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For cat owners who are also culinary enthusiasts, the question of whether rosemary is safe for feline companions might arise. Here’s the reassuring news: according to the ASPCA, rosemary is non-toxic to cats, as well as dogs and horses. Unlike some other plants in the Lamiaceae family, such as catnip and lavender, which can be harmful to cats, rosemary poses no threat to your beloved pets.
However, like any ingredient, moderation is key. While the occasional curious nibble won’t harm your cat, consuming large quantities of rosemary can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Therefore, it’s wise to observe your feline friend if they happen to indulge in this aromatic herb.
At Beaconpet, your pet’s safety is our priority. With our expert insights, you can confidently navigate the world of pet-friendly herbs. Rest assured, your culinary adventures with rosemary can continue, knowing your feline friend is safe and sound.
Is Rosemary Safe For Cats?
Is Rosemary Safe For Cats to Eat?
Rosemary, known scientifically as Rosmarinus officinalis, is a commonly used herb that belongs to the Lamiaceae family of plants. This family, also referred to as the mint, deadnettle, or sage family, includes various aromatic herbs used in cooking. Many cat owners wonder whether it is safe for their feline friends to consume rosemary.
Rest assured, according to the ASPCA animal poison control, rosemary is non-toxic to cats, as well as to dogs and horses. However, it is important to note that there are members of the Lamiaceae family that the ASPCA lists as toxic to cats. These include surprisingly, catnip, lavender, marjoram, mint, and oregano. If your cat consumes any of these toxic plants, they may experience gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, diarrhea, and a decreased appetite.
On the other hand, there are non-toxic members of the Lamiaceae plant family that cats can safely consume. These include basil, candle plant, prostrate coleus, sage, summer savory, winter savory, Swedish ivy, and thyme.
How Much Rosemary Can Cats Eat?
While rosemary is considered non-toxic for cats, it is not advisable to let your cat have unlimited access to it. Rosemary contains volatile oils, including monoterpene, hydrocarbons, camphene, limonene, camphor, borneal, cineole, linalool, and verbinol. In large quantities, these oils can potentially cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea in cats.
However, most cats are unlikely to consume enough rosemary to experience any discomfort. Cats may give a curious nibble or two, but it’s unlikely that they would eat enough to cause any problems.
What If Your Cat Eats Too Much Rosemary?
If your cat happens to ingest a substantial amount of rosemary, it is essential to closely monitor them for any gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, or a loss of appetite. More subtle signs of gastrointestinal discomfort can also manifest, such as lethargy or changes in behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is best to seek veterinary care for your cat.
Are There Any Health Benefits?
While there have been animal studies suggesting that rosemary may have potential health benefits for conditions such as cardiac hypertrophy or decreased function, these studies have been primarily conducted on rats. As of now, there is insufficient reputable evidence to definitively state that rosemary has health benefits specifically for cats.
What About Rosemary Essential Oil?
Essential oils, including rosemary essential oil, are known to be toxic to cats. It is important to avoid using essential oils topically or aromatically around cats. Applying rosemary essential oil directly to your cat’s fur or using it in a diffuser can have serious consequences.
Ingesting rosemary essential oil can lead to vomiting and diarrhea in cats. The concentrated oils can also depress the central nervous system, causing a decreased heart and respiratory rate, and even seizures. Inhaling aerosolized essential oils from a diffuser can lead to respiratory tract irritation, along with symptoms such as watery eyes, nasal discharge, drooling, and difficulty breathing.
It is crucial to keep all essential oils, including rosemary essential oil, out of reach of cats to ensure their safety and well-being.
Toxic Members of the Lamiaceae Plant Family
The Lamiaceae plant family includes various herbs, some of which are considered toxic to cats. These toxic members include:
Catnip, known scientifically as Nepeta cataria, is a member of the Lamiaceae family that can have a profound effect on cats. While cats are generally attracted to catnip, consuming it can cause gastrointestinal upset.
