Can Cats Eat Basil or Is this Herb Poisonous

Basil, Ocimum basilicum or great basil is a culinary herb that belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. Although it is native to South Asia through to Central Africa, it used worldwide in various cuisines and dishes where its leaves are used while fresh or dry.

One of the common dishes that have this herb is Italian pesto. Furthermore, this herb can be used alone or paired with others such as rosemary, thyme, mint, marjoram, chives, coriander, parsley, and others.

Additionally, its seeds are to be used to make gelatinous drinks and desserts popular in Asia once they been soaked.

Finally, besides its cultural and religious significance, in folk medicine, Ocimum basilicum is thought to have therapeutic properties.

Can cats eat basil
Can cats eat basil?

Popular cultivars

There are various cultivars with sweet basil cultivars such as lettuce leaf, purple, Rubin, globe, Thai, cinnamon, anise, licorice, and Persian dark opal commonly used in culinary.

Also, there are hybrid cultivars including the African blue, spice, and lemon as well as cultivars such as the camphor, mammoth, purple ruffles, African, clove or holy basil.

Is basil poisonous to cats?

No. Basil is not poisonous or toxic to cats and dogs. Cats can eat basil, i.e., its fresh, cooked, or dried and ground leaves are safe but should be given in moderation. Additionally, these pets can also eat any cat-safe food that has this herb.

Unlike human beings, felines, being meat-eaters, will derive little or no nutritional benefits from this herb although it has carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamin A, B complex, C, E as well as minerals. They are not able to digest and utilize any plant nutrients.

Since it has little or no nutritional benefits, only allow these pets to have a small amount as a treat if they like it. Their digestive system is not well adapted to eat plant materials and excessive amounts may cause stomach problems including diarrhea.

Do cats like basil?

While it is safe, some kitties may not like it due to its strong taste, flavor or smell as well as its texture. They may find it unpleasant and refuse to eat it.

While some kitties will eat it, others will simply sniff it and walk away. However, if used in foods, these pets may eat the food.


If you cultivate it in your garden, the basil plant is not also poisonous to cats. However, there is little information on the safety of this plant’s seeds and flowers. We do not want to speculate on their safety.

However, to humans, the Ocimum basilicum seeds, also referred as to tukmaria, falooda or sabja in various places where they are popular are quite nutritive as they have omega-3 fat, fiber and minerals.

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