Can Cats Eat Basil? – Explained In Detail

Ocimum basilicum, also known as basil, is a common plant used in kitchens and gardens all around the world. Basil leaves, which are a member of the Lamiaceae family of mint, are used fresh or dried in a variety of recipes. So, are cats safe around basil? Of course, we care about our cat’s health as cat owners.

The good news is that cats are not poisoned by this delectable herb, so you shouldn’t be alarmed if your cat has consumed a small amount. However, because cats are made to eat and digest meat, they are unlikely to profit from eating herbs. In fact, if they consume too much of this fragrant leafy herb, they may get a mild digestive upset. For all the information you require, continue reading.

Nutritional Facts About Basil

Basil is not toxic to cats, but eating large amounts might cause stomach upset.

The nutritional benefits of basil for humans are obvious. It is very low in fat and cholesterol, whilst offering a good source of fiber, protein, and a whole range of vitamins and minerals.

But is basil as healthy for cats? Sadly not, as cats cannot digest plant material well enough to extract all the goodness from this leafy herb. Cats are obligate carnivores, they rely on meat for their nutritional needs and their gastrointestinal system is highly adapted to digest meat.

Cats, therefore, do not digest plant material well, meaning they do not extract all the good nutrients particularly well.

Basil Benefits For Cats

Although cats are not well adapted to digest herbs, vegetables, and other plant-based materials, they may be able to absorb small amounts of nutrients from the fresh leaves. This healthy herb provides fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, K, and more, and plenty of minerals such as calcium.

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Basil is also thought to be a natural anti-inflammatory, and provide mental health benefits as well.

Eating basil may provide very tiny amounts of these beneficial nutrients for the cat, but it should never be used as a substitute for commercial cat food to provide essential dietary needs.

How Much Basil Can A Cat Eat?

If your cat nibbles a little on basil, it should cause no ill effects, but don’t go out of your way to feed it.

Your cat’s main diet should be heavily meat-based, as they are carnivores and require meat to fulfill their daily nutritional needs. If your cat likes to eat basil, it is best given in small amounts as large amounts may have side effects such as a digestive upset.

How Often Can A Cat Eat Basil?

Basil, and other plant material, should only form a very small part of your cat’s diet, and so should be fed as an occasional treat only.

What Are The Risks Of Eating Basil For Cats

Basil is not known to be toxic or at all poisonous to cats. Fresh, dried, and cooked basil are all perfectly safe. Eaten in large quantities, it could cause a digestive upset leading to vomiting or diarrhea. Very rarely, cats can have allergic reactions to basil, which may present as hives, vomiting, swellings, or breathing difficulties. If you are concerned about your cat, contact your veterinarian.

Basil essential oil should never be given to or used on cats. It is high in synthetic phenols, which can cause severe liver damage.

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Do Cats Enjoy The Taste Of Basil?

In very rare cases, cats may be allergic to basil, which may show up as hives, vomiting, or breathing difficulties.

Cats naturally prefer meaty or fishy flavors and textures. However, some cats like to explore different tests and textures, and chewing on some scented plants in your herb garden is not uncommon.

Some cats may be drawn to the unique smell of basil and actively enjoy a small treat of basil leaf, but it is likely that most of our furry friends would not be impressed by the taste. Cats may prefer other herbs, such as catnip or catmint.