Medicinal Mushrooms and Cats

Medicinal Mushrooms and Cats

As cat owners, we all want the very best for our feline friends – a long, healthy, and happy life filled with purrs, play, and plenty of catnaps in the sunshine. This is why many owners are now looking into natural supplements like medicinal mushrooms for cats to support their cat’s wellbeing. But can mushrooms really help cats thrive? Keep reading to learn all about the promising benefits of mushrooms for cats.

A Medicinal Boost from Mushrooms

Mushrooms often get a bad rap as being poisonous or having “psychedelic” effects. But most mushroom varieties are non-toxic, and a special group have been shown to provide powerful health benefits. These are known as medicinal mushrooms.

What sets medicinal mushrooms apart is that they contain exceptional nutrient and antioxidant profiles compared to regular button or portobello grocery store mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms like turkey tail, reishi and Cordyceps contain polysaccharides, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that may:

  • Boost immune health
  • Have anti-inflammatory effects
  • Help inhibit cancer growth
  • Protect heart, liver and kidney function
  • Enhance cognition and brain health
  • Aid digestion
  • Increase energy levels

Sounds pretty amazing, right? Humans have used medicinal mushrooms like reishi and Cordyceps for thousands of years in ancient Eastern traditional medicine practices. And now modern clinical research is backing up many of their touted benefits.

So what does this mean for our furry friends? It turns out Fluffy and Fido may also enjoy better health and wellbeing thanks to medicinal mushrooms. From cancer-fighting properties to arthritis relief, let’s explore the top benefits of mushrooms for man’s (and meow’s and woof’s) best friend.

Immune-Boosting Effects for Cats

It’s long been known that medicinal mushrooms like reishi, turkey tail and lion’s mane have potent immune-modulating capabilities. They seem to boost overall immunity while also gently regulating an overactive system often underlying chronic diseases from allergies to infections to even cancer.

This immune-balancing act is great news for kitties, since Fluffy can use all the immune boosting help she can get! Like their human housemates, our feline companions also face threats from environmental toxins, viruses and bacteria that tax the immune defenses. A compromised immunity can also leave cats more prone to big baddies like feline leukemia or FIV.

So a little help from immune-modulating mushrooms could keep illness at bay and your kitty happy and active throughout all of her nine lives! Specific mushrooms like turkey tail and reishi also offer strong antioxidant protection against some feline cancers, while simultaneously boosting healthy immune cell function.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects for Reducing Feline Arthritis and Pain

Just like their aging human parents, cats also start to face age-related conditions like arthritis and painful inflammation in their later years. In fact, up to 90% of cats over the age of 12 suffer symptoms of osteoarthritis even if they haven’t suffered joint injury!

And while osteoarthritis meds exist for cats, they often come with side effects or contain steroids that suppress kitty’s immune system. Here again medicinal mushrooms provide a gentler solution, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties.

Medicinal turkey tail mushroom, for example, was recently shown in cell studies to suppress inflammatory enzymes and pathways underlying arthritis pain and joint damage in cats and dogs. Cordyceps and lion’s mane mushrooms also display inflammation-calming benefits for improved flexibility and mobility.

Better Brain Health in Senior Cats

It’s true – cats can and do suffer cognitive decline as they age! Runaway aging for cats is typically defined as after age 11, where increased disorientation, confusion or behavioral changes appear. Up to 57% of cats 11-14 years old show at least some degree of age-related cognitive issues.

And while very similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, feline cognitive dysfunction further manifests through meowing or yowling for apparently no reason, aimless wandering or altered interactions with owners and other household pets.

While no outright cure exists for feline cognitive dysfunction, lion’s mane mushroom shows real promise in supporting brain health in aging cats. Rodent studies show lion’s mane mushroom boosts nerve growth factor production – an important signaling molecule needed for maintaining neurons in the brain and periphery nervous system.

As a result, lion’s mane improved memory, learning and decision-making in senior mice to delay cognitive decline. Early research now suggests similar cognitive benefits for aging dogs and horses too. So don’t be surprised if specks of white mushroom powder start sprinkling out of Fluffy’s food bowl!

How to Add Mushrooms to Your Cat’s Diet

Now that you know all about the wonderful benefits of mushrooms for cats, you’re probably itching to share medicinal mushrooms with your kitty. Luckily multiple safe options exist for adding mushrooms to any feline diet:

Mushroom Powder Toppers

Lightly dust dried mushroom powders like turkey tail, reishi or Cordyceps on top of your cat’s regular wet or dry food once per day. Most mushroom powders provide about 500-1000mg per teaspoon. Small cats can start with 1⁄4 tsp daily while larger breeds can handle up to 1 tsp.

Capsules or Gummies

For fussier cats, you can try whole medicinal mushroom capsules sprinkled onto meals. Simply open and mix the powder into the bowl. Alternatively, try feline mushroom gummies like Anxiety Cat Calmers for easy dosing. Most mushroom gummies provide about 50-100mg active mushroom compounds per chew.

Broths & Teas

Simmer dried, powdered or extracted mushroom products into bone broths, tuna juice or meat drippings. Then simply pour over food to infuse the flavors. Alternatively, add reishi and turkey tail extracts into homemade catnip teas for easy sipping. However limit to only a few spoonfuls to avoid overhydrating your cat.

Natural jerky-style treats now even exist featuring medicinal mushrooms like Cat Person’s Turkey Tail Bites. Just break into kitty sized nibbles and serve as healthy daily supplements she’ll adore!

As always however, be sure to consult your veterinarian before starting any new supplement. While rare, some cats may experience mild digestive upset or interactions with medications like immunosuppressants or diabetes drugs. Finding the purrfect mushroom match for your cat may take some trial and error. But the effort could greatly reward you both with many healthy and happy years together!

Additional Reading

Here are four articles discussing the benefits of medicinal mushrooms for cats, along with their respective links:

  1. Medicinal Mushrooms – VCA Animal Hospitals: This article provides an overview of medicinal mushrooms, such as maitake, shiitake, reishi, cordyceps, and turkey tail, and discusses their active ingredients and applications in veterinary medicine for various conditions, including their role as anticancer and immune-boosting supplements.
  2. Harnessing the Power of Medicinal Mushrooms for Dogs & Cats – Animal Wellness Magazine: Discussing the historical and modern use of medicinal mushrooms in veterinary medicine, this article highlights their scientific backing and therapeutic benefits, including immune function support and cancer care.
  3. Medicinal Mushroom Supplements for Dogs & Cats – Only Natural Pet: Referring to a study by the Veterinary School at the University of Penn State, this source emphasizes the support Turkey Tail mushrooms provide for pets with hemangiosarcoma and their benefits for urinary tract and digestive health.
  4. The Best Mushrooms for Cats with Cancer Backed By Science – Shroomer: This article details various medicinal mushrooms’ health benefits for cats with cancer, including immune support and anti-tumor properties. It references studies demonstrating the efficacy of mushrooms such as shiitake, reishi, and turkey tail in both humans and animals.

These articles offer valuable insights into the use of medicinal mushrooms for enhancing the health and wellness of cats.

3 thoughts on “Medicinal Mushrooms and Cats

  1. Elizabeth King says:

    Is it also OK to give my cat my mushroom mix ? With Chaga
    Shiitake corydycepts agaricus lion maneb& reisih?

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