While most people know that feeding catnip to a cat can have some crazy side effects, they may wonder how aloe vera gel may affect kitty as well. This is especially true if you grow aloe vera in the Southwest or harvest it from indoor potted plants.
Aloe vera is beneficial to cats, as long as it is harvested and the yellowish sap or latex is removed from the plant. This yellow color of the sap cautions pet owners to remove it. Latex can have a laxative and toxic effect. If your cat eats too much of the substance, it can suffer stomach upset or severe cramping and pain. Therefore, only give latex-free aloe vera to a cat.
Investigating What Lies Inside
While aloe vera offers many benefits to a cat, you need to know how to safely use it. When you break open an aloe leaf, you will see two things – the center’s clear or greenish gel, and at the edge, a whitish or yellowish sap – the toxic part of the plant.
A Purgative Effect
Most commercial aloe vera products for humans and pets have had the bad latex removed during the manufacturing process. Therefore, you can safely use them. The latex of the aloe plant is a known purgative. A purgative empties the stomach by causing diarrhea. Cats who eat too much of the plant often vomit. Severe cases of diarrhea can be serious, as they can lead to dehydration. In these cases, the cat may need to be given fluids through an IV.
What to Do If Your Cat Eats an Aloe Leaf
If you find that your cat has eaten the leaf of the aloe wait and check for diarrhea. If you notice that it is severe, call the vet immediately. Make sure you place the plant in a spot that the cat cannot access. Keep the cat away from areas where you have your aloe plants.
Benefits of the Gel
With that being said, your cat and you too can enjoy many advantages from the aloe gel. The fleshy pulp within the leaves holds important and vital nutrients – nutrients that can be used to alleviate chronic illnesses and conditions.
The most important items in aloe vera are the antioxidant vitamins known as C and E, and beta carotene. Aloe is one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12. Also, the gel provides 20 of the 22 amino acids the body needs to stay healthy. Whether it is consumed by a human or animal, aloe vera enhances nutrient absorption and supports healthy digestion.
Minerals in the Gel and Leaf
The minerals contained in the aloe vera leaf include manganese, magnesium, copper, zinc, calcium, chromium, potassium, sodium, and iron.
Sugars in the leaf and gel include immune system boosters called long chain polysaccharides.
Enzymes in the plant, such as carboxypeptidase, reduce inflammation while protease and lipase help break down food and promote digestion.
Three primary plant sterols in aloe vera serve as anti-inflammatory agents.
Pain Killers with Anti-bacterial Properties
Aloe vera also contains anthraquinones—such as emodin and aloin – powerful painkillers with anti-bacterial properties. When given in their purest form, they act as laxatives.
The Gel Can Be Used Internally and Externally
That laxative effect is what you want to avoid if you give your cat aloe vera gel. Otherwise, aloe vera can be used internally and externally. Therefore, it can be used as a topical application or given to the cat through its diet.
Let’s look at how aloe vera strengthens a cat internally –
- Give aloe to a cat to compensate for tiredness or a loss of energy.
- Aloe vera can alleviate issues with the musculoskeletal system.
- Damage intestinal flora can be healed with aloe vera.
- If your older cat suffers from joint pain, aloe vera can build up the cartilage, easing the inflammation and pain.
- The gel of the aloe vera plants strengthens and promotes immune system functioning.
- Aloe vera detoxes the system and lowers any susceptibility to infections.
- The gel aids in treating respiratory difficulties and heals the skin, whether consumed or applied externally.
- Bacteria and parasites are eliminated by ingesting the gel.
- The gel can be used to prevent the formation of cancerous tumors.
- The gel provides an electrolyte replacement – good for kittens and cats giving birth.
You can use the gel of the plant for topical or external applications for your cat. When used in this manner, your cat can realize the following:
- Display a cleaner and/or shinier coat.
- Stay protected against outside toxins and dirt.
- Get the required protection from the sun’s bad UV rays.
- Recover from frostbite.
