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Can Cats Drink Tea? What You Need to Know!

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

a cup of tea outdoors

You’re sitting down with your favorite hot cup of tea, and your cat is eyeballing you. They want to know just what kind of goodies you have in that cup. If your cat’s expectant stares are causing you to question whether cats can have tea, you have to know that cats cannot have tea, but many will try.

An excessive amount of tea can kill your cat, however, some teas are more harmful than others. So, if your cat has already taken a swig, don’t panic just yet. Find out what makes tea unsuitable for your felines.

Cats Shouldn’t Drink Tea

Most tea selections contain a large amount of caffeine, which is toxic to cats—this is just the first bad thing about it. Ultimately, many teas are blends of herbs and spices, and many of these are unsafe for our feline friends. So to even let your cat try a tea, reading the label is of utmost importance.

Don’t worry—if you’re determined, we will go over non-toxic tea selections, too.

Do Cats Like Tea?

Some cats might really seem attracted to tea, while others aren’t at all. Just like any other odd food habits found in domesticated pets, it’s a matter of preference for every feline.

If your kitty takes a shine to your tea bags, you need to store them out of reach. There are some herbs, like catnip, that are perfectly safe for your kitty. However, while tea might be pleasurable for your feline to lap up, several varieties shouldn’t be on the menu for cats.

Quantity Matters

If your cat just lapped up a little puddle from the table, it’s unlikely to do any real harm. However, if they drink a large amount or chew open a tea bag—you could run into a world of trouble. Even if the herbs aren’t necessarily toxic to them, high consumption can lead to unwanted side effects.

If they eat parts of the tea bag, it can bind in the intestines, which can cause blockages. These obstructions can be deadly to your cat, especially if you don’t detect them in time.

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Types of Tea & the Dangers

Certain types of herbs and spices can be highly toxic to cats. That is especially true if they consume any of the contents in the bag—and not just the diluted liquid.

Here are a few herbs and spices that have significant side effects and risks:
  • Bergamont
  • Lavender
  • Ginseng
  • Citrus
  • Spearmint
  • Cinnamon

Each of these spices and herbs is toxic to cats and can cause side effects even in small doses. If you notice any of these ingredients in your tea, make sure it stays out of your cat’s reach.

cup of tea on table
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Symptoms of Toxicity

If your cat consumes too much of any toxic component in tea, they will start to show common symptoms like:

  • Increased saliva
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Collapse

If you notice these symptoms, don’t hesitate to get your kitty to the vet as quickly as possible. They will need to be assessed and treated according to the severity of the toxicity.

Tea Additives to Watch For

Many types of tea contain added sweeteners, and you really have to be careful to control what exactly is in them. Artificial sweeteners, like xylitol, are completely toxic to both dogs and cats.

Also, make sure your cat doesn’t consume or chew the tea bags. Teabags can pose a choking hazard and poisoning due to high consumption.

Can Cats Have Any Tea?

If you decide to let your cats have tea, it’s best to stick with something mild, non-toxic, and caffeine-free like chamomile.

Cats + Tea: Final Thoughts

Even though a little tea that’s caffeine-free, non-toxic, and mild might not hurt much, it’s probably best to keep your cat away from it altogether. At the very least, it can cause gastrointestinal upset. At the very worst, it can have severe consequences for your pet.

If you suspect your cat drank tea in large quantities or you notice toxicity symptoms, rush them to the vet for immediate treatment.

Featured Image Credit: Myriams-Fotos, Pixabay

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