More people are turning to natural remedies for both themselves and their pets. While nothing can replace the expertise of your local vet, there are many natural remedies to combat common cat ailments. Below you will find several popular holistic methods -- all of which can be done from the comfort of your own home.
1. The Itchy and Scratchy Show
The causes for itching are many, including fleas, dandruff, or even allergies. But regardless of the cause, itchy cats make for rude unfriendly pets. Help Ms. Scratchy Cat out with a soothing, homemeade dip of rosemary, peppermint, or pennyroyal (these are especially helpful for itching associated with flea). Just be careful when using essential oils, as cats often don’t respond well to ingesting them. You could also try a tea bath with catnip or aloe to soothe your cat's skin.
Does your cat have skin flakes? We recommend you skip the dandruff shampoo and use a humidifier instead. A humidifier, in conjunction with a healthy diet, will assist in rejuvenating and re-moisturizing the cat’s dry, scaly skin, which is generally caused by a lack of moisture in the home environment.
2. Hairball Central
Never mind that these little “surprises” are disgusting to look at, but some cats scatter them around the home like a minefield. And doesn't it always seem that you only step on them while you're barefoot? Shaving your cat might be a tempting idea, but we don’t recommend it. Have you ever seen how pathetic a wet cat looks? A shaved cat will look much the same. Instead, step up the grooming routine and try a less drastic remedy for those pesky hairballs. Brush your feline friend daily and then thoroughly wipe down its fur with a moist towel.
You can also help your cat pass the hairballs by giving it a little petroleum jelly or butter to eat (butter may be better, as far as kitty is concerned). Just half a teaspoon for a few days will help. No more, no less. Of course, a diet high in fiber and exercise is another solution to your hairball problem. So get on it, kick off your shoes, and make your home a hairball-free zone again.
3. Attack of the Bladder Cat
Cats, especially male cats, are susceptible to bladder/urethra issues and blockages. If your cat has had such problems, unsweetened cranberry juice may help prevent a reoccurrence. This is because cranberry increases urine acidity which means less chance of blockages or infections.
So try adding cranberry powder to your cat's food, or cranberry juice to her water. If your cat is finicky, try a syringe of juice daily straight into your cat's mouth or give her a cranberry capsule. However, consult your vet or the expert at the local holistic pet store for advice on the proper dosage.
4. Not On My Turf
Kitties can be very territorial; some are always looking for an excuse to start a fight. While minor scratches or scrapes don’t warrant an expensive trip to the vet, you should play nurse and tend the wounds (nurse uniform is purely optional). Cleanse the wounds with either diluted baby shampoo or a simple saline solution. You can make your own saline solution from salt and water, or use a first-aid saline solution available at any pharmacy. You might also want to trim the fur around the wound and can keep an eye out for any possible inflammation or infection. If that should occur, contact your vet immediately.
Now you are prepared to try out some of the most popular home remedies on your cat. As always, research the holistic treatment before you begin. And when in doubt, or if your cat shows little or no improvement, take your kitty to see the vet.
Image: Yasuhiro / via Flickr