You hear about the uses of castor oil for cats all the time, but I bet you never thought of using it. Although it has an array of benefits, castor oil is associated with some risks. If you’re not careful using it, you may be doing your cat more damage than benefits.
Here, I’ll tell you all about castor oil, its uses, and its risks.
What Is Castor Oil?
Castor oil, otherwise called Ricinus communis, is obtained from castor beans, which grow mainly in Africa. The oil has been used as a medicine for centuries, and it’s still a staple of skincare products to this day. Despite that, castor beans are highly toxic.
The reason the oil is used in medicine is its high content of ricinoleic acid, which is known for helping with cramps and inflammation. The acid is also responsible for castor oil’s antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties.
Due to its popularity and wide uses, a lot of manufacturers now sell genetically modified castor oil. They do it to sell more amounts, but it doesn’t have the same effects as natural castor oil. So, when buying castor oil for your cat, make sure it’s natural and from a trusted source.
What Is Castor Oil Used For?
Castor oil is a common treatment in alternative medicine. It’s used by humans and for animals to alleviate the symptoms of many conditions and diseases.
If you think it’s a recent discovery, think again. Scientists found castor oil in Ancient Egyptian tombs tracing back to 4000 b.c., so the oil is probably older than most natural elements on the globe.
As for its uses, they’re near endless. For example, castor oil can be used to treat constipation, hematomas, and cysts. Plus, some women used it back in the day to stimulate their uterus during labor to relieve some of the pain.
Other uses include treating dry skin and dermatitis, along with speeding up the healing of wounds. Some people even believe it helps pets moisturize their dry noses.
Here’s a list of the rest of its uses:
- Treating eye irritation
- Relieving muscle pain
- Treating acne
- Boosting immune function
- Improving circulation
- Boosting the lymphatic function
- Treating sunburn and ringworm
- Treating some bacterial infections like staph
Uses of Castor Oil for Cats
Castor oil has a couple of common uses for cats. Here’s a roundup of its best uses and how to use it properly and safely.
Humans mostly use castor oil for skin conditions and in the making of skin products. But, as it turns out, castor oil can be pretty useful for cats’ skin issues as well.
It reportedly helps treat minor wounds by letting them heal faster. All you have to do is wet a cotton ball with the oil and dab the wound with it. It’ll relieve the pain and fasten the healing, thanks to the oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects.
Castor oil is also not toxic in case the cat decides to lick the wound after you applied it. It may cause loose stool, but that’s as far as it goes.
You can use castor oil on rough skin patches to smooth them out. Make sure not to pour the oil on the wound—just patting it and massaging the area will be enough.
Of course, if the wound is severe, it’s better to leave it to a vet to avoid irritating it further.
It’s common knowledge that eating or drinking something that causes loose stool can treat constipation. It’s a normal condition that’s easy to treat, but it causes huge discomfort. If your cat is constipated, you’ll know it from her stool. It’ll be dry, harder than usual, and very small.
On top of that, you’ll notice her going to the litter box frequently without littering, and she may lose appetite and start vomiting. Stool mucus is also one of the cue signs of constipation.
To use castor oil to relieve your cat’s constipation, grab a wet food can, a dish, and some water in a bowl. Firstly, add some drops of castor oil to the dish, then add half of the wet food can on it. Then, grab a fork or a spoon and mix them well, and offer them to the cat along with the bowl of water.
After eating, the oil will stimulate the cat’s digestive system, hopefully relieving her constipation. Olive oil works for this remedy, as well, but castor oil has better laxative properties.
All that said, bear in mind that constipation is the only condition that allows the internal use of castor oil. Other than that, cats shouldn’t consume it regularly.
Cysts and Tumors
The magic of castor oil doesn’t stop here; it acts as a topical medicine for cysts and tumors that grow on cats’ bodies. If your cat has a cyst, gently massage it with the oil once or twice daily. It’ll relieve the inflammation and help with faster healing.
