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Cats and Herbal Medicine: Scary Concoctions?

Herbal remedies for cats

Aylen meets a pumpkin for the first time

Natural herbal remedies for cats

In the spirit of Halloween, I remember lots of fun times growing up as kids when my sister and I would enjoy trick or treating, watching scary movies, and indulging in our favorite sweets.  Images of witches stirring herbs into a boiling cauldron, creating potions and casting spells only add to the folklore and fantasy of the holiday.  One of the tools in my holistic health toolkit is herbal medicine.  There are lots of ways to use herbal remedies for cats.  Have you used any before?

A far cry from a witch’s brew, herbal medicine has been around for as long as there have been humans on earth.   “Herbs are the foundation of modern pharmacology and have been used to make many mainstream medicines including aspirin and morphine. The practice of herbal medicine involves the use of elements of plants, trees, or shrubs. These parts can be prepared as extracts, poultices, herbal teas, and in many other ways.  Herbs have played and will continue to play a major role in our society’s medical systems and will have a major role in healing the sick and providing ways to manage illness in a holistic and effective way.” (www.herbalremediesinfo.com)

There are even herbal remedies made especially for our pets!  A couple of brands that I use with my kitties are PetAlive and Pet Wellbeing.  I currently have Lili on Urinary Gold and Kidney Support Gold because of her recent UTI and kidney failure hospital stint.  Hershey is also now taking Kidney Support Gold to give his 15 year old kidneys some extra support since his recent blood work showed early stage kidney disease.Natural, herbal remedies can be very effective to use with catsimg_2033

Examples of herbs and their uses

Check out these natural ingredients and their roles in Urinary Gold for Feline Urinary Tract Health:

  • Stoneroot root (Collinsonia canadensis):  Stoneroot soothes the mucous membranes of the urinary tract and helps to keep a healthy environment within the bladder and kidneys. Its traditional use for astringing tissues of the genito-urinary system makes this herb as useful today as it has been in the past.
  • Hydrangea root (Hydrangea arborescens):  Softening and soothing to the urinary tract, Hydrangea root also helps to support the body’s immunity in the kidneys and bladder.
  • Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis):  Considered one of the most useful herbal “demulcents”, Marshmallow’s high mucilage content soothes mucous membranes that line the urinary tract.  This supports comfort during urination.
  • Dandelion leaf (Taraxacum officinale): Dandelion leaves are a powerful urinary antiseptic and herbal diuretic.  The natural, bitter quality stimulates digestive enzyme production.  Dandelion root is also commonly used, but for urinary issues the leaves have more specific therapeutic value.  Dandelion is also a source of many vitamins and minerals.
  • Yarrow aerial parts (Achillea millefolium):  Yarrow is an excellent herbal astringent (tones the tissues), supports immunity and generally cleanses and supports the entire urinary system.
  • Oregon Grape root (Berberis aquifolium):  Oregon Grape, added as a supportive ingredient, is a North American plant high in berberine.  Known as one of the most useful plant constituents to support the body’s natural immunity, particularly the response to bacteria and viruses.
  • Echinacea root, flower and seed (Echinacea purpurea):  Used commonly for its polysaccharide content and effect on the immune system, Echinacea has a specific affinity for the immunity of the urinary tract.
  • Goldenrod aerial parts (Solidago virgaurea):  Used for support of inflammation in the lower urinary tract.  Also used for prevention of stones, and to help relax the muscular contractions of the urinary tract.
  • Horsetail aerial parts (Equisetum arvense):  This herb helps maintain normal fluid balance in the body and is considered a specific for all aspects of the urinary system.
  • Hops strobiles (Humulus lupulus):  Added specifically for muscular spasms of the urinary tract, Hops also provides a slight element of calming relaxation to the nervous system.

How I use herbal remedies with my cats

Did you know plants and herbs were so powerful and effective?  The downside is that they can have a strong smell and taste kind of funny, and you know how picky and sensitive cats are to smells and flavors.  Therefore, I either mix the medicine into wet cat food or mix it into a tablespoon or more of baby food meat.  My cats LOVE baby food, especially Gerber’s Chicken with Gravy.  They think it’s a treat and don’t realize I sneak medicine into it!

Lili catches some warm rays atop her cat tree

Lili catches some warm rays atop her cat tree

While sometimes it’s necessary to use antibiotics, they can way over prescribed and can have negative side effects.  For example, Lili was sent home with Clavamox from the hospital.  However, it made her nauseous, and she threw up clear foamy liquid several times.  As a result, she didn’t want to eat–and we had to get her to eat or risk hepatic lipidosis, a very dangerous and sometimes fatal liver condition.  Antibiotics also kill both the good and bad bacteria in the gut, so it’s imperative to include a high quality probiotic.  Once I switched Lili back to a combination of herbal medicine and homeopathy she no longer felt nauseous and was able to eat.

I always prefer to use natural remedies as a first resort and avoid toxic, man-made pharmaceutical drugs with side effects.  As with all remedies, muscle testing is key to determine if something will work for your cat and determining dosage protocols.  Remember, when you give the body the right tools it can heal itself!  And there’s nothing scary about that!

Here’s a little entertainment from Simon’s Cat for your Halloween fun!

Hershey practicing his camouflage method

Hershey practicing his camouflage method

Does your cat dress up for Halloween?  Send me your pics!

Are you or someone you know having a cat issue?  Let me help!  Leave a reply below.

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2 responses to “Cats and Herbal Medicine: Scary Concoctions?”

  1. Tess says:

    Hmmm, why would you use Achillea millefolium which is toxic to cats?

    • Pam Roussell says:

      Any herb or plant given in large quantities has the potential to cause harm to both humans and pets. This particular product was designed by a veterinary herbalist and the percentages of each ingredient are small enough to be safe and can be beneficial. Using multiple plants or herbs can provide a synergistic benefit over one single plant.

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