Cats can eat mint depending on its variety.
Mint is an aromatic plant that belongs to the Lamiaceae family. There are about 13 to 24 species of mint, many of which are used as culinary herbs. Just like dogs, cats can only consume certain types of mint. Catnip actually belongs to the mint family, and can be eaten to help ease digestive issues or reduce stress.
On the other hand, ASPCA reports that garden mint should be avoided by both cats and dogs as it contains harmful essential oils. Consuming a large amount of the plant (leaves, flowers, or stems) may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Peppermint, which is popularly sold as an essential oil, is also said to be toxic for cats.
To be on the safe side, consult with your veterinarian to guarantee that the type of mint you’re bringing home to eat or grow is not harmful for your cat. Cats with existing liver, intestine, and bowel issues may experience health complications after feeding on mint.
What to do if your cat accidentally eats harmful mint varieties: Try to discover what type of mint and how much your cat has eaten. Observe your cat for signs of poisoning. Symptoms can manifest as the following: salivation; vomiting; diarrhea; twitching and fitting; difficulty breathing; shock or collapse; depression or coma; skin inflammation or swelling; and changes in drinking, urinating and appetite. Some cat owners also report sedation, overexcitement, and dehydration as effects of mint consumption.
Additionally, exposure to essential oils may also cause excessive drooling, shaking, unsteadiness, lethargy, depression, and dullness.
In summary: Mint can be fed to your cat on a case-to-case basis. If you’re unsure about the safety of the mint variety, refrain from exposing her to it until you get your doctor’s clearance. Though you may be tempted to feed your cat mint to freshen her breath, it is better to find safe alternative means such as brushing her teeth or feeding her dental treats.
Discover which plant-based human foods you can safely feed to your pet cat through our “can cats eat” blog category.