A lot of our readers have asked us is peppermint safe for cats to eat and be around in general. With this in mind, we’ve done our research to ensure that a clear, thorough answer can be found to this question, so let’s get right into it.
Is Peppermint Safe for Cats?
No, absolutely not. Peppermint oil, specifically, has some beneficial properties for cats, but it’s also extremely dangerous.
Is Peppermint Toxic to Cats?
While it technically isn’t, it still is very much toxic for cats to have. When asking is peppermint safe for cats to have, you also need to think about whether or not it’s actually toxic. Unfortunately, it is and can definitely kill a cat if you aren’t careful.
The reason why it’s toxic for cats to have is because of what it will due to their liver.
The lack of the glucuronosyltransferase enzyme that is found in humans and other animals is needed to break down essential oil’s elements. Again, cats do not have this natural enzyme.
When the liver is unable to identify and eliminate a substance, it stores this substance because it does not know what to do with it. This leads to poisoning the cat and potential death.
Peppermint oil contains phenols and ketones, which cats are extremely sensitive to, so the fact that their liver cannot eliminate them and stores them is a very large problem.
Over time, the toxicity grows and results in a quick or prolonged death depending on the system of that cat alone. There is no real way to tell how long death will take because individual cats have stronger or weaker systems.
Death will occur as a result of the nervous system breaking down and damaging the liver, causing it to eventually fail and destroy the system of the cat.
Toxicity Symptoms in Cats
Identifying toxicity, no matter how minor or major the symptoms may be, is extremely important in order to save the life of your cat as quickly as you can.
Listed below are the most common signs of toxicity currently taking place in a cat, as well as the ones that are easiest to spot:
- A cat suddenly becoming lethargic – becoming very sluggish and apathetic-like
- Confusion, not knowing what to do or where they are at
- Constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Noticeable changes in regular eating and/or sleeping patterns
If you notice any of these signs, call your vet immediately or make a visit to an emergency vet clinic.
Peppermint Oil and Fleas
Above we said that the Internet has listed beneficial uses for peppermint oil, one of these uses is using peppermint oil to help combat fleas.
However, this is never a good idea, because a number of scientific studies have come to the conclusion that peppermint oil can be fatal for cats. This goes in hand with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or the ASPCA, also strongly advising pet parents to never use peppermint oil on their furry kids.
Peppermint oil consists of properties that are very well known to repel fleas when used, but this does not mean it must be used. There are other ways you can repel fleas from your cat without putting your cat in the face of peril.
What Happens When a Cat Has Peppermint?
Nothing good, we can certainly assure you of that!
Peppermint odors alone can usually cause a cat to contract aspiration pneumonia due to their sensitive nervous system being breached by the powerful aroma of the peppermint.
When this occurs, symptoms will begin to show. You should be looking for a fever, an increased drastic heart rate and labored breathing. They will also typically begin to cough up or sneeze out some droplets that have solidified after inhaling the peppermint.
Peppermint will make your cat sick almost immediately, so it’ll be more than difficult to not notice any symptoms as soon as they happen.
Odor aside, peppermint is absorbed through a cat’s skin quite quickly. This is because cats have delicate, thin skin, which allows rapid absorption of practically any substance whatsoever to make its way into their system and into their bloodstream.
From there, the liver, gastrointestinal system, and central nervous system will be breached, as well.