How Safe Is Herbal Treatment for Cats

Finding the proper treatment for cats depends upon the specific condition and on the cat. While veterinary medicines are generally highly effective and approved for use in your pets, some animals react negatively to standard prescription drug treatments. Whether due to an allergy or a combination of other medicines that combine poorly in your pet's system, there are occasions in which standard medicines are not the best options for your pet. Nevertheless, not all herbal treatments are entirely safe your cat, and some may only be minimally effective at addressing the health condition in question.

Products to Avoid

Cats are carnivorous animals with bodies designed to process meat products almost exclusively. As a result, adding herbs and other plant matter to your pet's diet can be dangerous, given that your cat does not have the natural ability to process these ingredients. While some of these products may pass harmlessly through your cat's system, others can build up in his body and reach toxic or damaging levels. In particular, be careful to avoid the following common plant products that are toxic to cats:

  • Ferns
  • Ivies
  • Garlic, onions and other roots
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Raw potatoes and tomatoes

There are a wide variety of other plant products that may be damaging to your pet as well. It is always advisable to speak with a veterinarian before beginning any medicine treatment program for your cat. Because herbal treatments are often offered without FDA or veterinary approval, it's especially important to check over the ingredient list with your vet before giving them to your cat.

Side Effects of Herbal Treatments

As a result of the fact that your cat's body is unable to digest and process a variety of herbal treatments that exist on the market, there are a number of different adverse reactions that your pet may experience in response to the most common herbal remedies. These include the following:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Rashes
  • Skin irritation and itchiness
  • Difficulty breathing and congestion

These effects may occur in response to treatments that aren't entirely poisonous to your cat, although some may certainly cause more serious effects as well. In some cases, the effectiveness of the herbal treatment itself may not be sufficient to outweigh the potential side effects that your cat experiences as a result of ingesting or taking the medication itself.

Effectiveness Concerns

In addition to the safety risks associated with herbal treatments that are generally not approved for veterinary medicine, it's also wise to consider the relative effectiveness of those treatment methods as compared with standard veterinary medicines. Before beginning an herbal treatment program, conduct some research to determine the effectiveness and benefits to selecting a prescription medicine. While these drugs may be more expensive than herbal treatments, and they require a veterinarian's approval and close monitoring, they are generally safer than herbal treatments.

For more information about herbal remedies for yor pet's specific condition, visit a health food or pet store or consult with a vet.