Why Do Cats Like Mint

Why Do Cats Like Mint? [ Facts & Info You Need To Know! ]

Cats like mint plants because they smell like catnips. Catnips are one of the herbs in the Lamiaceae family, and felines love them. They love the smell produced by catnips because it makes them ecstatic. Research proves that catnips contain nepetalactone, an oil that releases happy receptors in cats. Other plants in the Lamiaceae family don’t contain nepetalactone. 

But as a cat owner, you might be wondering: Is mint harmful to our pets? Can felines safely ingest them? Stick with me, and I’ll provide answers to these questions and more.

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Is Mint Harmful To Cats?

Yes, Mint is harmful to cats. The ASPCA lists them as one of the toxic plants your cat shouldn’t eat. However, the garden mint is toxic to cats only when they consume an excess of it. So, if your pet eats just one leaf, she might be fine and exhibit no symptoms of poisoning. But if your cat eats too much of this leaf, some symptoms she might exhibit are diarrhea, vomiting, or other GI problems. As soon as your cat shows any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian for medical help.

But catnips are much safer for them than other plants in the Lamiaceae family. Some toys designed for cats are flavored with catnips. However, your pet shouldn’t eat an excess of catnip leaves too. The ASPCA Pet Insurance warns that feeding an excess of the leaves to your pet can lead to vomiting, stomach pain, or diarrhea.

if your pet eats just one leaf, she might be fine and exhibit no symptoms of poisoning. But if your cat eats too much of this leaf, some symptoms she might exhibit are diarrhea, vomiting, or other GI problems. As soon as your cat shows any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian for medical help.

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Why Do Cats Like Mint

Can The Smell Of Peppermint Hurt Cats?

The smell of peppermint can hurt cats. Felines are sensitive to the smell of essential oil from certain plants that contain essential oil. Peppermint is one of them. The essential oil in peppermint contains a compound called phenol that is toxic to cats. Felines shouldn’t eat or smell peppermint. If your cat smells this plant, she might experience symptoms such as increased heart rate or shortness of breath. Therefore, it is essential to keep the plant away from your pet. Likewise, abstain from using peppermint oil directly on your pet’s skin for aromatherapy. 

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How Does Mint Affect Cats?’

Mint contains an essential oil that your pet shouldn’t ingest. If your cat ingests the leaves, the essential oil can disrupt your pet’s central nervous system. Generally, ingesting mint can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, or loss of appetite in felines. The Peppermint and Pennyroyal can cause more lethal damage such as liver failure in your cat. 

However, catnip, which is another name for catmint, is considered safer for cats. This plant causes a reaction that makes the ecstatic. The compound that felines react to in catnip is called nepetalactone. When felines ingest this compound, it combines with protein receptors. This reaction stimulates sensory neurons. Similarly, the sensory neurons stimulate the neurons in the olfactory bulb.  And as a result, the activities in the olfactory bulb extends to several parts of the brain. That is what makes our pets feel ecstatic or what is commonly called “high” after eating or smelling catnips.

When cats sniff catnip, the effects typically last around 10 minutes. You may notice one of the following symptoms in his behavior.

  • rolling
  • jumping
  • purring
  • head rubbing
  • head shaking
  • drooling
  • vocalizations
  • aggression

catmint

Why Do Cats Like Mint

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Why Are Cats Obsessed With Mint?

A unique characteristic of felines is their exceptional olfactory senses. Felines depend on their olfactory system. And when they love the smell of a particular person or object, they make it a habit to sniff such a person or object. Cats are obsessed with mint because they contain compounds that smell like nepetalactone. 

Remember: Nepetalactone is a compound that makes felines excited. However, catnip is the only herb in the Lamiaceae family known to produce this compound. But our pets are not able to tell the difference between catnip and other plants in the Lamiaceae family because they smell alike. So, they would eat any of the plants that have the same smell as catnips. Hence, it is crucial to be careful with what your cat is eating and always keep toxic plants away from your pet.

Cats are obsessed with mint because they contain compounds that smell like nepetalactone. 

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Related Questions 

Do Cats Like Mint Plants?

Yes, cats like mint plants. Animals in the Felidae family like the scent produced by plants in the Lamiaceae family. Catnips, in particular, contains an essential oil that induces a happy feeling in felines. However, most plants in the Lamiaceae apart from catnips are toxic to felines. Therefore, they are unsafe for consumption. Some symptoms of mint poisoning in felines are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach upset. 

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Are Cats Attracted To Mint?

Yes, cats are attracted to mint. But it is the smell that attracts them to the plant rather than the look. Felines love the feeling that smelling catnip induces. So when they come across a catnip plant or any other plant in the Lamiaceae family, they will try to eat it. Unfortunately, in as much as cats love mint, most plants in the Lamiaceae family are toxic to pets and unsafe for ingestion.

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Is Mint Poisonous To Cats?

Yes, mint is poisonous to cats. The garden mint can cause poisoning in your cat if she eats an excess of it. Other plants in the Lamiaceae family are peppermint, spearmint, hyssop, oregano, field mint, etc. These plants contain toxic compounds and can cause poisoning on cats when ingested. Therefore, prevent your cat from eating the leaves, stems, or flowers of these plants.

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Do Cats Like Mint Toothpaste?

Cats love the flavor of mint. So, it isn’t a surprise if your cat likes mint toothpaste. Research reveals that all animals in the cat family, including lions, tigers, jaguars, and cheetahs find the smell irresistible. However, your felines shouldn’t lick toothpaste, neither should you use it to brush their teeth. Why? Toothpaste contains fluoride, a compound that is also toxic to cats.

Final Thoughts

Cats like mint, although it is unsafe for them to eat an excess of it. Mints contain essential oils that are toxic to felines. Your pet shouldn’t eat the leaves, stem, or flower of any of these plants.  If you have a garden with any of the plants in the Lamiaceae family, create a barrier around them. 

Although we mentioned that catnips are safe for felines, don’t overdo them. Your pet can get sick from eating an excess of it. In a situation where your pet ingests any of the plants, consult a veterinarian. 

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