It is not recommended for cats to eat high amounts of cinnamon.
Known for its sweet flavour and strong scent, cinnamon is a dark red spice that belongs to the Lauraceae family. It is declared as non-toxic to both cats and dogs by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. However, it can be potentially dangerous if your cat is exposed to large or concentrated amounts of cinnamon. These include chewing on the plant or stick, eating its powdered form (or food containing cinnamon), and inhaling or licking cinnamon oil. Pet Poison Helpline reports that only a small amount of essential oil can trigger problems, while more than one teaspoon of cinnamon powder can cause health issues in most pets.
Cinnamon overdose can affect your cat’s respiratory, circulatory, and digestive systems. It can cause the following: vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, choking, difficulty breathing (bronchospasm), low blood sugar, heart rate changes, and liver disease. Toxicity may even lead to other organ failure. Some cats may also be allergic to cinnamon, which may manifest on the mouth or skin as irritation, rash, redness, or burns.
What to do if your cat accidentally eats cinnamon: Try to determine how much cinnamon your cat has consumed, and watch for the aforementioned symptoms. If your cat has ingested or has been exposed to high amounts of cinnamon, contact your veterinarian immediately.
In summary: A cat’s stomach cannot break down the compounds found in cinnamon, while phenol can burn her skin and irritate her respiratory system. Though your cat may be able to consume a small amount of cinnamon, it is advisable not to let her get used to it. Keep the plant, oil, or condiment away from her at all times to prevent irreparable health conditions from developing.
Aside from cinnamon, check out which human-based foods are harmful for cats through our “can cats eat” blog category.