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 an indoor 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.
Do cats like peppermint oil?
Peppermint oil, when ingested or even just inhaled by cats, can cause a variety of adverse reactions, ranging from mild discomfort to serious illness and even death. To ensure your cat stays healthy and happy, it’s important to keep peppermint oil away from them at all times.
Peppermint oil contains menthol which can cause severe respiratory distress in cats if they ingest it or even just breathe in its fumes when heated. This can result in excessive drooling and vomiting as well as difficulty breathing.
Can I use peppermint essential oil for fleas on cats?
If you own a cat, chances are that you’ve heard of the potential benefits of using peppermint oil for fleas. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to support this claim and its use on cats as a flea treatment is highly discouraged by vets. This is due to the fact that peppermint oil can be toxic if ingested by cats, and even if applied topically, it can cause skin irritation or lead to other complications.
It’s important to note that cats have incredibly sensitive immune systems compared to humans and many other animals, which makes them vulnerable when exposed to essential oils like peppermint oil. The strong aroma of essential oils can also stimulate respiratory issues in cats due to their lack of ability to process such strong scents correctly.
Why do cats like mint gum?
When your cat gets a whiff of your chewing gum he’s likely mistaking it for catnip. Cats love catnip which is part of the mint family and get a high from eating it.
Whilst they would need to eat a lot to become ill if you catch your cat eating regular mint or spearmint plant you should call your vet for advice.