If you are an avid grower and eater of thyme, you’ll naturally want to know if your furry feline can join in with you. But first, you have to inquire “is thyme safe for cats?”
Yes, thyme is safe for cats but only if it is served to them in moderation!
It should not constitute more than 10% of their daily diet. Also, thyme oil is not safe for internal or external use on cats due to the presence of oils and phenols.
Read on to find out the benefits of feeding your cat thyme and as well as some things to watch out for.
Related read: Are Thyme Flowers Edible? Appearance & Taste
What Is Thyme?
Thyme is a very important member of the herb family. It is an aromatic evergreen plant that is widely used for culinary and medicinal purposes. While there are many types of thyme, the most common one is Thymus vulgaris, the one we shall be focusing on.
Thyme can be beneficial for humans too: it can help to ward off bacterial infections, and it helps in improving the immune system. It can even help to fight throat irritations and infections as well. Thyme also contains antioxidants that can calm the nervous system.
But is it safe for cats, read on as we take a closer look?
Can Cats Eat Thyme?
If you grow thyme in your garden then you are very likely to have caught your cat snacking on your thyme bush. This may prompt panic, wondering if thyme is safe for cats and if so, do cats like the taste of thyme.
Thyme is not toxic to domestic animals and so thyme is safe for cats to eat according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). But, you should only let your cat consume small amounts and restrict them from excessive amounts.
So, thyme is safe enough for your feline companion to indulge in every now and then. Although cats are carnivores they can eat thyme, which has more than a few benefits for your cat.
Thyme contains vitamins such as Vitamin A and C as well as minerals like Iron and Calcium. But, that’s not all the thyme herb has to offer your cat!
NOTE- If your cat hasn’t been exposed to thyme yet, you may want to consult a vet first to find out if it is a good idea. Your vet will probably ask a few questions about your cat and its diet and possibly carry out a test before providing a verdict.
Is Thyme Oil Safe For Cats?
Thyme oil is a huge NO for cats! Although thyme itself is not toxic to your cat the same cannot be said about thyme oil. Most essential oils contain phenols that are harmful to your feline.
Your furry friend can develop inflammation, seizures, and an allergic reaction to the essential oil. These are nothing compared to what it might suffer in the long run, if continuously exposed to the oil.
NOTE- If your cat is a house cat it is wise for you not to use it around the house, to keep your cat safe as it may accidentally be exposed to it.
Even though it is completely unintentional! It’s a mistake you don’t want to avoid if you care about your cat.
Benefits Of Thyme For Cats
Cats can get a health boost from thyme that you didn’t know was possible from a herb you would think would be toxic. Take a look at the benefits of thyme to cats. It may just make you reconsider and start adding a bit of thyme to your cat’s diet.
1. Improved Digestion
You may find your cat having digestion problems. They usually end up attempting to settle their stomach by vomiting after eating grass.
Eating thyme can potentially help your cat improve its digestion. It is especially useful to help your cat get rid of hair and hairballs ingested while cleaning itself. Even though this may result in vomiting!
2. Natural Deworming medicine
Animals including your cat are at risk of developing parasitic worms anywhere in their intestinal tract.
Thyme kills parasitic worms from your cat’s gastrointestinal tract and thus it can improve your cat’s digestive health.
If your cat is suffering from parasitic worms quite often, you may want to incorporate thyme into its diet instead of using concentrated medications from your local vet.
3. Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties
If you are worried about bacteria or fungi causing problems for your cat, don’t worry about it anymore.
Thyme contains Vitamin A which supports your cat’s immune system and protects against diseases. This vitamin is necessary for your cat’s health as it supports tissue health, boosts immunity and is beneficial for maintenance, and provides stress relief.
The simple addition of thyme to your cat’s food can prevent and guard against such bacteria and fungi-based diseases and infections.
4. Health and Nutrition Benefits
Thyme contains Iron which increases your cat’s red blood cells, if you see your cat eating unusual things such as soil, rocks, or litter it could be a sign of an Iron deficiency!
Potassium is found in thyme too and its purpose is to keep your cat’s nerves and muscles in good order. Calcium like potassium is also necessary for your cat.
Lastly, you might not think that thyme contains any fiber. But it does contain some fiber which can help with diarrhea, diabetes, and constipation.
How To Give Your Cats Thyme
Thyme can be given to your cats safely in small amounts. If the thyme has been bought from the stores fresh, wash it well to ensure that there are no residual pesticides on it.
Washing also rids the thyme of any insects, insect eggs, or larvae that could otherwise result in disease. So it’s a good idea to wash well.
Begin by giving a small amount and observing your cat’s reaction to it. You can do the same with dried thyme. From this experiment, you will be able to see your cat’s likes or dislikes and which form of thyme they prefer.
If your feline does not seem interested, do not fret and force your cat to eat it. Perhaps they just don’t need it!
Can Thyme Be Poisonous To Your Cat?
Cats can consume thyme, but. You must provide your cat thyme in moderation. If used in moderation thyme is harmless to your cat, but in large quantities, it can cause intestinal discomfort to your cat.
You can give fresh or dried thyme to your cat as both are acceptable.
Or, you can find out which one your cat likes by providing both fresh and dried thyme to it. Your cat will probably taste both and go for the one it likes.
Is Cat Thyme Actually Thyme?
Cat thyme (Teucrium marum) is not actually thyme.
However, it gets this name from the fact that it resembles thyme. Cat thyme is somewhat addictive to cats as a drug would be to humans. They may instead even shun catnip for cat thyme!
Unlike normal thyme, cat thyme is bitter in taste and does not have a pleasant odor. So do not panic when you see your cat walking around, reluctant to eat it at first.
There are a few herbs that are safe for you and a few of your pets. But, cats are more sensitive to plants, including herbs growing in your backyard!
Immediately you will want to know if thyme is safe for cats, particularly if you catch them nibbling on thyme.
Thyme is safe for cats! Whether fresh or dried it does not pose a threat if consumed in small quantities. However, thyme oil and fresh/dried thyme in large amounts will lead to your cat’s health being severely damaged!
Instead, remember to test thyme in small doses. Always, give your cat thyme in very small doses and it should never be the core ingredient of their daily diet. If you notice any ill effects, immediately take your cat to a vet!
Planning to grow thyme? Thyme Companion Plants | Best & Worst!
How much thyme can I give my cat?
You should always start your cat on smaller doses when introducing it to a new item. At maximum levels, thyme should comprise more than 10% of your cat’s daily diet. Anything more would prove to be excessive and excessive amounts of thyme can potentially be dangerous to your pet’s health and well-being.
Do all cats like thyme?
Cats are curious creatures and sometimes take a liking to plants. They may find the plants appealing through their odor, flavor, texture, or by boredom. As a result, they may be tempted to take a nibble and some cats may be drawn to thyme because they like the scent of thyme.
Are thyme products safe for cats?
We have established that fresh thyme is safe for cats, by what about thyme by-products? Thyme oil is not safe for cats and other thyme products that contain artificial items or chemicals could be harmful to your cat as well!