on a daily basis can also be used to treat some conditions which afflict our feline friends.
If considering herbal treatment for cats, it is essential to consider how it should be administered.
Often it cannot be done in the same way as for adults.
For cats, the digestion of fresh herbs can be difficult, so it is usually recommended that the tincture or tea of an herb be used instead.
Prolonged treatment with herbs for cats is not generally recommended, as immunity can build up which reduces the effectiveness, so guidelines should always be adhered to.
Useful herbs for cats include:
- Goldenseal has antibiotic properties and can be particularly beneficial for infections of the digestive system. Other internal benefits include cleansing the liver and regulating blood sugar. It can be applied externally to skin cancers and in a diluted form can be used to cleanse wounds. However, as with all treatments there are contraindications to be considered. Goldenseal should never be mixed with licorice root, and cats with diabetes should be monitored carefully if being treated with this herb.
- Echinacea is often used in conjunction with goldenseal and is useful in treating respiratory infections. It can be useful for aiding the healing of abscesses. However, it is better to avoid using this herb if the cat is suffering from an auto-immune disease such as lupus.
- Yarrow can be used to calm fevers and has similar properties to insulin so could occasionally be used to treat diabetic cats, though only with veterinary guidance. Externally, its value is as an antiseptic and can be used as a compress on wounds and skin conditions. Cats can pick up negative emotions from their owners, and using the yarrow flower essence can aid with overcoming this.
- Chamomile can be a another one of the useful herbal remedies for cats, as they have a tendency to become stressed and anxious if their routine becomes unsettled (for example when moving to a new house or the loss of a companion pet). This herb can be particularly effective for easing the stomach problems which are often connected to stress and is easily administered in the form of tea diluted into the cat’s drinking water.
- Garlic in very small quantities in the diet can help to ward off fleas and other parasites from the cat’s skin. Care should be taken not to give too much, as garlic has blood thinning properties.
There are many other possibilities when considering herbal remedies for cats, and supplements created specifically for felines are available.
When using herbs, only the recommended amount should be administered, as giving the cat too much could cause further problems.
Consideration should also be given to any traditional medication they may be taking, as herbs can interact with medicines and distort their effectiveness.