Can Cats Eat Cinnamon? Are Herbs and Spices Toxic to Cats?

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can cats eat cinnamon

Cats are usually picky eaters, so knowing which foods are safe for them to consume is important. Can cats eat cinnamon? A small amount of cinnamon won’t hurt your cat, but avoiding adding herbs and spices to their food is best.

If your cat has licked up a small amount of cinnamon that was dropped on the floor while baking, there’s no need to worry. The spice may even be beneficial for your pet. Cinnamon can help improve digestion and provide a boost of antioxidants for your feline friend. However, too much of this spice can cause gastrointestinal upset and other health problems for your cat.

This article will answer the question, ‘can cats eat cinnamon?’ We’ll also discuss which other common spices and herbs are safe for cats and which are toxic and should be avoided.

Can cats eat cinnamon?

can cats eat cinnamon

Cinnamon has the botanical name Cinnamomum zeylanicum and is part of the Lauraceae family. According to the ASPCA, cinnamon is listed as a non-toxic spice and can be consumed in small amounts by cats, dogs, and even horses. However, cat’s taste buds differ from humans. They are usually picky eaters, so it’s probably not a good idea to start adding herbs and spices to your cat’s meal unless they will provide health benefits and you have consulted a vet first. 

While cinnamon may not be considered toxic, it does contain a compound known as coumarin, which can affect a cat’s health. Cat’s liver enzymes differ from that of humans, and they will struggle to break down the compound. For this reason, it’s best to avoid giving your cat cinnamon in large amounts; it can cause blood clotting and liver damage. Even small amounts given regularly can cause problems for a cat.

Cinnamon isn’t part of a cat’s natural diet, and it can cause skin irritation and redness around the mouth as well as excessive salivation. It can also cause the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Jaundice can be seen on the cat’s gums
  • An increased heartbeat
  • Allergic reactions such as skin irritation, itching, redness, and swelling
  • Hives
  • Excessive licking and biting due to irritation

Cinnamon products to avoid

A small amount of powdered cinnamon is unlikely to harm your cat, but it could cause stomach upset if more than a teaspoon is consumed. Some cats are attracted to things that are strongly scented, so, it’s best to keep the following items out of the reach of your pet:

Cinnamon essential oils

Cinnamon essential oils are highly concentrated and can be very dangerous for cats. You should keep all types of essential oil out of the reach of your cat as these can be toxic if ingested. 

Cinnamon candles

The amount of cinnamon in a candle is relatively low, but cats may be curious about the smell or the movement of the flickering flame. For this reason, you should keep candles out of your pet’s reach and never leave your cat alone in a room where candles are alight. 

Cinnamon sticks

These should also be kept out of reach of cats as the smell may entice your pet to have a nibble. 


Decorations such as cinnamon brooms or Christmas decorations that contain cinnamon should also be avoided in a pet-friendly household as these can cause skin irritation for your pet. 

Food that contains cinnamon

It’s best not to give your cat food that contains cinnamon. Although a small amount of powdered cinnamon has probably been used to make cinnamon buns and other treats, you should be aware that the products could contain other ingredients, such as salt, additives, and preservatives that are toxic to cats. 

Other spices and herbs that are toxic to cats

Mint can be toxic to cats, especially in large quantities. Many cats are attracted to mint, so if your pet has a habit of nibbling on the plant in your yard, you’ll need to keep him away from the area. 

It’s also best to avoid giving cats food that contains seasonings such as salt, garlic, and onion. Salt can cause excessive thirst and vomiting in cats, while garlic and onion can be toxic if ingested in high amounts.  

Other foods that you should avoid giving your cat include:

  • Dairy products
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate 
  • Sugary treats
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Anything that contains caffeine

Can cats eat cinnamon: Final thoughts

The best way to ensure your cat’s health and safety is to feed them a balanced diet of high-quality wet and dry cat food. It’s not generally recommended that you add flavorings or spices to your pet’s food. If you think a certain herb or spice will improve your cat’s health and well-being, it’s important to speak with your vet first to ensure your pet isn’t likely to suffer from adverse reactions or side effects.

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