Herbs have many culinary and medicinal benefits – not just for humans! Pet parents may be surprised when they know there are a number of safe herbs for cats. You might consider growing a few of these herbs as a cute little cat garden. Learn about herbs that are safe for cats (and they might benefit them!) – and which ones to avoid.
Safe herbs for cats
Although the following herbs have been found safe for most cats, we recommend talking to your vet before introducing large or regular use.
A lesser-known variant of catnip, valerian also serves as a cat stimulant. This pungent herb has been known to transform lazy cats (read: chubby) into the equivalent of Richard Simons. Valerian is a great choice for your cat’s indoor garden. It is strange that valerian is used in humans to relax.
Believe it or not, vets sometimes suggest using witch hazel to treat feline acne. Simply moisten cotton balls with witch hazel and wipe your cat’s chin once or twice daily.
This herb is said to help support the cat’s immune health. For example, cats with recurrent upper respiratory infections may benefit from echinacea.
Doctor Hanen Abdel Rahman notes that “as natural cortisone, licorice root can be used to calm itchy kitties that suffer from allergies, endocrine diseases, and the digestive system, as well as respiratory problems such as the common cold because it soothes the mucous membranes.”
Cat’s paw and dandelion root
These herbs with a proper name for cats can also help in allergies to cats. In addition, the cat’s paw may help alter the immune system, while the dandelion root can help promote healthy digestion and detoxify the liver.
This herb is used topically for its anti-inflammatory properties. Clinical experience indicates that calendula can speed up wound healing.
Another herb that is used topically for its antibacterial properties is Goldenseal – in other words, you might consider using this as a natural antiseptic.
The following herbs may not provide cats with medicinal benefits, but they are delicious and considered safe for cats:
- Cilantro or coriander
Let’s obviously finish: catnip! This herb, belonging to the mint family, contains an essential oil called nepetalactone that drives many wild cats. (Not all cats carry the gene interacting with catnip).
Warning: It is important to note that if your cat consumes large amounts of catnip (or any type of peppermint in the garden), he may experience vomiting and diarrhea. Always monitor the amount of catnip or catnip buds your cat has been exposed to.
Several sites include chamomile in the safe herb column for cats. However, this is a dangerous generalization, as some types of chamomile are toxic to both cats and dogs. While German chamomile is considered safe, true English / garden / Roman / chamomile can cause contact dermatitis, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and allergic reactions in pets.
Ginger is sedative for a troubled stomach. Encyclopedia of Herbs recommends giving cats a few drops of ginger root extract before leaving on a car trip and also giving another dose halfway through the trip for long trips.
Slippery elm bark has many healing properties, making it a varied herb for cats. The grass can be taken internally or used externally to enhance healing and reduce the possibility of injury. It is useful for inflammation of all mucous membranes, such as the stomach, lungs, kidneys, joints, throat, and bladder. Slippery elm contains pentosan, a component used to make Elmiron, a human drug prescribed to relieve the pain of bladder spasms from cystitis. According to Hof, the usual dose is a quarter of a teaspoon of slippery elm powder per 10 lbs. Of body weight.
Is it safe for cats to eat herbs?
Not only catnip, silver vine, and cat thyme are safe for your pet, but they are also healthy for your cat’s health. Each of these plants acts as your cat’s stimulant, which can reduce stress levels dramatically and boost mood. Catnip is the most popular of these stimulating herbs, but not all cats respond to it.