- 3 Posts. Joined 1/2010
- Location: Good ol' Oregon
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Goat's Milk for Cats?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
- 13,317 Posts. Joined 12/2004
- Location: The Land of Cheese
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I'm not going to be able to get it again till March sometime...until all the goats have their babies (are they called kids?) and they are weaned.
I adopted two 15 year old cats who had been given up to the pound when their elderly human mother died, and her husband no longer wanted them. They were in terrible condition, with no muscle tone and dull, lifeless coats-very. They lacked energy, had liver and kidney issues, and were slated to be put to sleep. I started feeding them a raw diet, with bones, liver and heart ground into the meat (I use a brand called SmallBatch). I mixed in raw goat's milk, raw goat's milk keifer, a variety of organic herbs that are good for kidney and liver issues, such as ground milk thistle, dandelion root and leaf, corn silk, hawthorn berry, schisandra, and hydrangea root, added in Udo's Choice Pet Essentials for Cats, and GNC Superfood Complex for Cats. The first year, the liver issues cleared up, and the cat with the worst kidney issues went from having a BUN of 65 to one of 43 (normal is 14 - 36 MG/DL), while her creatinine level went from 2.6 down to 2.5 (normal is .6 - 2.4 MG/DL ). These cats are now 17, have no sign of liver issues, and are now on the border of high normal with the kidneys, with the worst case now down to a 37 BUN and a 2.4 creatinine. They have gained muscle mass, and now sport thick coats that feel like silk velvet. ) So at least in these cats, daily raw goat's milk has been a plus. I really do not think either would have lasted a year after I adopted them had I not put them on a raw food diet.
I had another cat, Baby, whom I had from the time she was 5 weeks old. I did not know about raw food diets, goat's milk, etc for the first 12 years of her life. Then she developed severe kidney issues, and that was the start of my oddessey into feeding raw, and supplementing cats with herbs. We healed her kidneys, which is why I knew what to do for the new kitties, but ultimately lost baby to a fast moving cancer with a strong hereditary genetic component. They tried to operate, but it had spread from her spleen to her liver. The veterinarian who did the operation told me that other than the cancer, Baby had the internal organs of a cat of 7, rather than a cat of 17. So, although I could not save her from the cancer, I feel that she still was a testimony to what a raw food diet, goat's milk, and herbs can do for cats.
Hope this helps. Good luck to you.
- 2 Posts. Joined 5/2015
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That sounds great, but what type of herbs did you use, etc. I'm not up on herbs much for animals...we have a feral cat who just had one kitten, where do
I begin feeding them this type of healthy diet? We also have 3 cats inside who get sick once in a while, would like to begin feeding them better food
also to keep them healthy. Help.
Hi, Of course the herbs you use depend upon what you are trying to treat. If they drink excessively, and eat excessively, these may be signs of diabetes or hyperthyrodism, while depression, loss of apetite and excessive drinking can be signs of kidney disease. Of course, it is best if the budget will allow to have a vet confirm what is going on. Certainly, I am not expert, just someone who has done some research. However, I am happy to share what I have learned with that caveat in mind.
Since I do not know what may be the issue, I will just give a few of the herbs I use for different health concerns. I buy most of my herbs in bulk powder form from Amazon, in 1 1lb quantities if available, since I have multiple cats. Amazon does have smaller amounts. And remember, if you belong to Amazon Prime, which gives you free shipping on many products all year long, to buy through Smile Amazon. That way they will donate a portion of all of your purchases to the charity of your choosing.
Also, remember that keeping the diet raw, and grain free is tremendously important, and in and of itself will bring multiple beneficial results. I just took another one of my cats to the vet. Goalie is 15, and the vet. While we waited to see the vet, the vet assistants made a great fuss over him, and asked his age. I asked them how old they thought he was, and the guesses ranged from 5 years old to 7 years old. You could have knocked them over with a feather when I told them how old he really is. The vet was also impressed, and told me that I must "be doing something right" and to "keep doing whatever it is you are doing", which is about as good a compliment as it gets from a vet not trained in the use of herbs or wholistic approaches. I can't afford wholistic vet fees (the last one I called quoted $350 just for a consult, not including any tests, medications, or treatments), and at least my vet tries to be open-minded about these things.
If I was only limited to four herbs for overall health, I would give my cats dandelion, milk thistle, hawthorn berry and schizandra berry. And of course, I would always add coconut oil to every meal. It is so good for cats, and great for humans too. If you have a Costco handy, it is even reasonably priced.
But fortunately, I am not limited, and so give my cats quite a few herbs, depending upon what is going on with them. For example, I have one male who has a tendency towards cystitis, so he receives regular doses of hydrangea root, while the rest don't and so do not need that particular herb. And when I was combating kidney issues, I gave more kidney herbs, but now have backed down the number that I give them.
Other herbs I give routinely, particularly those that help to detox the liver, strengthen the heart, reduce stress, and strengthen the entire immune system. They are older cats, and so special attention needs to be given in this area. I have given you a list below which you can use to determine which herbs your fur children need.
