A recent new fad has arrived in the pet-parent world. I’ve heard many clients and customers tell me about the multiple benefits coconut oil has for their dogs and cats. Though coconut oil may have some small effect on relieving itchy dry skin topically, there is actually not much evidence to suggest it’s benefits when ingested by our beloved cats.
In this article we will cover the following:
- Cats and Coconut Oil – What You Need To Know
- Can Cats Eat Coconut Oil?
- Can Kittens Eat Coconut Oil?
- Negatives Of Feeding Coconut Oil.
- Alternative To Coconut Oil For Cats.
Cats and Coconut Oil – What You Need To Know
Known as a superfood, coconut oil is said to be one of the most healthiest fats that can be beneficial to both humans and our pets.
A derivative of copra meal, coconut oil is said to be a saturated fatty acid that is rich in medium-short chain fatty acids, potassium, vitamin E and lauric acid.
There are many claims on the internet suggesting that coconut oil can benefit your pet by helping them in various ways such as: inducing weight loss, moisturizing coats, reducing inflammation, improving bad breath, increasing immune health and many more!
It is important to remember that all these claims are extrapolated from studies that were aimed at understanding the benefits of coconut oil for humans. When in fact, very few studies were done to see its effect on pets, let alone cats! The same goes for olive oil, don’t just believe everything you read.
Can Cats Eat Coconut Oil?
Yes, but they shouldn’t! cats technically can consume coconut oil and some may say this can aid in resolving or minimising issues such as inflammation (particularly inflammatory bowel disease), decrease fur balls, and maybe even moisturize coats.
However, as there are essentially no reliable studies to validate the benefits of coconut oil on these conditions it is not recommended to feed your cat coconut oil. It is likely that there are more problems being introduced instead of solved as coconut oil is very high in fat.
Can Kittens Eat Coconut Oil?
For kittens, I would strongly recommend not feeding a kitten coconut oil. Though owners might see the benefits of feeding an adult cat coconut oil, I personally would not recommend that this be given to a kitten.
Why? Because kittens are more immuno-compromised. This means that they don’t have a strong immune system especially if they are less than 4 to 8 weeks of age. They may be even more prone to stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhea.
As both vomiting and diarrhea tend to result in dehydration which can be particularly lethal in kittens. Thus, even though a kitten can consume coconut oil, I would highly suggest that owners not feed it to them due to their developing immune system and sensitive tummy.
Negatives and Positives Of Feeding Coconut Oil
If you have a diabetic or overweight cat then coconut oil is not a good treat or additive to feed your cat as it can induce insulin spike due to its high saturated fat content. Furthermore, it is high in calories and may only end up inducing weight gain.
Some veterinarians speculate that due to it’s high fat content coconut oil can induce feline pancreatitis, which is a disease of the pancreas that can result in lethargic, inappetant cats and can eventually lead to death.
Some other secondary conditions that might occur are issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and colic. These conditions can often result in a very dehydrated, uncomfortable cat.
Though there may be some evidence suggesting that coconut oil if applied topically and sometimes consumed can assist in conditions such as: dermatitis, dry skin, wound healing and inflammation of bowels.
However, even though this statement I would be cautious when considering wound healing and inflammation as potential benefits due to lack of credible source.
Alternative To Coconut Oil For Cats
If you want to add some sort of oil that may benefit your cat’s luxurious coat then try Grizzly Salmon Oil, which is an animal derived oil rich in omega 3 fatty acids that can aid in achieving that shiny coat.
You can also try Pure Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil which claims that it can benefit your cat’s coat and immune health.
In the video below you can learn more about some of the benefits of fish oil for your cat.
If you’re using coconut oil to aid in fur ball management then try using these products specifically designed for hair balls. Nutri-Vet, Sentry Hairball relief and Tomlyn hairball relief are all great products that can help easy those hairball episodes.
If you simply want the most natural source of fatty-acids and nutrients for your cat that can also assit in weight loss. Then try feeding a low fat, low calorie protein rich diet. The Weruva B.F.F line is a great addition as it is an all fish line which is rich in protein and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
So, Can Cats Eat Coconut Oil?
Sometimes veterinarians and particularly holistic veterinarians may have different opinions about the use of coconut oil given to cats. As such, this article is based most solely looking at evidence from studies that can support the claims of coconut oil.
Yes, cats can eat coconut oil, but this is not recommended as it can encourage weight gain, gastrointestinal upset, and metabolic diseases such as pancreatitis. However, in moderation it may not cause an issue but this again depends on the individual cat.
Coconut oil is not a cure-all for cats! It is indeed considered to be a superfood for humans as there may be some evidence suggesting its benefits to humans. However, bear in mind that there are have been very few studies done to see its efficacy on cats.
As mentioned above, it’s much more beneficial to give your cat something like this Wild Alaskan Salmon oil instead of Coconut oil that still has more questions about it’s benefits than answers.
If this has you wondering about coconut milk, you can find out more about that here.
If you have any questions or comments you’d like to share or any experiences of your cat eating popcorn then please share it with us in the comments below!