Q: I was recommended Aldaron Essences flower essence formulas for my cat. But now I'm remembering how sensitive they are to ingesting alcohol as well as certain foods. Do you have any protocol for flower remedy use with cats? I'm wondering if the alcohol is a serious concern?
A: Great question; thank you.
First, to clarify, we're not talking about cats drinking alcohol in quantity, which is always an absolute no-no. Of course you shouldn't give your cat a saucer of beer or wine or worse! These amounts should certainly be considered toxic and highly risky.
The question here is whether small amounts of alcohol - a drop or less - can be harmful to cats.
I think there are enough reliable sources that say that cats can be very sensitive to ingredients, including alcohol, that the concern should be taken seriously.
My only observation is that, while researching this subject, I’ve also found quite a few reliable people who have been using alcohol-preserved flower essences with cats for decades, with absolutely no problem. I myself have used them in the past with my own cats, and I have some clients now who choose to use the brandy-based formulas with their cats. All with no issue.
I think it’s reasonable to conclude that some cats can be very sensitive to small amounts alcohol, but that this sensitivity doesn’t appear to be universal among felines. Again, we're talking about very small amounts here.
That said, because there is always that uncertainty as to whether a particular animal - i.e. your cat - will be sensitive, I generally recommend our glycerin-preserved formulas for cats. The glycerites do have a tiny amount of alcohol in them from the drops of flower essences in each bottle, but it’s extremely dilute.
How much alcohol is my cat getting with flower essences?
Regardless of preservative, the actual amount of alcohol your cat will get is very small.
With Aldaron Essences’ brandy-preserved formulas, a typical 3 drop serving (i.e. dose) contains less than ½ of one drop of brandy. Most animals have no issue with this very small amount.
With our glycerin-preserved flower essence formulas, it takes 22 drops of flower essences for your cat to consume 1 drop of brandy. If your cat is getting 3 drops, 3 times each day, then she will get 1 drop of brandy about every 2 ½ days, when you’re using the glycerin-based formulas.
What are my options if I want my cat to completely avoid alcohol with flower essences?
Fortunately, there are options if you want to avoid alcohol when using flower essences with cats. Whether you have already purchased a brandy-preserved formula from us, or you don’t want to avoid exposing your cat to even extremely small amounts of alcohol, you can choose from among a few options:
- You can apply the essences topically, putting some drops on your hands, then stroking your cat around the head, ears, anywhere, really. Then your cat will get the benefit of flower essences without ingesting anything.
- You can dilute the formula. Because flower essences are an energy therapy, their effect is not actually dependent on the amount given. (The doses are more of a guideline, and you’ll notice they don’t vary by weight, in general.) So you can add several drops to some water, then add a dribble of that water to your cat’s food or water. This will reduce the amount of alcohol to virtually none.
- You can mist the formula near/around the kitty. To do that, add some drops to some water in a mister bottle, then use it to mist near the cat. Note that you will not want to spray the kitty directly! If you have already been use spray bottles to deter your cat from jumping on counters, clawing inappropriate items, etc., then using a sprayer for your cat would not be recommended.
- Finally, if you’ve already purchased a brandy-based Aldaron Essences formula for your cat, it’s no problem to return the unopened formula bottles for replacement them with glycerin versions of the same formulas. Just contact me to verify the return.
If you'd like to learn more about the positives and negatives of alcohol versus alcohol-free preservatives with flower essences, see our page, Brandy or Glycerin?
To get the scoop on all the ways flower essences can be given to animals, please see my blog post, Simple, Effective Ways to Give Flower Essences to Animals.
Julie Cantrell BSc CDBC
Owner, Aldaron Essences LLC
- Simple, Effective Ways to Give Flower Essences to Animals [Infographic]
- How to Select Bach Flower Remedies for Dogs - written for dogs, but applies to most animals
- Bach Flower Remedies for Dogs: Create Your Own Blend (Guide and FAQ)