- Suffer less from allergies, such as eczema during the summer.
- Feel soothing comfort from itching.
- Heal faster from abrasions or wounds.
- Experience fewer incidences of irritation.
If you apply aloe vera to old scar tissue, it becomes lighter and often fades completely.
Benefits for Cats
While you don’t want your cat to eat the plant in its natural form, aloe vera can serve a cat well when it has been harvested and the toxicity removed. Humans are not the only ones who can benefit from harvested and refined aloe vera gel.
The plant possesses anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits. Aloe vera assists cats that have autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal disorders, and arthritis. Therefore, it provides a natural solution and remedy for older cats and enhances the nutrition of older and younger cats.
Treating FIV and FeLV with Aloe
Cats may suffer from FIV, an AIDs type of disease and FeLV, or the feline leukemia virus. They can also experience interstitial cystitis or IC. The use of concentrated aloe vera has been researched by using it for
One joint study conducted between the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University and the Animal Medical Hospital in Irving, Texas is significant. Performed in 1991, the study showed that aloe vera did help cats that tested positive for feline leukemia virus (FeLV).
The retro virus has been deemed as the primary cause of illness and death in cats. Twenty-nine of 50 cats who tested positive for FeLV were still alive after 12 weeks after consuming aloe. They were also still alive after a 3-month period, and apparently, were normal.
cats with all of these conditions. The gel is believed to reduce the nocturia, burning, and frequency of IC.
The Ideal Product for a Finicky Cat
Probably the best way to give your cat aloe vera for ingestion is to buy commercial aloe powder that features a natural chicken flavoring. This type of substance is a great way to add to a cat’s diet, especially a cat that is finicky.
How to Give the Powder as a Supplement to Your Cat
When you use aloe powder as a supplement, you can give your cat the required dosage, based on its weight. For a very small cat (under five pounds), you should include one scoop per day in the cat’s diet. Two scoops per day should suffice for cats weighing between six and 10 pounds, while three scoops are sufficient for cats weighing in between 11 and 15 pounds. If you chose an organic powder, it should be free of starch, gluten, and non-GMO.
Giving Your Cat Aloe Vera Juice
Besides using the gel in the plant, you can also use aloe vera juice as a natural organic treatment for your feline. Just don’t administer the juice (usually a tablespoon in the cat’s water bowl) if the cat is pregnant.
Does Your Cat Have Diabetes? A Note of Warning
Another precaution – Don’t administer aloe vera in any form to your cat if it is diabetic. Besides water, you can mix about a teaspoon of the gel in your cat’s food, which helps disguise the bitter taste. The above-mentioned powder form is now frequently given to cats for supplementation. Because aloe vera boosts the nutrient absorption for foods, more vitamins and minerals are distributed in the circulation. Pets—both dogs and cats—need vitamins C and E just as much as humans.
In the pet industry, aloe vera figures primarily in the use of pet food-grade powders. Free flowing powders with a low moisture content of about 5% are primarily used. Powers are made in pellets, chows, or bulk forms. You can also find aloe in juices, chewable tablets, granules, semi-solids, and soft chews.
Lengthen a Cat’s Life through Aloe Supplementation
Flavors often enhance juices – especially the use of chicken broth. In powders, manufacturers often use natural fish or chicken flavors. Most of the gels and liquids can be added to water or normal feeds. When refined and free of latex, the gels or liquids give cats increased suppleness and enhanced energy. This is especially important for elderly cats. Adding aloe supplementation lengthens their life and improves the quality.
A Type of Tonic
Aloe vera is an excellent solution for the pet market, as it represents the use of a stabilized gel that comes from the plant’s inner leaf. That gel contains over 75 recognized compounds – all known to improve animal or human immunity. You might call aloe a type of health tonic. The gel provides the following benefits:
- It increases the appetite
- It adds vitality in low-active cats
- It reduces any sensitivity to outside irritants
Improved Joint Health for Cats
If you are trying to treat a specific condition in your cat, such as arthritis, you will find mixing aloe with other natural supplements will assist in improving your cat’s health. For example, aloe vera is mixed with other nutrients for better joint functioning.
