Apple Cider Vinegar for Cats: FLUTD Home Remedy

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When you’re desperate for something that will save your cat from a potentially deadly urethral blockage, apple cider vinegar is one home remedy that might actually help. For hundreds of years, apple cider vinegar has been a popular home remedy for UTI and other feline lower urinary tract disease. It’s safe, healthy, and after reading hundreds of accounts from people who have treated their cat’s FLUTD with ACV, I’m convinced that it’s a remedy worth trying. In fact, during my cat’s two bouts with FLUTD, apple cider vinegar was our go-to treatment.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the symptoms of this disease, why people think that apple cider vinegar can help your cat, and methods for administering this treatment.

We know that if you’re looking at our site, you’re probably smart enough to not need us to tell you, but…

This information is not a replacement for veterinary care. It is difficult to accurately diagnose your cat at home. Improper use of this information may worsen your cat’s condition if you have incorrectly diagnosed.

About Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease

Feline lower urinary tract disease is a blanket term covering an array of different diseases affecting the lower urinary tract in cats. More specifically, this can refer to bacterial urinary tract infections, struvite or calcium oxalate crystals, mucus blockages, and other issues that can cause your cat difficulty in passing urine. Most cases of FLUTD are considered idiopathic – no specific cause is identified. These diseases affect an estimated 1-3% of cats each year. Urinary issues are particularly common among young, neutered male cats. Male cats have a smaller urethra and thus a physical tendency to get blocked up.

Naturally, when your cat has a urinary tract problem, it becomes difficult and often painful for them to urinate. If the case is severe, they will not be able to pass any urine at all. A blockage is a terrifying situation. I know from personal experience how frightening it is to see your cat incapable of passing urine, knowing that it’s only a matter of time that blockage will lead to death. That’s why it’s so important to find a way to prevent and treat this all-too-common health issue.

How Will I Know My Cat Has a Urinary Tract Disease?

The thing that’s scary about FLUTD is that it can show up very quickly and needs to be treated immediately. When this happens, toxins will build up in the cat’s body fast. The kidneys are no longer filtering them out of the cat’s system. If your cat isn’t treated, they can die within 24 hours. Some of the first symptoms are urinating outside of the litter box, straining to urinate, blood in the urine, excessive licking of the genitals, and crying in the litter box.



Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help?

For now, the jury is still out on this question.

Apple cider vinegar for cats has a significant track record as a home remedy for feline UTI and other cat urinary tract health issues. A quick internet search will reveal scores of people singing the praises of apple cider vinegar after it apparently cured their cat of FLUTD. There’s something going on here – it’s worth investigating further. If apple cider vinegar can treat urinary tract disease, this would be a life-saving home remedy that we should all know about. If it’s not, the claims circulating about apple cider vinegar as urinary tract panacea are nothing but dangerous.

So let’s look at this more deeply.

Based on my research, experience, and reasoning, the answer is that yes, it can help – but only for specific types of FLUTD.

It’s absolutely not a cure-all. 

The problem with apple cider vinegar is that it doesn’t treat all forms of FLUTD.

The theory is that in the case of a true bacterial infection, the acidity of ACV may be able to create an unfriendly environment for that bacteria. This is a fair theory. Many of us have used vinegar as a mild disinfectant and know that it can be used as an antibacterial cleaner. It makes sense that theoretically, ingesting mildly acidic vinegar could help to kill bacteria in the urinary tract. What’s more, raw apple cider vinegar is a prebiotic – it encourages healthy bacteria production, which could encourage good bacteria to overtake the bad bacteria that’s created the infection. And on the same note, alkaline struvite crystals can also be theoretically eliminated by feeding your cat doses of apple cider vinegar. We’re balancing out the alkalinity of the urinary tract. It’s important to recognize, though, that without taking your cat to a veterinarian, it’s virtually impossible to know what is causing your cat’s urinary tract issues.

Remember, though, that not enough research has been done to determine exactly how apple cider vinegar helps to treat FLUTD. We don’t know if raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is the only way to go or if filtered apple cider vinegar works just as well. Proponents of this home remedy claim that the nutrients and minerals in raw, unfiltered ACV gives it a “healing touch” – but how, exactly, does it work?

Again, a lot more research needs to be done on this home remedy.

