Cat Herbs

Cat Herbal Medicine

FAQ Herbal medicine

Return to Herbs

Return to Cats

Return to Cat Diseases

See also: Cat Cases

Refer to: Care & Administration of Herbal Medicines (.pdf file)

 

Cats and dogs are carnivores, with cats being more specialized and dependent upon prey animals than dogs, who are more omnivorous (and scavengers). In the wild, dogs can be expected to eat fruit, plants and roots, in addition to herbivore dung. Herbs are therefore more obviously natural as a food or medicine for dogs than might be the case for cats. However, both species in the wild will derive partly-digested plant material from their prey.

Dogs also appear to have the capability to self-medicate with naturally-available herbs (zoopharmacognosy). Some herbal vets acknowledge this phenomenon. We suspect that cats may do that too but we have not ourselves witnessed the phenomenon with cats.

We recommend that any herbal treatment should be carefully integrated, both with the diet and with other medication. This is more fully argued on the Herbs page.

Dogs and cats generally accept herbal medicines very readily, usually added to the daily food ration. Of course, the herbal medicine may also be administered directly, in tablet form.

It is important to consult an experienced herb vet, in order to avoid potentially dangerous incompatibility with conventional medication, dangers in pregnancy and lactation and dosing or species anomalies. Many commercial ‘off-the-shelf' herbal products vie for your money – these are often modifications of human herbal formulae and may not be suitable for your cat. Their vigorous marketing has triumphed over common sense and safety considerations. Caveat emptor.

Herbal vet application: a sample of the cat diseases and feline conditions that we may be called upon to treat with herbal medicine are (in alphabetical order):

  • Allergy
  • Anal Gland
  • Arthritis
  • Ascites
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Behavioural Problems
  • Chronic Renal Failure
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • CRF
  • Cystitis
  • Dermatitis
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dysautonomia
  • Ear Problems
  • Eczema
  • Eosinophilic Dermatitis
  • Eosinophilic Granuloma
  • Eosinophilic Skin Disease
  • Fears
  • Feline Dysautonomia
  • Feline Urological Syndrome
  • Flea Allergy
  • FUS
  • Gingivitis
  • Gum Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Failure
  • Hepatitis
  • Hormonal Alopecia
  • Hormonal Problems
  • Hyperthyroid
  • Hypothyroid
  • IBD
  • IBS
  • Infertility
  • Jaundice
  • Key Gaskell Syndrome
  • Kidney Problems
  • Ligament Injury
  • Liver Disease
  • Megacolon
  • Miliary Dermatitis
  • Miliary Eczema
  • Non-Union Fracture
  • Obesity
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pruritus
  • Renal Failure
  • Sinusitis
  • Skin Problems
  • Sprain
  • Stomatitis
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Urine Spraying
  • Urolithiasis
  • Urological Syndrome

The treatment may also include other therapies, in an integrated program (e.g. veterinary homeopathy and/or veterinary acupuncture along with natural feeding).

*Herbal vets don't grow on trees but some important herbal medicines do! Take salicylic acid, for instance, harvested from willow bark to give us aspirin. At the AVMC, however, we would give willow bark or meadow sweet (another plant that is rich in salicylate), in the raw state, in preference to the manufactured chemical extract. N.B.: These herbs should not be given in conjunction with conventional NSAIDs and vice versa. The veterinary herbalist should know this but many conventional vets will not, hence the potential dangers.