Can I Give My Cat Echinacea?
As a pet owner, we only want what’s best for our cat and that might mean taking a more holistic approach such as using herbal remedies like Echinacea to cure certain illnesses our cat might acquire. Although herbal treatments don’t come with the added risk of supplementary pharmaceutical substances, it can be just as harmful to administer to anyone especially if the patient is your furry feline.
Both over-the-counter drugs as well as prescription medication yield a certain degree of side effects in some people including animals and in order to avoid these undesirable reactions, many choose an unconventional way of healing if not for themselves, then for their pets. And in today’s economy, this “natural” alternative to drugs is a practical decision what with medication being so expensive.
The question is, do the organic substitutes of medication work just as effectively in cats compared to conventional remedies such as pharmaceutical drugs? A cat might be just another domestic freeloading creature living in your home, but cats too deserve excellent healthcare when they come down with a sickness. Using unprocessed substances like Echinacea instead of drugs might seem like the safest way to cure nasty colds or other respiratory infections. But because a cat’s anatomy is not quite the same as ours, something as organic as Echinacea can result in unexpected effects. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to know what is and isn’t tolerable by your cat.
Can I Give My Cat Echinacea? Answer: Yes.
It isn’t unusual for cats to develop upper respiratory infections every once in a while and if you choose not to give your cat over-the-counter medication, Echinacea is fine to use, but only when administered with precaution. Cats can become immune to Echinacea, so it is important you only give your cat the recommended dosage which is usually 1 to 2 drops per pound, depending on how much your cat weighs. This however should not be administered for more than 2 weeks. If you’d like to continue giving your cat Echinacea to prevent future colds, you may wait for another 2 weeks before giving your cat the drops again.
What Exactly is Echinacea and Its Healing Properties?
Echinacea is a common flowering plant found in wooded areas and prairies scattered across North America. They typically bloom during the summer season and can grow up to 140cm in height. For centuries, Echinacea has been used as an immunostimulator to ward off illnesses such as the common cold, sore throats, runny noses and the flu. It has also been said that Echinacea can lessen the amount of time it takes for one to recover from a sickness.
It has been deemed so safe to use that even pregnant women — with the permission of their doctor — may turn to Echinacea as a remedy for mild infections though it might not be all that helpful for those with certain conditions such as autoimmune disorder, HIV and/or aids.
Any Side Effects?
Echinacea has not been known to lead to any severe side effects, however there have been mild contradictions reported in both humans and cats alike after using this herbal plant. The most common adverse reactions are either gastrointestinal or skin related. To be specific, these side effects include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or pains, diarrhea, itchiness and rashes.
Because Echinacea is a plant, pollen is present and if your cat suffers from major allergies, it is possible your cat can experience an allergic reaction such as difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath. These cases are considered very rare however it is still advisable to consult with your veterinarian before administering any type of organic and inorganic treatments.
You may be wondering, are there any long-term side effects if I continue to use Echinacea on my cat, or are there any alternatives other than prescription drugs? Cats are mainly carnivores and are structured to eat only meat therefore by giving you cat a substance not normally found in meat can cause long-term side effects. Continuously giving your cat Echinacea to prevent sickness can be damaging to their liver. Vitamin C drops would be a reasonable alternative for Echinacea if you want to keep your cat in tip-top shape.