If you are a devoted cat owner you want to make sure your pretty kitty feels pampered and loved (as much as they’ll let you, of course). Cats are incredibly independent creatures despite about 10,000 years of domestication and don’t always take to our ideas of care for them. However, they do love our plants — as evidenced by their chewing on houseplant leaves — and appreciate gifts of cat grass and catnip. Why not keep a plant around that will both satisfy that need to chew on something and relax them at the same time?
Because of lavender’s anti-anxiety effects and unique scent, it has been used as a sedative in the homeopathic world for many years. For humans, lavender is a sign of calm and relaxation. The smell is aromatic and comforting. It is natural to want to offer the same comfort to your cat, but the fact is is that your cat may not think lavender is all that.
Although cats are the proverbial Rum Tum Tugger of the animal world — one minute preferring this and the next wanting that — the general rule of thumb is no, cats do not like lavender. Most of the smells that are pleasant to us, including citrus smells, cats tend to hate. In fact, it is quite common to plant lavender in gardens as a cat deterrent. To be fair, lavender is not the best thing to give your feline friend.
The Dangers of Lavender to Your Cat
Say you do have a lavender plant in your home and your cat gets into it. If a cat eats some lavender plant it’ll get an upset stomach.
When it comes to lavender essential oil, however, it can be deadly. A cat’s liver does not produce the necessary enzymes to break down and process the oil. It is especially dangerous if administered without a carrier oil. Carrier oils are oils used to dilute essential oils for the purpose of topical use: fractionated coconut oil; avocado oil; cocoa butter, etc.
If you know that your cat has been given lavender oil or has accidentally ingested it, call your veterinarian and look for the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Uncoordinated gait
- Lethargy and weakness
- Pawing at face and mouth
- Muscle tremors
- Redness and/or burns on lips, skin, gums and tongue
For more information on lavender poisoning in cats, you can visit this website.
Alternatives to Lavender
If you were looking to grow a plant to please your cat, there are other pretty house plants you can opt for.
Catnip is a pleasant plant for outdoor gardens or a pretty addition to your houseplants. Buy organic seeds and try out the catnip for yourself! It can be dried and used as a tea or given to your kitty for future rounds of catnip fun.
Rosemary and Parsley
If you like to grow herbs on your windowsill, rosemary and parsley are cat-safe choices. Parsley is full of vitamins and rosemary acts as a natural flea repellant. It should be noted, though, that you should not introduce either of these herbs into your cat’s regular diet!
This is a common house plant that has been shown to produce mild hallucinogenic effects for cats. It is safe for the cat to chew, but if something seems a little odd later on, your cat could just be experiencing the disappearance of the ego.
Because of the health problems lavender can cause, it’s just better to keep it away from your cat. Don’t worry, your cat can achieve the same relaxing effects of lavender just by sleeping in the sun or coming in for a belly rub — but not for too long because, well, it’s a cat. It’ll let you know when it’s had enough.