Also known as coriander, Dhania, or Chinese parsley, cilantro is a herb that has been used in cooking for many, many years. It’s non-toxic to dogs and horses, but is it the same for cats?
We’re answering this question and more in today’s article, so keep on reading!
Can Cats Eat Cilantro?
The short answer to this question is yes. Cats can safely eat cilantro without experiencing any side effects whatsoever.
But wait, there’s more. We are strictly referring to the herb itself, not any dish that you might have prepared and to which you might have added cilantro.
Cats are not supposed to have foods with spices or condiments in them — garlic and onion are dangerous to them, and so are salt, pepper, and any other such seasonings.
Benefits of Cilantro for Cats
First of all, you should never let your feline friend eat as much cilantro as she might want as large amounts might cause health complications such as arrhythmia or digestive distress.
But if your pet seems to be a great aficionado of cilantro, you should definitely let her have a bit.
Cilantro contains a variety of important nutrients ranging from folate and choline to beta-carotene, magnesium, and lutein. Lutein is available in other foods, such as tomatoes, and it is one of the best antioxidants that exist in fruit and veggies.
For example, lutein has been found to improve skin health and prevent degenerative eye disease — so giving your cat very small amounts of cilantro now and then can prevent her from losing her eyesight as she ages.
Some studies suggest that in humans, eating cilantro regularly can prevent heart disease, obesity, diabetes, as well as diseases of the nervous system. In other words, your cat can get the same benefits if you allow her to have this herb once in a while.
Can Cilantro Cause Health Problems in Cats?
This question is actually pretty difficult to answer, and that’s because cats vary a lot from one animal to the next.
It’s generally acknowledged that kittens and pregnant cats should not receive any other food besides their diet, and that’s because they have different needs.
Food allergies and intolerances exist, so you can’t know for sure whether your pet is or is not allergic to cilantro or any compound in it.
Large amounts of coriander usually cause digestive health issues. If your cat gets into your cilantro bush and eats a lot of it all of a sudden, she might experience bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, and general malaise.
The digestive problems themselves are a nuisance, but what can be truly dangerous for cats is dehydration — and if your pet is vomiting and having diarrhea, she can get dehydrated fast. Plus, cats are known for not drinking enough water.
Fortunately, most cats do not show a particular interest in herbs in general, and cilantro is no exception to the rule. So, it is quite unlikely for your feline buddy to have a large amount of coriander.
Should You Give Your Cat Cilantro?
If she shows absolutely no interest in it, no. Do not force your cat to eat something she doesn’t want to.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that most of their diet should be composed of fats and protein, not fresh herbs, veggies, fruit, or whatever else humans might have.
Some foods can cause a lot of health issues in pets, and cats are notorious for being allergic to many. Never give your cat onion, garlic, chocolate, or coffee.
If your cat is a fan of a type of human food, including cilantro, you should consider it a treat. Snacks and such additions should make up no more than ten percent of a healthy cat’s diet.
What Type of Cilantro Is Safe for Cats?
Unfortunately, herbs are among the foods that are the most exposed to pesticides and weed killers. This means that cilantro can be unsafe for your cat in terms of the substances it might have been exposed to.
Many pesticides are known to be carcinogenic, so if you want to do your best at preventing your cat from developing cancer when she becomes older, we strongly suggest you buy only organic cilantro.
The best kind is, in fact, the one that you can grow your own, provided that you do not use any potentially toxic pesticides or weed killers and stick to organic solutions to your problems — such as neem oil.
If you give cilantro to your cat and she experiences any digestive distress, make sure to keep an eye on her for several hours and see if the symptoms subside or not. If they do not, take your cat to the veterinary hospital as soon as possible, as dehydration can be a threat to your pet’s life.
In general, coriander is safe to give to cats, and most experience no health issues after nibbling on this herb.