Olive-oil cures for cats

Although cats are generally hardy and independent pets, your pet requires care when it gets sick. Home remedies can work, but you should always take your cat to the veterinarian to have it diagnosed properly and to discuss the home remedy you want to try. Castor oil was once used as a home remedy, but the ASPCA and other groups now say the oil should not be given to cats. However, olive oil can be used as an alternative.

Constipation Treatment

Unless your vet finds that your cat has an impacted intestine or detects a foreign object in your cat's digestive system, most constipation can be treated at home. Add half a tablespoon of olive oil to your cat's food twice a day to moisten and loosen the dry stool. Sometimes cats with constipation don't want to eat, so put the oil on something your cat really enjoys. Olive oil also helps move hairballs through your cat's system.

External Parasites

Mites and fleas can wreak havoc on your cat's skin. If you notice scaly patches or bumps on your cat, have your vet do a skin test to determine the cause. Traditional vet medicine involves giving cats strong chemicals to rid them of the problem, but olive oil is an option. By covering the cat's coat in oil, you suffocate the pests and soothe the cat's skin. Be forewarned that this is messy; you also shouldn't let your cat outside because dirt will stick to the oil.

Improve Overall Skin and Coat Condition

Just as humans develop dry skin in the winter or dull hair in the summer, cats are also affected by wind, sun and weather. First, have your vet determine that your cat's dull coat or dry skin isn't caused by a hormonal imbalance or other medical problem. Then, once or twice a week, add a teaspoon of oil to your cat's food to really improve its appearance.

Cleaning Out Ear Mites

Ear mites make your cat scratch at its ears and shake its head. Your vet will do a quick swab to diagnose the ear mites and show you how to clean the cat's ear canal without hurting the eardrum. At home, use a dropper to place body-temperature olive oil into the cat's ear and rub the ear to work the oil in. Use a cotton swab to clean the mites from your cat's ear. Do this over several days to remove as many mites as possible. The oil also suffocates the mites. Even if your cat doesn't have mites, cleaning its ears is a good habit to practice.

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About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Tammie Painter has been writing garden, fitness, science and travel articles since 2008. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as "Herb Companion" and "Northwest Travel" and she is the author of six books. Painter earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Portland State University.