Ever asked yourself ‘can cats have cilantro?’. We are going to debunk the myth about cats and cilantro and whether it is a good idea to feed your feline this nutritious herb.
According to the ASPCA, cilantro is whitelisted as safe for cats. But if your cat indulges too much in cilantro, there is a 1% chance they will develop gastrointestinal or heart disease.
If you have always wondered, ‘Is cilantro safe for cats’, you and many other pet owners are in the dark about the topic as well. And it is understandable given the online mixed reactions about cats and cilantro. But not to worry, by the end of this article, you will be able to make an informed decision on whether to feed your cat cilantro.
First things first,
What is cilantro?
Cilantro is a herb plant with a distinct flavor. It is a common ingredient in most Asian, Middle-eastern, and Mexican dishes. Besides having a rich flavor, cilantro is prized for its numerous health benefits as well.
Cilantro is one of the few herbs that are used to remove impurities in the body. Boiling cilantro and drinking the water could help remove metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic from your blood. You still reap the same benefits by eating the herb fresh or sprinkled in your dishes.
Also, cilantro is rich in minerals such as folate, magnesium, choline, lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin. This herb is known to help lower blood sugar, act as an immune-system booster, and promote better digestion.
As humans, we have a lot to gain from eating cilantro. But what about our feline friends? Can cats have cilantro and enjoy the same benefits we do?
Is cilantro safe for cats?
Truth be told it is a grey area. There are health experts who support the idea of letting cats have cilantro. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does not list cilantro as a harmful plant to cats. This, without a doubt, removes the fear of letting your cat nibble on some cilantro leaves.
Then there is the danger of giving your cat too much cilantro. Health experts who are against cats and cilantro eating warn that there is a 1% chance your cat will get sick from eating the herb. A cat that eats too much cilantro is at risk of getting heart arrhythmia or gastrointestinal disease.
Also, excessive consumption of cilantro can cause tummy issues to a cat. The plant may irritate the cat’s stomach causing instant diarrhea and vomiting. Not all cats are created equal, so if your feline does not like the taste of cilantro, there are other plant options they can enjoy.
Can cats have cilantro and live a healthy life?
If given sparingly, cilantro or Chinese parsley has plenty of health benefits to your cat. You should watch your cat’s behavior if you are giving them cilantro for the first time. If you notice any negative side effects like diarrhea or vomiting after eating cilantro, take your feline to the vet. But nothing serious, your cat could only be reacting to a new diet.
Here are some of the benefits of cilantro to cats;
Rich in vitamins
Cilantro is packed with vitamins A, C, E, and K. Vitamin A improves a cat’s night vision and also makes their coat healthy and shiny. Cats use Vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue that forms cartilage which protects the integrity of joints. Vitamin E improves fertility, eyesight, immune system, and muscular function in cats. Vitamin K for cats helps in plasma coagulation.
Rich source of dietary fiber
Though cats are primarily carnivorous, they rely on dietary fiber to help in the digestion of proteins. Cats also get their proteins directly from plants, one of them being cilantro.
💡 Did you know
Cats not only chew plants for fiber, but they also do so to kill boredom. If your cat excessively chews on plants around the home, it is time to get them more toys.
Eaten sparingly, cilantro will improve your cat’s digestive system. Many other plants provide dietary fiber to cats. Some of them are;
Carrots (raw, baked, boiled)
Healthy source of minerals
Your cat can benefit from all the minerals contained in cilantro. Some of these minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. Cilantro also has traces of iron, selenium, and potassium.
Great source antioxidants
Cilantro is a natural antioxidant that benefits both humans and pets. Antioxidants seize free radicals in the body that cause oxidative damage. The same antioxidants help slow down the onset of cancer and other diseases.
A natural anti-inflammatory
Cilantro has anti-inflammatory properties that promote kidney health in your cat. But you should not feed your feline cilantro if they already have kidney problems. Consult your vet first to help you understand the health risk of cilantro and kidney disease in cats.
Video: Can Cats Eat Cilantro
What other herbs are safe for cats?
We have already established that cilantro is safe for cats if given in small amounts. But if you are still worried about the 1% probability of your cat falling sick, you could always switch to other healthy herbs that are 100% safe for cats.
The SPCA approves all these herbs as safe for cats;
Chamomile and calendula
You can feed your cat any of these herbs and never worry about any side effects. Then there are those herbs that are forbidden for a cat to consume. They include;
Mint and oregano are unsafe for cats too. Oregano, for instance, can cause oregano poisoning in cats; the same goes for oregano oil. If your cat has oregano poisoning, they will experience instant nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms that may manifest include shallow breathing, diarrhea, anorexia, liver problems, or fainting episodes.
Mint also causes side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and body weakness. Fortunately, cats have their version of mint which is catnip.
With all said, the question, ‘can cats have cilantro?’ boils down to your preference as the pet owner. Your cat will not get sick right away from eating cilantro unless they are sensitive to new foods. Only when you continuously feed your cat cilantro will health problems show up.
Though parsley and cilantro belong to the same family, parsley is completely unsafe for cats. According to ASPCA, parsley is very toxic to cats and can cause serious health problems within minutes of consuming it.
According to the ASPCA, tulips are highly toxic to cats. Tulips contain the toxic compound tulipalin which is concentrated in the tulip bulb. Tulip poisoning in cats causes excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and problems to the central nervous system.
Some of the plants that are toxic to cats include marijuana, Lilly, sago palm, Oleander, and Azalea. These plants are highly toxic and can instantly harm a cat’s digestive tract. The ASPCA also gives a full list of all toxic plants to cats.