Chamomile for Cats
Although dogs typically receive leftovers from the dinner table, your cat may enjoy your cooled chamomile tea and tea bags. If you are seeking a natural remedy for your cats scrapes, inflammation, infections or stomach upsets, chamomile may be just what you are needing.
Chamomile is a natural herb that is typically safe for felines, unlike forsythia which can be extremely toxic to cats. However, your cat may have an allergy to the daisy-like flower of the chamomile if your pet is allergic to plants in the aster family. Always speak with your veterinarian before administering any alternative treatment to your cat.
Is Chamomile Safe?
Chamomile in small quantities is safe. The herb does not appear to be poisonous for felines, but should never be used in large quantities. Since chamomile is used to reduce anxiety, help to improve sleep and can lessen menstrual cramps. Chamomile, Matricaria recutita, has a high quantity of apigenin. This active ingredient helps to reduce inflammation and acts similar to aspirin. It can also be used as a mild sedative. The other active property in chamomile is chamazulene which also helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.
According to VCA Hospitals, cooled chamomile tea or tea bags are applied directly to your cat’s infected skin to help reduce inflammation, swelling and itching. The herb also promotes the healing of scrapes and cuts. You can make a tincture by steeping the chamomile herbs in high-proof alcohol, or you can purchase a pre-made tincture to apply to the skin. The anti-inflammatory properties also make chamomile especially helpful when your cat has a swollen or infected eye.
For Cats Eyes
If your feline pet has an eye infection, always check with your vet first, but you may be able to identify an infection by the following:
- inflammation of the eye and surrounding area
- eyelids sticking together
- discharge from the eyes
- excessive squinting
- teary eyes
- rubbing the eyes
- sneezing or congestion
Some eye infections may be caused by a fungus, an injury or an allergy. It is always best to identify the reason for the eye infection, but chamomile tea can help reduce the symptoms and inflammation. Try to begin treatment as soon as you notice inflammation or a discharge, as the sooner you catch it, the sooner the cat will feel better.
You can place a cooled chamomile tea bag against your cat’s eyes two or three times a day. This may be tricky if your cat does not like to remain in place, but the chamomile scent itself may act as a calming agent. Or, after your brew the tea, let it cool and then place two or three drops of tea in the eye. You can do this two or three times a day. It may be easiest to dip your fingers in the cooled chamomile and then let the drips slide off the ends, or you can use an eye dropper. Remember to clean your fingers well after administering the tea to the cat’s eye as some infections such as conjunctivitis, pink eye, may be transferred between you and your feline. If you use an eye dropper, clean off the end after each contact so as to not transfer the infection from eye to eye.
Other uses for chamomile tea and your cat include benefits to the gastrointestinal system. If your pet suffers from gas, bloating or vomiting, chamomile tea may help to ease stomach upsets. It can be given orally.
Use caution when selecting your chamomile tea as many products contain additional ingredients that may be toxic or poisonous to your pet. Always check with your veterinarian before giving your pet alternative health treatments. Also, test the temperature of the tea and tea bags before applying them to your cat. You can share a cup of tea with your cat, but make sure your pet’s tea is cool.