Cats with asthma. Yep, it is weird. The good news is there are heaps of great natural remedies for feline asthma to compliment the doctor’s medicine. The common medications for feline asthma fall into two main types: corticosteroids and bronchodilators. Oral or inhaled corticosteroids such as prednisone or prednisolone are used to reduce the inflammation of the airways, but they can cause some nasty side effects including increased appetite and thirst, diabetes, weight gain and even some behavioural changes.Bronchodilators generally have minimal side effects, but should not be used alone as they can sometimes worsen the condition.
If your cat is experiencing the side effects of these medications, or if you just plain don’t like the idea of relying solely on synthetic drugs, you might be inclined to look into some natural remedies for feline asthma. Naturally (ha!) do your research and chat to your vet first, because as we know, every cat is a special snowflake and you just never know how they will react…to anything.
It All Starts With The Diet
When I say “natural treatment” or “natural remedy” what I mean is stuff other than synthetic drugs. Natural treatment commonly tackles inflammation and provides support to the immune system. It all begins with what goes in. An anti-inflammatory diet for cats focuses on Omega 3 fatty acids and can include foods such as:
- Oily fish – salmon, sardines and trout are all ideal.
- Freeze dried krill – high in Omega 3 plus a stack of other benefits that promote healing and support basically all bodily functions
- Seaweed – boosts the immune system and contains anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being low in carbohydrates and easier for cats to digest than dirt vegetables.
Removing foods containing grains from your cat’s diet may help to reduce asthma symptoms, so read the labels and avoid anything with wheat, rice, corn or an abundance of preservatives.
What About Coconut Oil?
There’s a bit of mixed information about this. Although it seems coconut oil can have multiple benefits for cats, including support for the immune system and helping with hairballs, some vets don’t recommend giving it to kitty on a regular basis as it can upset the stomach and cause diarrhea. If you’re going to try it, talk to your vet first and introduce it to your cat’s diet slowly.
Homeopathic Treatments and Feline Asthma – a Good Idea?
Certain homeopathic remedies can work for your asthma cat, but they should be used with caution and always in consultation with an appropriate holistic vet. It is not wise or responsible to simply treat your cat with a concoction you’ve read about on the internet, especially if you have no experience with such things. Homeopathy does require some degree of trial and error, so it’s best to enlist an expert to determine the quantities and combinations of these treatments.
Acupuncture, Reiki and Other ‘Woo-Woo’ Things
Although it might seem strange to consider more ‘spiritual’ remedies for your cat’s asthma, you just never know what you might find if you look outside the box.
- Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that centres around the belief that we all have energy cycles moving through our bodies to keep us healthy. When one of these energy points becomes blocked it causes illness or disease. Acupuncture works to unblock these energy points by inserting needles and allowing the energy to move freely once again. Interestingly, the ancient Chinese identified that cats have similar energy points in their bodies to humans, so a qualified veterinary acupuncturist will be able to treat your cat properly
- Reiki is a non-invasive technique that can reduce stress and anxiety, aid healing, lessen the side effects of medications and improve behavioural problems. It is Japanese in origin, and like acupuncture, it works on your cat’s energy system. ‘Rei’ means ‘spirit’ and ‘ki’ means ‘energy’, so the word ‘Reiki’ literally translates to ‘spiritual energy’. Since the flow of Reiki is always towards perfect energetic balance, the practice will find the problem and rebalance the energy correctly.
- Flower Essences are natural remedies made from the essences and dew of flowers and are thought to provide relief for the stress and emotional responses to illness. The most well known is Bach Rescue Remedy, which has a formula specifically for pets, while Spirit Essences’ Easy-Breather formula is designed to help with upper respiratory infections, bronchitis and asthma in cats.
The Broken Record Part
Keep in mind that none of these things will cure your cat’s asthma and they should definitely not be used to replace your prescribed medications. Please always consult your vet before trying any alternative therapies.
Do you use natural remedies for your asthma cat? Which ones? Let us know in the comments…