Here at BarkinBISTRO, we are being asked more questions about cats and you have probably read our other article on What IS The Best Cat Food. If you are feeding your kitty fresh raw food, you will probably have noticed a huge difference in their health and wellbeing and the need for cats to have taurine in their diet. Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor kitty, this article is here to help you understand the importance of herbs for cats and how they can enrich their lives.
Even if you live in a flat, giving your kitty access to potted herbs can give them a sense of peace, and they often choose to rub against these herbs. Unlike most humans, cats can still forage naturally, and it is fascinating to watch them choose things they know are good for them!
The most well-known herb that most cats go crazy for is ‘catnip’ which is part of the mint family. A few benefits of this herb are:
- Can help relieve stress
- May help reduce any itching
- Can be very soothing for skin
Our advice is to introduce this herb slowly as some cats can act on the crazy side if given too much, plus it can cause diarrhoea and vomiting if given in excess. Don’t let this put you off as it is a wonderful herb for kitty.
This herb has similar effects as catnip, but it does have an unpleasant smell for humans! It is very slow-growing, and if your kitty can tolerate the smell, it is likely to be a beneficial herb to have.
This herb is known for its ability to soothe itchy skin and heal wounds, plus it can help with bruising. Only the flowers are safe for cats, so have a few in a bowl to see whether your kitty is interested in rubbing against them.
Is probably the easiest of any herb, and it is a powerhouse of good! If you live in a flat, it can be grown easily in a pot for an inside kitty; if you have an outside kitty, she will find it easily. Some of the many benefits of this wonderful herb most folks consider to be a weed are:
- Can help to decongest, support and strengthen the liver
- Improves digestion
- Helps against allergies.
- It is antibacterial
- Reduces inflammation of both the gall-bladder and liver
- Can help with kidney stones
- The white juice inside the stem helps treat warts
- Supports the lymph system for detoxing
- Helps with constipation
- Tonic for the kidneys
- Helps with water retention
- The leaves are high in vitamins, and minerals
- Dandelion leaves are high in iron and potassium
- Can help heal skin conditions
- Helps regulate blood sugar in diabetes and hypoglycemia
- It is a cancer preventative
- Good for blood purification
- Can help reduce blood pressure
- Helps reduce inflammation from arthritis issues
- The root is a great natural probiotic that supports healthy gut flora
- Can help UTI’s, especially in felines
Not many folks have heard of this herb, but if your kitty is experiencing any upper respiratory problems, this herb may help and is often made into a herbal tea which kitty can choose to drink if needed or gently used to wipe their eyes and nose. Some of the benefits include:
- Helps with breathing issues
- Can help with constant sneezing
- Helps with itchy eyes and nasal problems
- Is suitable for immune support
Has very similar properties to eyebright but is often easier to find and more popular with most folk.
Goldenseal is a wonderful herb and may be used as a natural disinfectant to put on any wounds. It may also help to reduce swelling around the eye area. If your kitty chooses to eat goldenseal, these are the benefits it may have:
- Helps to reduce gas build up in the stomach
- Reduces ulcers
- May help treat cancer
- Can help to reduce blood pressure and maintain a regular heartbeat
Do note, however, that Goldenseal must NOT to fed to kittens as it can cause brain damage.
Is not to be confused with liquorice sweets for humans; never feed to a kitty! The root, however, can be a great favourite with some cats and has a lot of health benefits, especially if your kitty has arthritis. A few of the benefits are:
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Helps with digestive issues
- Soothes itchy skin
- Helps keep a healthy immune system
Another powerhouse herb that is easy to grow and inexpensive. A herb you can share with your kitty too! The parsley family is known for its rich volatile oils, vitamins, minerals and high levels of iron. Parsley helps to fight infection and is antifungal; it is also good for cats with kidney problems. Parsley is a highly nutritious herb, and some of its many benefits are:
- It can help the body detox.
- Natural antiseptic
- Helps with weight loss
- Supports the urinary tract
- Natural decongestive
- Helps with bloatedness and to expel gas
- Relieves the inflammation of arthritis
- Naturally high in B vitamins
- Helps with muscle stiffness
- High in iron, beta-carotene, and chlorophyll
- Effective diuretic for the bladder
- Can be used to help with kidney problems, especially stones
- Helps destroy and expel parasites
- Supports the liver and spleen
- Can help protect from cadmium
- Can help shrink cancerous tumours
Starting with a small amount is important as too much parsley can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting.
Valerian is native to Europe and Asia but is also grown on other continents. The root of this plant contains Actinidine, a pheromone that is attractive to cats and can also make them feel playful and relaxed. Most cats love Valerian, and it can be found in cat toys.
- Some of the benefits Valerian may help your kitty with are:
- Relaxation and improved sleep if stressed
- It can help your kitty to play with toys and captures their attention
- Reduces aggression
- Provides enrichment to prevent boredom
The conclusion here folks is that the above herbs are completely safe for your cat.
Not all herbs are good for cats; Garlic, Chives, St.John’s Wort and Marijuana are NOT safe and are to be avoided at all times. If concerned, always seek advice from a professional before feeding your cat any herbs.
Herbs can strengthen health and well-being; watching cats select what they know is good for them is fascinating. Allowing them to forage, whether outside or inside, with pots can only be beneficial.