Is Coconut Oil Safe for Cats?
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How do I apply coconut oil to my cat's fur?
Coconut oil has been used in cooking for decades, but in recent years its popularity as a holistic remedy has exploded. Supporters praise the many health benefits of coconut oil for humans.
In fact, it has become so popular that some people are starting to give it to their cats for the same benefits they see in themselves.
Is coconut oil good or bad for cats? Well-meaning cat owners should know the facts about coconut oil before giving it to their cats.
What is coconut oil?
Coconut oil comes from ripe coconuts and can be used in both food and health products. It contains saturated fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides.
MCTs, which also include palm kernel oil, are more easily digested than long-chain triglycerides (such as olive oil, soybean oil, avocado oil, and fish oil). As such, MCTs are considered a better source of fast energy than long-chain triglycerides and are less likely to be converted to fat in the body.
MCTs can be made up of different fatty acid chains, including caprylic acid and capric acid, both of which have shown antifungal properties in laboratory studies.
They also contain lauric acid, which has shown antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Coconut oil can contain caprylic, capric, and lauric acid, so it's understandable that people are excited about its potential health benefits.
Does Coconut Oil Have Real Benefits?
While there are anecdotal claims about the health benefits of coconut oil, it is important to understand that these claims are not exactly supported by science.
Studies have been largely inconclusive and primarily in humans. This is not to say that coconut oil is useless or harmful; It is just to clarify that the effects of coconut oil are not tested on cats.
Coconut oil and other MCT-containing foods theoretically have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Some believe that the MCTs found in coconut oil may also aid digestion, ease digestive disorders, and prevent hairballs in cats. Another theory is that MCTs can help with brain energy and cognition in older cats.
Some owners feel that using coconut oil, either orally or topically, can improve the condition of their cat's coat and can also relieve dry or itchy skin. Other theories suggest that it can help with metabolic functions, aid in weight loss, and relieve arthritis pain, as well as improve bone health.
It is important to remember that these are unsubstantiated claims without any scientific proof.
Is Coconut Oil Safe For My Cat?
All of the potential benefits mentioned make coconut oil sound like the ultimate miracle cure-all. You may even be using it yourself and experiencing some benefits. If you think coconut oil might be a good option for your cat, you should first consult your vet for advice.
Although coconut oil is not poisonous to cats, it may not be the ideal supplement to all cats' diets. Any change in diet, supplements, or medications can affect your cat's health.
Depending on your cat, increased dietary fat can lead to weight gain or digestive problems. Your vet knows your cat's history and physical condition and can help you make the right decision.
In general, the use of coconut oil is not something that veterinarians routinely recommend. This is mainly due to owners reporting the potential benefits listed above, not backed by science.
To determine the safety and efficacy of coconut oil, it must be studied in a controlled setting with a large population of tests that is repeatable and peer-reviewed.
So while the friendly clerk at your neighborhood pet supply store can swear by a coconut oil remedy that worked on your cat, there's really no way of knowing if it will have the same effect on your cat or not.
How can I use coconut oil?
If coconut oil may not be all that it seems, how exactly is it used for your cat? First of all, don't use coconut oil on your cat until you talk to your vet, who will be able to tell you which uses are appropriate and in what amounts.
Topical use may seem safe and fairly easy to administer for skin problems. However, your cat will most likely lick the oil after it has been applied.
This means that the cat ingests the oil and potentially irritates the skin in that area. You can use an over-the-counter shampoo with organic coconut oil (although most cats don't like getting a full bath), but make sure it's designed for cats.
Oral use may be an option if approved by your vet. Be sure to follow your vet's advice on quantity and frequency. They will be able to direct you to the proper dosage so you don't accidentally give too much at once and end up with greasy diarrhea on your hands.
They can also advise you on the risks and benefits of oral coconut oil if your cat is prone to weight gain or has a history of pancreatitis, irritable bowel disorder, or any other metabolic disease or condition.
Oral coconut oil can exacerbate some health problems, especially diseases that cause cats to metabolize fat inefficiently.
If your vet gives you the green light to use coconut oil on your cat, be sure to choose unrefined (often called "virgin") coconut oil. If you can find cold-pressed coconut oil, it will be even better.
Refined coconut oil doesn't have theoretical benefits and can even be unhealthy. Also, keep in mind that not all coconut oils taste the same.
Some may have a stronger coconut flavor, while others are milder. You may need to try a few different brands to determine what your cat likes best.
Enjoy The Video Tutorial about 5 BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL FOR YOUR CAT!
Source: Hussey's Housemates
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