Can Cats Eat Coconut Oil?

Brown and white cat sniffing jar of coconut oil

Coconut oil has been used in cooking for decades, but its appeal as a holistic cure has exploded in recent years. Coconut oil has several health advantages for humans, according to supporters. In fact, it has grown in popularity to the point that some people are giving it to their cats for the same reasons they are.

Is coconut oil beneficial or harmful for cats? Well-meaning cat owners should learn the facts about coconut oil before administering it to their cats.

What Is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is extracted from mature coconuts and is suitable for use in culinary and wellness goods. It includes medium-chain triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids (MCTs). Long-chain triglycerides are more difficult to digest than MCTs, which comprise palm kernel oil (such as olive oil, soybean oil, avocado oil, and fish oil). As a result, MCTs are thought to be a superior source of rapid energy than long-chain triglycerides, and they are less likely to be converted to fat in the body. MCTs may be made up of a variety of fatty acid chains, including caprylic and capric acids, which have both been proven to have antifungal characteristics in lab experiments. They also have lauric acid in them, which has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral effects. People are understandably thrilled about the possible health advantages of coconut oil, which can include caprylic, capric, and lauric acid.

Does Coconut Oil Have Real Benefits?

While there are some anecdotal claims about the health advantages of coconut oil, it is crucial to note that these claims are not backed up by science. The majority of studies have been inconclusive and have focused on human participants. This is not to argue that coconut oil is ineffective or hazardous; rather, the benefits of coconut oil are yet to be proved in cats.

MCTs found in coconut oil and other foods have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory activities. Some people feel that MCTs in coconut oil might help with digestion, digestion issues, and hairball prevention in cats. Another notion is that MCTs can aid elderly cats with brain energy and cognition.

Some cat owners believe that using coconut oil, either orally or topically, can enhance their cat's coat quality and relieve dry or itchy skin. Further research suggests that it may help with metabolic functioning, weight loss, arthritic pain relief, and bone health.

It's important to remember that these are unsubstantiated claims without any scientific proof.

Is Coconut Oil Safe for My Cat?

Coconut oil appears to be the next miraculous cure-all due to all of the possible advantages highlighted. You may already be utilizing it and reaping the benefits. If you think coconut oil will be beneficial to your cat, you should first get advice from your veterinarian. Although cats are not poisoned by coconut oil, it may not be the best supplement to every cat's diet. Any changes in your cat's food, supplements, or medications might have an impact on his or her health. Increased fat in the diet may cause weight gain or digestive problems in your cat. Your veterinarian is familiar with your cat's medical history and physical condition and can assist you in making the best selection possible.

In general, veterinarians do not encourage the usage of coconut oil. This is due to the fact that the above-mentioned possible advantages are based on owner reports rather than scientific evidence. Coconut oil must be tested in a controlled setting with a large testing population that is reproducible and peer-reviewed in order to determine its safety and efficacy. A 1985 research on a limited number of cats indicated that the cats avoided meals containing even modest quantities of MCTs, suggesting that cats find them distasteful. So, while your friendly neighborhood pet supply store clerk may swear by a coconut oil treatment that works for their cat, there's no way of knowing if it'll work for yours.

How Can I Use Coconut Oil?

How do you go about utilizing coconut oil for your cat if it's not all that it's made up to be? First and foremost, do not put coconut oil on your cat until you consult with your veterinarian, who will be able to advise you on which applications and dosages are acceptable.

Topical treatments for skin problems may appear to be safe and simple to apply. Your cat, on the other hand, will very certainly lick the oil off once it has been administered. This indicates that the cat ingests the oil, which may irritate the skin in that region. You may use an over-the-counter shampoo containing organic coconut oil (although most cats don't enjoy a complete bath), but make sure it is designed for cats.

If your veterinarian allows, oral usage may be a possibility. Make sure you follow your veterinarian's recommendations for dosage, frequency, and formula. They'll be able to advise you on the right amount so you don't give too much at once and wind up with a greasy, diarrhea-inducing mess on your hands. If your cat is prone to gaining weight, has a history of pancreatitis, irritable bowel problem, or any other illness or metabolic condition, they may advise you on the dangers vs advantages of oral coconut oil.