Apple cider vinegar has long been used as a supplement for health reasons as well as to make medications for a wide variety of ailments. It also can be used to help cats with several medical conditions.
Safely Using Apple Cider Vinegar With Cats
While apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be helpful for cats, it can also cause problems if your dosage is too high. Always speak to your veterinarian before using apple cider vinegar for any of these conditions to make sure your dosage is correct and the substance won't cause any issues with medications or other health issues. If you do give apple cider vinegar to your cat, never give it to them in an undiluted form. You may also find it difficult to give to your cat, either in the water bowl or mixed in their food, as the taste is very unappealing to cats and they may refuse to eat or drink anything containing it.
Urinary Tract Infection
A small amount of apple cider vinegar daily in your cat's water bowl is said to help prevent urinary tract infections in cats. Because vinegar is an acid, its alkaline properties can stop harmful bacteria from developing in your cat's urinary tract. For cats under four pounds, owners should add a couple of drops and cats four to six pounds can have a ¼ teaspoon a day. Larger cats can have a ½ teaspoon a day. Again, check with your vet before administering ACV to make sure your dosage is correct and safe.
Mixing a half and half solution of apple cider vinegar and purified water can be used to clean a cat's ear canal. Using a clean cloth, gauze or a cotton ball with some solution, gently clean in the ears. Use a dry cloth to clean any vinegar left behind after you have cleaned out their ears.
The pain and irritation from allergic dermatitis can be prevented with a water-apple cider vinegar solution that is gently rubbed onto the skin. Do not do this anywhere that the cat has irritated or scratches or cuts as the vinegar will irritate the skin more. You also should towel off the excess as your cat will not appreciate licking the mixture off his or her fur as they dislike the taste and you do not want them to ingest an unhealthy dose.
Clean Up Cat Urine With Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can also be an excellent way of cleaning up cat urine. Make sure that the surface you are spraying on won't be harmed by the acid in the vinegar first. Create a 50%/50% solution in a spray bottle of apple cider vinegar and water. Spray on the stains and use a cloth or sponge to wipe the area up.
Ineffective and Toxic Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar
While apple cider vinegar can be an excellent addition to a cat's treatment for health issues, there are many actively promoted uses that are actually infective or worse. Even using it for conditions it is known to help can make your cat sick if you give too much of it.
Inadequate and Harmful As a Flea Treatment
For people who prefer to use natural ingredients to rid their homes and cats of fleas, apple cider vinegar seems like an effective solution. However, while a 50%/50% spray mix with water may discourage fleas from getting on your cat, it will not kill the fleas or their larvae. Without killing all the fleas, your cat will continue to be bothered by them and they will continue to multiply in your home. There is also a belief that giving a cat or dog a spoonful a day of apple cider vinegar will discourage fleas from getting onto your pets. However, not only is this not true but it can be harmful to your cat's stomach.
It May Worsen Yeast Sensitivities
If you have a cat with a known sensitivity to yeast, feeding them apple cider vinegar can make the problem worse because of its effects on bacteria.
Bolstering Immunity Is Unproven
Apple cider vinegar is also recommended to help support a cat's immune system which can be helpful if the cat has a respiratory disorder or other disease. However there is no scientific data to support this.
Complications When Combined With Kidney Disease
Adding apple cider vinegar to a cat's water or diet if they have kidney disease can cause complications. Cats with kidney disease have difficulty processing acid, such as urine, in the body and adding another acid such as vinegar is not advisable.
It Does Not Treat Ringworm
Apple cider vinegar in a 50/50 solution with distilled water is used by some cat owners to treat ringworm. They do this because apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties, however they do not work the same with cats as they do in humans. According to the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, apple cider vinegar cannot treat or eliminate ringworm in cats.
Diarrhea Is Worsened
Because apple cider vinegar can aid in digestion with humans, it is sometimes used in cats to treat diarrhea. However it actually can act as a laxative to cats and their gastrointestinal tract, and can make their diarrhea worse.
Using Apple Cider Vinegar With Your Cat
Whenever you find information on the internet about "natural remedies" for your cat, it's important to speak to your veterinarian and seek out authoritative, science-based sources for information. Apple cider vinegar may be a popular supplement for humans and cat owners believe it can therefore be good for cats, but there are few benefits for cats and it can even make medical issues worse and make your cat very ill.