Herbal Antibiotics for Cats

By Jodi Thornton O'Connell

Overuse of synthetic antibiotics in people and animals alike can lead to the development of "super bugs" that resist known medical treatments. Synthetic antibiotics also kill off beneficial bacteria in your cat's body in addition to the disease causing pathogens. Holistic veterinarians can prescribe your cat antibiotic herbal remedies that let the good microbes survive while defeating the bad.

Herbs That Heal

Calendula proves effective in relieving constipation and relaxing abdominal cramping. It's antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activity makes it useful for using topically for wounds or other skin conditions. When used internally, it stimulates the liver.

German chamomile calms an irritated digestive tract as well as improving liver and gallbladder function. Its primary anti-inflammatory ingredient is chamazulene, which gives German chamomile essential oil its blue color. German chamomile is the only species carrying the anti-inflammatory alpha-bisabolol. This component gives the chamomile its soothing qualities for digestion, anxiety and skin conditions.

Goldenseal stimulates a cat's immune system and is particularly useful for conditions affecting mucous membranes. Goldenseal's powerful antibiotics kill good microbes as well as the bad, so supplement with yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese or probiotics to replenish healthy intestinal flora.

Licorice has strong anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful as a substitute for cortisone. Adaptogenic properties in licorice work with every system in a cat's body, bringing it into balance. Its antibiotic and antiviral properties are mild and don't act on all types of microbes.

Mint remedies include peppermint and spearmint. Mint works well to calm an irritated digestive tract. Catnip is another member of the mint family with antispasmodic and mild antibiotic properties. While it calms humans, it's more likely to rev up your cat. Never use wintergreen in a remedy as one of it's primary ingredients -- methyl salicitate -- is toxic to cats.

Thyme possesses highly antimicrobial qualities and is effective even against some antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is particularly useful in cats for respiratory disease and digestive upset. Antiseptic properties make it effective to use as a wound dressing when mixed with a balm.

Use With Caution

Before giving your cat herbal teas or tinctures, call your veterinarian for the proper dosage and best way to administer it to your cat. Some holistic veterinarians have cat friendly herbal tablets or tonics available to purchase in their office. Herbs can be toxic to cats in large doses. Never force herbal teas down your cat's throat as she may aspirate it into her lungs.