In a world where we are taking a hard look at the medications we put into our human bodies, it makes sense that we would question what we give our pets. There are a whole host of options to treat what ails pets these days, many of them safer than any prescription medication or invasive treatments. Of course, it is always best to check with your vet before you start implementing a natural remedy into your kitty’s care.
Calming your cat
To calm your cat, try the herbs catnip or valerian, both of which will calm and soothe your cat when he is overly anxious or stressed. Give catnip at least 15 minutes before an event that causes anxiety. After your cat does laps around the living room and hangs from the curtains, he will be ready for a rest about the time you need to head to the vet appointment. Valerian will also encourage a nap, so this one you may want to reserve for long car rides. The herb is given to people experiencing insomnia and will induce euphoria in your cat.
Treating bad breath
If your cat has occasional bad breath, it may be from something as simple as a piece of food stuck in his teeth. This is where good oral hygiene comes in. You should brush your cat’s teeth at home at least once a week. Gayle O’Konski, DVM, recommends using a finger brush and poultry-flavored enzymatic toothpaste. While your cat will not necessarily love the teeth cleaning process, following O’Konski’s plan (and following the cleaning up with a treat) can make it less of a negative experience. She recommends slipping your finger onto the outside of your cat’s teeth and concentrating on where the gum meets the tooth. She also recommends starting slowly and then working up to longer toothbrushing sessions. Offer your cat’s favorite treat afterward. Veterinarians recommend professional teeth cleaning at least once a year. The Wellness Plan can help offset the cost of dental care by reimbursing towards one dental cleaning per year.
Dealing with digestive issues
This can be a tricky one, since sometimes digestive issues can point to a serious ailment, so if your cat is experiencing frequent bouts of vomiting or diarrhea, be sure to make a vet appointment. Occasional vomiting and diarrhea can be handled by taking a look at diet. Adding some canned pumpkin and/or sticking to a bland diet (think white rice) can help your pet bounce back from intestinal discomfort. Hairballs can also be the culprit when it comes to tummy upset. You may want to try a natural preventative for hairballs, but please make sure to check with your veterinarian first. In her article, Top 8 Vet-Sanctioned Home Remedies for Pets, Dr. Khuly recommends petroleum jelly for lubrication to aid in hairball elimination and to help with constipation.
Scratching the itch
Enter chamomile tea! Not only can dried chamomile flowers relax your cat, the tea made from chamomile can soothe dry and itchy skin. This remedy calls on the natural disinfectant effect of the plant, calming minor skin irritations, and killing yeast and bacteria that causes the discomfort without killing off the “good” bacteria. Dr. Khuly recommends making a strong cup of tea, chilling it in the fridge, and then pouring it into a spray bottle. Spray the infected area liberally to immediately soothe your cat’s raw skin.
If an issue persists…
It is wonderful to know you have the above options when caring for your cat. One of the best parts? The above items are easy to keep on hand, and not overly expensive. Feel good about the treatment you are giving your cat when you choose natural remedies, but head to the vet if your natural remedies are not doing the trick or if you think you might be dealing with a serious illness.
The information provided in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not serve as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your veterinarian. Always consult your veterinarian with questions about your pet’s health and before initiating any treatment regimes.