My cat loves coconut oil. Is it safe to give him some?
I use coconut oil to moisturize my skin everyday. If my cat happens to be around me by the time I'm using the coconut oil, he goes nuts and tries to lick it from the jar. Occasionally I give him just a tiny bit (around the size of a pea) but he eats it and wants more.
The coconut oil I use is extra virgin, organic and cold pressed.
Is it safe to give him coconut oil everyday? If yes, is it good for him somehow? And how much and how often should I give him?
Coconut oil is safe for cats, if given in moderation.
Potential side effects include:
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain
- Allergic reaction to coconut oil
Since you've been letting your cat have small amounts without any allergic reactions, I would think it is safe to assume that he is not allergic.
Coconut oil has many benefits for cats and can be used internally or topically for a wide range of reasons:
- Treat allergies, eczema, and other skin irritations
- Moisturise dry skin
- Relieve itchiness
- Improve overall coat health
- Act as a barrier against environmental allergens and chemicals
- Cleaning skin folds
- Treat allergies
- Aid in passing hairballs
- Reduce arthritis inflammation
- Improve bad breath
- Treat mild gingivitis
- Relieve constipation
- Improve stomach health
- Fight bacterial infections
- Improve brain energy
The research that I've done suggests 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon once or twice daily. Here's the catch, extra virgin coconut oil contains 92% saturated fat, or 117 calories per tablespoon, 14g fat and 12g saturated fat. This is a high-calorie supplement. If your cat has existing weight issues, or if he gains weight, it may become necessary to cut back, or reduce his caloric intake elsewhere.
As with anything, if you see any side effects, stop immediately and consult with your local vet.
You forgot one interesting effect: It acts as a natural repellant against mosquitos and ticks. While the effect is only rather short, putting a few drops of cold pressed oil over the hair of our dogs significantly reduces the number of ticks they pick up over the day.
It is a bit worrisome to give a pet a significant amount of coconut oil when major health organizations recommend that humans avoid or significantly limit their own intake. I've been searching for studies on the topic, though I can't seem to find reliable resources talking about the long-term risks. Have you found any in your own research?
I can confirm the effects. I gave my cat a spoonful of coconut oil and her brain energy went through the roof! She's now in a state of deep meditation, floating ten centimeters above the scratching post.
@Nat It's a bit off-topic for this site. There is a lot of controversy about people consuming large amounts of saturated fats. A really good resource that I've found on the subject is www.dietdoctor.com What I can say, from my own experience, is that I lost 30kg following the ketogenic diet that is recommended on that site. It would be best for you to do your own research and decide for yourself. As for the risks to animals, I've found nothing other than what I listed above.
@Nat AFAIK (my wife is a vet and I half understand a lot of things) coronary heart disease just isn't a big issue in cats and dogs. I think they may metabolize fats differently from us.
@Nat Don't forget that people quickly forget about relative amounts etc. For example, as a human, eating a tablespoon of fat or oil won't kill you, no matter which kind of (edible :P) fat. But you still shouldn't just deep-fry everything you eat day after day. A few drops of oil won't hurt your cat or dog, just keep in mind it's an addition, no replacement of actual food.