Apple Cider Vinegar for Cats – Does It Work?

Does apple cider vinegar for cats work or not? Let us have an overview then thoroughly examine the various application for any evidence that they actually work.

Overview

Made from fermented apple juice, the apple cider vinegar (ACV) has acetic acid as its main active ingredient. It also has some small amounts of nutrients including carbs, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, antioxidants, and so on.

a). Common uses

In culinary, some of its commonly used in marinades, vinaigrettes, salad dressing, and food preservation since it has antimicrobial properties.

Apple cider vinegar for cats
Apple cider vinegar for cats?

In medicine, its main active ingredient, acetic acid has antiseptic properties. Thus, it can kill pathogens including bacteria and fungus. This is why people commonly used it as a disinfectant as well as treating lice, warts, ear infections, nail fungus, and so on.

Also, it may help in dealing with dandruff, stop itchiness after bug bites and stings, clear acne (dry them), help a sore throat, reduce food odor, among other uses. [1]

Finally, in humans, ACV helps lower blood sugar level and consequently fight diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. It also lowers cholesterol, may help fight against cancer (has polyphenols), helps in weight loss, among other roles. [2], [3] Not all these roles have sufficient scientific backing.

b). Possible risks

While beneficial, being acidic, it may cause injury in soft tissues such as stomach, kidney, mouth, throat or irritate eyes and while undiluted, it can damage teeth enamel.

Is apple cider vinegar safe for cats to drink?

While topical use is ok, consuming it may be a different thing altogether. Is it safe or not for these pets? When concentrated, this product will damage their enamel, and irritate or burn their soft gastrointestinal tissues and mouth since it is very acid.

However, if diluted, a teaspoon or less may not harm your feline friend. However, PetMD warns that for cats with “kidney disease (who don’t process acid well as a result of the disease) it’s likely not a good idea, as the acidity” of  ACV making it potentially harmful.

Cats with kidney disease require foods that are alkaline in nature and adding apple cider vinegar in cat food can be detrimental or even may make them refuse to eat the food.

ACV uses and benefits in cats

Some of the common applications of ACV for cats or kittens include in managing cat eye infections, ear infections, skin problems including ringworms, UTIs, urinary blockages and cystitis, ears, skin problems, among others.

Let us evaluate each of these uses and see if there is sufficient evidence that it does help as well as talk about the recommended apple cider vinegar dosages for cats for various problems it may help deal with or manage where possible as well as any safety concerns.

1. Apple cider vinegar for cats ears

Mixing ACV with rubbing alcohol can be helpful in treating minor ear infections, notes Feline Living. Use a cotton ball in applying the mixture. Do so twice a day and avoid applying it deeper into their ear canal.

You can also dilute it with an equal amount of warm water and use the mixture to clean your feline’s ears. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture, squeeze it to get rid of any excess and use it to clean your feline’s ears. This will prevent the chances of infections as it has antiseptic properties.

2. Ringworms and skin problems

Since it has antifungal properties as seen early, the use of apple cider vinegar for cats with ringworms may yield results in mild cases. This is a safe, natural and non-toxic approach.

You need to use undiluted one and apply a small amount using a cotton ball on areas affected twice a day for a week. It will also reduce the itchiness and scaling.

Unless diluted, do not of apple cider vinegar bath for cats or sprays as it may get into their eyes and burn them. Also, dilute it with an equal amount of water if there are some sores to reduce the stinging.

Similarly, the use of ACV may also help in drying cat acne and well as aid in dealing with hot spots, mange, and minor skin cuts since it has antiseptic properties.

In case of a severe case of ringworms, talk to your vet before using this home remedy as it will be helpful in mild cases where there are one or two patches. Widespread cases need systemic and other treatments.

However, in the use of ACV for cats with ringworm, the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin notes that the method does not work together with other home treatments such as “coconut oil, tea tree oil, papaya, garlic, grapefruit seed extract, colloidal silver, betadine, and topical bleach.”

Systemic treatment with fluconazole and terbinafine work but have side effects. Also, lime sulfur, antifungal creams, shampoos, and ointment may help in minor cases.

3. Apple cider vinegar for cat fleas and mites

Besides sucking their blood, fleas may transmit various diseases. No one wants to see them on their kitties.

How is this product thought to help deal with fleas? It’s simple. Its unpleasant taste and smell provide an unfavorable environment for fleas or even mites to thrive in. In such a case, use it topically on your cat’s skin and fur.

