Cats & Herbs | Good & Bad Herbs for your Furry Friend

Cat in Herb Garden

You might think that you are your garden’s biggest fan, but if you have a sweet kitten roaming around your home, you are certainly mistaken. Cats are notorious herbivores; whether it’s their goal to stir up a ruckus, create a mess, or simply to enjoy some fresh greenery, you can absolutely count on your cat to eat your plants if they are within reach.

Cat owners spend hours trying to make their gardens cat proof, but perhaps there is a better way to handle your ferociously hungry feline friend; plant a garden for your cat! This week we are bringing you the details on what herbs and spices are healthy for your kitty, and which ones you should avoid letting your cat consume. 

Can Cats Eat Herbs and Spices?

Cat Eating Herbs

We are happy to inform you that, yes, cats can safely consume herbs and spices. That being said, it’s important to always pay close attention to what plants you’re keeping in your home; cats are very illusive, so while you may not suspect they are eating your plants, they are likely finding a way to do so while you’re not looking. 

Vitamins are an imperative part of your cat’s diet; luckily, a great source of vitamins and antioxidants that boost your kitty’s system can all be found in herbs and spices. While some plants can be fatal if ingested by your furry friend, some have the opposite effect, and will keep you cat in high spirits throughout the day!

In addition to their wonderful supplementary properties, herbs and spices can also be used as medicinal treatment for your cat when they are not feeling well. Just as we reap the health benefits of gardening, so can your faithful kitten companion. Consider our Herb Garden Kit the next time you are seeking a solution for keeping your cat out of the garden; they just want to take part in the action. 

Healthy Herbs and Spices for Cats

Seeking out natural ingredients to add to your cat’s diet can lead to better health, happiness, and a great mood boost! Here is a list of ten herbs and spices that are fantastic additions to your cat’s healthy diet.

  1. Licorice Root
    • Anti-itch (cortisone)
    • Regulates digestive tract
    • Regulates organ function
    • Soothes bowels
  2. Valerian Root
    • Mood & activity stimulant
    • Boosts immune system
  3. Catnip
    • Mood & activity stimulant
    • Anti-Itch properties
    • Calms stress and anxiety
  4. Dill
    • Alleviates bloating and gas
    • Calms the stomach
  5. Dandelion Root
    • Anti-itch properties
    • Helps alleviate allergies
    • Great addition to a healthy meal
  6. Mint
    • Natural pest repellent
    • Soothing for the skin
    • Promotes relaxation
  7. Basil
    • Anti-inflammatory
    • Relieves anxiety
    • Antibacterial properties
  8. Rosemary
    • Improves digestion
    • Antioxidant properties
    • Antibacterial & antifungal properties (fights infection)
    • Improves skin & coat health
    • Can improve eyesight
  9. Thyme
    • Antioxidant properties
    • Antibacterial & antifungal properties (fights infection)
    • Good source of dietary fiber
  10. Parsley
    • Boosts immune system
    • Great source of Vitamin A, C & K
    • Supports good eyesight

Fun fact: cats love to chew on things! Although plants like cilantro and coriander don’t necessarily have outstanding health benefits for your kitten, they are 100% safe to keep around the house. They might even prove useful as a distraction from the plants you don’t want your cat to nibble on.

Herbs and Spices that are Toxic for Cats

It’s important to keep in mind that cats have a significantly more sensitive digestive tract than dogs do; while there are certain herbs and plants that dogs can eat without any issues, your cat is not guaranteed the same level of safety! Here is a list of 5 herbs and spices that you should avoid letting your cat ingest.

  1. Foxglove
    • Foxglove is a deadly herb to keep in a household with cats. If your cat manages to eat foxglove, they can experience cardiac failure and even death. 
  2. Chamomile
    • Chamomile, like most herbs, has several different strains; certain strains are toxic for cats to consume, while others are safe. It is very important to be aware of which type of chamomile you are growing, if you should choose to keep it in the house with your cat. German chamomile is safe for your cat to ingest, but any other strain, such as english, roman or true chamomile, can cause dermatitis, vomiting, diarrhea and allergic reactions.
  3. Onion & Chives
    • Consuming onions or chives can cause diarrhea, vomiting and an upset stomach, as well as intense damage to red blood cells for cats. This applies to onion powder, too.
  4. Garlic
    • Garlic is extremely toxic for your cat. You should avoid keeping garlic anywhere that your cat may be able to get their paws on it. Ingesting garlic can cause your cat to vomit, have an increased heart rate, or experience hemolytic anemia.
  5. Marijuana
    • Marijuana is not safe to keep around your feline friends at home! If your cat does ingest marijuana, the results could be vomiting, low blood pressure, hypersalivation, and in rare cases, seizure, coma, or even death. 

The above herbs and plants are among the most dangerous for your cat to consume; avoid keeping them in your house, or at the very least, be sure to keep them out of your cat’s immediate reach. Additionally, herbs and spices like lemongrass, tarragon and oregano should be avoided. These herbs, while generally harmless, if consumed in large quantities, can cause an upset stomach for your cat. 

Give them Greenery

Cat Laying in Greenery

At the end of the day, your cat just wants to be by your side in all that you do… and take up all of your attention. If they see that you’re spending more time in your garden, they just might want to get their paws dirty and take up the hobby, too. Never fear, if your cat is getting into your garden, it might just be the perfect time to plant them a garden of their own – one that is a safe, healthy, and time-consuming distraction!

If you’re a happy dog owner, we’ve also put together a list of herbs and spices that are safe for dogs to consume – take a look!

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