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Can Cats Eat Oregano?

Updated: August 5, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

I love Italian cuisine. Can you imagine your life without pizzas and pasta? I can’t. Together with pizzas and pasta, Mediterranean cuisines introduced several cooking herbs to the world. Oregano, parsley, thyme, rosemary and many more spread out from Mediterranean Basin all over the world. Many people love oregano for its rich aroma and its health benefits. It was used in traditional medicine since ancient times. Today’s question is – can cats eat oregano?

Healthy eating habits are important for our health. While the food industry uses more and more additives and flavor enhancers to increase production and profit, many people tend to turn to  ‘natural’ food. This tendency is reasonable and good, but it also opened the door to many frauds. A lot of so-called natural products are marketed to have almost miraculous qualities to help with any problem. Oregano is on the list.

Oregano Is Toxic for Cats

The hectic lifestyle of today doesn’t leave much time for healthy cooking. Because of that, we resort to supplements to compensate for a lack of diversity in our diet. We do the same with our feline companions. While oregano tastes great and your cat might like it, it is not good for the cats. Actually, it is toxic. So, the answer is obvious: oregano is neither good nor safe for your cat. How is it possible, when so many people talk about great oregano properties? Let’s see.

Fresh or Dried Oregano Leaves

Oregano is a culinary herb, like cilantro and parsley.. We use its fresh, or much more often, dried leaves as a food flavoring. I love it and couldn’t imagine my diet without it. However, apart from the flavoring, there are no proven health benefits of oregano. Yes, it has been used since forever, but all ‘magical’ qualities are unverified and unproven. For me, pasta has magical properties, but it doesn’t make it a cure or anything like it.

Anyway, oregano leaves contain some essential oils, and it is those oils that MIGHT be good for humans. As for the cats, if they eat a very small amount of oregano once, chances are nothing will happen. Quantity of essential oils is not very high in leaves, so it is not very dangerous. However, just a few more morsels and your cat can feel some stomach issues. Bad stomach, vomiting, and shallow breathing may occur. Usually, those symptoms are mild and go away without any treatment. But, if your cat is exposed to oregano oil it is a whole different story.

Oregano Oil

Oregano essential oil contains a high amount of chemicals that are toxic to cats. It is harmful to consume it or apply it on the skin as well. If ingested, oregano essential oils can cause liver failure and even death of your cat. Applying this oil on your cat’s skin can cause a rash. So, keep your cat away from the oregano oil! If your cat experiences oregano oil poisoning, take her to the vet as soon as possible. While there is no antidote, immediate treatment of the symptoms can save your cat’s liver and prevent further complications.

As you can see, you don’t want to take any chances with oregano. If your cat gets poisoned with oregano plant, you can expect a quick and full recovery. Unfortunately, poisoning with oregano essential oil can cause permanent damage.


Nowadays information travel at the speed of light. Well, almost. Unfortunately, disinformation spreads out as fast as information. So, be careful who to trust. Many of the superfoods are not as super as they are marketed. And even if they are, they still may be harmful to cats.

Be smart and feed your fluffy friend cat food. And keep the pizzas and pasta for yourself. That’s what I do, anyway. If you doubt my judgment, it is good. Double-checking what is best for your cat is never a waste of time. When it comes to cat care my favorite proverb is: better safe than sorry!

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