Thyme or Thymus is not a specific name for a certain plant species but a genus name for over 350 different species of flowering, aromatic herbs and small shrubs under the family Lamiaceae.
Normally, it is the Thymus vulgaris (garden, common, German, English, French, winter or summer thyme) species that is commonly used in culinary as well as for its essential oil that has medicinal value.
However, there are other cultivars and species. Some of the other species comprise of the caraway, citrus, and wild, creeping, mother or mountain thyme.
Finally, some of the common cultivars include lemon, orange, silver, English, summer, variegated lemon thyme.
Safe for cats or not?
Yes. Thyme plant is safe for cats. This, therefore, means that you can let your cat eat thyme. However, as a rule of thumb, only give them a very small amount.
It will help in improving digestion, inhibit bacterial and fungal growth since it has thymol, boost your kitty’s immunity (has vitamin C and antioxidants) and help in hairball removal.
You can chop fresh leaves or use dried powdery ones. Sprinkle them on your cat’s favorite food. Always, go for an organic source and wash fresh ones before using them. Some kitties will like this herb while others may find its taste and aroma too strong.
As strict carnivores, giving them a lot of this herb will result in indigestion since these pets do not have the needed digestive enzymes. Expect stomach upset, diarrhea, abdominal pain or even vomiting should this occur.
Finally, note that cat thyme or Teucrium marram to which these pets are drawn is not one of the species under genus thymus.
Avoid its essential oil
Humans widely use this herb’s essential oil since it has antimicrobial properties, i.e., antibiotic, and antiviral properties. Moreover, it is also a good antiseptic and diuretic.
Oil of the Thymus vulgaris is toxic to cats and must be avoided since it has a high concentration of essential oils and phenols. Felines do not have P450 cytochrome metabolic pathway and it will be difficult for them to eliminate some of the essential oil’s components and other chemical compounds present.
Therefore, do not use it for internal or external purposes before you consult your vet including in killing worms. He or she will also guide you on how to use it if it is very necessary.
Finally, if your kitty drinks this essential oil, talk to your vet for treatment as it may cause diarrhea, stomach upsets, nervous system symptoms, and so on.
cats can eat thyme. It is not poisonous to them. However, give them only a small amount, a small pinch is enough. However, avoid its essential oil.