Apple cider vinegar for cats is often thought of as a natural cure-all. In small, diluted doses, drinking apple cider vinegar (ACV) is safe for healthy felines. However, there are caveats to its safety and efficacy.
A quarter of a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in water is safe for healthy cats to drink. Never exceed this dosage in a 24-hour period. ACV can help with constipation, urinary tract infections (UTIs), respiratory infections, and intestinal parasites. Don’t give ACV to a cat with kidney problems. ACV will increase the acidity of your cat’s body, making urine harder to process and excrete.
Getting a cat to drink ACV won’t be easy. It has a strong scent, which will deter many cats. Most felines will also reject the taste. ACV can provide some limited health benefits, but never force a cat to drink ACV.
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Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe to Add to a Cat’s Drinking Water?
A healthy, adult cat can safely drink apple cider vinegar in water. But, a cat with serious health problems or advancing in years should avoid it.
It is also vital that a cat never drinks pure, undiluted ACV. Cats with chronic kidney problems must never consume ACV, even diluted with water.
According to The Journal of Small Animal Practice, renal failure increases acidity in a cat’s body. This makes urine waste difficult to process. ACV will increase this acidity further.
Many senior cats have kidney issues. Unfortunately, the symptoms of the condition often fail to manifest until it’s at an advanced stage. This means that ACV should be avoided by all older cats to keep them safe.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good for Cats to Drink?
There are health benefits linked to cats drinking ACV, such as the management of blood sugar and lowering cholesterol levels. ACV is also high in magnesium and potassium.
Unfortunately, cats need to drink more ACV than is safe in order to enjoy any of these health benefits. However, the acidity of apple cider vinegar can be beneficial when treating the following conditions:
- Urinary tract infections
- Fungal infections
- Respiratory infections
- Intestinal parasites
Only use ACV in small quantities to treat these ailments. In addition, remember that ACV is no substitute for medication from a vet.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural laxative. This is because it contains pectin, which is a water-soluble fiber that speeds up the digestive process.
Obviously, diarrhea is best avoided in cats under normal circumstances. However, constipation can be dangerous. If a constipated cat continues to eat as normal, it can lead to an intestinal blockage.
Mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar into your constipated cat’s water. This should help a constipated cat to eliminate.
Once your cat is cured of constipation, check for any signs of dehydration. A sudden purge of a cat’s stomach contents can dehydrate a cat. If your cat is dehydrated, encourage it to replace fluids by drinking more water.
Urinary Tract Infections
Apple cider vinegar for a urinary tract infection or blockage can be beneficial for cats. This is due to the antibacterial properties and acidity.
A cat with a UTI will usually have hardened crystals in the urethra. Left long enough, these can harden into stones. This makes urination painful or impossible. The crystals are blocking the cat’s urinary tract.
The acidic qualities of apple cider vinegar dissolve these crystals. If the vinegar works, your cat’s behavior will return to normal within days.
Apple cider vinegar can treat fungal infections in cats. Unfortunately, consuming this natural remedy directly won’t prevent ringworm. To treat skin fungus, ACV must be diluted and applied to the area topically.
Consuming ACV can be beneficial against interior yeast infections, though. Most notably, Apple cider vinegar can kill candida.
The International Journal of Dentistry and Oral Health stated that ACV can be a potent antifungal treatment. A study found that the candida count dropped by 94% with the use of apple cider vinegar.
A candida infection often attack’s the cavities in a cat’s teeth. If sugar from food becomes trapped in a cat’s mouth, candida feeds on this. This can lead to stomatitis, which is an inflammation of the mouth and gums.
Candia can be dangerous to cats. While the problem starts in the mouth, it can spread. Candida has been linked to feline diabetes, in addition to serious gum disease. Unfortunately, the fungi can develop an immunity to conventional medication.
As always, there is a caveat to this claim. Research has not been conducted on cats specifically. It is impossible to say if a cat-safe dosage will work.
Apple cider vinegar has natural antibacterial properties, according to The Journal of Food Science.
As a result, some cat owners believe that ACV can be used for the treatment of bacterial respiratory infections. These include:
- Feline herpesvirus (FHV)
- Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
- Bordetella bronchiseptica (B. bronchiseptica)
- Chlamydophila felis (C. felis)
Be aware that ACV will not discriminate against the bacteria it destroys. It may kill off ‘good’ bacteria that are critical for your cat’s gut health.
A healthy cat will recover from a respiratory infection naturally, with sufficient time and rest. There is no way of knowing if ACV worked.
Apple cider vinegar is often used as a natural remedy for parasites. This is true, to an extent. Fleas and ticks loathe the smell and taste of ACV.
There is a problem with this theory, though. Parasites will not know your cat has drunk apple cider vinegar without biting and tasting the product. This means that the damage is done. If your cat is sensitive to flea bites, it will still experience a dermatological reaction.
Apple cider vinegar does not kill fleas or ticks. The parasite will just hop off your cat and continue to multiply. As fleas lay up to 50 eggs a day, your home will soon be infested. The parasites will seek alternative sustenance.
Do not rely on apple cider vinegar to prevent or manage external pests and parasites. Use a spot-on treatment or affix a flea collar. This is the only way to be sure of no infestation.
Apple cider vinegar is effective for internal, intestinal parasites. The acid kills tapeworms, roundworms, and threadworms. The dead parasites will then be shed through feces.
Apple cider vinegar may get rid of worms, but only after they are established. A worm prevention treatment will be faster and more impactful. This will spare your cat potential discomfort and side effects.
How to Get a Cat to Drink ACV
A cat can drink apple cider vinegar in small quantities, but this doesn’t mean that it will. It has a strong taste and smell. Most cats will refuse to drink water from their bowl that contains ACV.
If you want your cat to drink apple cider vinegar, pick up a cold-pressed, organic brand. To get your cat to drink it, attempt the following:
- Mix two teaspoons of ACV with one cup of water
- Place this in a bowl or dish, but NOT your cat’s water bowl
- Dip your cat’s paws into the vinegar-water mix
- Wait for your cat to lick its paws clean
Rather than drinking, you may have more success convincing a cat to ‘eat’ apple cider vinegar. When serving your cat’s dinner:
- Prepare your cat’s favorite wet food
- Drizzle a quarter of a teaspoon of undiluted ACV over the food
- Apply chicken broth or tuna juice to mask the scent
- Serve as normal
Again, it is advisable not to use your cat’s standard food bowl. Cats can be fussy about food. If the bowl smells of ACV, it may deter the cat from eating.
ACV does not appeal to a cat. It is safe to drink in small doses for healthy, adult cats, but the benefits are comparatively limited. If you have concerns about your cat’s health, apple cider vinegar is best avoided.