Cat Tips

Can Cats Eat Basil?

Do you have a home garden where you grow fresh herbs and veggies? Do you also have a cat? Oh well, we don’t need to tell you that it’s quite a troublesome combo! Cats are naturally curious creatures and when you have an herb garden of your own, it can be hard to keep your feline baby’s paw out of it.

Can I Give My Cat Basil?

If your cat has been snooping in your backyard and snacking on your plants, they can do some damage. But you might wonder, is it at least good for the cat? Fortunately, you don't need to be too concerned if your cat consumes basil. It isn't included in the list of plants and herbs that might be toxic or poisonous to felines.1 So, your cat needn't stay away from it and you can rest easier that your fur baby will be okay if they eat basil.

Is Basil Similar to Catnip?

Basil does come from the same family of plants as catnip - but don't worry, basil doesn't contain nepetalactone, the chemical compound usually found in catnip. This means that basil isn't a stimulant.2 So, you don't have anything to worry about it!

Is Basil Good for Cats?

Well, it's one thing for a plant or herb to be safe for your kitty cat, but whether or not it has any nutritional value is a whole other conversation. While basil can offer many benefits for humans, like encouraging mental and physical health with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant traits - there won't be any benefit for your kitty.

Our feline buddies are natural and obligate carnivores, which means that to meet their nutritional needs they need to consume meat, like beef and chicken) and other animal proteins. That's not to say that some plants or herbs aren't beneficial to give to your cat, but basil surely isn't one of them. It provides no nutritional value to your feline baby whatsoever. Your kitty probably won't even like the taste or smell of basil. So, if you think you can spruce up your kitty's food using some basil, you might want to reconsider! Try adding fruits or vegetables instead!

And if you were trying to feed your cat basil for its antioxidant properties; try adding fish, krill, and organic poultry to your cat's diet instead.

What Happens if a Cat Eats Basil?

While basil isn't harmful to cats, if your cat consumes too much, then it could end up causing a few issues. It's rare, but some kitties can experience side effects from eating a lot of basil leaves like vomiting and diarrhea. Also, if your cat has allergies look out for any signs of a rash after they come into contact with fresh basil leaves.

If you notice any side effects, contact your vet right away. And yes - it's still a good idea to dial your vet even if the symptoms seem to be mild. It's always better to be safe than to be sorry - especially when it comes to our adorable little furry babies.

Are Some Herbs Bad for Cats?

Chives, tarragon, and mint can all cause unpleasant symptoms in cats if consumed in large quantities. Especially mint, which can cause mint poisoning. It’s always a good idea to connect with your vet in case of any unusual signs.


“Can Cats Eat Basil?” Catological,, accessed Jan. 11, 2024.

Can Cats Eat Basil?” Hepper,, Aug. 31, 2023.

The information presented in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute or substitute for the advice of your veterinarian.

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