Can Cats Eat Basil? (Yes, Here’s the Answer)

Basil is a natural herb that is common in most American homes. It has immense benefits to the human body but, is it safe for your cat to consume? Do cats even love it, and what are its health consequences?

Can Cats Eat Basil? Well, yes, cats can eat basil. According to research, basil has no toxic effects on cats at all. Therefore, the herb is perfectly safe for your feline to consume.

You can feed your cat fresh, grounded, dried, or cooked basil leaves. However, cats are obligate carnivores, and you should take precautions when giving them herbs and grass. In several rare instances, owners have reported diarrhea and vomiting after giving their cats basil.

Can Cats Eat Basil? (Yes, Here's the Answer)

Before introducing basil to your feline friend, there are crucial considerations that you need to make to ensure its suitability. Below is everything you need to know about the effects and safety of basil herb on your pet.

Is Basil Safe for My Cat?

Basil is mainly for human consumption. Since the herb is safe for humans, many people assume that it should be safe for cats. And yes, this is true.

Basil is a non-toxic herb, and your cat will not be in danger after sniffing, licking, eating, or rubbing against it. However, if your cat loves it, be sure to feed him in moderation.

Is Basil Good for Cats?

Note: There is a difference between something being safe and being good!

Basil is safe for cats’ consumption but is it good either? Well, basil plays an excellent role as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in the human body. Cats, on the other hand, are obligate carnivores and mainly depend on animal protein for nutrients.

Consequently, basil has no nutritional value to cats and hence not good for them.

For this reason, it is not mandatory to include basil in your cat’s diet. However, there are few exceptions (non-nutritional) when basil becomes great for cats:

If your cat refuses to eat food due to bad taste

Adding basil will help infuse aroma into the food and improve its taste as it contains natural flavors. However, there is no guarantee that this trick will work for your cat.

If your cat has tummy aches

Most cats nibble on the grass to soothe their aching stomachs. Medically, basil helps to promote blood circulation and treat stomach spasms. Therefore, it works even better than ordinary grass to fix stomach pain.

What Negative Impacts Does Basil Have on Cats?

Some cats experience allergic reactions after contact or consuming basil. These include:

  • Swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Respiratory problems

Another awful side effect of basil on cats is slow blood clotting. In such a scenario, your cat can even die from over-bleeding after an injury.

Basil essential oil can cause devastating effects on your cat since it is highly concentrated. As such, it is recommendable never to use these oils near a cat.

Are There Any Health Benefits of Basil to Cats?

Note: Cats do not digest most of the plant nutrients.

However, it has several benefits for your cat. Some of them include:

  • Basil contains antioxidants that might prove beneficial to your cat. A cat that suffers from arthritis or old age will benefit more from this.
  • Basil also helps your cat to relax. Having a long trip with your cat may cause it anxiety. Also, if you notice that your kitty is quite nervous, basil can help calm it down.
  • A few cats may love the flavor of basil. If yours loves it, you can use it as a healthy treat by sprinkling a little into their food.
  • Basil is also a rich source of calcium. This is an essential nutrient for your kitty, although they mostly get it from chopping on the bones of meat. Nonetheless, it won’t harm to use basil as a calcium supplement.
  • Basil’s natural oil is a highly effective insect repellent. Applying it on your kitty will keep fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks away. You need not worry if your cat will lick itself since basil is completely safe.

Are Cats Attracted to Basil?

Cats are by nature curious animals who also love fun. Their curiosity attracts them to the scent of basil. It is, therefore, very possible to find them hiding inside your basil garden.

However, their attraction is very different from that of human beings.

Basil’s enticing scent at times piques your cat’s curiosity. This may lead them to try to chew a bit of the thick leaf. If they find it satisfying, they will tend occasionally for a bite.

Do Cats Like Basil?

We may not have a direct answer to this question. Felines lack sweet taste buds on their tongue. As such, liking or not liking basil flavors may vary from one cat to the other.

Some cats will love basil flavors while others will not.

Whether your cat likes basil or otherwise, do not substitute the cat’s diet with basil herbs. Don’t forget that a cat is a carnivore.

Likewise, basil is safe for your cat. Do not get alarmed when your feline friend ingests some basil leaves.

Why Is My Cat Eating Basil?

There are several reasons why your kitty friend will eat basil.

First, your cat may be eating basil to help fight an unsettled stomach. Your feline friend may have realized that eating vegetation helps to ease the stomach. For this reason, they will find basil a satisfying chew.

Secondly, after much grooming, your cat may have excess hair in its stomach. If this hair fails to pass through their system, they may want to vomit the excess air. Eating basil, which is an indigestible plant, may induce your cat to vomit.

These are but a few of the reasons why you may find your feline friend ingesting basil leaves.

Is Too Much Basil Dangerous for My Cat?

Although studies have shown that basil is by itself safe, too much of it may not be healthy for your cat. Feeding your cat too much basil may result in gastrointestinal problems.

The advice here is, minimize the intake of basil for your cat. Remember your feline friend is more of a meat-eater. As such, they may receive very minimal or no benefit from feeding on basil.

Better still, if you are giving your cat basil for the first time, you can consult your vet to determine the right serving amount.

Can Cats Eat Raw Basil?

The answer is yes. However, this may vary from one cat to another.

Some cats may start to vomit immediately after ingestion. This is usually due to the irritation of the basil leaves on the cat’s tongue and throat.

Raw basil is rich in nutrients. As such, many people prefer that their kitty friends eat it raw.

Note: The best way of feeding your feline friend basil is by crushing it and mixing it with their food or by cooking it.

How to Identify Basil?

You may already know what basil is, especially if you grow it. However, in case you are not aware, here is how to identify it.

This plant is leafy and deep green. Its stem is square and heavy, with a height of between 2 – 2.5 inches. The stem hosts several branches.

The plant’s leaves are oblong, rounded, and with grooved veins. Some basil varieties will have purple leaves. The top surface of the plant tends to have a waxy appearance.

When fully matured, a basil plant has very tiny purple or white spiky flowers. The plant looks like a small shrub with a rounded appearance.

The plant exhumes a sweet peppery scent, only comparable to licorice or mint.

Can Cats Eat Basil Leaves?

Yes. Cats can eat basil leaves.

However, cooked and crushed leaves are the most ideal. Raw leaves have spikes that most often irritate your cat’s throat while eating.

Remember: If prepared well, leaves are the most edible part of a basil plant.

Related Questions

Can Cats Eat Basil Pesto?

Yes. Basil pesto is ideal for increasing natural flavor and taste in food. Moreover, it is completely harmless to your cat.

Cats are relatively picky when it comes to eating. As such, adding some basil pesto may be of great help in improving their appetite.

If your cat is giving you a hard time by not eating, try this natural herb pesto. It is helpful and will have no side effects at all.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Basil?

Absolutely yes. Cats love eating very soft and wet food because they are easy to chew and swallow.

Cooking basil makes it quite soft. As such it is ideal for your kitty friend.

You can also mix the cooked basil with the cat’s food. It will increase flavor and make the food more appetizing to your cat.

Can Cats Eat Thai Basil?

Just like other several types of basil, Thai basil is safe for your cat and is edible. It helps to infuse an amazing flavor into your cat’s food.

The only difference between Thai basil and normal basil is simply the region it is grown. Thai basil is grown among the Thai people who are great lovers of basil.

Other than the name, Thai basil is similar to the normal one in all other aspects.