Buying them in bulk is an initial outlay, but you can save a lot of money in the long run. My cats don't object to the flavor of the herbs. I mix 1 tablespoon of coconut old and 1/4 of a tsp of each herb except catnip (make sure to give 1/4 of dandelion root, and 1/4 of dandelion leaf) in enough food to create 4 raw meat meals, so it is not a lot. But then I also give them GNC's Ultra Mega Superfood for Cats, and Flora's Udo's Choice, Pet Essentials For Cats, both of which have some herbs and greens in them. The Udo's Choice has the added benefit of digestive enzymes, which are really important for older animals, and humans, for that matter. We just tend to slow down the production of digestive enzymes as we age and this has devastating consequences on our ability to digest and utilize food properly. You can your older cats the best food on the planet, but if they cannot break it down into its nutritive components, it will not do them much good.
So, in some cases, I am just increasing the dosage they receive, and in others, I am adding small amounts of herbs that those products do not contain. I started by giving them those two products, and then gradually added the herbs, starting at a 1/8 tsp per 4 meal dosage (counting on giving each cat 2 to 3 meals a day), and then increasing it as they became accustomed to the flavors. I really did not see any significant resistance. They seemed to like the flavors, and eat well. Make sure to sprinkle each dish of food with a generous helping of catnip. And rub it between your fingers to release the fragrant oils. I do this so that the first bites my cats eat are well-laced with catnip, since they are old, and have a tendency to vomit without the catnip.
If your cats are finicky, I would suggest first introducing them to Udo's Choice, backing the normal dosage down if necessary to accustom them to it, then adding in the GNC superfoods, with the same approach, and then adding each herb individually, and gaging how they adapt to it. This strategy could take a month or so, but it avoids any fasting, which is really bad for older cats, since the products of excessive fat digestion can be quite damaging to their systems.
Note: There are many other wonderful herbs out there, but too many herbs will turn even good eaters off, and may be too much for the systems of older felines. I suggest choosing from among the list below, and picking 5 to start with, then adding them as you go. Even with the initial five, you may have to add them individually for picky eaters. My cats tolerated 5 added pretty much overnight, but they are not terribly picky, and had already been accustomed to Udo's Choice and GNC's Superfoods for Cats, which already have smaller amounts of many of these herbs in them. So that provided a good introduction to the taste of the herbs.
For the mother and kittens, I would probably only start with the Goat's milk (Sometimes Goat Keifer is easier to find, although some cats like the sour keifer taste, while others must become accustomed to it), Udo's Choice and coconut oil, then add the GNC Superfoods. If Mom looks like life has been especially hard on her, you might then add Dandelion and Milk Thistle Seed and go from there as she ages.
OVERALL HEALTH BOOSTERS:
Coconut Oil: In cats and humans, this is a winner. It is especially good for cats, as it helps regulate thyroid function, fights immune diseases, is anti-viral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal (giardia); helps an animal to destroy lipid coated viruses and various pathogenic bacteria. Coconut oil is a digestive aid, especially important for inflammatory bowel disorders. As an antioxidant, it is 50 times more potent than Vitamin E, 15 times more potent than carrots, and 300 times more potent than tomatoes.
Schizandra berry: Widely used as an adaptogen, this herb that strengthens and supports the body’s ability to handle stress, nourish the lungs and kidneys, and help to boost energy
Dandelion root and leaves: I love dandelion. You can chop fresh leaves or root up and add it to their food, or buy powdered forms of it. Dandelion helps to detox the liver, and its natural diuretic properties helps with water retention (edema) by promoting the excretion of salts and water from the kidney, without depleting the body of precious minerals such as potassium, a danger inherent in prescription diuretic medications. It helps with the regulation of blood glucose, eases nausea, combats urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, liver and gallbladder complaints, and helps to stimulate appetite. It can also be used for pets with impaired kidney function. The root of the dandelion makes mannitol, which is beneficial in the treatment of heart conditions such as high blood pressure as well as promoting healthy circulation. Dandelion root also contains high levels of sodium that help balance electrolytes in the blood, uric acid levels and cholesterol levels.
Licorice Root: Cats love it, and it has multiple health benefits. It is a great antacid for humans and felines, provides a natural mild cortisone to help itching from allergies, and soothes mucus membranes. It also has antinflammatory properties and can help with arthritis.
Catnip: It soothes the stomach, helps to prevent vomiting in cats that have a tendency in that direction,
It helps with stress, and the tea can be used to sooth itchy skin. My senior cats both had real problems with vomiting their food before I started liberally lacing it with catnip. Now, they never vomit unless I screw up on portion control with one, who has areal tendency towards gluttony and a stomach that just ill not tolerate overstuffing.
URINARY TRACT AND KIDNEY BOOSTERS
Marshmallow Root - I prefer this to slippery elm, which works the same way, since the over-collection of slippery elm is now threatening the species -(one of the best herbs you can give for these issues- it coats and soothes irritated mucus membranes, helps to prevent vomiting, helps with inflammation, kidney stones) Nutrients include calcium, iodine, iron, pantothenic acid, sodium, and vitamins A and B-complex. It can also help with respiratory issues, and makes a great poultice for wounds and bug bites, especially good for wounds if combined with cayenne.
