Peppermint plants are from the mint family, and we all know mint is a toxic plant for our feline friend. As cat owners providing your feline friend with ingredients from the herb gardens is not a good idea because mint essential oils are toxic, which can cause mint poisoning in your feline friend that may lead to death.
So, many pet owners wonder what happens to a cat’s health when they consume peppermint plants. To find out the answer, keep on reading.
Cats, Peppermint and Health
As pet parents, we should know that garden mint is not safe for our feline friends, and even the smell of peppermint can irritate your furry friend. We usually keep peppermint candy for bad breath, but despite the large quantities of sugar, it contains peppermint leaf extract, which is okay for humans to eat but not for our feline friend.
There are many mint plants, and one of the forms of mint is peppermint. Peppermint has active ingredients like Salicylate and Nepetalactone. The Salicylate gives off the scent of mint, and since cats have a sharp sense of smell, they get this strong fragrance of mint, which is not a pleasant smell for them. However, Nepetalactone is an organic compound found in catnip.
Your feline friend loves the smell of this type of mint and is instantly drawn to it. Then any form of essential oils or use of essential oils on your feline friend can cause harmful effects such as difficulty breathing, skin irritation, allergic reactions, other health issues, and in extreme cases, death.
Suppose your feline friend has some adverse reactions after overeating mint, such as gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, weakness, allergic reactions, upset stomach, increased heart rate, or a change in the cat’s behavior. In that case, these are symptoms of mint poisoning. If these symptoms occur, there is a higher risk of your feline friend taking some mint herb with harmful effects. So, immediately take them to the vet and check them for toxic substances and other underlying health problems.
Is Peppermint Toxic for Our Feline Friend?
In the list of plants that are not poisonous to your feline friend, peppermint is also listed as it is not deadly; however, even a tiny amount of peppermint can have adverse reactions to your feline’s liver. For humans, dogs, and other animals, peppermint oil is safe. Still, since cats lack glucuronosyltransferase enzymes, they cannot break down any form of essential oil, which causes them gastrointestinal distress and, in severe cases, liver diseases.
The liver cannot remove the essential oils making the cat hypersensitive and prone to liver diseases like liver damage which may lead to liver failure and death. Temperamental cats get breathing problems and other common mint poisoning symptoms, making it difficult for them to survive.
Peppermint oil affects the central nervous system of your domestic cat and leads them to health problems as soon as they ingest fresh mint. So, for the safe side, it is always better to keep your feline friend away from the varieties of mint plants so they stay away from health problems.
What Happens When a Cat Eats Peppermint?
Nothing good can come out of feeding your feline friend fresh or wild mint because prolonged exposure to peppermint can cause the following symptoms in your feline friend. The smell of peppermint can start aspiration pneumonia in your cat, which attacks your cat’s central nervous system. They might get a fever, difficulty breathing, coughing, or sneezing after they whiff the smell of peppermint.
Cats have thin skin, and if peppermint phenolic compounds go into your cat’s respiratory tract and skin, they can quickly dissipate into the bloodstream. This can cause them gastrointestinal distress, live diseases, bowel disease, nervous system issues, and even mint poisoning symptoms. If you see the signs of mint poisoning, then make sure to visit your vet before it gets worse.
What Type of Peppermint Can My Cat Eat?
The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals) has listed mint as toxic for your feline friend. This means that you should keep your cat away from the mint plants. Peppermint tea can be a folk medicine for your feline friend if diluted. This can help them relax, and if mixed with apple mint, valerian, chamomile, and other substances, it can be a good option. Make sure that no essential oils are included in the tea or that there are no adverse reactions.
For instance, it is the holiday season, and you have candy canes, peppermint candies, or any other food item containing peppermint flavor, etc., lying around your house. Make sure to keep your feline friend away from these things as they have high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and other harmful ingredients, especially essential oils from mint, to give that scent of mint to the products.
We all know cats are curious creatures, and if your feline friend accidentally licks or chews a candy cane, then do not worry because it will not harm them immediately. Moreover, they will not love the candy because of how chilly it will be for their taste buds, so keep it away, and if they do eat it accidentally, then keep a closer look for any side effects.
How to Stop My Cat from Eating Peppermint
You should do a few things to keep your feline friend away from the mint toxic. First, keep the snacks with mint as an active ingredient away from them at all costs. You can store such snacks in your kitchen cabinets, on top of shelves, or in the fridge so your cat cannot reach them.
Catnip is a treatment widely used for cat food and is mainly added to commercial cat foods. It would help if you kept the catnip intake to the minimum as it can cause severe problems for you because once your feline friend has gotten a sniff and taste of catnip, they will want more. Lastly, keep a closer eye on your cat, so they do not eat human foods that are not allowed.
The cat food must contain high-quality protein because cats are obligate carnivores, and since everyone knows that mint is toxic to cats, it is better to keep catnip and other forms of mint to a minimum. If there are outdoor cats, keep the mint plants hidden for their safety. Lastly, avoid giving foods such as catnip to cats which can make them want to eat mint as both have the same scents.
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