Many people use peppermint, both the plant and the oil, to calm or descent their cats. This makes a certain amount of sense because peppermint is in the same family as catnip. Do cats like peppermint? Yes, many cats, though certainly not all, are attracted to the scent of peppermint. However, peppermint and catnip are not interchangeable, and care should be taken when administering any peppermint product to a cat.
The Dangers of Peppermint in Cats
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), cats are much more sensitive to peppermint products than most other pets. Peppermint leaves, if ingested, could potentially cause your cat an upset stomach. Peppermint extract can create a burning sensation if it comes in direct contact with the skin.
Peppermint oil, however, is especially dangerous. If swallowed, peppermint oil can cause gastrointestinal upset, a suppression of the central nervous system, and even liver damage. Some peppermint oils contain a derivative of aspirin, which is highly toxic to cats. Peppermint oils should not be used around cats at any time.
The Safe Use of Peppermint with Cats
One of the problems with using any aromatherapy product, such as peppermint or cinnamon, with cats is that felines have a heightened sense of smell. This makes them more sensitive to scented products in the first place. If you do choose to use peppermint around your cats, make sure you use only a small amount. Your cats will smell it even if you can’t.
If your cat truly adores peppermint and you’d like to make use of it, there are safe ways to do so. You can take peppermint leaves and encase them in fabric, much like a catnip toy. You can then give it to your cats as long as you supervise them carefully. You don’t want your cat to eat any of the plant material. These toys will calm many cats, though some may have the opposite reaction.
Peppermint extract can also be used if properly diluted. Use approximately one-quarter cup of a carrier oil such as jojoba or olive and a few drops of peppermint extract. This mixture can be used to deodorize a cat, but be very careful to keep it away from any mucus membranes. You’ll only need the smallest amount of your mixture, and only apply it to the fur. If you can smell peppermint on the cat from three feet away, then you’ve used too much for the comfort of your cat.
You can also use this mixture when introducing a new cat into your household. Simply place a few drops on each cat and the introductions will usually be much smoother. This also works when bringing one cat home from an extended stay at the veterinarian’s office.
Because it is potentially toxic, many veterinarians will recommend against using peppermint products around cats. It is very important that no plant material, oil, or extract is ingested by your cats as they may become ill. If you do choose to use peppermint around your cats, do so with caution. It should also be noted that not all felines like peppermint. If your cat seems bothered by peppermint, you should immediately discontinue use.
So, do cats like peppermint? Some do, which pet owners can use to their benefit!
This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at ultimatecat.blogspot.com