Is a Peppermint Plant Safe for Cats?

is peppermint plant safe for cats

Peppermint plants, like many other mint plant varieties, are not safe for cats. The essential oils that these plants contain are toxic to cats but also dogs and horses.

Cats are independent creatures that can find their way into the most unlikely nooks and crannies. That is why it is important to know which houseplants are safe for your cat and which are not.

Unfortunately, this means that you have to be very careful about which mint plants to keep in the house. This is what you need to know about mint plants and cats.

Are Mint Plants Toxic for Cats?

Mint plants contain essential oils and it is these essential oils that are potentially poisonous for your cat. The ASPCA classifies garden mint as a toxic substance for cats but it is important to note that cats have different tolerances.

In other words, some cats are more prone to harm from eating mint than others. Also, for mint to be poisonous, it must be consumed in considerably large quantities.

What this means is that some cats will be fine after a nibble of mint while others may show signs of mint poisoning. Many of the symptoms of mint poisoning are similar to the reaction to other toxic plants.

Signs of mint poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Allergic reaction
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Nausea
  • General weakness

What About Catnip?

Catnip, also known as catmint or catwort, is not safe for cats either. If mint is potentially toxic for cats, why do they love catnip so much?

Some cats actually enjoy the scent of mint which is perhaps why they are so interested in eating these plants, including catnip. Although many cats are not harmed by eating catnip, there is no way to predict whether this is true for your cat.

Consuming large amounts of catnip is dangerous to any cat. They can start to show the symptoms of mint poisoning so keep catnip away from your cat.

Don’t be fooled by the cartoons and videos showing cats thoroughly enjoying a dazed mood after eating catnip. Any mint is potentially toxic for cats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is menthol safe for cats?

Menthol is not safe for cats and you should protect from ingesting products containing menthol. Cats are attracted to minty scents so be very wary of putting out creams, lotions or foods containing menthol when you have a cat.

Do cats like the smell of menthol?

Yes, cats like the smell of menthol and other similar minty scents. This is perhaps also why they may start to nibble on your mint plants.

Is the smell of peppermint harmful to cats?

The smell of peppermint is not harmful to cats but ingesting peppermint, and any other type of mint, might be. Mints are toxic substances for cats and should always be kept away from them.

Summary

Despite popular belief, peppermint, catnip and other types of mint are all potentially toxic for cats and other pets. These plants contain essential oils that are not suitable for ingestion.

Consuming large amounts of mint can lead to mint poisoning. Common symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, gastrointestinal upset and general weakness.

Unfortunately, cats are attracted by the scent of mint which means that keeping mint plants in the house is not a good idea. If you do want to grow your own mint, consider keeping it outside where your cat can’t get to them.

If you have a cat in the house, mint might not be the best herb to grow at home. Consider growing one of the cat-safe herbs, instead.

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