Both catnip and catmint are mint kinds that are safe for cats to consume. Other mint species, on the other hand, have essential oils that, if consumed in high quantities, might cause serious reactions. Mint essential oils have also been demonstrated to relax the esophageal valve, which increases the chances of vomiting in a sick cat. Some mints, such as pennyroyal, can cause serious complications, including liver failure. If a cat has a history of liver, digestive, or gastrointestinal problems, they are more likely to develop complications from mint poisoning. Contact with mint can cause skin irritation in hypersensitive cats.
What Is Mint?
Mint or scientifically known as mentha species occurs in a variety of forms, the most common of which are garden mint, which is often used in cooking. This plant is native to Eurasia, North America, Southern Africa, and Australia, and belongs to the Lamiaceae family. Most mint varieties have wrinkled, ovular-shaped leaves. Mint blooms occur in a range of colors, from purple to white, and are clustered on stalks. Although the plant can grow to be over three feet tall, it prefers to stay short and low to the ground.
Clinical Signs of Mint Poisoning in Cats
It is uncommon for any ailment to occur after consuming most types of mint. If there is a reaction, it will most likely be limited to stomach discomfort because of the large quantity ingested. Only a few varieties of mint are capable of causing serious bodily harm. The typical signs to look out for in mint poisoning are:
First Aid and Treatment of Mint Poisoning in Cats
Unless the cat has a pre-existing health concern or has a strong reaction, most cases of disease caused by mint intake will not require treatment.
The typical treatment for plant poisoning will most likely include vomit-inducing or gastric lavage which will eliminate all plant material from the stomach before it can be fully digested and the toxins are absorbed by the body. Intravenous fluid therapy to rehydrate and balance electrolytes in the cat’s body. Medications such as anti-nausea and antacids may also be prescribed by the vet as needed.
Recovery from Mint Poisoning in Cats
Most cats will recover completely after an episode of mint poisoning. However, in instances wherein a cat’s liver has been damaged, it may experience long-term health problems. Discuss post-treatment care with your veterinarian and help your cats to fully recuperate at home by letting them rest as much as possible.
Prevention of Mint Poisoning in Cats
Cat owners should remember that any mint essential oils should never be given to cats as a remedy since they are simply too volatile. To avoid your cat ingesting any potted mint plants, keep them out of reach or it is better if you can avoid growing them in your home. It’s also best to keep your cat indoors to keep it safe from any harmful plants located in nearby gardens and other areas.
If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists: