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Can Cats Eat Cinnamon? What You Need To Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

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If your curious kitty has ever snooped around in your kitchen, you may have wondered which foods they can and cannot eat. Cinnamon is a common cooking and baking spice that your cats are likely to have contact with, so it’s important to know whether or not it is safe for your pet to consume.

While the ASPCA mentions that cinnamon is technically non-toxic to cats, the question of toxicity is complicated based on the form of cinnamon your cat eats. Therefore, cinnamon is not recommended for cats.

In this article, we will discuss cinnamon toxicity and why you should avoid feeding cinnamon to your cat, as well as other foods you should never feed your kitty.

Why Cinnamon Is Bad For Cats

Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin, which cats do not have the ability to break down. This is because they don’t have the same liver enzymes that humans do. Ingestion of this compound and the inability to process it may result in blood-clotting issues for your kitty. In addition, cats may also get a reaction in their mouths when they eat cinnamon. These often present as redness, irritation, and excessive salivation.

Sick cat
Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

Types of Cinnamon And Their Safety

There are many household staples that contain cinnamon. Here are some common ones, and information about their safety with regards to your cat.

Types of Cinnamon
  • Powdered Cinnamon – not considered a major risk for cats unless ingested in very high quantities (example: teaspoon). Best if avoided.
  • Cinnamon Essential Oil – very dangerous as they are often highly concentrated. Should be avoided at all costs. Cats should not be in rooms where essential oils are to be used.
  • Cinnamon Candles – amount of cinnamon in candles is low, however they should be stored out of your cat’s reach. Never leave cats alone with a burning candle.
  • Cinnamon Sticks – Keep out of reach from cats, the strong smell of the stick may entice your cat to chew on the stick.
  • Cinnamon Broom – Their scent might appeal to humans but is often quite powerful and an irritant for cats. Best if avoided.
selection of essential oils on table
Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock

Signs of Cinnamon Toxicity

Cinnamon can pose health risks to your cat depending on the form and the amount your cat consumes or chews. Cinnamon toxicity occurs when the spice is ingested in high amounts or when your cat is exposed to high amounts (in the case of essential oils). The signs of cinnamon toxicity include:

Signs Of Cinnamon Toxicity
  • Jaundice (yellow mucous membranes, most obvious at your cat’s gums)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • A rapid heartbeat (difficult to assess if your cat has thick fur)
The signs are the result of liver damage caused by cinnamon.
sick cat
Image Credit: one photo, Shutterstock

Some cats may develop allergic reactions to cinnamon after repeated exposures. In such a case, your cat’s body mistakes cinnamon as a “bad” item and produces antibodies against it. Each subsequent exposure may increase the intensity of the signs of an allergic reaction. The signs of an allergic reaction are:

Signs Of Cinnamon Allergy
  • Hives
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Itchiness (your cat may chew, bite, or lick their paws, tail, and body)
  • Scabs on the skin
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
If you suspect that your cat has gotten a hold of cinnamon somehow and is displaying either signs of toxicity or an allergic reaction, take them to your veterinarian right away.
cat scratching an itch
Image Credit: AlexanderDubrovsky, Shutterstock

What Other Foods Should I Avoid Feeding My Cat?

In addition to cinnamon, there are some other foods you should avoid feeding your cat. While you may not purposefully feed your cat some of the foods on this list, we all know that cats’ curiosity can get the better of them.

Foods You Shouldn't Feed Your Cat

Dairy may come as a surprise to you because in popular culture, domesticated cats are often shown drinking milk or having cheese. Dairy is problematic because cats are lactose intolerant. While they may love the taste of milk or cheese, they are in for a stomach ache and possibly diarrhea later on if they do consume it.


In conclusion, if your cat is exposed to cinnamon, they may develop toxicity depending on the source and amount of cinnamon they are exposed to.

To avoid any problems, it is best to keep your cat away from your cinnamon when you are using it. You should also avoid purchasing any cinnamon essential oil diffusers as these are very dangerous for cats. It can’t hurt to be overly cautious to prevent your beloved pet from experiencing health problems.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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