Coconut oil is fantastic, isn’t it? You can use it for just about anything – cooking, cleaning, skincare – in fact, you can even use coconut oil for cats with asthma, skin conditions, hairballs, digestive issues, cognitive dysfunction, eating disorders, constipation, ear infections…shall I go on?
I’m a big fan of supporting conventional medicine with natural remedies for feline asthma, especially when the benefits are many and the disadvantages are…not so many.
What’s so Good About Coconut Oil?
Well for starters, it’s one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Coconut oil is a natural anti-viral and anti-fungal that supports the immune system and helps to heal viruses such as herpes, candida and the flu. It provides a kick to the metabolism, which gives another little boost to the immune system and helps to keep weight under control.
Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and as we know, asthma is basically inflammation gone wrong. It’s great for the wheezy as it helps to rebuild the tissues that are worn down as a result of asthma attacks, as well as promoting healthy arteries, bones and teeth.
On the skin, coconut oil is a great moisturiser, insect repellant and deep cleanser. It even provides some protection from the sun with SPF 4 – not the best for a whole day in the great outdoors, but for a brief stint outside it’s something. And if you’ve already been out in the sun without any protection, applying coconut oil immediately afterwards can help to minimise the damage.
Is Coconut Oil Good For Cats?
Cats may be people, but they are definitely not humans – their bodies process things differently to ours. There are certain human foods that are toxic to cats, so caution needs to be taken if you’re thinking about giving people food to your cat. The good news is that many of the health benefits of coconut oil for us humans are also wonderful for our feline friends.
Here’s Dr Karen Becker from Healthy Pets by Mercola with the medical lowdown on coconut oil for pets:
Coconut oil is made of medium chain fatty acids which absorb easily in the digestive tract, making it excellent for constipation, digestive issues and irritable bowel syndrome. It also contains antioxidant properties to sooth dandruff and dry skin and is great for improving the quality of kitty’s coat, as well as helping to heal any cuts or scrapes.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil For Cats With Asthma
Asthma cats can benefit from a supplement of coconut oil to help rebuild the lung tissue and replenish vital fatty acids that may be lost due to asthma attacks. Asthma is basically the immune system getting ‘confused’, thinking that normal particles in the air are threatening and over-reacting, which causes inflammation. Supporting the immune system can help to reduce this confusion.
Aside from the benefits specifically for asthma, coconut oil helps to maintain your cat’s overall health. Because there is no cure for feline asthma, keeping wheezy kitty’s health in tip-top shape is the name of the game. Coconut oil has several nasty-fighting properties, including:
- Anti-bacterial – helps to kill harmful bacteria that cause troubles such as ulcers and gum disease.
- Anti-fungal – eliminates things like ringworm and yeast infection and candidiasis.
- Anti-viral – can help to kill viruses that cause bladder infections and other viruses.
- Anti-parasitic – helps to repel fleas and kill other parasites such as tapeworms and lice.
Coconut oil can also be used topically to give your cat a healthy coat and a tasty treat at the same time. Run a flea comb through kitty’s hair after applying coconut oil and the evil little critters will stick to the comb, giving you a chance to…dispose of their nastiness before they jump away.
How to Use Coconut Oil With Your Cat
The daily recommended dosage is 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil for every 20ish pounds of cat. To avoid any stomach upsets it’s best to start off slowly and work up to the recommended dosage over a few weeks.
Most cats like the taste of coconut oil and will lick it right off the spoon or your fingers, or you could try mixing it in with some really smelly food until he gets used to it.
Always use an organic, extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil to make sure kitty is getting all of the health benefits and nothing extra. Cold pressed coconut oil has a more mellow, natural flavour and the minimal processing ensures the nutrients are not compromised. Glass packaging is best and fair trade is the right thing to do.
Coconut oil is very high in calories, so if you plan to give it to your cat every day you’ll need to cut back on calories elsewhere in his diet to avoid unwanted weight gain. Obesity is especially risky for cats with asthma, so keep a close eye on your coconutty kitty and if he starts to stack it on, lay off a bit.
Excessive use can cause diarrhea, vomiting and general digestive unhappiness. Coconut oil, like any supplement, should only be used in moderation and only after consulting with your vet.
Have you tried coconut oil with your cat? Share your stories below in the comments…