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Disclosure Of The Issue Is Rosemary Toxic To Cats

Disclosure Of The Issue Is Rosemary Toxic To Cats

Rosemary is a ground Mediterranean plant that can be used as a spice or as an essential oil.

It is recognizable by its aromatic aroma and intense pungent taste. Also, rosemary has numerous health benefits for humans.

For example, it has an antimicrobial effect and suppresses the spread of pathogenic microorganisms in food. It also improves memory and brain function. Rosemary relieves digestive problems, headaches, and reduces stress levels.

This is a very valuable plant, but we know very well that something extremely healthy for us can have a different effect on our furry pets.

So, is rosemary toxic to cats? Or is it a safe option for your kitty to sniff, inhale, or lick?

Let’s find out the answer.

Is Rosemary Toxic To Cats?

Gardening is such a pleasurable way to enjoy your free time. It helps you get rid of stress, enjoy some alone time, and also brings you the enjoyment of planting something on your own.

However, if you have a feline friend around, you should be very careful about plants. Certain varieties can be extremely hazardous, even toxic, to cats.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals highlights several common plants that pose a risk to felines, such as the Adam-and-Eve, Aloe vera, Begonia, Eucalyptus, and Yucca.

Luckily, rosemary isn’t on this list, meaning that this is a plant considered safe for cats. 

Therefore, you can relax and enjoy having the nice smell of rosemary around your home or enjoying the view of it in your garden.

Can Cats Eat Rosemary?

cat smelling rosemary

If you have a curious little cat at home, it isn’t impossible for it to try to eat rosemary. 

These are just cats and their endless curiosity. For instance, you probably don’t perceive lizards as the tastiest option for your feline friend, but some cats will still hunt and eat them.

While rosemary isn’t toxic, it isn’t recommended for cats to eat too much of it. According to 

Spruce Pets, this plant contains volatile oils like campeche, limonene, hydrocarbon, and monoterpene.

These oils can cause gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea and vomiting – if a cat ingests a large amount of them.

Fortunately, your cat probably won’t be thrilled with the rosemary taste and will just give it a try and give up.

So, there’s a small chance that your cat will eat that quantity of rosemary to cause any serious distress in it.

There was research conducted in 2022 [1] on the safety and effectiveness of two solvent extracts of rosemary when used as feed additives for cats and dogs.

According to the results, cats can have around 300 mg/kg of these additives, while the safe amount for cats is 50 mg/kg.

Therefore, this serves as an additional guideline for the inclusion of rosemary in your feline friend’s diet.

Can You Use Rosemary As An Essential Oil Around Your Cat?

rosemary oil in bottle

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals explains that the majority of essential oils are toxic to cats.

In some cases, the essential oil itself isn’t likely to cause a problem, but the high levels of fat in the carrier oil that’s used to dilute the essential oil can be extremely dangerous for our furry friends.

So, you shouldn’t apply the rosemary essential oil on your cat’s skin. This can cause skin irritation. Additionally, cats are inclined to lick their fur immediately after any substance is applied to it, which means they could ingest the essential oil.

Furthermore, if you use a diffuser with rosemary essential oil to keep your home smelling fresh, this is also a potential hazard for your kitty.

Owners of brachycephalic breeds, as well as cats with asthma and bronchitis, should be especially cautious here. Any kind of strong scent can cause respiratory problems in these cats.

How To Tell Whether Your Cat Is Bothered With the Rosemary Essential Oil?

A cat will show some typical signs of distress with the rosemary essential oil, such as:

• Lethargy

• Dullness

• Excessive drooling

• Shaking

• Vomiting

• Difficulty breathing

• Walking strange

• Red skin

If you notice your cat has rosemary essential oil on its fur or it has ingested some of it, you should immediately take it to a veterinarian. 


cat yawning between rosemary

People who love both animal companions and gardening should be well aware of plant toxicity.

While some plants are extremely beneficial for us, they can be toxic to our cats at the same time. 

Luckily, rosemary isn’t one of them. This aromatic plant isn’t on the list of toxic plants to felines. So, you shouldn’t get instantly worried if your cat licks or sniffs it.

Most likely, it won’t like it and will just walk away. A cat should eat a whole bunch of this plant for it to cause severe distress.

However, rosemary essential oil is a different matter. Like most essential oils, it is toxic to cats.

It can cause gastrointestinal issues and skin problems in your pet. Therefore, you should be careful here and don’t let your kitty lick or inhale rosemary essential oil.

In case you have any suspicions your cat could have come in contact with it, please take it to the emergency vet as soon as possible.


[1] EFSA Panel on Additives, Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP). Safety and efficacy of two solvent extracts of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) when used as feed additive for cats and dogs (Kemin Nutrisurance Europe SRL). First published: 13 January 2022, DOI, Retrieved January 25, 2024.