Herbs for Common Cat Ailments
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, a balcony, or even just a sunny window sill, then you can grow your own herb garden. Herbs grow easily, are delicious, and certain herbal cat remedies are not only adored by your kitty, but can also be very good for her health (not to mention yours), and useful for treating certain ailments she might have.
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, herbs tend to be easy to grow and are worth the minimal effort. Plus, you can grow some for your own cooking pot too! Just remember: every cat is different so it's best to discuss the use of any herbs with your veterinarian.
Ah, the king of cat herbs. Catnip is beloved by felines the world over, and for good reason, it makes them very happy. It’s sort of like an after work cocktail for cats, relieving them of stress and nervousness. Also, if your cat is always scratching, and seems to have itchy skin, a catnip "tea bath" can soothe kitty’s skin.
If your cat doesn’t react to catnip, then cat thyme may just be you and your cat’s best friend. That is, if you can withstand its awful odor. Cat thyme has the same soothing effects as catnip, with the attendant feelings of contentment. And everyone loves a content cat. If you do go for cat thyme, however, you may want to pot a few plants, as they are very slow growing.
This pungent herb is best known for helping people to relax and get a good night’s sleep. Not so for Mr. Whiskers. Valerian works as a stimulant on cats; good for transforming lazy, fat cats into exercise machines. Pair this with the fact that cats actually like eating the plant and you’ve got the perfect formula for a healthy, furry feline.
Chamomile, Calendula and Echinacea
While not quite the right combination (or the right amount of herbs) for a Simon and Garfunkel song, these three herbs have many purported medicinal properties, including the alleviation of certain skin issues such as itching. Discuss with your veterinarian how they best serve your cat and in what form. Many veterinary herbalists prepare chamomile, calendula and echinacea as tinctures.
Not only does it taste good to your cat, licorice root is good for you, too. As a natural cortisone, licorice root can be used to soothe itchy kitties with allergies, endocrine (the endocrine gland affects metabolism, growth and mood) and digestive issues, as well as respiratory problems like colds, since it soothes mucus membranes. Other benefits of the licorice root include blood cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties, so it can be very useful for cats with arthritis.
Cat’s Claw and Dandelion Root
Both of these herbs are good for you and your cat. A tincture made out of dandelion root and cat’s claw can help with itching for cats, especially those with allergies, as it contains natural cortisone. If kitty is trying to watch her figure, try making her a salad with dandelion leaves.
No, this isn’t the title of a new James Bond film, but an herb that’s useful for your cat. Goldenseal can be used as a natural disinfectant on wounds, and, in conjunction with saline, may help shrink swollen eyes due to infections and allergies.
Don't forget to consult your vet prior to using herbs. You can also check in with your local holistic pet store for advice, and read our how-to guide for growing an indoor or outdoor herb garden. Like you, your cat should benefit from these natural wellness boosters, but only under professional supervision. Happy herb growing.
Image: Katie / via Flickr