Here are some tips regarding complementary treatments for cat parasite control. They have been approved by a veterinarian, Dr Fogle, and therefore, although caution needs to be exercised when administering natural home remedies of any sort, these complementary treatments should be safe but always check with your vet.
Herbalism can be used in parasite control. Cider vinegar is a repellent of some insects. I had no idea but, apparently, ear mites are most active at night and therefore treatment of infested ears should ideally take place just before a person’s bedtime.
Note: Personally I don’t believe it is wise to treat cat ear mites oneself. However, Dr Fogle suggests that it is okay.
For ear mites, a solution of 50% benzoyl benzoate and 50% water can be dropped into the ear (three drops) and massaged into the ear canal three times per week for eight weeks (but see notes below before proceeding). An alternative treatment is to apply nine drops of yellow dock tincture with 15 mL of water and (instil in infected ears every three days to 6 weeks.)
- Note: Benzoyl benzoate is used to treat lice and scabies infestations in people.
- Note: the hyperdrug.co.uk website says benzoyl benzoate is used by vets to treat itchiness in horses and they warn it is harmful if swallowed. This must be a big warning for use on cats surely – please check with vet.
- Note: Alternative natural treatments for ear infection.
Another treatment would be olive oil instilled on alternate days for six weeks. The word “instil” means, “put (a substance) into something in the form of liquid drops”.
With respect to cat fleas, one recommendation is to comb your cat with the usual 32 prongs to an inch metal flea comb and place the captured fleas into an ammonia laced water. Natural pyrethrin powder, which can be obtained from chrysanthemums grown in Kenya, is an effective natural insecticide. In India this insecticide is mixed with Acorus calamus
to be used for ticks and lice.
Note: the Natural pyrethrin powder referred to is available commercially (search for “natural pyrethrin powder”) but once again a discussion with a vet is strongly advised. This is an insecticide and, natural or not, it is potentially a serious health risk.
All flea control should be carried out holistically meaning there should be a heavy focus on prevention to reduce re-infestation. Some herbalists recommend leaving eucalyptus leaves under furniture and rugs. The alternative is to rub fennel foliage into your cat’s coat. Nematodes eat Fleas. They are bugs and they are commercially available at some garden centres and can be introduced into the yard or the back garden. This is a proactive, preventative treatment.
The success of nematodes as a preventative flea treatment is variable and may depend on the conditions and the soil. For instance they were less effective in Florida are more effective in North Carolina and Texas, USA. Nematodes should be placed in moist shady spots in your backyard.
Veterinarians who like to use complementary treatments are reluctant to use corticosteroids because they depress the immune system when it is important to support the immune system. The only suggestion made by Dr Fogle to control itching is through massage, relaxation techniques and pheromones. I wonder how effective these are, though.
Hydrotherapy can be used to control itching. Cats can be sprayed or bathed in warm water containing sodium bicarbonate or oatmeal. Oatmeal appears to contain a substance called avenanthramides which helps to block inflammatory compounds and histamines.
Herbalism can also be used to help control itching. Cornstarch (with just enough boiled water to make a paste) might reduce itching when applied topically. Goldenseal hydrastis canadensis and Calendula cream may also help.
Echinacea, goldenseal or Pau d’arco administered internally can strengthen the immune system. In addition, an infusion of German chamomile flower is, we are told, soothing and cooling for irritated skin.
Itchiness can also be reduced using other herbs such as burdock root, curled dock root, licorice root and southern would herb.
As for homeopathy, Urtica 6cM, which is derived from the stinging nettle may relieve intense itching.
Always seek veterinarian advice before carrying out home treatments for cat health.