Ginger root is a popular spice harvested from Zingiber officinale, a flowering plant in the family Zingiberaceae. This perennial herbaceous plant has false stems or pseudostems with narrow leaf blades and inflorescences with yellow petals and purple edges whose shoots grow directly from rhizomes.
Besides its use in various foods and some beverages, this herb is hailed for its numerous health benefits to humans as well as some pets. For instance, many studies have shown the various benefits of ginger in dogs.
Do you know this spice has potent antimicrobial, i.e., antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral (1, 2) properties? That is not all, according to a publication on ‘Amazing and Might Ginger’ in posted in Herbal Medicine: Bimolecular aspects. 2nd Edition, it is a powerful “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent, antinausea, and anticancer agent.”
Nutritionally it has mainly water and carbohydrates with some dietary fiber, sugars, proteins, vitamins, and minerals in smaller quantities.
Perhaps what makes it unique is the various bioactive compounds it has, including phenols. It has over 14 beneficial bioactive components that include gingerol, paradol, shogaol, gingerdione, zingerone, zerumbone, terpenoids, flavonoids, and so on.
Can cats have it?
Yes. Cats can have ginger. It is not only safe but has many health benefits. However, avoid any other product flavored with it, including gingerbread as well as ginger ale, beer, biscuits, and so on, if they have other harmful ingredients.
Although ginger is safe, let them have only a small amount as directed by your veterinarian. Factors such as size, weight, age, and general health status will affect how much you give them.
Typically, cats should have 1/8 to a ¼ of a teaspoon of the powder or fresh ginger depending on their age, size, weight, and general health status. If you have capsules, keep the amount between ½-1, while 2-5 drops of the ginger extract are enough. For herbal tea, give them up to ¼ a cup.
While not harmful, ginger may cause mild gastrointestinal irritation, especially if fed on an empty stomach. In such a case, mixing it with food, water, or buying cat supplements with this aromatic spice may help minimize the possibilities of these symptoms.
Finally, being pungent and spicy with a zesty, peppery taste, your feline may refuse to eat it or drink water with ginger. If this happens, try to hide it in its food or soft treats.
Benefits of ginger to cats
There are no specific studies on the use of ginger on cats. However, VCA Animal Hospital notes that “ginger has been used for many years in pets in the treatment of vomiting and cardiovascular disorders. Dogs and cats are the species most often treated. Its use may be expanded to the treatment of bloat (GDV) in dogs.”
For instance, since it has antiemetic properties, giving your felines 1-2 drops of the ginger extract before embarking on a car journey to help manage some motion sickness symptoms like vomiting. Also, it may be of help to any other cause of nausea in cats.
Also, it can help treat bloats, improve digestion, and reduce stomachache, arthritic pain, reduce cancer risks, calm your kitty, among other benefits.
Even supplements like Dr. Bill’s Feline Digestive Support, and Animal Essentials Daily Digestion Breath & Digestion Support Dog & Cat Supplement do have ginger root as one of its ingredients.
However, before using this spice therapeutically, we highly recommend you involve your vet. Before giving you an approval to use it, he is in the best position to assess the cause of the underlying symptoms you are trying to manage.
Since ginger has a slight blood-thinning effect and slightly lowers blood pressure and blood sugar, don’t give it to felines immediately after surgery, if they are using blood pressure, or diabetic medications, including insulin. Also, don’t use them if your feline has gallstones or ulcers.
If your feline pal is under any medication, pregnant or nursing, discuss the matter with your vet first before letting them have this spice.
Finally, in case of any diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, or any other symptoms, discontinue its use and talk to your vet.