By Cal Orey
Can you really use olive oil to clean your kitty’s ears? Ever use olive oil to remove ticks from a indoor-outdoor cat? Can you add olive oil to your cat’s shampoo? Yes! Yes you can use this ancient remedy—a powerful golden liquid—as a versatile and natural helper for both dogs and cats. Here, take a look at a few secrets, straight from my own pets' experiences and book, The Healing Powers of Olive Oil (Kensington, 2009).
Clean Tabby's Ears. Cats (and dogs) can get ear mites, small parasitic creatures that take up residence in their ears, causing itching and inflammation. Olive oil or a natural product that contains it, whether you use it to prevent a case of ear mites or to treat it, may help ease the itch and fight the infection. Secret Rx: You can dab olive oil on a cotton ball and rub gently inside and outside your pet’s ear canal.
Smooth a Kitty’s Nose. As a Lake Tahoe pets author who knows what dry air and high altitude can do to a human’s skin, I can tell you that oil may be helpful to dogs’ rough noses. My two Brittanys, Simon and Seth love the outdoors. If their paws can become red, dry and cracked from long walks on the ground, their black noses -- and cats' paws and noses --aren’t immune to the outdoor elements--especially if they prowl the hood day or night, all four seasons. (FYI: Facts show that outdoor or indoor-outdoor cats lower the odds of their longevity versus indoor companion animals.) Secret Rx: Use a small amount of extra virgin olive oil (it contains vitamin E with healing benefits) on your cat or dog’s nose and gently massage in.
Fight Pesky Ticks. I know in mountain regions, a tick or two can find their way into a cat or dog’s coat. Rather than try lighting a match to the pesky tick on your best friend, there are safer, natural remedies. Secret Rx: In my fave film City of Angels, Maggie (Meg Ryan), a surgeon, must remove a tick from her yellow Lab. Her doctor boyfriend’s first recommendation is alcohol. When Maggie claims she doesn’t have any hospital stuff in her home, he inquires about olive oil. She offers jalapeno or rosemary. It was a dab of rosemary olive that was the oil of choice and did the trick to remove the tick. I love that scene.
Cat Shampoo. Olive oil in your pet’s shampoo? You bet. The olive oil may keep the skin healthy and leave the coat shining. Also, it may help maintain good skin hydration and even prevent matting on a long-haired feline. (Yes, I have shampooed a former cat friend who was infested with fleas in Santa Cruz mountains. Do it s-l-o-w-l-y with warm trickling water and it's possible. At Tahoe--zero fleas, multiple spiders.) Secret Rx: Mix 1/2 teaspoon with your pet’s recommended amount of natural shampoo. Massage in, then rinse. But note, always consult with your vet before you turn to an alternative remedy such as olive oil or vinegar for your pets.
And once you get the paws up, as I did, you'll discover that the healing powers of olive oil and vinegar can be your pet's best friend.
P.S. DIY green home cures for God's creatures' minor ailments is good karma for you.