Can Cats Eat Lavender? - Cat Kingpin
can cats eat lavender

Can Cats Eat Lavender?

Lavender is a plant as well as a very popular scent for all types of things, including laundry detergent, perfume, and cleaning solutions. Most people will recognize the scent of lavender; it’s earthy, clean, and floral. But not everyone knows that lavender is a plant.

If you’re lucky enough to have a real live lavender plant in your home, you may have noticed your cat sniffing around it. Cats are naturally curious, which is why it’s very important to make sure the plants in your home are not toxic to cats.

You probably aren’t too worried if your cat is just sniffing the plant, but what if they try to eat some? Can cats eat lavender?

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • Cats and Lavender -What You Need to Know
  • Can Cats Eat Lavender?
  • Can Kittens Eat Lavender?
  • Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Lavender
  • Alternatives to Lavender for Cats

Cats and Lavender, What You Need to Know

The Lavandula plant, which you probably know as lavender, is a beautiful plant that has been widely used and appreciated since ancient Roman times. With its signature purple flower and fabulous smell, lavender is found in all sorts of products for personal beauty care and for the home.

While cats may not enjoy the strong smell of lavender, they are likely to be very interested in the plant itself.

Cat owners with plants know that it’s important to be very careful about what kinds of plants they bring into their home because cats don’t know the difference between a safe plant like some types of grass and a poisonous plant!

Luckily, lavender smells great, looks pretty, and generally isn’t harmful to cats. However, there are some things to watch out for!

Can Cats Eat Lavender?

It’s one thing to let your cat sniff around a lavender plant, but it’s another to let them actually eat it.

Curious kitties will likely try and nibble any plants that you keep in the home, including lavender. While it’s not as toxic as some other plants, such as the truly deadly lily, lavender may cause digestive upset in your cat if they ingest too much.

While lavender isn’t generally listed as a toxic plant for cats, lavender contains two chemicals called linlool and linalyl acetate, both of which may cause nausea and vomiting in cats. So how much is too much? Here are some tips:

  1. Only let your cat nibble lavender-they should never take huge bites.
  2. If your cat is obsessed with your lavender plant, move it someplace where your cat can’t reach it.
  3. If you notice your cat eating lavender, be careful and monitor them for any signs that it’s making them ill, such as drooling, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The key with lavender and any other nontoxic herb is moderation. Tiny tidbits may be fine, but cats that eat too much may become seriously ill.

Can Cats Eat Lavender Oil?

Lavender oil, often toted as a mild sedative, is sometimes found in cat toys and cat litter. It is also sold in some pet stores as an additive to food or as a calming essential oil.

When found in commercial cat products, especially litter and toys, lavender oil is likely safe. Some brands contain a mix of different herbs that are soothing for pets, such as Only Natural Pets Essential Oils.

If you’re interested in using lavender oil for aromatherapy purpose, it’s best to check with your vet. If ingested, lavender oil can make your cat quite ill.

Ok, so this cat is definitely saying “no thank you” to lavender oil. To each their own!

Can Kittens Eat Lavender?

Kittens can enjoy a lavender-scented toy, but they should never be allowed to eat lavender. Kittens are more delicate that grown cats and even just tiny traces of the chemicals in lavender may prove harmful.

To keep your kitten safe from lavender, keep in mind the following tips:

  1. Keep lavender plants and essential oils out of your kittens reach
  2. If you see them nosing around the plant, discourage them and move it out of reach.
  3. If your kitten ingests lavender or lavender oil, watch them carefully for signs of illness and take them to the vet.

Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Lavender

While there are no health benefits to ingesting lavender, being exposed to lavender can have all sorts of positive effects on your cat’s health.

Lavender is very soothing both for humans and their feline friends. Toys scented with lavender, such as this cute hedgehog toy, can be very appealing to cats and can be very calming.

Actually eating large amounts of lavender, either fresh or dried, can be very harmful to your cat. It’s best to stick to pet-approved toys that will allow your cat to smell and enjoy the lavender without actually eating it.

Alternatives to Lavender Cats

If your cat is obsessed with lavender, there are plenty of ways you can make sure they get their fix and still stay safe.

You can try lavender-scented toys, some of which contain lavender mixed with a variety of herbs, such as Valerian root.

If you and your cat both like the scent of lavender, you can also try using a cat litter that has been scented with it, such as Matty’s Pet Stop Crystal Litter with Lavender.

Your cat will love it, and it’ll make your house smell nice, too.

There are entire YouTube videos dedicated to safely using essential oils, including lavender, with your cat. Check it out!

So, Can Cats Eat Lavender?

If adult cats nibble at lavender, it’s unlikely to cause them any harm. However, in large quantities, lavender can be toxic. And kittens should never be allowed to get near lavender!

If your cat is really into lavender, you can try:

  1. Offering them toys scented with lavender
  2. Buying them cat little scented with lavender
  3. Using pet-friendly essential oils (but never let your cat eat it!)

As with most herbs and cats, moderation is key. If your cat can’t control themselves, it’s best to get rid of any lavender plants in your house, or at least keep them out of reach.

Better safe than sorry!

Do you use lavender in your cat’s toys, or experiment with pet-friendly essential lavender oil? How do you keep your cat from going after your lavender plant? We want to hear all about your experience with your kitty and lavender- tell us in the comments!

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Amanda K.

After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I've been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I've been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.

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