You can use a castor oil pack, but it’ll be challenging to use for some pets because it requires you to apply the oil to several layers of cloth. Then, you have to place it on the affected area and cover it with plastic wrap, and apply a heating pad for an hour. Needless to say, it’s a lot of work, and no cat will stay still for that.
If your cat has a tumor, you’ll have to be a bit careful at first because the oil may cause the tumor to open and drain. Of course, this may cause a mess of blood, and it can be dangerous if your cat is anemic, so it’s better to ask the vet beforehand.
A lot of old cats are prone to cataracts in their eyes. Vets easily diagnose cataracts because they cause the eyes to have a cloudy appearance. Castor oil is used as an eyedropper to treat the condition, and it supposedly works well for cats and dogs.
You can apply it to each eye twice a day, and the eyes should clear out after one or two months. It may take longer to see results in severe cases.
Castor oil helps relieve dry, itchy skin because it acts as a natural moisturizer. That’s also why it’s used widely in human skincare products. In addition, it supposedly works well for cats and dogs. By applying the oil to the affected area and massaging lightly, it will take the flakiness down a notch.
Castor oil also treats dry noses for cats and dogs.
Is Caster Oil Safe for Cats?
I wouldn’t say castor oil is totally safe for cats, but it’s not dangerous either. If you only use it as a topical medicine for cysts or dry skin, it should be safe to use. Additionally, using it for constipation is alright, but it’s always better to ask the vet beforehand to make sure it’s okay.
That said, castor oil can cause loose stools if consumed in large amounts, so it needs to be consumed with caution.
All in all, try not to add anything to the cat’s diet without asking the vet first because all oils can be harmful if consumed in the wrong way.
Other Oils That Are Safe for Cats
If you’re into essential oils, you may want to know more about the oils that you can use for your cat. After all, who would want all those oils to go to waste?
You can even create a routine for both of you if you use essential oils too!
Cedarwood is among the few essential oils that are safe for cats. It relieves skin irritation and itchiness well, so you can use it topically on flea bites. It’s safe to spray on the cat’s bed, and you can apply it to the coat itself.
If you’re getting store-bought cedarwood oil, make sure it doesn’t contain phenol.
Rosemary is among the safe oils to use for flea bites. It’s popular for its anti-inflammatory properties and its pleasant smell, so your cat won’t get irritated when you apply it. The oil is also excellent at repelling fleas, so it’s a win-win situation.
To use it as a flea repellent, add two fresh rosemary twigs to a pot full of water. Then, boil it and pour it into your cat’s bathtub. Let your cat sit inside for around five minutes, and the fleas should stay away for a couple of days.
Lemongrass oil is safe to use around cats because it’s often available with a non-alcoholic formula. You can spray it in the air and apply it to beddings and clothes safely. However, cats shouldn’t consume it.
Oils That Aren’t Safe for Cats
There are a lot of essential oils you should keep your cat away from. Some of them are toxic, some result in allergic reactions, and some cause upset stomach and digestive system issues.
If you have any of them in your house, you should take caution to keep them away from your feline fellow. Here’s a shortlist of the essential oils that are unsafe for cats:
- Oregano oil
- Lavender oil
- Citrus oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Clove oil
- Thyme oil
- Peppermint oil
- Wintergreen oil
- Pennyroyal oil
- Tea tree oil
- Eucalyptus oil
Before introducing any treatment to your cat’s body, make sure it doesn’t contain any of these oils. Cats have strong senses of smell; they may refuse a remedy if it contains a scent they don’t like, such as lavender.
If you use essential oils, you need to look out for a couple of symptoms, such as difficulty walking, lethargy, or muscle tremors. If you notice any of these accompanied by red skin blotches, you’ll want to take your cat to the vet immediately.
Castor oil for cats is okay to use for some conditions. However, it’s always better to consult a vet beforehand to rule out any risks associated with the oil. In the end, you’ll be introducing a new remedy to the cat’s skin, so it’s better to act with caution.
If you use castor oil only for small wounds and rough skin patches, it won’t cause any side effects. I can’t say the same about internal use, though.