Coconut Oil for Cats
What is Coconut Oil?
You know that creamy white stuff that comes out of a coconut? Coconut oil manufacturers extract the oil from this part of the coconut, and it ends up on shelves as either straight virgin coconut oil in a jar, hopefully virgin, or as an ingredient in other products.The power of coconut oil comes from its unusually high fatty acid content, triglycerides, anti-bacterial properties, anti-fungal properties, anti-viral properties, and nutritional benefits. Both science and consumer testimonies suggest that coconut oil is a safe, natural alternative treatment option for many health concerns, and it has gained enough credibility that even licensed veterinarians are starting to consider it as a valid treatment.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Cats
ImmunityMedium chain triglycerides, antioxidants, and lauric acid boost the cat's immune system, preventing disease and shortening the duration of diseases. Anything your cat's immune system tackles may be treated with giving your cat coconut oil. It benefits cats with weakened immune systems, living with chronic stress, or needing a little immunity boost.
InfectionsCoconut oil's lauric acid content has been proven to kill bacteria, viruses, and yeasts, and is even being used as a method of treating drug-resistant candida. This means it could be a safe means of preventing all types of infections and potentially treating them. You might cover an irritated area on your cat to prevent infection, treat a yeast infection, or try to heal an existing skin infection with coconut oil. We have to say potentially because it hasn't had time to endure the rigorous testing that traditional methods have so it can't be guaranteed, and infections are very serious. It is recommended to weigh out the health of the cat's immune system and the likelihood of getting an infection or the severity of the infection when considering coconut oil as a treatment and to be prepared to try another, more aggressive treatment should coconut oil not provide results.
Hairball TreatmentCoconut oil can treat hairballs in two ways.
Used externally, it can reduce hair loss from a variety of causes like skin infections and side effects from medications. This reduces the amount of hair a cat can ingest to become a hairball.
Used orally, it adds a bit of lubrication in there to get existing hairballs moving. This is like how mineral oil works for cats, but coconut oil is a safer, petroleum-free option.
EnergyCats can also enjoy a subtle, healthy increase in energy because of coconut oil's medium chain triglycerides. If your cat is aging, overweight, has a condition causing a lack of energy, or is taking a medication that reduces their energy, they may benefit from taking coconut oil. There won't be an excessive energy rush or a crash.
Weight ManagementCoconut oil can help overweight cats lose weight as it can help them feel full and provide a healthier alternative to some foods. It is important to determine why the cat is overweight before trying coconut oil, as it may not help with all kinds of weight gain. You should also stop using it as a weight loss treatment if the cat is severely overweight and doesn't respond quickly as it can cause them to gain weight when used incorrectly.
Coconut oil is not low calorie and certainly not low fat, so its effectiveness at trimming weight depends on the reason the cat is overweight and what you are replacing with the coconut oil.
Brain HealthMedium chain triglycerides in coconut oil can provide a variety of brain benefits including preventing and managing dementia.
Coconut oil also boosts ketones which can lessen and prevent seizures. It has been scientifically proven to work in dogs.
DigestionCoconut oil can help cats with an excessive appetite, inability to absorb nutrients, too much stomach bacteria, and inflammation in their digestive tract. It is possible to overdo it with the coconut oil and give a cat greasy or loose stools or to reduce a healthy appetite, so be mindful about how much you're giving them and watch for a negative reaction.
ParasitesParasites like fleas, lice, mites, and tapeworms don't like oils. Lauric acid can kill many of them and even if it doesn't kill them, it makes the living environment inhospitable, at least.
You can apply coconut oil to the cat's skin to get rid of fleas and mites, including ear mites. Or you can give the coconut oil orally to help with internal parasites.
InflammationLauric acid is an anti-inflammatory, both ridding the cat of inflammation and decreasing discomfort. This can provide a world of relief for cats with both acute inflammation or chronic conditions like arthritis.
CoughYou can use coconut oil for cats to alleviate coughs and soothe the throat. Its impacts on the immune system may also lessen the condition causing the cough in the first place.
Dental IssuesGingivitis isn't just a people thing. Cats get it too, and it can cause bad breath, inflammation, pain, tooth loss, and infections. You can rub coconut oil on your cat's gums or give them bought or homemade coconut oil cat treats to eliminate the bacteria that cause gingivitis, reduce pain and inflammation, and fix kitty halitosis.
SkinCoconut oil is good for many kitty skin issues. The high-fat content soothes and moisturizes dry skin. It can also attack the inflammation and weak immune system that cause and are associated with a Malassezia yeast outbreak as well as allergies that cause skin problems. This high fat content is also soothing to insect bites and stings and pressure sores.