Lavender, scientifically known as Lavandula angustifolia, is another plant in the Lamiaceae family that is toxic to cats. Ingesting lavender can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Marjoram, also referred to as Origanum majorana, is considered toxic to cats. Consumption of marjoram can cause gastrointestinal issues.
Mint, a common herb belonging to the Mentha genus, is toxic to cats. Ingesting mint can lead to gastrointestinal upset and other symptoms.
Oregano, scientifically known as Origanum vulgare, is another member of the Lamiaceae family that is toxic to cats. Consumption of oregano can result in gastrointestinal symptoms.
Non-Toxic Members of the Lamiaceae Plant Family
While some members of the Lamiaceae family are considered toxic to cats, there are also non-toxic members that cats can safely consume. These include:
Basil, scientifically known as Ocimum basilicum, is a non-toxic herb that belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Cats can safely consume basil without experiencing any adverse effects.
Candle plant, also known as Plectranthus coleoides, is another non-toxic member of the Lamiaceae family. Cats can safely consume this herb.
Prostrate coleus, scientifically known as Plectranthus oertendahlii, is a non-toxic herb that cats can safely consume.
Sage, scientifically known as Salvia officinalis, is a non-toxic herb that belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Cats can safely consume sage without any issues.
Summer savory, also known as Satureja hortensis, is a non-toxic herb that cats can safely consume.
Winter savory, scientifically known as Satureja montana, is another non-toxic herb that cats can consume without any adverse effects.
Swedish ivy, known scientifically as Plectranthus verticillatus, is a non-toxic member of the Lamiaceae family. Cats can safely consume Swedish ivy.
Thyme, scientifically known as Thymus vulgaris, is a non-toxic herb that belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Cats can safely consume thyme without experiencing any negative effects.
Volatile Oils in Rosemary
Rosemary contains various volatile oils, which contribute to its aroma and flavor. These volatile oils include:
Monoterpene is one of the volatile oils found in rosemary. It contributes to the herb’s characteristic scent.
Hydrocarbons are volatile oils present in rosemary. They are responsible for some of the herb’s aromatic properties.
Camphene is a volatile oil that contributes to the aroma and flavor of rosemary.
Limonene is another volatile oil found in rosemary. It adds a citrusy note to the herb’s scent and flavor.
Camphor is a well-known volatile oil with a strong aroma. It is found in rosemary and can contribute to its scent and flavor profile.
Borneal is a volatile oil present in rosemary. It contributes to the herb’s aromatic properties.
Cineole, also known as eucalyptol, is a volatile oil found in rosemary. It adds a fresh, minty scent to the herb.
Linalool is a volatile oil known for its floral scent. It is present in rosemary and contributes to its overall aroma.
Verbinol is a volatile oil found in rosemary. It adds complexity to the herb’s flavor and scent profile.
Dangers of Rosemary Essential Oil for Cats
Although rosemary itself is considered non-toxic for cats, rosemary essential oil is highly toxic and should never be used on or around cats. The concentrated nature of essential oils makes them dangerous for cats, as their bodies are unable to metabolize and eliminate these substances effectively.
Ingesting rosemary essential oil can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats. The ingestion of concentrated oils can also lead to depression of the central nervous system, resulting in decreased heart and respiratory rates, and even seizures.
Additionally, the inhalation of aerosolized essential oils from diffusers can cause respiratory tract irritation in cats. Symptoms of respiratory tract irritation may include watery eyes, nasal discharge, drooling, and difficulty breathing.
It is crucial to keep all essential oils, including rosemary essential oil, out of reach of cats to prevent accidental ingestion or inhalation.
In conclusion, while rosemary is generally safe for cats to consume in small quantities, it is essential to monitor their consumption and be cautious. Rosemary essential oil is highly toxic to cats and should be avoided altogether. If you have any concerns about your cat’s health or dietary choices, it is best to consult with a veterinarian for personalized advice and guidance.