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Can Cats Eat Sage? Is Sage Toxic to Cats?

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

Sage leaves on a table

Every year when the holidays roll around, we all start looking for ways to include our pets in the festivities. One of the top ways people try to involve their cats in the holiday season is by feeding special treats and sharing holiday foods. One common ingredient in many savory fall and holiday dishes is sage. If you’ve ever wondered if sage is safe for you to share with your cat, keep reading for more info.

Can Cats Eat Sage?

tabby cat eating cat food out of bowl inside
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Good news! Cats can safely consume sage in moderation. There are quite a few ingredients in holiday foods that are not cat safe, though, so make sure all ingredients in the dish are safe for your cat to partake in before feeding any. Sage plants belong to the mint family, the same plant family that catnip belongs to. Many of the plants in the family are cat-safe.

The ASPCA lists sage on its list of non-toxic herbs for cats. However, sage essential oils can be a problem for cats, like many essential oils. Avoid heating essential oils around your cat. Some essential oils can lead to respiratory, skin, and eye irritation when heated. Your cat should also not consume sage essential oils. Your cat lacks the liver enzymes that are necessary to break down some of the compounds in sage oil and many other things, leading to toxicity.

How Much Sage Can I Feed My Cat?

Sage leaves in a deep ladle on a table
Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Cats are obligate carnivores, requiring a meat-based diet for longevity and health. Some plants are suitable for cats in moderation, and sage is one of them. However, your cat should not be allowed unfettered access to sage plants or leaves, especially if your cat is the type to munch on plants for extended periods of time. Limit your cat’s access to sage plants, leaves, and dried sage, as well as foods containing sage.

Some cat foods and treats contain sage, and it can be a safe part of a balanced and varied diet. The distinct flavor and smell of sage may be interesting to your cat and may aid in offering an enrichment experience to your cat. As with any herb or plant, limit your cat’s access and only offer in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Can I Burn Sage Around My Cat?

Few studies are investigating this, but there are no apparent negative effects that have been seen from cats being exposed to burning white sage, also known as “sageing” or smudging. If you decide to burn sage in the home with your cat, make sure there is adequate ventilation and keep your kitty away from the burning sage to avoid the risk of burns and keep them away from the smoke itself.

The sage used for this ritual is not the same type of sage you cook with. While cooking sage is Salvia officinalis, white sage is Salvia apiana. White sage is also safe for your cat to consume in small quantities, but in large amounts, it can lead to stomach upset. There are no known benefits to feeding white sage to your cat, but if your cat happens to chew on a little bit, there is little risk of harm.

In Conclusion

Sage is not toxic to cats and is safe when offered in moderation. If allowed to snack on sage regularly or for an extended period, it can lead to stomach upset. Sage may be a healthy part of a balanced and varied diet for your cat. If you’re ever unsure if something is appropriate for your cat, always talk to your cat’s vet about it. All cats have slightly different needs, and your cat’s vet will know your cat’s health status and history better than almost anyone else.


Featured Image Credit: JernejaR, Pixabay

Sources:

https://petcareadvisors.com/cats/is-sage-safe-to-cats-or-toxic/

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/sage

https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/safe-flowers-dogs-cats

Written by

Brooke Billingsley

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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