Is Mint Poisonous To Cats?

One of the most significant responsibilities of being a cat owner is to provide them with a healthy and safe environment to live. 

This is especially true if you are also a plant lover. 

Cat smelling a mint plant
gurinaleksandr | DepositPhotos

There is an extensive list of plants, which might be safe for humans but are toxic to animals.

Among these toxic plants include the species from the mint family (Lamiaceae). 

The scientific name of the mint plant is Menthe sp., and these are utilized in aromatherapy, folk medicine, cosmetics, culinary, and also used in insecticides.

Just like:

  • Azaleas
  • Philodendron
  • Marigolds
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils

… mint plants are also toxic to your furry friends. 

While these poisonous plants, including spearmint and peppermint, might not affect all cats the same way, they still trigger a range of minor to severe side effects.

Is The Mint Plant Poisonous or Toxic?

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has included mint plants in the list of plants, which are toxic for cats

Prolonged exposure or ingestion of mint plants will result in mint poisoning for many of the cats. 

These plants have a strong hold on cats, mostly due to their love for catnip.

Cats love catnip (catmint), also a member of the mint family, which makes people believe all mints might be safe for their pets. 

However, catnip is not the same as mint plants. 

The majority of the mint plants contain essential oils, like peppermint oil, which are harmful to the cats.

The majority of the mint poisoning cases occur after cats eat a large amount of mint or is exposed to essential oil or other concentrated types of mint.

Keep in mind; not all cats experience the same reactions from mint exposure. 

Just like humans have different tolerance and responses to spicy food, the cats also react differently when exposed to garden mint.

What Parts Of The Plant Are Poisonous or Toxic?

All parts of the mint plants, particularly leaves, flowers, and stems, are unsafe for your feline friends. 

These plants are loaded with essential oils, which are highly toxic to not just cats, but also horses and dogs. 

Therefore, make sure your cat doesn’t nibble on mint leaves or any other part of the mint plants.

What Are The Symptoms Of Poisoning?

The most commonly experienced symptoms of mint poisoning are as follows:

  • Diarrhea
  • Committing
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Liver damage
  • Central nervous system damage
  • Headache
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Heartburns
  • Cramps

Another side effect caused due to mint scent is sedation. 

Your cat may seem dazed, lazy, and sleepy. 

Numerous cat owners refer to this behavior as similar to being stoned. 

Some cats experience a completely opposite reaction. 

For them, mint works as a stimulant, which cases energized, frenzied, and erratic behavior and movements.

In severe cases, it can cause dehydration and may even prove fatal. 

It is essential to be aware of the behaviors, routine, and potty habits to help you identify any alarming signs so you may provide your pet with the right medical and supportive care.

How to Protect Yourself While Handling the Mint Plant

If you are growing or are planning to grow any of the plants from the genus Mentha, then make sure to prevent your cat from accessing these houseplants.  

Avoid keeping the mint plants indoors if you have an indoor cat, and opt instead for non-toxic plants, like wheatgrass, valerian, cat grass, and parsley plants. 

Otherwise, make sure the mint plants are well out of your pet’s reach.

Cat owners must closely monitor the behavior of their cat to identify any signs of mint poisoning proactively. 

While eating the mint leaves in small amounts might not lead to poisoning, a larger quantity may be dangerous.

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