Can Cats Eat Basil? Is It Safe And Good, Or Toxic And Bad For Them?

If you have a garden and a cat, then you know how troublesome things can get when the cat decides to go snooping around your plants.

If the kitty doesn’t decide to do its business there, it might attempt to dig around. Obviously, that’s bad for your plants, especially when it comes to edible ones like basil.

On the other hand, when your pet is messing around your garden, that can also be bad for the kitty. If it’s not trying to eat grass, it can still sniff, rub against or lick your plants.

The same thing can happen with your indoor garden, regardless of the room in which you’ve placed your basil and other edible plants. Cats are curious, mischievous and quite headstrong. So, if your pet wants to sniff and lick your basil, it will do it sooner or later.

And this raises one particular question, which may affect your precious furball’s life – is basil safe for cats?

Is Basil Safe For Cats To Eat Or Is It Toxic?

Basil is a plant cultivated all across the globe for human consumption. So, if it’s considered edible for us, this should mean cats can eat it too, right?

Well, it’s not that simple.

The fact is that various common human food items like chocolate and cheese don’t have the same benefits for cats as they have for us, human beings. What’s more, they can actually pose threat to your feline pal’s life, especially the chocolate.

Fortunately, basil isn’t among the toxic plants and herbs, which cats must stay away from.

It’s not poisonous. This means your pet won’t be in any danger of toxicity if it comes near your basil plants.

Cats can safely sniff and lick it, as well as rub against it. Some cats may even munch on it, but not because they like the way it tastes or smells. They’ll do it for the same purpose as eating grass strands.

But Is Basil Good For Cats?

Being safe is one thing, but being beneficial is a whole new subject.

For us, humans, basil offers tons of advantages – from fighting off stress and depression to promoting physical health with its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cats, on the other hand, won’t benefit from basil.

Felines are carnivorous creatures. Their diet must be based on meat in order to meet their organisms’ nutritional requirements. Some plants, fruits and vegetables are indeed good for cats, but basil isn’t one of them. It has absolutely no nutritional value for your pet’s organism. As such, it’s practically useless as an ingredient in a cat’s diet – either as fresh leaves, as an already cooked spice or in a dry, crushed form.

Moreover, your pet won’t like the way basil smells and tastes. Thus, it won’t get any non-nutritional benefits just from its aroma or taste either. So if you’re trying to spice up the homemade cat diet or the raw food, there’s no point in adding basil to the rest of the ingredients.

What Will Happen If Your Cat Eats Basil?

The basil itself won’t harm your cat. However, if your feline friend accidentally munches on some basil leafs in an attempt to eat grass, there’s already something wrong going on in its stomach. As such, you should seek your vet’s advice on what to do and whether you need to get a check-up at the clinic.

Even though it’s rare, some cats might actually experience unpleasant side effects from ingesting basil leafs, like diarrhea or vomiting. And although cat allergies towards edible plants are rare, it’s possible for some kitties to get a rash after being in contact with fresh basil. If your pet is experiencing any side effects, you should immediately call the vet’s office.

Lastly, there’s also the chance that your cat might ingest small amounts of basil, which you’ve used in the table scraps it ate.

Similar to the afore-mentioned situation with fresh basil leafs, the cooked basil in your meals won’t do anything bad to your kitty’s health. However, there’s a big chance some of the other ingredients in said cooked meals could pose danger to your pet and may still cause it to vomit or to experience other side effects.

Either way, if the cat has ingested some basil in tiny amounts and it’s not showing any symptoms, there’s no need to panic. On the other hand, even if the side effects are mild, you should alert your veterinarian. There’s nothing wrong with acting like an overprotective pet parent and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!