Here’s a promising statistic from VetInfo:

“In a study performed by a holistic website, 43 cat owners were polled. All of them had cats displaying the signs of a urinary tract infection. Of those 43 people, 41 reported their cat’s health improved to the point of being back to normal. One found no marked improvement and the final pet owner said the cat was improved but not fully treated.”

Whether these cats would have recovered without treatment or if the apple cider vinegar actually helped is unclear. These cats were not diagnosed with a specific disease, so we don’t really know if they had urinary tract infections or crystals. Recovery was subjective and recurrence wasn’t recorded. But those statistics are compelling.

On Earthclinic, the personal experiences with apple cider vinegar as a treatment for idiopathic cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) are also promising. As of August 4th, 2017, 72 out of 87 reviews of this home remedy give 5 star ratings.

Here are a few quotes from the remedy review section:

“I have never imagined that I would resort to this BUT after 2 vet visits and same problem recurring systemically, I decided to give ACV a go. I used a dropper as my finicky Ragdoll would not eat or drink anything tainted with ACV. I used 1/4 ts to 1 water ratio and gave it to her 3 times daily for a week. Doesn’t work overnight so patience is needed! I also mixed my own probiotic in her food. After treating her for a week she is back to her old self, no longer hiding in the corners and as playful as ever! She has started to use her box after 3 days into treatment. When sick she peed literally everywhere. I had purchased pads where she could go to bathroom on. This was helpful because I could see the size and color of her urine.

I am all for natural medicine for humans, now I know I can seek alternatives for my beloved pets as well! Thank you all for sharing your experiences! While skeptical at first, I am a believer! I’m extremely grateful!” – Miasmom

“I took my cat stewy into the vet after a night of him crying and saw blood in his pee in odd spots in the house. They looked at him gave him antibiotics and said he prob has a uti. I could not afford them to do more tests. It was nearly 200 dollars for that visit. Now we got home and a week later he was peeing blood again. So I tried apple cider vinegar and in a week he was better again.

This morning crying non stop and he peed blood again. I had been putting it in his food switched over a week ago to wet food and pouring a tablespoon in his food and they eat it all always. I have tried to do a syringe and put it in his mouth and he spits it out and drools all over his face. I can not afford to take him back to the vet. Any suggestions to fix him would be greatly appreciated.” – Rachel

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your advice. Mischief was in agony but in one day he was so much better thanks to Apple Cider Vinegar.

I made parsley tea (recommended by homeopathic vet), a few drops of Rescue Remedy and a little ACV. Mischief did not mind me squirting it into his mouth. He is now off conventional “vet recommended” dry food and I give him cooked chicken and livers and once a week fish. None of my animals will take raw food. I add in a bit of coconut oil. No more dry food as this all started when his teeth hurt him also from eating this poison. Thank you so very much.

Best wishes, Ginny” – Ginny

Clearly, something is going on. There is tons of anecdotal evidence that apple cider vinegar can help to treat FLUTD, and for a desperate cat guardian watching their cat suffer, it’s enough to justify giving this remedy a try.  We don’t know for certain when or how apple cider vinegar helps cats, but we do know that it won’t hurt to try it.

How Do I Give My Cat Apple Cider Vinegar?

When your cat is suffering from a urinary tract disease, we suggest that you give your cat 1-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Administer a teaspoon or so every hour. To do this, you can incorporate the apple cider vinegar into your cat’s food. If that doesn’t work, you may also use a syringe. Your cat might not like the taste, but it is completely safe for them to eat.
Most successful users of apple cider vinegar for cats notice a difference in urinary tract health within the next day.

Can I Use ACV as a Preventative Treatment for my Cat?

Once your cat gets better, you may incorporate a capful of apple cider vinegar into your cat’s food daily to keep their systems healthy. It’s the same principle behind conventional urinary tract health food: this keeps your cat’s pH slightly lower, which is helpful for cats who are predisposed to alkaline crystals. But frankly, I don’t believe that’s the best route to preventing recurrence of FLUTD.

Nutrition is the best preventative medicine.

There’s a possibility that apple cider vinegar can help your cat to recover from FLUTD and there’ s a chance that maintaining a healthy urinary tract pH can prevent recurrence. But if you really want to keep your cat’s urinary tract healthy, look at their diet. Dry food is the urinary tract’s worst enemy. This is because cats often are unwilling to drink water on their own. If your cat isn’t chugging water all day long, it’s not going to be enough to compensate for the low water content of their dry food.

Moisture is the key to urinary tract health. A high-moisture diet is one of the best things you can do for your cat’s health, whether they have already suffered through FLUTD or not.

