Whether you have it as a houseplant on your windowsill or dried to cook with, most people have oregano somewhere in their home.
A staple spice in Mediterranean cooking, oregano can be found in all sorts of recipes, from pizza to salads and meat dishes.
While we know that not all plants are safe for cats, it’s easy to assume that plants that humans can eat are also harmless for our feline friends. This is not always the case, and oregano is the perfect example.
While it can be difficult to believe that this innocuous herb can harm your cat, the truth is that oregano contains an oil that may wreak havoc on your cat’s delicate digestive system.
In this article we’ll cover the following:
Humans have been eating oregano for centuries. Originally cultivated in Greece, the ancient Greeks believed that this herb was created by the deity Aphrodite. In fact, the word “oregano” comes from the Greek words for “mountain” and “joy”.
Unfortunately for our feline friends, oregano is more likely to cause digestive upset than joy. There are oils present in the oregano plant that can make your cat feel ill.
While a very small amount of oregano, such as tomato sauce with a little bit of oregano in it, is unlikely to do your cat any serious harm, it’s still an herb that’s best avoided.
No, cats should not be fed oregano and fresh oregano plants in the home should be kept well out of reach of your feline friend. In fact, it’s best not to keep oregano in the house at all, just in case your crafty cat manages to get a hold of it.
Oils present in the oregano plant and leaves are toxic to cats and, if eaten in large enough quantities, can cause liver damage. In small quantities oregano can cause digestive upset, including vomiting and diarrhea.
Because of the potential to create digestive issues, you should avoid giving your cat oregano. If you suspect your cat has ingested a tiny bit of oregano, especially fresh oregano, you should watch them carefully for any signs that the herb is making them ill, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Dried oregano is less noxious than fresh oregano, but both varieties should be avoided.
No, kittens should absolutely not eat oregano. Because kittens have such sensitive digestive systems, they are more likely to become sick from even a small quantity of oregano than their adult counterparts.
Kittens are notoriously curious creatures, so it’s best to not keep oregano plants in the home when your kitten is young. If you want to keep a bit of dried oregano, just make sure it’s kept safely closed in a cabinet and the lid is on tight.
Don’t give your kitten any food that contains oregano, such as pizza or pasta sauce, and certainly don’t let them near any oregano oil.
Kitten diets should be pretty boring. You should avoid all types of herbs and human food and simply feed your kitten a steady diet of high-quality kitten food that lists meat as the first ingredient, such as Blue Buffalo Wilderness.
Feeding your kitten plain water and kitten food is the best way to raise your kitten in a healthy way.
This little kitten has had his first taste of catnip. Catnip is a great alternative to oregano, as it’s totally safe and very appreciated by our feline friends.
While oregano has a variety of health benefits for human beings, there is really no reason to give your cat oregano. In fact, oregano can be toxic to cats and should always be avoided.
Signs of oregano toxicity in cats are:
If your cat ingests oregano and you notice any of these signs, bring them to the vet immediately. Bring a sample of the oregano that your cat ingested to present to the veterinarian. This can help them make the proper diagnosis and give the best treatment possible.
It’s important to remember that a cat’s digestive system isn’t set up to process vegetation in the same way that yours is. Cats are carnivores and don’t really require much in the way of leafy greens. If your cat really likes the taste you can certainly offer them small pieces of spinach.
As an even better alternative, buy your cat some cat grass or dried catnip. Cats really enjoy munching on both of these grasses and, while the health benefits are minimal, your cat will really like the taste! Plus, you can feel good about giving them a bit of variety in their diet.
This cat is really loving his catnip. Much better than oregano, right?
No, cats can’t eat oregano. It isn’t good for them, can cause digestive upset, and has no health benefits that would make the risk worth it.
Does your cat crave leafy greens? What kind do you offer them? Has you cat ever shown interest in oregano, even though it could make them feel sick? We want to hear all about it in the comments, let us know!
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.