Toxic plants

Is Tarragon Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Tarragon Toxic to Cats

Tarragon is considered poisonous to dogs, cats, and horses if ingested in sufficient quantity. The essential oils in this plant, particularly in the roots, are the source of its toxicity. Ingesting the herb may cause mild stomach discomfort.

What is Tarragon?

Tarragon with a cat in the background

Tarragon is also known by the names Artemisia dracunculus, Herbe Dragon, Petit Dragon, Estragon, Artemisia glauca, Armoise cre, French Tarragon, Little Dragon, Herbe au Dragon, and Mugwort. 

Tarragon is a French culinary herb that has been used for centuries. It’s found all over North America and Eurasia. It is grown for both medical and culinary purposes. More flavorful and pungent cultivars have been developed and selected for culinary use.

The wild species has mostly been employed for medicinal and, to a lesser extent, gastronomic purposes. Wild tarragon thrives on dry, sunny, pH-neutral, well-drained soil. It’s ideal for herb gardens, pots, and naturalized areas, but ornamental plants shouldn’t utilize it because it can seem weedy.

Tarragon rarely produces flowers or seeds. It is simple to propagate due to the fact that it uses rhizomatous roots to spread. Tarragon leaves are bright green in color, smell toasty, and have an anise-like flavor. Tarragon essential oil includes 0.3 to 1.0 percent methyl chavicol, which is the main component.

Clinical Signs of Tarragon Poisoning in Cats

Tarragon and cats

Ingestion of tarragon may cause cats to suffer from mild gastrointestinal symptoms. This may involve:

First Aid and Treatment of Tarragon Poisoning in Cats

Cat sits near Tarragon

If you detect any of the symptoms, you must respond appropriately. In the event of cat poisoning, the first and most important step is to contact a veterinarian.

Bring your cat to an open, ventilated, and well-lit place if it is very weak, or fainting. If you don’t have a suitable location, the bathroom or kitchen will suffice, as they are usually well-lit and have access to water.

Even if your cat vomits, some of the poison will have already been absorbed. Activated carbon can be used to prevent this absorption.

Recovery from Tarragon Poisoning in Cats

If no additional drugs are being provided, frequent pepcid (famotidine) every 12-24 hours should help with GI issues. Once symptoms have subsided for at least 48 hours, please discontinue the famotidine. You can give a little amount of bland diet 2 hours after giving a famotidine dose, the time it takes for the drug to start working. Work your way up to feeding exclusively for at least 3 days after the symptoms have subsided. After that, gradually go back to your cat’s regular food over a 10-day period. The gradual transition should reduce the likelihood of GI distress from changing foods.

Prevention of Tarragon Poisoning in Cats

If you still want to grow a herb garden, there are several things you can do to make coming into contact with potentially deadly herbs less appealing to your cat. Growing plants that cats dislike among your herbs is the most natural of these possibilities. Commercial odor barriers, sound barriers, and physical fencing are more obtrusive solutions.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

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