Try to switch out your dry food for a nutritious canned wet food or to go raw. Take a look at this video to hear my story about dry food, my cat’s urinary tract disease, and how switching from dry to wet changed his life.

The Best Wet Cat Food for Urinary Health

 


It’s worth it for your cat’s urinary tract health!

20 thoughts on “Apple Cider Vinegar for Cats: FLUTD Home Remedy

  • My cat is onDL Methionine, can I give him ACV also? He has started going to the litter box often and only pees small amounts, also licking frequently.

    Reply
    • We’re not veterinarians and this isn’t a replacement for veterinary advice. Your vet can help you to determine what’s wrong and give advice specific to your cat’s unique situation.

      Based on the fact that you’ve been giving him DI-Methionine for the last few months and he’s experiencing symptoms again, I’m thinking that additional acidification is not a good idea. Before adding another acidifier on top of the acidifier you’re already using, I would want to know what’s going on. Urinary tract infections, calcium oxalate crystals, and struvite crystals are all quite different and apple cider vinegar is not a remedy for all of them. Before you try anything else, you may want to test your cat’s urine pH using pH strips. If you can get your hands on PrettyLitter or another color-changing cat litter, that may also help.

      Other than that, have you tried adding more water to his food? Maybe some bone broth? As long as he’s still able to urinate small amounts, a little extra moisture should help. At risk of sounding like a broken record, I have to ask—is he eating wet food? He should definitely be eating wet food.

      It looks like you read our article about apple cider vinegar, but have you read the one we wrote on home remedies for urinary tract issues in general? That one covers a lot more of what you need to know.

      Hope this was helpful! Please let us know if you have any more questions.

      Best,

      Reply
  • So just today i found out that my cat has crystals in his bladder. He is just over a year old and i don’t know what to do. What should my first step be ? i Gave him antibiotics which the vet recommended. Is ACV a step i should take ? previously i was giving him dry food (cat biscuits) should i change them. and if to what ?
    Please in need of help.

    Reply
  • Hi I have a vet appointment for my cat in two weeks. Her vet is booked up til then. She has a distended belly and white goop coming from her vulva. She eats, drinks runs around and uses the bathroom normally (no straining). Still loves to play with her catnip toys. I can rub her belly an she doesn’t cry out or wiggle away. Basically her normal self. Does anyone know of any home remedies or over the counter stuff to help clear it away before I have to pay alot of money at the vets. Yes I will still take her.

    Reply
    • Hello Steve,

      Thanks for commenting and I’m sorry to hear that your cat has a distended belly and white discharge. Is she spayed? If not, the symptoms you described sound a bit like those associated with pyometra – a bacterial infection of the uterus.

      Until you get to the veterinarian in two weeks, I would recommend giving her a probiotic to help manage bacteria levels. The Dr. Mercola Complete Probiotic supplement has 58 billion CFU’s per serving and receives consistently positive reviews: https://amzn.to/2IhPMpj

      It’s good to hear that your cat is still playful, energetic, and doesn’t appear to be in pain – hopefully this continues.

      Thank you again for reaching out and I hope this helped. Please let us know if you have any further questions!

      Reply
      • For that matter I would think you’d express to this poster that it is cruel to wait 2 weeks to treat a sick pet you wouldn’t do that to anyone that’s sick and this cat is clearly sick with an infection. What on earth how could this not be noted
        It’s just absurd to think it’s ojsy to wait 2 weeks?!
        Get a new vet make an emergency appt do something
        I just can’t imagine poor kitty
        Shame on him shame on you and shame on this vet who obviously doesn’t give a flip about an animal in distress either.

        Reply
        • Thanks for your comment, Stephanie. I can absolutely sympathize with your concern. Running a website that discusses issues related to feline health means that we encounter similarly upsetting comments on a regular basis. The people who look up home remedies online are often people at their wit’s end and are unwilling/hesitant/unable to go to the veterinarian promptly or at all. 80% of the time we get a (non-spam) comment or message, it’s someone asking us questions that are so nuanced, detailed, and specific that they’re in no way answerable by any non-credentialed blogger sitting halfway around the globe. That said, while we may agree that prompt vet care is ideal, we can’t all-caps shout our way into making other people do what we think is right.

