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Cat Health | PetsWeekly

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We all know how effective natural remedies can be for humans, but when used properly they can also make a big difference in the lives of your pets.  However, before using, you must understand the precautions that must be exercised to not only to have a favorable reaction, but to avoid dangerous reactions.

Cats are particularly sensitive to oils as they have very thin and delicate skin, which makes them highly sensitive to topical applications. Their thin skin allows for a quicker absorption rate and faster response times. Cats also have additional challenges in that they can’t metabolize certain compounds, which can quickly lead to a toxic buildup in their bodies, causing irreversible liver damage.

They also have an incredibly acute sense of smell – so you must use highly dilute products. Each animal will differ in what they respond to (both negatively and positively), which makes it even more difficult to use essential oils in multi-cat households.

Before you use essential oils in a water supply, be certain you understand the risks in doing so. Most cats tend towards not drinking enough water on their best days, so it can be a challenge to place any type of oil into their water. They are highly sensitive and can detect even the tiniest change in their drinking supply. This could easily put them off water completely, and if another clean source is not provided, they could become dangerously dehydrated. In a multi-cat household, be certain you take the proper precautions before using any kind of natural remedies.

You may think I’m going to argue that you should never use any type of essential oil in or around a favored feline, but I’m not. Because the same qualities that makes cats so sensitive to natural treatment also makes them great candidates for natural treatment.

Several products that I feel very confident recommending:

Bach Pet Rescue Remedy: This mix was created by Dr Bach to deal with emergencies and crises – the moments when there is no time to make a proper individual selection of remedies. It's touted as a cure for both humans and animals, but of course there are serious adjustments in dosing. We have found it to be a wonderful way of calming our pets during transportation, in an emergency, during stressful visits, or to restore peace in multi-pet households.

Comfort Zone w/ Feliway: Comfort Zone with Feliway products are focused on pheremones and are clinically proven 95% effective to reduce urine marking and vertical scratching. This product is a standard fixture in our home as we rely on it's calming influence to manage our multi-pet household.

Azmira Flower Remedies: We've found many of their products to be highly effective in both dogs and cats, and particularly like the Spraying Flower Essence for Pets. Again, pay attention to the dosing. These remedies help the mind overcome bad experiences, fears, and stressful feelings that interfere with proper function, diminishing the pet's ability to think and learn.

DERmagic: This line of all natural skin care products for pets is one of our all-time favorites. It's the only one we've seen that is effective enough to naturally resolve problems related to yeast (skin irritations, flea allergies, dermatitis, and dandruff), yet gentle enough to be used on our cats.

Essential Oils

There are several oil companies you should check out. Some are multi-level investments, others are buy as you go (our preference). The ones we personally use are from Doterra (affiliate link) only because that is what we have used most often. You may prefer oils from Young Living or one of the many great manufacturers out there (Plant Therapy, Rocky Mountain Oils, Eve's Garden and more). Remember that you get what you pay for - a higher price is generally indicative of a safe, high-quality oil, but ask to see their quality reports.

Essential oils should NEVER be applied "neat" (without dilution) to any animal other than a horse (and then with caution). Also, they should never be diffused or used around birds or reptiles. Use extreme caution when applying essential oils to your pets - their symptoms do not manifest immediately and you could send your cat into organ failure within a few weeks without knowing it. Here are two oils we feel safe recommending if used at dilute levels:

 Lavender: If you have a stressed out cat, Lavender can be quite useful in treating. However, the oil must be a pure grade and it must be highly dilute. Common dilution calls for 10-15% of what the human uses. For example, if you were to apply lavender to yourself "neat" (no dilution), you should place 2-3 drops in a dram and add 20-30 drops of Fractionated Coconut Oil. Another quick fix for veterinarian visits (or when company arrives) is to place a drop or two on a cotton ball and tape the cotton ball to the outside of a carrier.

Roman Chamomile: This is another favorite for our home and the animals respond quite well to it. We often diffuse Roman Chamomile and Lavender in our home and it is a miracle calming formula.

We will be adding more oils and an oil guide as we progress through our own learning curve and identify solutions that work.

Some common-sense guidelines:

Your cat knows best: Never force your cats to wear, consume or inhale natural oils. Trust that they know what their limits are and if they ever demonstrate a reaction (behavioral - such as spraying or peeing on bed, or physical - tremors, shaking), see your veterinarian immediately <These are emergency situations>

  • Use highly dilute forms: Your cats are hyper-sensitive to nearly everything and moderation is always best. If you can’t smell an oil, that’s okay – your cat can.
  • Never diffuse oils in a closed room: Many of us use room deodorizers and oils that naturally diffuse in our homes. This can be potentially fatal to cats (and other pets, particularly birds and reptiles).
  • Never use oils that contain phenols: Phenol, also known as carbolic acid, is an organic compound with the formula C6H5OH. It is a white crystalline solid that is volatile and potentially very dangerous to your cat.
  • Hydrosols: These are the essences left in plants after oils have been distilled and they remain controversial. While some advocate their use, others recommend against it.
  • Use Multiple Sources in Research: Don’t rely on only one source (including us) when it comes to treating pets. One website or study does not count as research. A “news” report is not research. A recommendation from a friend is not research. If you don’t know what counts as research, you need to consult someone who does.

Just as nature relies on a rigid dichotomy of maxes and minimums, the same holds true for cats. What may be toxic in one dose can be healing in a smaller dose.  Almost nothing is mutually exclusive and nearly everything is jointly exhaustive.

In other words, all of nature is balance...

The same theory holds true for the use of essential oils in our cats. First, if you are not incredibly well-educated on essential oils AND felines, you shouldn’t be applying them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a doctorate in applied science, merely that you have discussed both sides with qualified individuals, read everything (both as pros and cons) that you can get your hands on, and explored other options with your veterinarian AND your homeopathic.

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Author: stacymantle
About the Author

Stacy Mantle is a freelance writer who currently resides in the southwestern deserts of Arizona with a few dogs, several cats, and a very understanding husband. She is a regular contributor to Pet Age Magazine, Catster, Animal Behavior College, and of course, PetsWeekly. Many of her stories and articles have been translated into several languages, and now reach an international audience. She is also the author of a bestselling urban fantasy/thriller, Shepherd's Moon; a humor book entitled, Conquering the Food Chain: Living Amongst Animals (Without Becoming One), and a line of Educational Activity Books for children.

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