Spearmint or Mentha spicata, also known as garden, mackerel, common, or lamb mint, is an aromatic herb under the sage or mint family, botanically referred to as family Lamiaceae.
This herb is native to the temperate regions of south Asia and Europe but now naturalized in other parts of the world.
Its fresh and dried leaves serve in flavoring food and making herbal teas owing to its fruity, aromatic taste.
Additionally, it is a source of spearmint essential oil used in making confectionery, shampoos, soaps, insecticide, pesticides, and toothpaste. Some of its properties include being an antitumor, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, as well as having an anti-androgen effect.
Is it safe for cats?
No. All the members of the genus Mentha including spearmint, are toxic to cats. This revelation means that apple, corn, water, horse, forest, peppermint, etc., are poisonous to these pets, especially if ingested in large amounts.
If your cat eats a lot of spearmints, expect her to have symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and lethargy. Vomiting occurs because the essential oil it has, which, according to Wagwalking.com, “relaxes the esophageal valve, making vomiting more likely in a cat who may already be ill.”
However, note that catnip (Nepeta cataria) and catmint (Nepeta × faassenii) that belong to the family Lamiaceae but not to the genus Mentha are safe for these pets. However, since they do not share the same genus name, they are different plants.
Do cats like spearmint? No. Cats are not attracted to this herb, and the chances of them eating it are low. Nevertheless, it may invite them since it has chemicals that closely mimic nepetalactone. Avoid giving them food that has this herb.
From the above discussion, you know that spearmint oil is not safe for cats because it has essential oils, including limonene, dihydrocarvona, 1,8-cineol, and many others, some of which are poisonous to kitties.
This essential oil is more dangerous than the plant itself. Avoid it, i.e., do not use it on your kitty for any purpose before talking to your veterinarian.
Finally, in case of any of the toxicity symptoms, talk to your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Most cats do not like spearmint, which happens to be bad to them, including its essential oil. If you plant it, ensure it is in an area that inaccessible since these pets sometimes eat grass and plant for several reasons.