          Reply
    • 2 weeks? I realize this is an old post but can you imagine letting your self go for 2 weeks for an appt??
      Regardless if she’s acting like she feels badly or not obviously something is very wrong and I’m astonished that she need suffer for 2 weeks? I don’t care if your vet is booked up unacceptable to have this cat suffer. Get a new vet an emergency vet tell you vet it’s an emergency bc it is that has infection written all over. You simply don’t wait 2 weeks when your pet is ill same as a person
      I’m still scratching my head at the lack of empathy and common sense here

      Reply
  • I battle FIC every few months with my 4 year old male, Bruce. He’s only had one severe flare-up where he required hospitalization overnight. He started having signs this week that started Friday. He’s been dribbling bloody pee in every litter box and on the floor. I called his vet (who’s pretty familiar with us, since this happens pretty often) and she prescribed me prazosin and said to bring him in if he got worse. He hadn’t seemed to get worse, he just hadn’t gotten any better after 3 days. It was hard to tell if the prazosin was helping or not. I saw this thread about ACV and decided to give it a try. After 24 hours, he’s already having bigger pees that aren’t as bloody, and he’s acting more energetic. I have to fight it down with a syringe because he hates the stuff, but that’s a small price to pay to see him feeling better (and not to mention, way cheaper than a vet bill.) Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Courtney,

      So happy to hear that Bruce is doing better after using the ACV. Since it sounds like he’s been regularly struggling with FIC for a while, have you made any other changes – dietary or environmental? In addition to the obligatory “eat wet food”, another interesting approach is stress reduction. There’s a compelling theory circulating: FIC may be strongly linked to stress. Here’s a piece from Dr. Karen Becker that goes over the connection between stress and feline idiopathic cystitis.

      Thank you for sharing your (and Bruce’s) story!

      Reply
  • HELP!!!!
    My cat Panda is having serious urinary tract issues… not eating… and hates the Apple Cider Vinagar… I’m trying to do everything I can to get him to eat and drink the vinegar with water…
    please he’s not urinating …

    Reply
    • Hi Besse,

      Thanks for reaching out with your question about your cat’s issues. Since Panda is both having serious urinary tract issues and isn’t eating, this is a critical situation. Apple cider vinegar is not a cure-all for every urinary tract issue, and it’s unclear exactly what is ailing your Panda. Especially because he refuses to eat or drink, we recommend that you seek help from a medical professional. In the meantime, please continue to do everything that you can to get some moisture and calories into him. Have you tried serving warm bone broth? You might also try sprinkling bonito flakes on his food – they’re highly appetizing and could encourage eating. Hope this helped!

      Reply
  • I think my female cat has pyometra am using apple cider,she is not in pain n eats healthy but the yellow white fluid excretion from her urethra is mekin me worry…i do not want her to go on surgery,do i continue the apple cider home remedy until tbe flyid stops or wat should i do?

    Reply
    • Hello Lynn,

      Thanks for reaching out with this question about your cat’s health issues. At this point, it sounds like your cat is doing well, but has abnormal fluid discharge. This could be caused by a variety of different health issues and it would take an experienced eye to identify what’s really going on. Pyometra is a bacterial infection of the uterus and, in some cases, causes discharge from the cervix, not the urethra. As it is not a feline lower urinary tract disease, it doesn’t have the same treatment.

      If possible, I would recommend visiting a veterinarian who can identify the cause of this problem and help to prescribe the right treatment. Until then, a probiotic can help to manage the bacteria levels in your cat’s body, regardless of what is causing her symptoms.

      Hope this helped and that your cat’s health improves soon, Lynn. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
      • Again this poor cat needs to see a vet

        Reply
    • Something is obviously wrong here. An infection.

      Reply
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  • When my cat apparently had a UTI a few years back, we didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t afford to take him to the vet and looked to the internet for the solution. After learning about apple cider vinegar and hearing from a lot of other people who had used it successfully, I decided to give it a try. I incorporated a capful into each of his meals and the next day, he had started peeing again. A month goes by and my cat can’t pee AGAIN…did the ACV treatment and he was his old self the next day.

    DRY FOOD MAKES CATS SICK – seriously. After the second urinary tract scare, we switched him to wet food mixed with water (didn’t keep up the ACV treatment). Six years later and he hasn’t had a pee problem since.

    I think that really, the best thing you can do for your cat’s urinary tract health is to not feed them dry food. Even if it’s dry food for “urinary tract health” – what a joke. Wet or raw all the way. And if you have problems, try the ACV. It really does seem to work.

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