As one of nature's true "superfoods", therapeutic virgin coconut oil can benefit all kinds of pets. These include carnivores such as dogs and cats, as well as small and large herbivores like hamsters, rabbits, goats, and horses, and even parrots.
Today we're turning our attention to the health benefits of coconut oil for one of the nation's favorite pets - cats. So, if you're a cat lover this post is for you!
There are an estimated 94.2 million cats in the US - an even greater number than the 89.7 million dogs we share our lives with.
Cats are affectionate, low maintenance, they keep themselves clean, and we can't help but admire their fierce independence! That's right, here at CocoTherapy we're big cat fans - and we've seen first-hand how coconut oil can keep them happy and healthy.
In this post, we'll look at some of the fantastic ways coconut oil can benefit your cat's health. We'll also address a few concerns we've heard from cat owners about using coconut oil with their cats.
So, let's get started ...
It Supports Your Cat's Skin and Coat
Coconut oil can be used both topically and orally to keep your cat's coat shiny and healthy and prevent dry, irritated skin from developing. It kills parasites such as mange, fleas, and ticks which are suffocated by the fat content in the oil. And because coconut oil is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, it prevents bites from parasites becoming infected and helps heal inflamed skin.
A little coconut oil fed daily works from the inside out, promoting healthy skin and fur. It's rich in vitamin E which is essential for healthy skin growth and repair of damaged skin, and it can even be applied directly to rashes, sore spots, bites and burns.
Coconut oil is also an effective moisturizer for flaky, dry skin. Its antioxidant properties help soothe and heal damaged skin, and it has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties due to its high lauric acid content. This makes coconut oil ideal for treating a range of infections caused by viruses and bacteria inside and outside the body.
It Prevents Hairballs
Because coconut oil improves your cat's coat, shedding is reduced and your cat will be less prone to forming hairballs in their stomach. Coconut oil can reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract that can occur when your cat regurgitates hairballs. It also improves digestion and adds moisture to the stool - allowing hairballs to pass more easily.
If your cat often coughs up hairballs we recommend treating them with CocoTherapy Hairball Plus. It's made with one simple ingredient - high-fiber organic coconut, and can help reduce - and even eliminate - hairballs. It helps your cat pass hairballs more easily by adding moisture and bulk to their stool, and it's great for overall digestive health!
It Aids Digestion
The medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil prevent undue strain on your cat's digestive tract. They're easily digestible in the gut, and help the body to absorb the nutrients and vitamins from food more efficiently.
The healthy lauric acid in coconut oil is anti-microbial and kills parasites, fungi and harmful bacteria in your cat's gut. Coconut oil also has natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties that support digestive health, help heal injuries in the digestive tract, and prevent chronic inflammation.
It Reduces Inflammation
Coconut oil doesn't just reduce inflammation in your cat's digestive system. The lauric acid in the oil has anti-inflammatory properties which help ease inflammation all over the body.
As cats age they become more susceptible to inflammatory illnesses. Arthritis and painful swollen joints are particularly common in older cats. Coconut oil helps alleviate the symptoms of inflammation, increasing your cat's mobility and boosting energy levels.
It Boosts the Immune System
Coconut oil's positive impact on the immune system protects your cat against viral and bacterial infection and decreases the chance of them suffering from allergic reactions and other common illnesses.
The lauric acid content in coconut oil contains anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-yeast properties that can quickly clear up allergic reactions. It also boosts the immune system, helping your cat to fight off infection and disease.
Coconut Oil and Chronic Illness
Some cat owners have contacted us with concerns over feeding their cats coconut oil, usually because they're worried the fat in the oil could contribute to or cause fatty liver disease and pancreatitis.
In fact, coconut oil actually helps reduce the inflammation and swelling that's associated with these diseases.
Coconut Oil and Pancreas Health
There are two kinds of saturated fats: medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and long-chain triglycerides. MCTs - the type of fat in coconut oil - is far healthier due to the way it's processed in the body.
