Herbs for Cats
by Valerie Lull
People who are interested in holistic medicine are often interested in using natural methods for their pets. Animals are instinctively drawn to certain plants for certain needs that they have. For instance, cats will often nibble on grass. This is their way of taking a laxative.
As holistic medicine has become more popular for humans, it has become more popular for treating pets as well. There is now an American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association that is dedicated to using natural remedies for animals.
Following are a list of several herbs and how they can help your cat. Dill - is an herb that can relieve a cat’s upset stomach, nausea and flatulence. You can crush some dill and add it to your cat's food dish or make a tea and add a few drops to their wet food. Eyebright - can help ease irritation and can clear up a discharge coming from your cat's eyes. To enhance the healing process, you can make an infusion of eyebright. You may need a dropper to get the cooled tea into your cat's mouth. Cat Grass - Cat grass is usually wheat grass, oat grass, barley grass, or orchard grass. Cat grass does not give your cat a high like catnip, but the cats do seem to enjoy it. Cats eat it for various reasons; to induce vomiting to bring up hairballs, or for a laxative that helps the hairballs pass through the system. Parsley - Another herb that cats often nibble on is parsley. It helps with their digestion and with kidney ailments. Veterinarians say parsley is good to support your cat's urinary health because it is antifungal and fights infection. Parsley is included in a lot of health supplements for cats. Catnip - is loved by felines the world over. It makes them feel good and relieves them of stress and nervousness. A catnip tea bath can be used to soothe itchy skin on your cat. The tea can be applied topically, or a few drops may be added to their food.
Chamomile – is useful if your cat has skin issues, like itching. This may be just what the vet ordered. Discuss with the vet about the best way to use this.
Licorice Root – is like a natural cortisone. It is good to soothe itching in cats with allergies and it helps with digestion problems as well as respiratory problems.
Dandelion – This is another herb that is good for your cat’s skin, especially if they have allergies that cause itching.
Goldenseal – If you have a tom cat that occasionally gets in fights, this is good for treating the wounds. It also helps with infections and allergies.
Cranberry – This herb is good for urinary tract infections (UTI’s) in humans. It turns out that it is good for UTI’s in cats too.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of working with your veterinarian. Never use essential oils on your cat as its body has problems processing them and they are toxic to the cat. There are some herbs that are not good for cats and sometimes the vet may want to use an herb as a tincture as opposed to mixing it with their food, or using it as a compress on the skin.
Check out my website. I have a new book coming out soon, the title is Glorious Garlic!
Source: Rogers, Lura, Ten Herbs for a Happy, Healthy Cat, 2011, Storey Publishing, LLC
About the Author
Valerie B. Lull, author of Ten Healthy Teas, is an herbalist and wellness coach. At the age of 45 she was diagnosed with Diabetes and staying in good health became her passion. She studied at the American College of Healthcare Sciences in Portland, Oregon.
Valerie has always had a passion for staying healthy and for the health benefits of teas and the various ways they can be prepared. Valerie’s passion for tea started in childhood, when she experienced a traditional-style teatime with her Canadian relatives.
You can read her “Healthy Life” column on the 4th Monday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.