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Can Cats Eat Mint? Vet Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Cats Eat mint

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re concerned about whether it’s safe for a cat to eat mint, then most likely you’re a cat parent and your curious kitty has gotten into something they shouldn’t have. Trust us, we understand. Cats are naturally curious creatures who will find their way into some of the most troublesome situations. Eating mint can be one of those situations.

The answer to your question is no, cats should not eat mint. Luckily, however, if your nosey feline has accidentally nibbled on your herb garden, it doesn’t mean they will get sick. For a cat to suffer from mint poisoning, they need to ingest quite a bit of this plant. Let’s take a look at the mint plant, the signs of mint poisoning, and what you can do to help your kitty if they happen to get sick from munching on this plant.

What Is Mint?

The mint family is made up of several types of plants. Normally it is the smell, large leaves, and square stems that make these plants distinguishable. Unfortunately, mint essential oil is found in each variation of the mint plant. It’s this oil that is so dangerous to cats and the reason why it is best to keep them away from mint. It is also one of the main reasons they are attracted to it. Like us, they enjoy the smell and it is similar to another plant they simply adore.

Peppermint and spearmint are also part of the mint family. Unlike regular mint and catnip, cats don’t find themselves attracted to peppermint. They don’t like it. In most situations, you’ll find that the smell of peppermint repels cats. Salicylate, found in peppermint and in spearmint, is toxic to cats and is the reason you should keep them far away from these plants.

mint leaves close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Difference Between Mint and Catnip

You may feel like your cat is a bit obsessed with your mint garden. That’s a big possibility considering mint and catnip, a plant beloved by cats, are so similar. As part of the same family, catnip or catmint smells like most other mint plants. Most, but not all cats, love catnip. For some cats, it induces a drug-like euphoria. Still, many owners report that their cats are attracted to their mint plants.  

Mint vs Catnip
Image Credit: Pixabay

Signs of Mint Poisoning

Any essential oil is dangerous to your cat in large doses. This is true of mint, spearmint, or peppermint. Normally, however, the signs are always the same. If you caught your kitty chewing on the leaves of mint, here’s what you should keep an eye out for:

Signs of poisoning include:
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

If your cat starts exhibiting these signs, then they require a trip to the veterinarian.

Treatments for Mint Poisoning

While mint poisoning is scary for us pet owners, cats need to ingest large quantities to get intoxicated, and even then, our kitties are usually fine in a few days. The vet will keep a close eye on your cat and in some instances, induce vomiting. Either way, they will most likely spend a few days under the owner’s observation to ensure they don’t dehydrate or have a more severe reaction.

Are Foods with Mint Safe for Cats?

While you may think mixing mint with other foods may make it safer, this isn’t the case. To keep your cat safe, it is best to keep them away from all forms of mint. If you plan on having it around the house, keeping it in an area your cat can’t access may be your best option.

Now that you know what you can safely feed your cat, it’s just as important to find a bowl that supports their health and well-being. With whisker-friendly bowls and a wide tray to catch any spills, our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite option.

hungry white cat hepper nom nom bowl licking lip

Final Thoughts

As a pet parent, it’s important to know what plants and other substances are harmful to your kitty. While cats can enjoy many feline-friendly foods and scents, mint is not one they should have regular access to. A small amount won’t put them in grave danger, but mint poisoning can become a serious issue. If your cat has ingested mint, we recommend reaching out to your veterinarian promptly.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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