If you prefer holistic healthcare and want to explore alternative medicine for cats, there are several times this type of treatment may be appropriate for your pet. Learn about herbal remedies, massage, and other options.
Alternative Veterinary Medicine
Nowadays, many of us think twice about pumping our bodies full of chemicals, instead considering alternative medicines and remedies. These might include alternative health therapies such as aromatherapy, massage, acupuncture or herbal remedies. You may even be surprised to learn that many of these alternative treatments are also available for our cats.
Determining When Alternative Treatments Are Appropriate
Before considering alternative medicine for cats, it is important to consult a qualified veterinarian if the complaint is serious or if the cat appears to be in pain. Diagnosing animals is especially difficult because they can't tell us what's wrong. For instance, a cat that has gone off his food may simply feel a bit under the weather. On the other hand, he might have a more serious stomach complaint. This is why it is vitally important to establish what the root of the problem, injury or illness is before deciding on a treatment that may or may not be effective.
Many vets offer alternative treatments or work with alternative medical practitioners who specialize in the treatment of animals. Discussing the options with your regular vet may well offer the reassurance of having sound medical advice, while also exploring alternatives to mainstream medicine.
Types of Alternative Medicine for Cats
Let's explore a few medical alternatives that are gaining ground with pet enthusiasts.
If you watch a cat, you may notice that he will eat grass from time to time, and this typically makes him vomit. This is nature's own way of providing an herbal cure for stomach complaints. There are many other herbs that help cure illnesses or alleviate symptoms. These include herbal remedies for constipation and urinary tract infections, both conditions that can be painful for a cat.
Note: Never give herbs or other medications to your cat without first consulting a veterinarian. Many plants are toxic to felines, so let the professionals guide your choice.
Herbal flea collars and other remedies for parasites are also widely available. These products provide the additional benefit of being free of the strong chemicals that can sometimes irritate a sensitive cat's skin. Some herbal flea collars are "rechargeable" meaning that they can be reinvigorated with citronella oil and similar substances for many months without being replaced.
Some examples of herbal remedies can be found at:
- Biconet: This site carries a herbal flea collar.
- Only Natural Pet Store: This website carries a selection of herbal remedies.
- Native Remedies: Here you'll find a herbal remedy for hairballs among many other natural remedies.
Herbal remedies can provide effective relief. However, a qualified practitioner should be consulted about any illnesses or symptoms that are serious, painful or recurring.
If you've ever witnessed a cat's enjoyment of a catnip toy, you probably realize that cats are sensitive to smell. This means that the aromatherapy principles that many humans follow will also work with cats. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to stimulate certain senses. This includes lavender that aids relaxation or mint that acts as a stimulant. Essential oils must always be used externally and never used internally. In most cases, essential oils should not be applied directly on your cat unless it is an ingredient of a cat care product.
Further information about aromatherapy and cats can be found at many websites including:
While not a medicine as such, massage is used extensively as an alternative therapy. Massage helps keep joints supple and can alleviate pain without the need to use pain killers. You can even learn to give your own cat a massage, and this can be a very rewarding experience for you both. Giving your cat a massage brings you closer to him, and your cat will appreciate the special one-on-one time that he is spending with you.
There is more information available on the Internet about the techniques and skills required to give a cat a massage, and good resources include:
Alternative medicine for cats is becoming more widely available. Many vets are now offering alternative or complementary treatments in an effort to avoid using drugs that are known to carry unpleasant side effects. Keep in mind that although alternative treatments can be quite useful, they should not be used as a complete substitute for a competent veterinary care.