One of the latest and greatest trends in holistic wellness is none other than coconut oil. Although coconut oil has served as a cooking oil for centuries, many people are now buying it for its health benefits. From boosting the immune system to serving as an all-natural moisturizer, to supporting a healthy body weight, coconut oil is quickly becoming a staple in many cabinets. As more people began to realize the incredible effects of coconut oil, pet owners started to wonder whether the oil could also benefit their four-legged friends.
We're here to tell you that coconut oil may benefit your feline in more ways than you might have first imagined. In this article, we'll cover what you need to know about coconut oil for cats. The slew of benefits may surprise even the most 'in-the-know' cat parent. Let's get started!
What is Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is the edible, fatty oil obtained from the coconut palm. The oil has a wide range of applications, from being an ingredient in many candies to its use in cooking.
While coconut oil is nearly 100% fat, the structure of fat found in coconut oil is quite different from the saturated fat found in most animal products. The saturated fat found in many animal products is primarily comprised of long-chain fatty acids. Conversely, coconut oil has high amounts of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Experts associate many of coconut oil's benefits with these high MCT levels. Additionally, MCTs are more difficult for the body to convert into stored fat. Therefore, the fats are easier for the body to burn off, unlike long-chain fatty acid.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Cats
In terms of our feline friends, cat owners are finding that coconut oil offers several benefits. Let's take a look at the ways in which coconut oil may help your cat.
Can You Use Coconut Oil On Cats for Fleas?
Coconut oil has powerful anti-parasitic abilities. Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mange mites are suffocated by the high-fat content of coconut oil, making it an all-natural pest control and repellant.
Furthermore, coconut oil soothes bites. Depending on the season and the region of the world in which you live, fleas and ticks can be a real issue for cats and dogs. Many pet owners who prefer to use all-natural parasite control have found that coconut oil can work wonders.
Oral Health Benefits
Coconut oil is also wonderful for boosting oral health in cats. Experts have found that by rubbing coconut oil on your cat's gums every day, pet owners can promote good oral health.
If your feline has an oral disease, it is imperative that you talk to your veterinarian regarding the necessary treatment and how coconut oil may be able to help.
Seasonal Allergies & Skin Health
One of the most common uses of coconut oil is for your cat's skin. Coconut oil's high lauric acid content confers powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. These properties are incredibly effective at relieving seasonal allergic reaction that can cause itchy skin, dry skin, or other skin irritations. We often forget about it but healthy skin is important in our felines!
Overall Skin Conditions and Coat Health
That's not the only way in which coconut oil can help to promote skin health! In fact, coconut oil contains high levels of vitamin E. Vitamin E is extremely beneficial in soothing damaged skin and can help promote skin regeneration. It is also safe enough to apply directly to burns, cuts, skin abrasions, and rashes.
Additionally, many pets will lick skin cream medications off, and this can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Luckily, coconut oil is completely safe for your cat to lick off, as it can also be used internally (more on that in a moment!). By using coconut oil both internally and externally, cat owners can naturally and safely promote overall skin and coat health.
Interestingly enough, the use of coconut oil has been linked to a reduction in hairballs. Because coconut oil helps to promote a healthy coat, many cat owners report a decrease in shedding, and therefore, a reduction in the amount of hair the cat consumes while cleaning and grooming themselves. For cats that are more prone to shedding and subsequent hairballs, coconut oil can make a positive difference for the feline's gastrointestinal tract.
Supports Natural Anti Inflammatory Response
As we previously mentioned, coconut oil supports the body's natural inflammatory response. It is important for cat owners to understand that inflammation is directly linked to nearly every condition imaginable. Oftentimes, inflammation is at the root of the problem. Many cat owners have found that coconut oil helps to keep the inflammatory response in tip top shape.
Speaking of the intestinal tract... The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties of coconut oil also boost overall digestive health.
As we previously mentioned, another great way in which coconut oil aids digestion is through the effects of lauric acid. The antimicrobial effects of lauric acid effectively eliminate harmful bacteria, fungi, and parasites that may exist in the cat's gut.
Furthermore, coconut oil's medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are easily digestible and can help the body effectively absorb vitamins and nutrients from the cat's food source.
Supporting Liver Health
Many experts suggest that coconut oil may help to promote liver health and overall liver function. How is this possible? Well, many believe that the MCFAs found in coconut oil can effectively protect the liver against free radicals and therefore prevent free radical degeneration in the liver.