The antioxidants and collagen in coconut oil are good for wound healing, speeding up recovery time so there is less chance of an infection.
AllergiesCats can suffer from food, dust, flea, chemical, and pollen allergies, and coconut oil helps treat both the cause and symptoms of many of them. The immune system plays a huge part in all allergies and coconut oil boosts that. It also alleviates the itching, inflammation, decreased energy level, and decreased mood cats suffer from with many or all allergies.
LiverMedium chain triglycerides in coconut oil protect the liver from free radicals, a buildup of unhealthy substances in the liver.
Paw PadsKitty paws really take a beating from playing with things to fighting to walking on hard surfaces. If their paws get sore, cut, or cracked, coconut oil can reduce pain and inflammation, soothe the skin, speed up wound healing, and prevent infection.
And MoreCoconut oil also shows great promise for killing cancer as well as treating the symptoms. It can also ease the side effects for cats going through traditional cancer treatments.
Cats with diabetes may also benefit from coconut oil because of its impact on weight.
Using Coconut Oil for Cats
Coconut oil can be used as a primary or supplemental treatment option.
Should a traditional treatment prove ineffective or too harsh for a cat, for instance the side effects may make it impossible for the cat to continue the treatment, you may try coconut oil instead. Some treatments are too dangerous for a cat in ill health or with certain conditions.
You may also use coconut oil along with a traditional treatment to ease the side effects of the treatment.
Pet owners may give coconut oil orally or topically, depending on the condition to be treated.
Coconut oil for cats comes in:
- jars of just virgin coconut oil
- dental treats
- anytime treats
- ear cleaners
- and more
Is Coconut Oil Safe for Cats to Eat?Yes, cats can eat coconut oil, so if they lick it off their skin or fur, it's okay. You can also treat internal or whole-body conditions by giving coconut oil to cats orally, i.e. feeding it to them.
Dosing Coconut Oil for CatsIf you are buying a coconut oil product made especially for cats, it will have dosing instructions on the package.
If you are just opening a jar of coconut oil, start with 1/8 of a teaspoon per day and work up to whatever works for your cat without exceeding 1/2 teaspoon twice a day. While raising the dosage, make sure to give it a few days to work before increasing so you can give it plenty of time to show its full effects before changing as this is an ineffective way to judge the success of the dose and will only complicate matters for you and your cat.
If using coconut oil for hairballs, you don't have to give it to them every day, just as needed to start with and then work up to every day if it requires that. If the hairball problem is that bad though, you might want to take the cat to a licensed veterinarian to make sure additional treatments aren't needed.
You can feed the coconut oil to the cat on your finger or in a spoon or bowl, or add it to their canned food.
The amount for external uses will vary depending on the condition to be treated and the product you're applying. Straight coconut oil is usually rubbed on rather liberally, left to sit for a few minutes and then washed off.
Before Buying or Using Coconut Oil for CatsCoconut oil is safe and causes virtually no side effects. They may have changes in appetite and may experience diarrhea and vomiting if given too much.
Cats with metabolic disorders or pancreatic issues should only be given coconut oil under strict supervision from a licensed veterinarian.
Things to Know When Purchasing Coconut Oil for CatsNot all coconut oils are intended to be eaten, even if they say they're nothing but coconut oil and look like the edible kind, so if you intend to feed your cat coconut oil, make sure it is safe to be ingested. Buy coconut oil for cats that specifically says it is meant to be eaten, or buy the coconut oil in the bakery section of your grocery store.
Make sure to only buy unrefined or virgin coconut oil, as well as products made with only this kind of coconut oil. This is the safest and most effective coconut oil. Others may be overly processed or processed in an unsafe way. If you are buying a jar of coconut oil, it should look white and creamy.
Cold-pressed coconut oil is also the best kind as far as extraction method goes because it has been less harshly processed and retains more of its soothing and nutritious qualities.
Make sure to follow the storage instructions. Coconut oil can go rancid if not stored correctly. That being said, don't freak out because it looks melted or too hard. This can happen because of a change in temperature and does not impact the quality or safety of the product unless is becomes lumpy or smells.
Coconut Oil combined with CBD Oil
Coconut oil and CBD oil share many of the same properties as well as some separate complementary ones.
CBD oil is cannabidiol oil, which, yes, does sound like cannabis. You will not be giving your cat marijuana. Well, unless you choose to. Most manufacturers make CBD oil from the hemp plant, which is in the same family as marijuana but does not cause a high. You can easily tell the difference between CBD oil made from marijuana and that made from hemp because it will be labelled on the package.
