Is Wormwood Safe for Cats? Is Mugwort Safe for Cats? Natural Dewormer or Toxic Plant?

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is wormwood safe for cats

While wormwood may benefit humans, pet owners often wonder if it is safe for their feline friends. Perhaps you are looking for a natural wormer for your cat or want to improve the health of your pet’s skin. Is wormwood safe for cats? Let’s find out!

Wormwood, also known as Mugwort, is a perennial herb native to Europe and Asia. The plant has the botanical name Artemisia absinthium. It has been used for centuries in herbal medicine to treat various human ailments, such as digestive issues, fever, and internal parasites.

In this article, we will explore the uses of wormwood and answer the question, ‘Is wormwood safe for cats.’

What is Wormwood?

Is wormwood safe for cats?

Wormwood belongs to the Asteraceae family and has been used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties. It contains a compound called thujone, known for its soothing effects, giving wormwood its distinctive bitter taste. This herb is commonly used to make absinthe, a highly alcoholic drink popular in the 19th century.

Can Wormwood Be Used to Treat Cats?

Wormwood has traditionally been used to treat various cat ailments like parasites, diarrhea, and skin irritations. It goes by various common names, including Mugwort, green ginger, absinthium, and madderwort. 

There is limited scientific research on the effects of wormwood, specifically on cats. It is important to note that animals may have different reactions to herbs compared to humans, and they should only be administered under the guidance of a vet.

Some commercial cat products contain small amounts of wormwood as an ingredient, but it is always best to consult a vet before giving any herbal remedy to your cat. Here are some common uses of wormwood for cats and humans: 

  • Reduces swelling, redness and pain
  • Can be used to treat digestive issues
  • Kills intestinal parasites, including tapeworms, roundworms, pinworms, and helminths.
  • Is sometimes used as a natural dewormer for cats and dogs
  • Improves skin condition and treats red, sore, or itchy skin. 
  • Can be used to treat muscle and joint pain
  • Anti-fungal properties

Wormwood was traditionally used in herbal medicines and still has a place in treating various ailments today. It can be purchased dried or as a supplement. Some people choose to grow the herb themselves from seed. The herb contains a compound called camphor, which gives the plant a distinctive smell similar to products such as Vicks vapor-rub. 

Is Wormwood Toxic to Cats?

When consumed in large quantities, wormwood can be toxic to cats. The thujone compound in wormwood can cause neurological symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and even death if ingested in high amounts. Keeping any products containing wormwood out of reach from pets is essential.

Additionally, if you are growing wormwood in your garden, take precautions to prevent your cat from ingesting it. Cats are known for nibbling on plants and may accidentally consume some wormwood leaves.

Symptoms of ingesting the herb may include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness and sleep problems
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • An increased heart rate
  • Fatigue and depression

How to Worm Your Cat?

While some people give their pets Mugwort tea as a wormer, its effectiveness comes under question. Firstly, Wormwood or Mugwort can be toxic to cats in large amounts. It may also be tricky to get your cat to consume the wormwood as it tastes very bitter.

To be safe, it’s best to buy commercial products that contain the herb rather than grow your own for your pet. This will help you ensure you give your cat the correct dose.

Is Wormwood Safe for Cats: Final thoughts

In conclusion, while wormwood has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties, more research is needed to determine its safety and effectiveness for cats. It is always best to consult a veterinarian before using any herbal medicine on your cat. If you suspect your cat has consumed a large amount of wormwood or is showing concerning symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

As with any herb or medication, it is important to be cautious and follow proper dosage guidelines when giving any herbs to your pet.

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