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Can Cats Eat Basil?

Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

If you’ve been a cat owner for a while now, you’re already aware of the fact that cats will sometimes get where they’re not supposed to be and chew things they’re not supposed to chew. And if you’re that type of person who’s got all kinds of herbs in his home, well, you might have some questions regarding herbs and cats.

Basil is something most people who love cooking have in their kitchen, and since a lot of them also own a cat or two, the question arises. Can cats eat basil? Is basil safe if ingested by cats or should you steer them away from it and any foods that contain basil? So let’s find out more details.

So, Can Cats Eat Basil?

You might have a little garden in your backyard or you may have some basil ready to be put to good and tasty use in a salad, and then you may have a very curious cat, who just got her paws on a few leaves of basil. This isn’t uncommon, and some cats have even developed a taste for greens, as some owners state.

Fortunately, basil isn’t on the list of poisonous or toxic plants for cats, so in general it’s safe for them to chew on some leaves. Also, you need not worry if you feed your cat with cooked food that contains basil.

The Benefits of Basil

Basil has some good properties and health benefits for us humans, and while the common sense dictates us that those may also work for our furry little friends as well, there’s no scientific study to prove that, so take it with a little bit of moderation.

Used by many people in a variety of dishes, from salads to fish, pasta or even pizza, basil is high in Vitamin K and helps treat some common ailments such as colds, a range of digestive troubles, headaches, anxiety and even some worm infections.

Knowing this and the fact that cats are prone to get some worm infections, basil might actually do them some good. If your cat is one of the few who loves basil, that is.

Too Much Basil

As with anything that’s not particularly dangerous, it’s still not very healthy to feed them in very high amounts. While basil isn’t toxic for cats, too much of it might actually cause them some minor gastrointestinal problems.

Other Considerations

While basil is known to have some health benefits in us humans, it doesn’t mean it will have the same benefits in our furry little friends, the cats. Cats are carnivore creatures, so evolution equipped them with a very different digestive system than ours, which means that they won’t extract the same nutrients, minerals and vitamins from a specific food, especially when it comes to greens.

So don’t expect that basil will heal your cat of cancer, arthritis and whatnot, as it probably won’t.

But also don’t get all worried if your feline friend devoured half of the basil in your herb garden, along with your cilantro and tarragon.. Watch her closely for the next day or so for symptoms and troubles. If there’s anything suspect, a visit to the vet might be a good idea, but other than that, there shouldn’t be any danger.

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