Types of Joint Blends Used for Cats
Currently, products for joint health for cats represent 17% of the market. Joint blends using aloe include products that feature the use of aloe with the following substances:
- Glucosamine and chondroitin – separately or in combination
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) and collagen (classification: type 2)
- Omega-3 fatty acids, which increases the anti-inflammatory response
Using Aloe Vera to Enhance a Cat’s Skin and Coat
Better Skin Health
You can also find aloe products that support the health of a cat’s coat and skin. This market represents 22% of sales for cats.
When used for improving a cat’s skin or coat, aloe products are often mixed with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and fish oils and similar marine sources. Aloe vera, when paired with non-farm raised oil from Alaskan salmon provides plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Aloe Vera Plus Minerals and Vitamins = Optimum Nutrition
Pet supplements that combine aloe vera with minerals and vitamins also make up products used for cat health. While aloe vera contains nutrition galore, it can also be combined with an antioxidant, vitamins, or minerals to support the immune system response. When used for this purpose, the gel enhances the absorption of vitamins C and E. The absorption is more gradual and the vitamins last longer when used with a plasma aloe gel. This type of composition increases the bioavailability in both felines and humans.
Pet owners recognized aloe as being important to their cat’s digestive health. Often time, the gel is mixed with probiotics to stabilize the intestinal flora. It may also be combined with prebiotic fibers, such as oligofructose and/or inulin to support the digestion.
Cats can suffer from stress, given the pace their owners may assume. Therefore, if your cat exhibits certain behaviors, such as restlessness, or destructive behaviors, you should use aloe vera supplements that contain relaxing herbs or essential oils. When aloe vera is combined with natural pheromones, the supplement can be used to reduce nervousness, motion sickness, or anxiousness.
Better Eye Health
Older cats can develop senile cataracts. While this condition is rare in cats, your cat may be one of the few felines that suffers from lower vision. If so, you can support eye health with aloe supplementation that contains ingredients, such as carotenoids, zeaxanthin, and lutein, or vitamin E. Aloe vera combined with zinc or omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) also provide beneficial vision support.
An Elixir for Cat Health
When you use aloe vera sans the latex in the plant, you can benefit your cat’s health and increase its quality of life. The gel is the elixir that gives aloe its health-giving properties. A quick overview of the benefits will tell you that the gel is a great health product for both cats and humans.
A Quick Summation of Aloe Benefits
Aloe contains a substance, acemannan, which acts as a polysaccharide stimulant for the immune system. In turn, it helps cats who suffer from skin infections, cancer, or allergies overcome these kinds of maladies. Veterinarians use the gel as part of the treatment plan for caring for cats with fibrosarcoma tumors.
Use Aloe to Relive Flea Bites and Itching
When the gel is used for skin health, or topically applied, it is often indicated for soothing and softening the skin and getting rid of the itching and irritation of flea bites. It can also be used for certain skin irritations or any overexposure to the sun.
Speed Up Healing
The gel contains prostaglandins which speed up the healing of wounds and reduces inflammation. The gel also contains antifungal and antibacterial properties, and can be used to relieve bladder sensitivity or irritations. When you get rid of the latex, aloe is one of the safest plants to use for cat health and nutrition.
Find a Liquid without the Bitter Taste
When using a liquid for the prevention of disease and improve health, select a liquid that is totally tasteless – a product that does not taste bitter, or does not include citric acid. For general health maintenance, give your cat one teaspoon each day for each 10 pounds of weight. Increase that amount to 1 tablespoon daily for each 10 pounds of weight.
Adding to a Cat’s Already Long Life
What do you think? What have you found to support your cat’s health and contains aloe vera? Cats may have nine lives; however, with the use of aloe vera, they will lengthen those lives.