Cats are known for their love of food. They love to eat almost anything and often get into trouble because of it. One thing that they do enjoy though, is drinking water. Cats love to drink water and will often drink it out of bowls or even out of glasses.
But what if you want to give your cat a healthy alternative to water? Should you give him or her tea instead?
I’m sure you’ve heard of the benefits of drinking tea before. It has been proven to help reduce stress levels, boost metabolism, improve digestion, and much more. But can cats drink tea as humans do?
Well, let me tell you a bit more about this question and answer it for you.
Can Cats Drink Tea?
Cats are very different from us. They don’t have the same needs, so some ingredients may be fine for us but could be harmful to them.
Caffeine is a common ingredient found in teas. Cats are very sensitive to caffeine and can experience a wide variety of symptoms when they consume too much. These symptoms include anxiety, agitation, aggression, hyperactivity, increased urination, increased appetite, muscle tremors, restlessness, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. Fortunately, most cats recover in a matter of hours after consuming caffeine.
More severe symptoms of consuming caffeine are vomiting, excessive drooling, and diarrhea. These symptoms are very uncomfortable for the cat. Vomiting and diarrhea are more threatening as they may lead to dehydration.
If your kitty is unwell, small or elderly, consuming caffeine can wreak havoc on her system. Even a small amount can cause them to become confused and disoriented, stumble and stagger, and even collapse and have seizures. This is very serious and requires immediate veterinary care.
From the above, it’s clear that caffeine poisoning is a very serious medical condition. However, there are some concerns regarding decaffeinated tea. Are cats able to consume decaffeinated tea?
Here’s the answer: The tea may be free from caffeine, but it could still contain other harmful substances that cats should avoid.
Tea may contain many substances besides caffeine, including tannin, polyphenol, flavonoids and essential oils. These are also harmful to animals like cats because their systems can’t process them the way that ours can. In other words, even if a cat drinks only decaffeinated tea, it could still suffer adverse effects.
Some people think that adding milk (presumed to be a healthy drink) into the tea will help to counter any bad effects from drinking the tea. However, this is incorrect. Firstly, milk does not make the tea any safer for cats. Second, many adult cats cannot digest milk properly as they are lactose-intolerant.
Side Effects of Tea for Cats
First of all, the side effect of tea for cats depends on how many and how strong the toxic chemicals are, as well as how much tea your cat consumes. While one or two drops may not cause any adverse effects, drinking a whole cupful of tea will probably have you schedule a visit with the vet. Also, although many of the natural chemicals found in tea are toxic to felines, it’s caffeine that is the most dangerous. Excessive exposure to caffeine can lead to caffeine toxicity in cats.
The symptoms of caffeine poisoning in cats include:
- Hyperactivity or restlessness, such as excessive licking, pacing, and bouncing off objects
- Anxiety, such as panic and jitteriness
- Elevated and/or irregular heartbeat
- Excessive drooling
- Confusion and disorientation
- High blood pressure
- Gastrointestinal symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Dehydration such as dry nose, dry eyes, constipation, and infrequent urination
- Neurological symptoms such as body tremors, seizures, and collapse
What Teas Are Safe For Cats?
On the flip side, there is a variety of herbs that are safe for cats and are beneficial to them. You can use some of these to make “teas”. There are many reasons why you might want to do this. One is for treating minor conditions, with your veterinarian’s approval. Another is simply to get your cat to drink its fluids. A tasty “tea” can aid in this.
Needless to say, all infusions must be cooled down before they are added to the cat’s water. Cats can easily burn their sensitive mouth and nose areas if they drink hot infusions. Use a separate bowl for the infusion so that it does not affect the regular water. If the cat does not like the smell or taste of the infusion, she may not want it in her water.
Catnip is great for calming nervous cats and making them feel better. Cats who consume a considerable amount can go into a sort of “trance” where they roll about and act like carefree kittens. An infusion of catnip can help a nervous cat to relax or stimulate a dehydrated kitty to drink.
You can also make an infusion out of Valerian root for your pet cat. It’s known as a relaxant and a sleeping aid for humans. But for cats, it functions like a mild stimulant that motivates them to rise and move around. This is great if your cat is a couch potato who really needs some extra exercise.
A licorice root infusion is very good for cats with nervous stomachs. It aids them in their digestion and can also have a calming effect.
What Teas Are Unsafe For Cats?
Some types of “tea,” such as herbal infusions, may contain no actual tea at all, but still, be harmful. Different herbs can have different effects, some being more or less harmless, while others can cause their own serious health issues.
Chamomile tea is a very common cause of poisoning in cats. There are many types of chamomile, some of which are safe for cats (eg. German chamomile) while others are toxic (eg. Roman chamomile). If you don’t know which type of chamomile you’re using, it’s safest to avoid it altogether.
Another popular herbal tea for humans, peppermint and spearmint tea are good for dyspepsia (indigestion) in humans. But they can upset a cat’s digestion just as they soothe ours.
Lavender is a nice fragrant herb in your cup of tea; however, it is not good for your cat. Fortunately, a cat would have a hard time getting enough lavender tea to make her sick. Unfortunately, there are many cats who are just that committed to drinking whatever you are drinking, even if it makes them sick.
Be sure to check the ingredients of your tea before giving it out to your cat. Do some research to see if there are any ingredients that might cause your cat to get sick. If your cat is on any medications, be sure to find out if they can react with any of the ingredients you use.
Can caffeine hurt cats?
Caffeine is toxic to cats, and they should be kept away from coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks. If you suspect your cat has ingested any of these substances, contact your veterinarian immediately.
It’s important to remember that cats are much smaller than we are and a small amount of caffeine can have a big effect on them.
Can cats drink Earl Grey Tea?
Earl Grey tea has two ingredients: strong black tea leaves and bergamot oil. Bergamot oil is an oil derived from the skin of a citrus fruit called the bergamot orange. Cats can’t process this oil, so it is just as toxic to them as many other tea ingredients.
Is it OK for cats to drink chamomile tea?
There are many different types of chamomiles, some of which are harmless to cats (German chamomile), while others are toxic (Roman chamomile). German chamomile tea can be used to calm a stressed-out cat or to help them get over an upset tummy. This chamomille relaxes the body’s muscles and helps relieve stomach cramps and muscle spasms. If you’re not sure of the type of chamomile you’re using, it’s safest to steer clear of it.