Cinnamon, a widely-used spice in many kitchens, boasts of its sweet scent and flavors that can make numerous dishes pop. But if you’re a cat parent, you might wonder if what’s good for us is good for our feline friends. Let’s dive into whether cinnamon is safe for cats and what might happen if your kitty gets a taste.
Why Cinnamon Is Bad for Cats
Cinnamon is not inherently toxic to cats, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe. There are several reasons why it might be a bad idea to let your cat consume cinnamon:
- Essential Oils and Coumarin: Cinnamon contains essential oils like cinnamaldehyde, which can be harmful to cats when ingested in large quantities. Another compound, coumarin, present in certain kinds of cinnamon, can be damaging to the liver.
- Irritation to the Mouth and Stomach: Due to its strong properties, cinnamon can cause irritation to a cat’s mouth and digestive system. This can lead to drooling, coughing, choking, or even vomiting.
- Respiratory Issues: In its powdered form, cinnamon can be easily inhaled, which might lead to coughing, choking, and breathing difficulties in cats.
Types of Cinnamon
There are mainly two types of cinnamon: Ceylon (true cinnamon) and Cassia. While Ceylon contains minimal amounts of coumarin, Cassia contains higher levels. Most of the cinnamon found in grocery stores is Cassia due to its lower cost. If you’re considering giving your cat a cinnamon-flavored treat, it’s essential to know which type you’re using. However, in general, it’s safer to avoid giving either type to your cat.
Do Cats Like The Taste Of Cinnamon?
Every cat is an individual, and tastes vary. While some cats might be curious about the spice and its unique scent, others might be repelled by it. Historically, cinnamon has been used as a natural repellent for insects and even cats themselves. The strong scent of cinnamon can act as a deterrent for many cats, making them turn their noses away. Therefore, while some cats might lick or taste food items containing cinnamon out of curiosity, it’s not a flavor that’s universally loved by our feline companions.
What Happens If a Cat Eats a Bit of Cinnamon?
In small amounts, cinnamon is unlikely to cause severe harm to your cat. If your feline friend has consumed a dish with a sprinkle of cinnamon, there’s no immediate cause for alarm. However, it’s always essential to monitor them for any signs of distress or discomfort.
On the other hand, consumption of large amounts, especially of essential oils derived from cinnamon or direct ingestion of the spice in its concentrated form, can lead to health issues. It’s best to keep cinnamon-containing foods, especially baked goods which might contain other harmful ingredients like xylitol or chocolate, out of your cat’s reach.
Signs of Cinnamon Toxicity
While rare, if you suspect that your cat has ingested a significant amount of cinnamon or is showing symptoms post-consumption, it’s essential to know the signs of toxicity:
- Drooling or Salivating Excessively: This can be due to mouth irritation caused by the strong properties of cinnamon.
- Vomiting or Diarrhea: These can indicate irritation of the stomach or intestines.
- Coughing or Choking: Especially if they’ve inhaled the powdered form.
- Difficulty Breathing: Can be caused by inhaling cinnamon or as a reaction to its essential oils.
- Lethargy or Weakness: General signs of feeling unwell.
- Change in Behavior: Any unusual behavior post-consumption should be noted.
If your cat shows any of these signs, especially if they persist or are severe, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately.
Cinnamon, while a delightful addition to human foods, isn’t the best treat for our feline friends. Even though a tiny amount might not harm them, it’s always better to be safe and keep it away from their reach. Always prioritize your pet’s health, and when in doubt, consult with your vet before introducing any new food items into their diet.