Have you ever heard about the health benefits of marijuana? The hemp plant offers those same benefits and often more effectively than marijuana, without the high and without being illegal. Marijuana has the tendency to provide drastic benefits right away, but not to retain those benefits and for the user to suffer a crash afterward. CBD oil from hemp doesn't do that; it's a long-term solution with more subtle results, which may help in regulating the cat's own healthy functions.
Cannabidiol may offer people and cats:
- pain management
- decreased inflammation
- less stress and anxiety
- improved mood
- the prevention and lessening of seizures
- a healthy sleep schedule
- an energy boost
- improved immunity
- better digestion
- nausea relief
- improved appetite
- reduced ADHD symptoms
- improvement in skin conditions
- brain health
- brain damage repair
- psychosis treatment
- cancer killing
- and more
Many other things were not on the coconut oil list as well as some things on the coconut oil list not being in the CBD list. What this means is that using the two oils together can create a powerful combination of symptom and condition relief.
It may be a good idea to purchase coconut oil and CBD oil to use together or to buy a product that contains both oils to meet all your pet's needs.
Buying CBD oil or Coconut Oil and CBD products
Like coconut oil, there are some things you need to know before buying CBD oil or a product with CBD oil in it.
A CBD oil product should say it:
- contains 0% THC, the high-causing chemical
- was tested by a third-party lab to prove it is CBD and that it is the amount you're buying
- was extracted with the CO2 extraction method
- has no unnecessary, synthetic, or unsafe ingredients in it
- was sourced in the US or a country with responsible growing and harvesting regulations
CBD oil studies have proven it to be safe, natural, and they have almost no side effects. If given a high enough dose, the cat may get sedated, have diarrhea, or have changes in their appetite.
Dosing CBD oil is similar to dosing coconut oil, you'll want to start with a small amount and work up to what helps your cat. 1mg per 10 lbs. of cat is a good starting dose. Do not give more than 5mg per 10 lbs. What is meant by that is you can give a higher dose for a 20 lb. cat and you should go even lower than 1 mg for a very small cat or a kitten.
You may want to speak to a licensed veterinarian about specific dosages for your cat because the exact dose depends on the age, weight, and overall health of the cat as well as the condition to be treated.
Important Take-Aways About Coconut Oil for CatsCoconut oil provides a safe and natural method of helping cats with hard-to-treat ailments. Traditional medications may not work or have such terrible side effects and risks that they can't be used. Coconut oil may also lessen the side effects of traditional treatments when used in conjunction with them. It has almost no side effects or risks and offers cats seemingly miraculous relief from pain, stomach issues, stress, inflammation, infections, and more.
Dosing is a trial and error thing. Just start low and work up to what helps the cat. You might want to talk to their veterinarian for individual and guided dosing instructions. Specifically designed cat products will also have dosing instructions on them.You might want to combine coconut oil with CBD oil double up on the benefits they share and to gain other possible benefits. For instance, CBD has been shown to help cats sleep. If your coconut oil treatment helps your cat with everything else but they still can't sleep, CBD can fill in the gap.
Researching coconut oil online gets you mixed results. Many posts discuss the benefits while others say it isn't reliable. The truth is, it isn't a guaranteed cure-all, neither is CBD oil, neither is anything really. But both coconut oil and CBD oil can seem miraculous when you've seen a pet suffering and they live their normal life again. These natural substances fill a gap that traditional medications can't. They're gentle, so cats who are in too weak of a condition to receive traditional treatments can still be treated. The oils can be attempted when no vet will try anything else. They can make traditional treatments more bearable. But they haven't been tried and tested as long and as thoroughly as other prescription medications have, yet, so results are not guaranteed. Scientists are working on it.
Innovations from Innovet
Innovet makes CBD products for pets to manage hard-to-treat ailments. We're in it to help pets, to fill niches. If your cat has needs that haven't been met by current coconut oil and CBD oil products, contact us to see if we can't find a solution for your cat.
Dr. Sara Ochoa
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, St. Georges University
Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM was raised in north Louisiana. She graduated from LA Tech in 2011 with a degree in animal science. She then moved to Grenada West Indies for veterinary school. She completed her clinical year at Louisiana State University and graduated in 2015 from St. George’s University. Since veterinary school she has been working at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she has experience treating all species that walk in the hospital. In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband Greg, bake yummy desserts and spend time with her 4-legged fur kids, a dog Ruby, a cat Oliver James “OJ”, a rabbit BamBam and a tortoise MonkeyMan.
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The Innovet Team
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