In very small doses, apple cider vinegar (ACV) that has been diluted is safe for healthy adult cats to drink. In an interview on PetMD, Dr. Cailin Heinze (an assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine) said that 1-2 teaspoons of diluted apple cider vinegar would not adversely affect a healthy cat.
However, if your cat is not in excellent health, ACV should never be consumed orally. Although ACV is often talked about on forums as a cure-all for a broad spectrum of internal and external health issues, most of the evidence is purely anecdotal. We are unable to find many health benefits that are derived from oral consumption, but it may provide a way to treat certain skin conditions in cats.
In this guide, we will look at the benefits of ACV for cats, how to administer it and then assess its effectiveness. We will then look at the potential risks and side effects.
What are the Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Cats?
Because clinical testing has never been performed, the benefits of ACV are based on the accounts of pet owners.
Notions that ACV can increase your cat’s potassium intake and supply them with muscle-building amino acids is incorrect. ACV contains only traces of these nutrients, thus providing no significant value to your pet.
It is estimated that your cat would have to consume ten bottles of ACV to see a positive health benefit from potassium. It is clear that this level of consumption would likely lead to gastric ulcers, interior mouth damage and internal health problems.
How to Give Cats Apple Cider Vinegar
The most effective way to administer ACV (orally) to your cat is by adding it to their wet food or mixing it with water. It should never be consumed undiluted because it can cause significant pain in your cat’s esophagus.
Because cats are naturally picky about their foods, it can be tough to introduce a new substance that looks or tastes like medicine. ACV has a strong taste and smell, hence the need for dilution.
- Is your cat intolerant of acidic liquids? If so, you will need to lower the dosage considerably and to dilute it with water.
What is the Recommended Dosage?
In most cases, the correct dosage of ACV is 1-2 teaspoons per day. This varies based on the age and health of your cat. And do not forget that it needs to be diluted.
Do Cats Like the Taste of Apple Cider Vinegar?
This is entirely subjective. While logic says your cat would not be fond of the smell or taste, it is impossible to make this claim definitively because every cat is different. You should never force your cat to consume ACV.
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe for Your Cat to Drink?
Because ACV is highly acidic, it can burn the mucous membranes within your feline’s digestive tract. This can lead to ulcers, upset stomach, and act as a laxative. Although the potency of ACV is diminished when mixed with water, the issues of concern still apply.
1) Respiratory Infections
The use of ACV to manage the symptoms of COPD has become commonplace. Complete with antioxidants, ACV protects cells from free radicals thus breathing can be made easier.
Using ACV to relieve this concern is one of the vinegar’s most “hyped up” claims, but there is no proof that it works.
2) Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Organic ACV may be able to treat urinary tract infections or UTI.
Working to reduce or eliminate the microorganisms that are responsible for the infection, ACV creates an alkaline environment making it difficult for microorganisms to survive and flourish.
Administering apple cider vinegar for cats with UTI can be beneficial when the infection is minor.
3) Bladder Stones
Because ACV creates an acidic environment inside the digestive tract, it can potentially break up crystals that form in the bladder and terminate bacteria.
Mixing ACV in your cat’s food or water can be helpful if your cat has been diagnosed with bladder stones. Although your vet will likely administer specific medication(s) to resolve the issue, ACV can be used as a home remedy if it has been approved by your vet.
- Using ACV to treat bladder stones must be done with extreme care. The same acidity that can resolve bladder stones can also cause stomach irritation. Follow dosage guidelines carefully and take your cat for a follow-up examination with your vet.
How is Apple Cider Vinegar Applied Externally?
Diluted ACV is unlikely to be harmful if used in moderation, but it can still cause your cat’s skin to become irritated if applied too liberally.
1) Flea Treatment
The use of apple cider vinegar for removing cat fleas shows promise. Because vinegar (of all types) is a natural repellant of fleas, you can apply it with more confidence.
This is how to apply it:
- Dilute ACV in water and pour the mixture in a clean spray bottle.
- Spray your cat and use a cloth or towel to rub the mixture into your cat’s fur.
Your cat will naturally lick and groom its fur and likely consume traces of ACV. This is safe. The amount that is consumed will be small and will not pose a health issue.
2) Ear Infections
ACV can be used to treat minor ear infections. By mixing rubbing alcohol with ACV, you can create a solution that is capable of eliminating external ear troubles.
- With a cotton ball, apply this solution to your cat’s ear twice per day. Always avoid areas deep within the ear canal and be gentle with your movements. Rubbing too hard can cause irritation and skin damage. This can make the existing infection worse.
3) Ringworm and Itchy Skin
ACV can be used to treat broken skin, dry skin, ringworm, and other dermatological conditions. Similar to an ear infection treatment, mix diluted ACV with water and apply it to a small cloth.
4) Eye Infections
Eye infections are common among cats. Tear duct defects and conjunctivitis (pink eye) exposure can occur.
With symptoms including squinting, excessive blinking, and clear and colored discharge, ACV can be beneficial. This is the case for pink eye where swelling, redness, and crusty eyes and eyelids are prominent.
The best way to use ACV to treat your cat’s eyes is by applying a small amount to your cat’s scruff. By adding vinegar to the back of your cat’s neck (fatty loose skin), ACV can act as a detoxifying agent.
- Using diluted or undiluted ACV, place one tablespoon of vinegar mixed with two tablespoons of water and add it to your cat’s scruff. Allow the mixture to settle on your cat’s skin and absorb naturally.
- You may also wish to use this remedy in addition to adding a marginal amount of ACV to your cat’s drinking water if they have no other existing ailments. ACV consumption can potentially guard against cat allergies which are a known cause of eye infections.
Can a Cat Be Bathed in Apple Cider Vinegar?
Cats can be gently washed with ACV, but care must be taken. Never expose the nose or eyes.
While you should never dunk your cat in ACV or pour a bottle over your cat, you can rub your cat with a soft cloth across the body. This is similar to applying a flea treatment.
What Are the Side Effects of ACV for Cats?
The oral consumption of ACV can have side effects. This is notably true if your cat has a preexisting internal ailment or the correct dosage is not adhered to strictly.
Causing discomfort within the mouth and esophagus, ACV can cause extensive internal issues.
1) Stomach Problems
Can apple cider vinegar hurt cats? Using it to treat existing stomach problems can only make the situation worse. Do not attempt to administer ACV to a cat with digestive issues, ulcers, vomiting, etc.
The acidity of AVC will not provide relief but rather the opposite. Cats, like people, require soothing remedies to relieve minor stomach ailments.
2) Kidney Disease
Apple cider vinegar for cats with kidney disease should always be avoided. Quite possibly the sternest of all warnings, ACV can be harmful or even fatal in this scenario.
ACV can act as a laxative and lead to diarrhea. While this could be construed as a positive if your cat is constipated, this is not the case.
For kittens and senior cats, diarrhea caused by ACV can cause severe dehydration. Lacking the proper immune health to cope with the side effects, it can lead to lethargy and disorientation.
Administering this substance to your cat (orally) to treat an ailment is unwise because you may now know what is wrong with your cat and how it will react to ACV.