We likely don't have to tell you the importance of a fully functioning liver. The liver plays an extremely important role in the detoxification processes of the body. If the liver isn't functioning optimally, numerous subsequent issues will inevitably develop. By feeding your feline coconut oil, cat owners can help to protect this vital organ from potential damage caused by viruses, as well as free radicals.
How to Use Coconut Oil
As with any new dietary supplement, it is best to introduce coconut oil slowly. Ingesting too much coconut oil too quickly can cause diarrhea, greasy stools, and/or vomiting. For an average sized cat, we recommend starting with as little as 1/8 of a teaspoon per day. Pet owners can gradually work up to giving their cat 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil once or twice per day. There is no need to rush the process. Trust us, slowly implementing the new supplement is the best way to go about it.
In cases of hairball prevention, the coconut oil supplement can be given less often, typically a few times weekly. It is important to monitor your cat's hairballs and make sure that they are occurring less frequently. Cat owners can then either use coconut oil more or less often, according to their cat's individual needs. Be sure to consult your vet if you have any doubts or concerns.
Giving coconut oil to cats generally isn't a problem. In fact, many cat owners report that their felines enjoys the taste. However, if you have a picky eater on your hands, try mixing the coconut oil in with your cat's favorite canned food.
Coconut Oil Precautions
Even though coconut oil can be beneficial to many cats, it doesn't come entirely risk-free. The main risk associated with coconut oil is its potential to cause gastrointestinal upset. Some cats can tolerate coconut oil without any problems. However, other cats may have bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, especially if too much coconut oil is given too quickly.
Additionally, experts advise that coconut oil should be used with caution or avoided entirely in cats with pancreatic issues. The high levels of saturated fats in coconut oil can cause the development of additional and worsening conditions.
Furthermore, coconut oil is by no means a low-calorie food. If your feline suffers from weight problems or obesity, we recommend choosing a healthier alternative. Ask your vet for specific recommendations for your cat.
Best Coconut Oil for Cats
Honest Paws is proud to offer organic coconut oil for cats, infused with organic, full-spectrum hemp oil with naturally occurring CBD.
This organic, creamy blend is effective at promoting relaxation, supporting healthy bones and joints, as well as fighting seasonal allergies and supporting sensitive skin. Not to mention, the addition of CBD oil only increases the benefits to be had by your feline friend!
Bonus! Coconut Oil for Dogs
We know that many of our readers have both cats and dogs. A common question is whether or not a new dietary supplement can be used for all of their furry family members. It is important for pet owners to always double check - as many supplements can be beneficial to dogs, but may actually be harmful to cats.
Thankfully, studies have found that both cats and dogs can benefit from coconut oil. In fact, coconut oil for dogs may have even more advantages than the supplement has for cats.
Aiding Weight Loss
Obesity can be a real problem for many dogs. Weight issues can lead to a slew of additional conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and respiratory distress (just to name a few). That's where coconut oil comes into play.
The MCFAs in coconut oil can help to regulate the thyroid gland and help to promote weight loss. Coconut oil (in moderation of course) can also help to give your dog more energy for increased exercise and thus support a healthy weight.
Alleviating Digestive Issues
Similar to its effects in cats, coconut oil can also help to support digestive health in dogs. Again, always start off slowly. Too much coconut oil can have the exact opposite effect and cause gastrointestinal upset.
Boosting the Immune System
Coconut oil can also help to boost your dog's immune system. By adding coconut oil to your dog's diet, its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties can work to support the immune system.
Overall Skin and Coat Health
Additionally, coconut oil can help to alleviate itching associated with seasonal allergies and promote overall skin health.
Coconut oil also helps to maintain strong bones and can provide relief against joint stiffness.
Brain, Ear, and Eye Health
Finally, the lauric acid content in coconut oil reportedly has remarkable benefits for the dog's brain, ears, and eyes.
As you can see, the benefits of coconut oil for your pets are hard to ignore. Whether you have a cat, dog, or both, we highly recommend using coconut oil as a way to support your pet's health.
Coconut Oil for Cats: The Bottom Line
We know that you want the very best for your pet. One of our favorite holistic remedies is none other than CBD-infused coconut oil for cats and dogs. As a pet owner, it is important to always do your homework when it comes to ensuring your cat's health and wellbeing.
Now, just because you hear about some brand new, natural remedy doesn't mean you should immediately jump on the bandwagon. With that said, we firmly believe in the health benefits associated with coconut oil for cats. If your cat has any of the health concerns mentioned in this article, talk to your vet about whether coconut oil can help.