To use this home remedy, dilute an equal part of ACV and water and apply it on your feline’s coat. The Spruce Pets recommends mixing it in the ratio of two parts to one part of water.

Most holistic treatment experts recommend the use of  ACV baths or using spray bottles to help send away any of these external parasites.

When spraying, cover or avoid their eyes as it will sting and check for any major cuts, bruises, or broken skin as it will also sting them. Alternatively, you can also use a cotton ball in applying it. Do this daily and use a flea comb after 20 minutes.

Also, spray and vacuum upholstery and carpet, wash bedding with hot water, change feeders, bowls, and so on to help manage fleas.

However, is this a sure method to control these parasites? PetMD seems not to agree by noting that this product is not strong enough to penetrate and kill any of the cat flea stages, i.e., eggs, larvae or adults.

If it sends away adult fleas but it doesn’t kill their eggs or larvae, the approach cannot control fleas in cats on its own. You need an approach that kills the fleas, their eggs, and larvae as well as kills these parasites in places where these pets go to.

3. Cat-eye infection home remedy and apple cider vinegar

Can ACV help with eye infections in cats including conjunctivitis? You may have seen sources that support diluted one for minor eye infections including watery eyes.

However, do not use ACV for the cat’s eye even if it is super dilute. It will sting, burn and irritate your kitty’s eyes. Some sources recommend using it on your feline’s back of the neck.

Having antimicrobial properties does not warrant its use in eyes, there is no clinical evidence in support of it. Talk to your vet first before trying it.

4. UTI, urinary blockage and cystitis

Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) refers to various diseases and conditions that affect a cat’s urethra and bladder leading to an increase or difficulties in urination, licking, blood in urine and so on.

Common causes of FLUTD include urinary stones, urinary tract infections (UTIs), urethral obstruction, feline cystitis among others. Can ACV help in some of these conditions?

5. Apple cider vinegar for cats with UTIs

Holistic treatment experts recommend its use in dealing with feline UTIs.  The reasoning may from the fact “acid content and concentration of their urine prevent infection”, as the American Veterinary Medical Association as well as it being antiseptic.

Vetinfo.com recommends that the ACV for cat with UTI dosage is a ¼ given twice a daily. Also adding a teaspoon or half to canned cat food or water may help reduce UTIs.

Their lacks enough evidence to support this use. Will it make the urine more acidic? What about the chances of causing struvite stones that form in lower pH?

See your vet for proper treatment as ACV is unlikely to treat this condition.

6. ACV for cat urinary blockage

Adding a teaspoon of ACV to cat food or water may help make the urine more acid and hence help unblock some form of urinary stones. This is a common recommendation by holistic experts.

Assuming that it works, this remedy may help deal with calcium oxalate stones formed under high pH, a reason why acidifying diets are used. Unfortunately, as MSD Manuals notes, cats having “highly concentrated, acidic urine that predisposes them to form stones of the urinary tract,” and to be specific the struvite stones.

In the case of urethral obstruction, let your vet decide on the best way to remove the blockage. Your vet will also recommend the needed dietary adjusts where necessary.

7. Cat cystitis and apple cider vinegar

It is a fact that acetic acid, the active n ingredient in ACV has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Many experiences posted on Earthclinic.com indicate that it helps improve feline cystitis.

Similar experiences have been shared on Houzz.com, for instance, it is noted that “ACV has been highly effective in treating my guy’s cystitis, well worth the trouble of getting 1/4 tsp into an unwilling 17-pound sumo-cat. I did this 2x a day for just a couple of days, and the relief was complete and almost immediate.”

There is nothing scientific to support its use since, in the case of idiopathic cystitis, the bladder inflammation cause is not known. Severe cases require analgesia, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics. See your vet for diagnosis and treatment.

8. Other mentioned uses

Besides the above, other claimed uses of ACV can help upper respiratory in cats as well as killing worms (for natural deworming). There is little evidence to support this use.

Also, since it has laxative effects causing diarrhea and helps in constipation. However, if the diarrhea is severe, there is a chance of dehydration notes catological.com. Stop its use in case it causes diarrhea.

Finally, Natural Wonder Pets notes that it can help in dealing with kidney disease, contrary to what we already mentioned that it may worsen kidney disease.

Conclusion

It is been a lengthy discussion on apple cider vinegar and cats. Besides the few topical uses, we recommend you see your vet before giving your cats ACV to help in any internal problem since this requires a diagnosis to confirm the cause.

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