In this post we are going to answer the popular question, “can cats have coconut oil”? The short answer is yes as it’s not poisonous to cats, but there are a number of different things you should know which we will uncover in this article.
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil has been used in cooking for years and comes from mature coconuts. It contains saturated fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides and can be used in both foods and health supplements. These medium-chain triglycerides are more readily digested which means they provide a source for quick energy.
This means that they are also less likely to turn into bodyfat. MCTs can also contain caprylic acid and capric acid which are different fatty acid chains.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Cats
#1 It Supports Your Cat’s Skin and Coat
Coconut oil can be used both orally and topically which will prevent dry, irritated skin and help to keep your cats coat healthy and shiny. The fat content contained in coconut oil is also great for killing parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mange. As coconut oil is also anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, this also prevents infection caused from parasite bites.
Here’s some other information on how coconut oil can be good for your cats skin and coat.
- Rich in vitamin E: Essential for repairing the growth of damaged skin.
- Can be applied directly to bites, burns, sore spots, and rashes.
- A great moisturizer for dry or flaky skin.
- Antioxidant properties: Helps to heal damaged skin.
- Has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties which can help treat a range of infections.
#2 It Prevents Hairballs
As coconut oil is so good for your cat’s coat, this means there will be reduced shedding and less chances of them forming hairballs in their stomach. Regurgitating hairballs can also cause inflammation in the respiratory tract. Coconut oil is also great to combat this inflammation.
The added moisture in the stool and improved digestion from consuming coconut oil will also allow hairballs to pass more easily.
#3 It Aids Digestion
Strain on your cats digestive tract is prevented due to medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) found in coconut oil. It helps the body to absorb vitamins and nutrients and are easily digestible. Here’s some other ways it can aid digestion:
- Lauric acid: Is anti-microbial which kills fungi, parasites, and other kinds of bacteria.
- Contains antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties which is great for digestive health, healing injuries, and preventing inflammation.
#4 It Reduces Inflammation
Coconut oil contains lauric acid that’s not only great for the digestive system, but also great to ease inflammation in the entire body due to the anti-inflammatory properties. This is a great option for older cats who suffer from swollen joints and arthritis. Coconut oil will help ease the symptoms which gives your cat a boost in energy levels and increases mobility.
#5 It Boosts the Immune System
Taking coconut oil will boost the immune system and help decrease the chance of your cat suffering from allergic reactions and help protect against bacterial and viral infection.
#6 Improve brain health
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) found in coconut oil have been clinically shown to help improve brain health.
Risks of Coconut Oil for Cats
So far in this post on can cats have coconut oil, we have shown the amazing benefits that come with giving your cat coconut oil. This doesn’t come without a few risks of giving your cat coconut oil, and the ASPCA actually has it on there “People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets” list. Small quantities are not going to cause any serious harm, but let’s take a look at the negatives.
#1 Can Be Licked Off
As we have have previously mentioned, coconut oil is great for your cats fur and skin. As cats are notorious for grooming themselves, the downside to this is they will more than likely lick it off before the oil can do anything beneficial. You will also have to be careful and look out for any allergies developed from the coconut oil.
#2 High On Fats
Coconut oil is not only rich in healthy fatty acids and other types of fats, it’s also high in calories. Giving too much coconut oil to your cat can cause weight gain.
#3 Can Cause Diarrhea
We previously mentioned how good coconut oil is for your cats digestive system. It some cases it can also cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can then cause other complications such as dehydration, physical pain, and other health-related issues.
Should You Give Coconut Oil To Your Cat?
Your question of can cats have coconut oil should now be a bit more clear after weighing up the pros and cons. The main thing to point out is, coconut oil isn’t cat food and they do not need it to survive. The oil should only be used as an occasional supplement. The best option is to always seek the advice of a veterinarian.
How to Give Cats Coconut Oil
If you want to give coconut oil to your cat and you have the go-ahead from a vet, here’s how you can actually use it.
- Use small amounts with food
- Don’t use too much too soon. Test slowly and see how they react. All cats are very unique and some can tolerate it better than others. Adding too much coconut oil too soon can also cause diarrhea.
- For an average sized cat: Give 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon once or twice a day. Some vets also recommend starting with just 1/8 teaspoon.
- For hairball treatment, use just a few times a week.
- For feeding: You can either feed directly or mix it with a tablespoon or two of canned food.
- IMPORTANT: Always make sure to use non-hydrogenated coconut oil with your cat. Hydrogenated fats are bad for both pets and humans.
Coconut Oil Top Pick
One of the best coconut oils you can use is Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.
Alternatives to Coconut Oil for Cats
If you don’t want to use coconut oil, then here are a few alternatives.
#1 Vetoquinol Triglyceride Omega Liquid Dog & Cat Supplement
Hope you enjoyed this post on can cats have coconut oil. You should now have a lot more knowledge on both the pros and cons of giving your cat coconut oil. Always remember to consult a veterinarian and if you do give your cat coconut oil, follow the guidelines above and use in small quantities.