Can I Give My Cat Ginger?In the days before prescription medication, we came up with some pretty strange ways to treat diseases, but one of the more reasonable (and lasting) home remedies for most ailments was food. For thousands of years, people have been adding foods to their diets for their health benefits, and many of the most widely used medicinal food groups is spices. Ginger in particular has earned quite a reputation—it has been a staple in health food stores for years, and many people have grandparents who swear by using ginger tea to soothe anxiety or stomach problems. As we have dedicated more time and energy to studying the health benefits of various foods, spices have become even more popular.
We have heard plenty about how helpful ginger can be for us and our families, but most of us are confused as to whether or not these benefits transfer over to our furriest family members: our cats. Can Fluffy benefit from a taste of this popular spice? Can cats have ginger?
While your cat does not need ginger from a nutritional point of view, they can eat it in small amounts. Ginger is one of the spices that does not appear to be at all toxic to cats or dogs, so you need not have a panic attack if your feline friend eats some ginger snap cookie crumbs off the kitchen floor. But, like all medicinal foods, ginger is rather strong and should be fed to cats in small, measured quantities. Rather than absentmindedly tossing your cat a piece of ginger root (which they probably would not eat anyway), add tiny amounts of ground ginger to their usual food in order to give them the benefits without causing stomach problems.
If ginger is a medicinal food, what ailments does it treat? Well, like most of our favorite so-called superfoods, this spice can have both short and long-term health benefits.
In the short term, ginger can be used to help relieve anxiety during stressful situations. If your cat experiences nervousness or aggression during car trips, thunderstorms, or other turbulent times, it is possible that giving them a dose of ginger root may soothe their mild anxiety—without the potential health effects of more powerful, prescription-strength tranquilizers. That said, cats who are dealing with severe anxiety will most likely need professional medical care. Ginger root will not be enough to treat severe cases of anxiety in humans or in cats.
If you are looking to use ginger as a way to treat your cat’s anxiety, it may be wise to consult a veterinarian before administering this spice. Though ginger should not poison your cat, it can be very easy to give them too much and trigger severe digestive discomfort—which definitely will not help your cat’s anxiety problems! Most cat parents seem to find they experience the most success with using a few drops of ginger root extract or a small serving of room temperature ginger tea.
In small amounts, this spice may help with stomach problems, too. Cats suffering from indigestion, nausea, bloating, or carsickness may benefit from a medicinal dose of ginger. Give them ginger about half an hour before you leave for a car trip to minimize car sickness.
Things to ConsiderHowever, if your cat appears to have chronic digestive problems and you are unable to pinpoint the cause, refrain from giving them any spices and have a veterinarian check things out. Medicinal foods can be helpful in treating symptoms, but they will do nothing to address any serious medical conditions your cat may have. If your cat has never had ginger before, it may be wise to give them an experimental dose before attempting to use it to cure any maladies. Cats with particularly sensitive stomachs may not be able to tolerate spices.
There are some conditions that may indicate that your cat should not eat ginger in ant quantities. Chronic digestive problems, including ulcers and inflammatory bowel disease, may be exacerbated by powerful foods like ginger. Because ginger is also a blood thinner, it should not be given to cats who have recently had surgery, who are about to have surgery, or who will be delivering kittens any time soon. Ginger’s blood thinning properties may prevent your cat’s blood from clotting, which can lead to severe bleeding.
If your cat is taking any prescription medications, ask your veterinarian before adding any new foods to their diet. Also know that allergies are always a risk—if your cat shows symptoms of a food allergy after consuming ginger, do not continue feeding it to them!
In conclusion, ginger is a safe medicinal food or dietary supplement for cats who occasionally struggle with anxiety, carsickness, or upset stomach. For best results, ask your veterinarian how much ginger root you should give your cat. As with all medicinal foods, keep an eye on your feline friend, and stop administering this spice if they have a negative reaction.