Can Cats Eat Mint? Everything You Need To Know

Are you wondering: Can Cats Eat Mint? If so, you’ve come to the right place!

Cats are naturally curious, which can sometimes get them into a great deal of trouble.

One such issue is ingesting things that aren’t necessarily good for them, including plant life.

So, is mint one of those items that cats should avoid? Let’s find out.

Can Cats Eat Mint: Quick Summary

If you’re after a quick answer to this question, here it is:

No, cats should not eat mint, including any part of the mint plant or mint essential oils. While small amounts of mint are generally non-toxic to cats, large quantities can lead to mint poisoning.

For those who’d like a bit more information, let’s now dive into the details such as what is mint, what’s the difference between mint and catnip, how to prevent your cat from eating mint, and what you should do if you suspect your cat has mint poisoning.

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What is Mint?

example of mint

There are many different plants in the mint family. Most of them share a distinctive scent, as well as their unique square stems and large leaves.

This plant is commonly used in various meals, desserts, drinks, and candies, making it a versatile herb in any kitchen.

Every plant in this family also contains mint essential oil, which is what gives mint its scent.

Though this oil smells fantastic, it is the part of the plant that can cause issues if ingested by cats.

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Why Cats May Want To Eat Mint

Though mint isn’t a great meal choice for cats, there is a very specific reason why they may choose to nibble on this herb if they come across it in the wild or your home garden.

Catnip, also called catmint, is a favorite feline treat, thanks to the state of euphoria it induces in many cats.

Not only will they eat it, but they also take great pleasure in rolling around in it.

Unfortunately for kitties, catnip and mint have a similar scent, so cats may mistake it for their favorite snack.

They also both contain nepetalactone, which is what causes the drug-like state in cats, so they may be drawn to mint looking for a high.

Why is Mint Dangerous for Cats to Eat?

Mint is dangerous for cats because it contains those essential oils we mentioned above.

When we eat mint in our foods or beverages those oils are diluted, so they don’t cause any damage to humans.

Cats don’t have this option, though, eating the plant itself.

All parts of mint plants contain those essential oils, so nibbling them gives the cat a concentrated dose with each bite.

If a cat only eats a few bites of a mint plant, it likely won’t have any negative symptoms. Too much of it, though, can be quite harmful, depending on the type they eat.

First of all, the essential oils in garden mint can relax the esophageal valve, which can cause vomiting.

It can also cause issues in felines with underlying illnesses involving their liver, intestines, or bowels.

The pennyroyal species of mint can also cause liver issues, including liver failure, in cats.

Even coming into contact with the plant can cause skin irritation in cats with hypersensitivity.

Symptoms of Mint Poisoning in Cats

Though a few bites of a mint plant likely won’t cause any issues in cats, ingesting a great deal of it can cause some serious consequences.

If you happen to have mint within your cat’s reach and are concerned they may have been snacking on it, it may be a good idea to watch for certain symptoms.

Doing so will tell you whether or not your cat is suffering from mint poisoning.

Some symptoms to watch for include cramps, upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting.

If your cat is having difficulty keeping its meals down or stops eating altogether, it may be time for a visit to the vet.

Diarrhea is also a common symptom, so keep an eye on their bowel movements.

Weakness or sedation are other symptoms to watch for, though such lethargy is also common in some cats after eating catnip.

If they have access to both, it can be hard to discern which plant caused this reaction.

Mint Poisoning Treatment Options

Mint poisoning is rarely fatal in cats, with most pets recovering within a few days.

If you suspect your cat has mint poisoning, it’s best to book a visit with their veterinarian.

A vet will monitor your cat’s symptoms, inducing vomiting if needed or pumping their stomach if the symptoms are more severe.

Your cat may have to spend a few days in the vet’s care to prevent dehydration and to ensure that its symptoms don’t get any worse.

How To Prevent Your Cat From Eating Mint

There are several ways to prevent your cat from eating mint.

First of all, if you have any mint in your house, keep it out of your cat’s reach.

Cats do like to jump and climb, so this can be difficult, but placing the mint somewhere they can’t get to is a must to keep them healthy.

If you have any foods that contain mint, it is best to keep those away from your cat as well.

Though the essential oils will be diluted, it still isn’t healthy for cats to nibble on, so placing those items in a cupboard or fridge will prevent your cat from sampling them.

If you have mint outside in your garden, plant catnip around it.

A cat will always choose catnip over mint, so planting both will ensure they stay out of the more harmful plant.

Can Cats Eat Mint: Conclusion

To conclude, a small amount of mint isn’t likely to do your cat any harm, but make sure you prevent them from eating large amounts as this can cause them to become sick.

I hope you’ve found this article informative and helpful!

Here are some related articles on what cats can eat in case you’d like to research further:

Are Sunflowers Toxic To Cats?
Can Cats Eat Celery?
Can Cats Eat Cabbage?