Before deciding whether to try a plant as a cat repellent we first need to find out if the cat likes or dislikes the aroma. Here’s my findings so far on the peppermint plant.
Do cats like peppermint? Many cats do not like the smell of peppermint as it contains Salicylate which is poisonous to cats. Unfortunately, some cats are attracted to the peppermint plant because it contains Nepetalactone mimicking compounds, the active ingredient in Catnip.
Most plants in the mint family contain essential oils which are harmful to cats. Two types of mint plants that are considered safe for cats are Catnip and Catmint.
Is peppermint plant safe for cats?
The peppermint plant itself only contains small traces of Salicylate so cats would have to eat a large amount before becoming sick.
If a cat is considered hypersensitive it can cause skin irritation.
Can cats have peppermint?
That doesn’t mean that cats can eat all peppermint though. Peppermint oil is concentrated so should always be kept away from cats.
Peppermint oil will hurt cats as like all essential oils it is toxic to them. Never put peppermint oil on a cat as the toxins can be absorbed through their thin skin.
Never give peppermint candy to a cat or leave it where a cat can get to it as this is usually made with concentrated peppermint oil.
Mint poisoning in cats
Mint poisoning is very rare in cats as it would need to digest a large amount.
If you do witness your cat eating mint or suspect it has and it is showing signs of illness you should take it to your vets as soon as possible.
Symptoms of mint poisoning in cats are vomiting, showing signs of weakness, diarrhoea and being unsteady on its feet.
If you did see your cat eating a plant and you don’t know what it is you should take a sample with you. Your vet may want to know what other plants you have growing in your garden.
Consider keeping your cat indoors to remove the dangers of poisoning.
What is Peppermint?
The peppermint plant is a hybrid of spearmint and water mint. It gets its taste from its high menthol content.
It is grown and used the world over to treat indigestion, irritable bowels, sinus problems, bad breath, menstrual cramps and a host of other ailments.
It is generally taken as tea when used as a natural treatment.
How to Make Peppermint Tea
Pick enough leaves from your peppermint plant to fill a tablespoon once crushed.
Put them in boiling water and leave for 6 to 8 minutes before straining.
Add honey to taste.
If you have lavender in your garden add some to your peppermint leaves to create a great stress reliever.
Other Mint Plants
Most mint plants other than Catnip and Catmint will cause an upset stomach for cats if too much is eaten.
Pennyroyal has been known to cause liver failure in cats.
If you are a cat owner you will want to make sure he isn’t attracted to any of your mint plants except catnip and catmint.
Does Peppermint Make a good cat repellent plant?
As a cat repellent plant I would give peppermint a 6.5 out of 10. While it’s reported that most cats don’t like the smell, it seems some do. Also, is not liking the smell of something very likely to act as a deterrent? I would say it’s doubtful.
I don’t like the smell of a curry but I don’t cross the road to avoid walking past an Indian restaurant.
On the plus side a peppermint plant won’t attract cats (unless you are very unlucky) so there’s nothing to stop you adding it to your herb garden.