Cats can be confusing creatures, especially when it comes to mints. Have you ever noticed your cat is strongly attracted to mint-scented items? I’ve seen my cat do this and it’s always puzzled me. So, with that in mind I decided to do some research to answer this question; why do cats like mint?
Cats like mint-scented products or mint plants because the mint smells similar to catnip. Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family Labiatae. The two herbs share many similar attributes that your cat recognizes and is drawn to.
As you can see, it’s entirely normal for cats to be drawn to mint. They love the smell, the taste, the texture, and everything in between. However, there is such a thing as too much mint. In this article, we’ll talk about some safety concerns with mint, some alternatives, and other interesting facts about why cats are so attracted to it.
Is Mint Safe for Cats?
The garden variety of mint is not safe for your cat to consume, according to ASPCA. The essential oil in garden mint is toxic for cats if they consume it in large quantities. If your cat does happen to eat a lot of a mint plant, you may notice them reacting to the herb. Most commonly, if your cat ingests mint, they will experience vomiting, diarrhea, or another gastrointestinal discomfort. Contact your cat’s vet if you believe they have ingested mint leaves to seek further advice.
Why Is My Cat Obsessed With Mint?
Your cat is obsessed with mint because they are likely getting it confused with another herb from the mint family: catnip! Cats love the smell of both catnip and mint, and they often gravitate towards it if they smell it in your house.
Cats have a powerful sense of smell, so it’s not hard for them to find it. A cat has 200 million odor sensors, while humans only have 5 million. This helps to explain their obsession. Imagine everything smelling 14% more strongly around you! You would be curious to explore all the smells as well.
Are Cats Attracted to Mint?
Cats are attracted to mint for the fragrance the herb gives off. Mint acts as a substitute product for catnip, so if you find your cat cannot stay away from mint-flavored things, try putting out catnip instead. Catnip is safe for cats to ingest, and they will be so distracted by their favorite treat that they should hopefully keep away from the mint in the future.
Is the Smell of Mint Bad For Cats?
The smell of mint alone is not bad for cats. It is totally fine to have mint growing in your garden or fresh mint laying out in your kitchen. Mint is harmful to cats only if they try to ingest the mint leaves. If you can tell your cat cannot keep away from the mint and continually tries to eat it, you may have to take further steps to remove it from your home and garden to keep your cat safe.
Is Mint Poisonous to Cats?
Mint is considered poisonous because it contains peppermint essential oil, which is toxic if consumed by a cat. With that said, all cats will have different reactions to various herbs. Typically, your cat would have to eat a fair amount of mint leaves for them to show any mint poisoning symptoms.
If you are concerned your cat ingested a large amount of mint, be on the lookout for any gastrointestinal troubles. While you certainly do not want your cat to eat mint, there is no reason to be deeply concerned if your cat consumes a tiny serving. There are far more poisonous items out there that are a much more significant cause for concern for your cat.
Do Cats Like Mint Plants?
Yes, most cats will be curious and attracted to mint plants based on the plant’s peppermint smell. While some strong herbal scents repel cats, they certainly are not afraid of all the plants in your garden. Make sure to keep your mint plants away from your cats to ensure they are not tempted to nibble on the leaves!
Can Cats Eat Mint?
No, cats should never eat mint. This includes all parts of the mint leaf- the stem, the flower, and the leaves. All mint plants have peppermint essential oils inside, which are toxic for cats. Your cat can eat catmint instead, which is another name for catnip. Catmint is a nontoxic herb that cats are known to love and can safely consume.
Catmint is a recreational substance that cats can chew on, making them happy and giving them a high. It is a great substance to use to keep your cat out of trouble and to use as a reward incentive for them.
Is Mint Gum Bad For Cats
Even if your feline friend loves mint and has smelly breath, it is not recommended to give them mint gum or breath mints. Your cat may act interested in these items because they love the smell of mint, but it can be harmful to them if they ingest the gum.
Often mint gum contains the ingredient xylitol or other artificial sweeteners. While these are ok for humans to ingest, it is not suitable for cats to eat any item with that ingredient. Xylitol can cause your cat’s blood sugar to drop to a dangerously low level rapidly and can cause several harmful reactions in your pet.
Some of these reactions include weakness, tremors, seizures, or vomiting in cats. Keep your cat safe by storing your mint-flavored chewing gum somewhere they will not be able to reach it. If your cat does have bad breath, you should consult with their vet, which can be a sign of dental decay.
If you notice your cat continually seems to find your mint-scented products or mint plants, now you know why! While we can agree it is deliciously fragrant, do your best to keep your cat away from mint in your home. If your cat continues to be fixated on mint, make sure always to keep catnip on hand to keep them distracted. Catnip is really what they would prefer anyway and is a much healthier alternative for your kitty!
Other Things To Consider About Cats And Mint
Now that you know cats have a strong affinity for mint, it’s important to consider the following things.
Keep Mint Snacks Out Of Reach
If you’re a fan of mint candies or foods, it’s important to keep those sorts of snacks out of your cats reach. Any candy bowls should be placed in the fridge, or in a cabinet where your cat cannot easily access it. Trust me, they can smell mint a mile away, and the last thing you want is for them to end up consuming it.
Limit The Catnip
Catnip is such a popular product, however, it’s problematic for most cat owners. Because cats are so attracted to its mint qualities, you may want to limit your cat’s access to catnip. Consider giving them toys that don’t have the product already inside of them. Laser toys and things of that nature are better alternatives.
Monitor Your Cat
Each cat reacts to mint differently. Some love it, and others don’t. If you are burning essential oils in the home, chances are your cat may have an adverse reaction to any of them that contain peppermint. So with that said, monitor your cat carefully, making sure they are not being affected by that.
Any plants you bring into the home also should be vetted against your cat’s behavior. Even traces of mint can have a bit of an impact. Most importantly remember, any mint a cat ingests could cause serious gastrointestinal issues, so make sure any plants or oils are out of reach!