Apple cider vinegar has a long folk-medicine history, and has also gotten some medical attention. With beneficial acids, vitamins and other components, apple cider may help male cats with cystitis. However, this condition can equate to a medical emergency in male cats, so vet care is also necessary.
Feline cystitis, or Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC) affects female and male cats. The cause in not always certain, but is sometimes due to infection, bladder stones or insufficient water intake from underconsumption of wet foods. In the 1980s, many pet foods were reformulated because their high content of plant-based proteins, like grains, were altering cats' pH, leading to urinary crystals. FIC has since decreased but hasn't disappeared. Male cats suffering FIC do show urinary crystals, and this should be addressed by a vet.
Apple Cider Vinegar
A long-time folk remedy, apple cider vinegar has also gotten recent medical attention. In the 1950s, it was listed in the book "Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health," by D.C. Jarvis. Since then, it's been further popularized and can be found in many forms, including pills. Vinegar's main ingredient is acetic acid, a natural antiseptic with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Vinegars also have other beneficial acids in them, along with enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
Male Cat Concerns and Symptoms
When it comes to cystitis, male cats are at risk of suffering severe symptoms and outcomes. Female cats have larger urethras, the tubes that carry urine from the bladder. If a crystal is present in the body, the female cat has a better chance of passing it. Males, however, have much longer, narrower urethras which can quickly and completely block urine flow. Cat parents should watch for cystitis symptoms including difficult urination, straining, or urinating in inappropriate spots around the house.
The Dietary Dilemma
Apple cider vinegar is not toxic to cats, and does possess beneficial properties. So it might help, or it might not. But cystitis, especially in male cats, is a serious medical issue and should be treated with veterinary care. Also, cats are notoriously finicky carnivores and may not agree to ingesting effective levels. The suggested human dose is about two teaspoons, three times a day. This probably translates to a tiny cat dosage, but it still may be difficult to get him to take it reliably.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Earth Clinic: Natural Cystitis Remedies for Cats
- Body and Soul - Mind and Spirit: Food and Diet to Cure Cystitis and Urinary Tract Infections
- PetMD: Urinary Tract Infections In Cats
- Veterinary Partner: Feline Idiopathic Cystitis
- WebMD: Apple Cider Vinegar
- Vetrica: Cystitis In Cats
- Top 10 Home Remedies: Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.