Mint or Mentha is a genus name for various plants in the family Lamiaceae used include culinary, cosmetics, folk medicine, aromatherapy as well as in making insecticides, among other applications depending on the specific species.
There are various species and hybrids. Some of the species include slender, horse, Corsican, American wild, or Australian mint. Also, there is the water (mash) mint, the corn, sweet, wild, field or banana mint (Japanese peppermint), spearmint, pennyroyals, pineapple, or apple mint, among others.
Some of the hybrids include chocolate, ginger, sharp-toothed, false apple, and red raripila mints, as well as the large apple mint (hairy, wooly, Cuban, mojito or foxtail).
Is mint safe for cats?
It is not all about whether cats can eat the mint plant or not, but if it is safe for these pets. Whether kitties like its smell and taste or not doesn’t mean it is ok.
The mint plants i.e., its stems, flowers or leaves are not safe for cats since they contain essential oils that are toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses. Therefore, cats should not eat mint leaves or have their essential oil, including chocolate mint.
This “essential oils specific to garden mint have also been known to relax the esophageal valve, making vomiting more likely in a cat who may already be ill” warns Wag walking. Cats with pre-existing bowel, intestine, or liver disease are likely to suffer from severe effects.
Additionally, some species, such as the pennyroyal, may have more detrimental effects, including liver damage.
In case your kitty ingests a lot of any of the Mentha species expect it to diarrhea and vomit. Other possible symptoms will include weakness and nausea.
Besides ingesting them, some kitties may end up with some skin allergic reactions making the topical use of these herb’s essential oil not safe too.
Also, there is the possibility of them causing an allergic reaction. In humans, some of the possible allergic reaction symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, heartburns, contact dermatitis, anaphylaxis, and headache.
In case of toxicity, visit your vet for diagnosis and treatment. There will be stomach decontamination, supportive care, as well as other procedures depending on how severe the poisoning is.
Do cats like mint?
While most cats hate this herb’s smell, others love it. This liking is due to the presence of the nepetalactone, which closely mimics chemicals found in catnip, which often attract kitties.
Therefore, not all will like this herb. Some will like it, while others will not like its smell or taste at all. It all depends on how sensitive your cat is.
Similarly, do not let your cats have mint candies, which often contain spearmint and peppermint oil. Some candies have wintergreens too.
These scotch, soft, or hard candies have sugar, corn syrup, titanium dioxide. Sugars and corn syrups are not healthy for felines as they may lead to gastrointestinal upsets, obesity, and other issues.
Finally, avoid Sweet Mint Gum, including Orbit, jellies, or any other product that is unhealthy to your feline friend.
To wrap up on the discussion on cats and mint, always ensure your kitties do not eat or ingest anything that has these herbs.
If you grow any of the genus Mentha plants in your home, make sure your kitties cannot reach them as its essential oil and salicylate are poisonous. While nibbling a small amount may not cause poisoning, excessive amounts will be harmful.
Finally, note that catmint does not belong to the genus Mentha and it is safe for your kitties to eat in a small amount. Excessive amounts are not safe too.