The bodies of humans and animals process MCTs differently from long-chain fats which must be mixed with bile released from the gallbladder and acted on by pancreatic enzymes in order to be broken down in the digestive system.
MCTs don't need bile or pancreatic enzymes to be processed. Once they're ingested and reach the intestine, they diffuse into the bloodstream and are transported straight to the liver - where they're naturally converted into energy-providing ketones.
For this reason, MCTs are well tolerated by animals with chronic pancreatitis and other forms of fat malabsorption. They can even be used to increase calories in the diets of cats who can't tolerate other types of fats.
Coconut oil also helps speed up the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, making it especially beneficial for cats suffering from illnesses that make it difficult for them to keep down foods or medications given by mouth.
Coconut Oil and Liver Health
Feeding your cat coconut oil daily may provide protection against free radical degeneration to their liver, and help support liver health.
The liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It detoxifies, builds proteins, secretes hormones, produces bile necessary for digestion, and performs innumerable other tasks that ensure the body functions efficiently.
Two of the liver’s most destructive enemies are viruses and free radicals - both of which can be protected against by regularly feeding your cat coconut oil.
The medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil are immediately transported from the digestive tract into the liver, where they can benefit the organ in numerous ways. Harmful viruses, which may cause infection or hepatitis, are destroyed by MCFAs.
MCFAs also protect the liver from free radical damage and prevent tissue injury, enabling liver regeneration while supporting the immune system.
Because medium-chain triglycerides don't need bile to be metabolized, they can be given to animals with biliary disease. In addition, the liver does not need to process caprylic acid, one of the beneficial MCTs found in coconut oil. This is important for animals who suffer from fat and lipid metabolic issues.
Case Study: Montecore
My Experience With Coconut Oil and My Cat
By Charisa Antigua, Co-founder of CocoTherapy
Just a short time ago I had a Ragdoll cat, Montecore, who was 20 lbs at the peak of his health (he was not overweight, just a big cat).
When Montecore reached the age of 18, I noticed that his appetite slowly began to decrease. Despite numerous tests including blood work and dental examinations, we couldn't find the cause.
Over a period of 5 months, his weight dropped to a low of 13 lbs, which resulted in him becoming very underweight. I was very concerned that he would develop Hepatic Lipidosis, as I knew that rapid weight loss can cause fatty liver disease in cats. However, I continued to give him CocoTherapy coconut oil, because I knew that:
- He needed highly digestible lipids to metabolize essential vitamins and minerals
- He needed the fat to keep his weight from slipping further
- His liver and pancreas were NOT being stressed by CocoTherapy therapeutic-grade coconut oil
- Fatty liver disease usually occurs in overweight cats, who then have inappetence, and stop eating for several days (resulting in a drastic reduction in food). Montecore was not overweight, and while his appetite did decrease, I managed to get him to eat a small amount of food daily.
I did full panel blood work on Montecore over the 5 months. Consistently his liver, kidney, and pancreatic enzyme levels were perfect. In fact, I knew that the coconut oil protected his liver, and may have played a significant role in preventing fatty liver disease (despite his rapid weight loss).
In the end, we discovered that Montecore had lung cancer. Sadly, he succumbed to the disease in March of this year. But right until the very end of his life - he passed away just a few weeks before his 19th birthday - he had a wonderful quality of life, and enjoyed licking coconut oil as a treat.
Therapeutic-Grade Coconut Oil
When treating your cat with coconut oil, be sure to choose a therapeutic grade oil such as CocoTherapy coconut oil. Our oil is sourced from our USDA-certified organic family farm in the Philippines and made in our own facility.
CocoTherapy organic virgin coconut oil is a healthy, all-natural product that's rich in beneficial lauric, capric and caprylic acids. It supplies medium-chain triglycerides, which help maintain healthy body functions and support your cat's overall health
Do you use coconut oil with your cat? Let us know in the comments!
By Richard Rowlands