Cats are generally playful in nature and tend to get themselves into trouble every now and then. The younger they are, the double the trouble.
This can result in your cat getting some cuts and nicks on its body or even getting dirty from exploring dusty nooks and crannies.
One thing which I’ve heard some cat owners recommend using witch hazel to clean and sanitize your cat.
But how is witch hazel safe for cats?
It would be best to not use witch hazel on your cat unless supervised by the vet. It contains astringents that can cause skin irritation to your cat. It can also be dangerous for your cat to ingest witch hazel when grooming itself.
Let’s have a better understanding of what witch hazel is and why it isn’t the best cleaning solution to use on your cat.
What Is Witch Hazel?
Witch hazel is actually a plant. The witch hazel water that is being sold comes from distilling the leaves, bark and twigs of the witch hazel plant.
Witch hazel water is known to be good as a topical treatment for cuts, inflammations and itching.
It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties which help with the above issues.
Can I apply Witch Hazel Water On My Cat’s Skin?
If you are looking to clean a small wound or skin issue on your cat, using witch hazel water might not be the best option.
Not all witch hazel sold are made equal.
Some contain alcohol in the mixture which can further irritate your cat’s skin.
Furthermore, getting alcohol into your cat’s bloodstream via the wound isn’t a good idea.
Putting anything that contains alcohol on your cat’s injury can cause more pain and discomfort to your poor cat.
Some witch hazel solutions are alcohol-free but contain astringents which is a milder form of alcohol derived from plant-based matters.
It might seem safer for your cat’s sensitive skin but I would still check with the vet before applying witch hazel.
Even if you are using witch hazel to clean away dirt or oil stains on your cat’s fur, your cat can still ingest it when it starts to groom itself.
A cat’s biological system is very finely tuned and there’s no telling how it can react to such a chemical compound in its body.
Is The Witch Hazel Toxic To Cats?
The witch hazel is a popular plant to grow indoors and outdoors due to its medicinal properties.
If you have a few of these at home, make sure to keep them away from your cat.
The witch hazel’s leaves, stem and flowers are known to be toxic to cats and pets.
Witch hazel toxicity can cause symptoms like vomiting and constipation if ingested.
Such plants are also very bitter in taste.
You might find your cat foaming at the mouth after consumption.
To keep toxic plants away from your cat, you can hang them on the ceiling or place them in an enclosure outdoors.
Can I Use Witch Hazel Water For My Cat’s Acne?
Many pet parents have dealt with cat ance on their cat’s chin before. Acne in cats isn’t due to overactive hormones like in humans.
It is normally caused by allergies, flea infestations, poor grooming and food stuck under your cat’s chin.
Cat acne happens when there is an overproduction of keratin which causes the hair follicles to get blocked and inflamed.
Cat ance makes your cat’s mouth and chin area look dirty and swollen.
Even though some cat owners advocate witch hazel for chin acne, I would advise you to use it for this purpose.
According to the San Fransisco SPCA, witch hazel is said to be poisonous to cats.
And by applying something poisonous on such a sensitive area, it is too big a risk to take.
Witch hazel toxicity might not be fatal to cats but it can definitely give them a few bad side effects.
A safer solution to clean this area is a saline solution which is just mixing some salt with warm water.
Salt has some anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help with chin acne.
Some pet shops also sell cat acne wipes which are more gentle on your cat’s skin and non-toxic to cats.
Some pet parents use organic apple cider vinegar to treat their cat’s chin acne.
Make sure you dilute the vinegar with a few parts of water before using it on your cat as it is very acidic.
If your cat has a very bad chin acne condition, you will need to bring it to the vet for a proper cleaning session.
You don’t want to be self-medicating your cat at home when the acne has turned raw and septic.
How To Prevent Chin Acne In My Cat?
There are some ways that can be used to effectively prevent or control chin acne from happening or reoccurring in your cat.
Don’t Use Plastic Bowls
If you are currently using plastic bowls for your cat’s food and water, change them out to stainless steel bowls.
Many cats are allergic to plastic and there is a higher risk of contamination when cats eat or drink out of plastic bowls.
Wash The Stainless Steel Bowls Thoroughly
Make sure to wash your cat’s food bowl after each meal and change out the water once or twice a day.
Thoroughly wash your cat’s food bowl to make sure there are no food bits left.
It is also good practice to sterilize all your cat’s bowls with vinegar or hot water.
Wipe Your Cat’s Mouth
My cat is a real messy eater.
It looks like he shoved his whole head into a bowl of cat food after each meal. If I don’t wipe his mouth area clean each time, he will have food stuck to the skin and fur.
By cleaning your cat’s mouth with a wet cloth each meal, you can help to keep that area clean and free of cat acne.
Is Witch Hazel Safe For Cat’s Eyes?
Witch hazel is definitely not safe to be used anywhere on your cat, especially on its eyes.
Witch hazel water is considered an astringent that can cause your cat a lot of pain when rubbed on its eyes.
Do not use anything on your cat’s eyes or face unless it is prescribed by your vet.
Your cat’s eyes are very sensitive and should be treated as such.
If some witch hazel water has gotten into your cat’s eyes, take a wet cloth and clean around the eye area and take it to the vet right away.
Witch Hazel For Cat Dermatitis
If your cat has dry or itchy skin, be sure to consult the vet before using witch hazel water on your cat. It isn’t the safest option for cats and can cause health problems when ingested.
Your vet will be in a better position to advise on a more cat-friendly topical solution for cat dermatitis.
There are a few home remedies that you can use to help with cat dermatitis symptoms.
The most important change is to give your cat a better diet. Stop feeding your cat dry food or kibbles as such diets are very high in carbohydrates.
Dry food also lacks moisture which is bad for cats.
Feed your cat wet food or a raw meat diet that is high in protein and contains lots of moisture.
They say you are what you eat.
Change your cat’s diet to improve its skin condition.
Feed More Omega-3
For cats that have skin or fur issues, a higher amount of omega-3 in their diets can help. Omega 3 fatty acids help to promote healthier skin and fur in cats.
There are specific omega-3 supplements for cats that you can buy for your feline friend.
Make sure to stick to the recommended dosages as too much of it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Even though fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, never feed your cat raw fish as it can cause health issues.
Cook fish that is deboned is ok as an occasional treat.
Can You Clean A Cat’s Ear With Witch Hazel?
Not all ear cleaners are made equal. Using witch hazel to clean your cat’s ear can dry it out making it more painful and inflamed.
To clean your cat’s ear, make sure to use a solution that is made for this specific function.
Your cat’s ears are very sensitive and you don’t want to damage them by using the wrong type of cleaning solution.
If your cat is having a yeast or ear mite infestation, you need to bring it to the vet to have the ears properly cleaned.
As beneficial as witch hazel is for humans, it might not work the same way for cats. Be wary of websites that claim witch hazel is safe to be used for cats.
Before doing so, make sure to bring or make a call to the vet to check if it is ok to do so.
You don’t want to apply something to your cat only to make its condition worse.
When it doubt, don’t.