Cranberry: acidifies urine, making urinary tract much less suscetible to infection. The have been some medical studies that show that cranberry has the ability to block certain types of bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall and multiplying. Great for dogs, cats and humans. I give this to my mom, and also take it myself for bladder infections. If stones are involved, however, you need to find out what kind they are. Cranberry helps with struvite stones, but should be avoided with oxalate crystals/stones.
Corn Silk, preferably Wild Crafted (also great for skin issues) -soothes mucus membranes and helps to relieve inflammation
Hydrangea root: Helps to dissolve kidney stones, and helps to prevents stone formation especially where associated with cystitis. It also helps with prostate problems
Hawthorne Berry: In combination with dandelion root, this herb is a wonderful heart tonic. Hawthorn causes more blood flow to reach the muscles of the heart. It can also help to reduce the incidence of angina, which is a spasm of the blood vessels and improve the smooth muscle walls of the rest of the circulatory system, improve blood pressure, improving circulation and treating symptoms of mild heart failure and reduces atherosclerosis. Hawthorn works by widening blood vessels, especially heart blood vessels, which results in increased heart blood flow. However, it is also good for the kidneys, in part due to its ability to increase circulation in that organ, and in part due to its very mildlly diuretic action in the body, which can also be a boon in congestive heart failure.
Milk Thistle: Detoxifies the liver, protects it from environmental toxins by inhibiting the factors responsible for liver damage, and also stimulates production of new liver cells to replace old damaged ones. Milk Thistle contains silymarin, a strong anti-oxidant ingredient, and so helps cells fight against free radicals. It also helps with digestive disorders, bile issues, and can prevent gallstones and inflammatory bowel disease. This is a great herb for older cats, to keep their livers detoxified, and help to regenerate the damage that naturally occurs over time. But don't get carried away and think that if a little is good, more must be better. An overdose of milk thistle can upset the stomach, cause diarrhea and gas. If you see these symptoms, discontinue use for a few days, and then try again at a lower level.
- 15 Posts. Joined 1/2016
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My cat Speedy has always been quite thin and our vet would like her to put on a little weight. The boutique pet store suggested goat's milk so I gave it a go. Speedy would have nothing to do with it, she took a few sniffs and walked away. I did try several times but it was a no-go, she refused to even consider drinking it.
When I related this story to my vet, she chuckled and said that no mammal that is past weaning needs to drink milk. I understand it can be helpful for certain cats as a supplement, but it doesn't need to be a regular part of the diet and don't be surprised if some cats refuse it.
We took in a very sick stray 5 years ago and she has struggled with a variety of health issues -- kidney to start and then last summer she lost so much weight so quickly we thought we were going to lose her. Hyperthyroid issues were what the vet told us it was. Raw Goat milk is the only thing she would take in. It's how she gained weight back. I started out just giving it to her in small amounts and then added bits of raw cat food from a local store. After she had it a few months, she gained 2 pounds back that she had lost and was not interested in the goat milk again until we had issues again this summer.
I will try the hydrangea herb for her kidney stone - had not heard about that before. I am supplementing her mostly raw food diet now now with a cat brand probiotic. I water most of her food down with Aloe Very juice (inner filet) and that helps her kidneys as well.
Thank you for the very informative post! I like the idea of the catnip -- and appreciate the reminder about milk thistle.
The Aloe Vera Juice (inner filet) is supposed to help overall. I use that instead of water to make her food more of a slurry. She is completely off all kibble which was a thing for her at first -- before I threw out the last of it, offered her a few to see if it would entice her to eat what I have put out for her. She ate everything BUT the kibble.
The hydrangea root is said to help dissolve stones -- I use that sparingly as one of her kidneys was almost 'full' of them per the x ray from last year, I didn't want her to have trouble passing any of it. I use half a capsule mixed in with her food a few times a month. I also use a cat probiotic (which more than passes the milk test tho I keep in our counter) and a powdered medicinal mushroom mix that contains Reishi which is supposed to be good for kidney health. I am not sure which one is working or if it is the combo that is -- took Emmie to the Vet at the beginning of this month and her kidneys levels were high but within a normal range! I will take that and keep on with what we are doing.
She is still struggling with the hyperthyroid issue and weight. Her levels were closer to normal than previously but still too high and she lost some weight. So, have her back on the goats milk and trying some other herbal stuff for that before we take her back to the vet next month.
- 4,764 Posts. Joined 8/2014
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Please consult a vet before using any sort of herbs to treat your cat's medical issues. What works for one cat may not work the same for another cat. The vet should always be informed of anything you want to change about the way your cat is currently being treated. A holistic vet would be more familiar with herb-type treatments than a "regular" vet.
Hi - good point. My vet is aware of what I am doing with my cat. She is in fact interested that what I am doing is working given Emmie's kidney levels are now in the High Normal range rather than where they were at our last visit earlier this year. She is not a holistic vet but her partner at the clinic is. The regular vet medicine treatment offered to us for our cat's kidney issue was to have it removed. Or, just let her be and understand that she only has one kidney fully functioning. Given those 2 options -- I chose to seek out alternative options.