Is cinnamon safe for cats? One might tend to think so, since it hasn’t been labeled by the ASPCA as toxic for this species or for dogs, for that matter.
But depending on the form, cinnamon can actually be quite dangerous for our feline friends. It can cause irritation inside the gastrointestinal tract, especially if the cat has ingested a large amount of this spice, or it can cause a local irritation on the pet’s skin if it has come in contact with some cinnamon oil.
Read on to find out more about cinnamon and its toxicity in cats.
Is Cinnamon Dangerous to Cats?
Ingesting cinnamon is quite risky for cats. Dogs have a lower likelihood of developing severe symptoms due to their size. Even if they might develop mild digestive distress, dogs will show serious gastrointestinal clinical signs only after ingesting foods with a high concentration of cinnamon.
Besides being smaller, which means that everything that a 30-pound dog could eat without suffering any side effects could be dangerous to a cat, cats are also very sensitive on the whole.
In general, they are much more likely to experience adverse reactions to pretty much anything else besides what they should eat. Since they are obligate carnivores, cats should not have apple pie with cinnamon in it or whatever human food one might feel tempted to feed their feline friend at one point.
Cats are even sensitive to lots of veterinary drugs and OTC human medications.
What Symptoms Can a Cat Develop after Ingesting Cinnamon?
The severity of the following clinical signs can differ on several factors such as how much cinnamon your cat ingested, her age, health status, and whether she’s generally more prone to developing digestive issues.
Even so, some of the most commonly seen symptoms in cats that accidentally swallowed cinnamon are listed below:
- General malaise
- Liver failure
- Respiratory complications (shortness of breath, coughing, sneezing)
Inhalation is most unlikely in cats as the strong smell that this spice has will most likely put off pets completely, so they aren’t going to come too close to a cinnamon stick or any amount of cinnamon powder.
However, if a cat does inhale cinnamon, they’ll develop difficulty breathing quite quickly. Most of the symptoms that can be seen in this case are going to be somewhat similar to what people with asthma experience – wheezing, respiratory discomfort, and breathlessness.
What if some cinnamon ends up on your cat’s skin? Although much less likely to happen simply because your cat would have to be coatless to exhibit these signs, here are some symptoms that she could experience:
- Local inflammation
- Incessant grooming of the area (leading to your cat ingesting the cinnamon, too)
How Can a Cat End up Suffering from Cinnamon Toxicity?
If you have been a cat parent for several years now, you probably know what this species is supposed to eat and avoid. As such, it will be extremely unlikely for you to give your cat cinnamon-rich foods or try to force-feed her cinnamon powder.
The most likely scenario where cats can become exposed to this spice is people who want to repel them and stop them from coming over to their gardens, for example.
It is true that cinnamon is a rather effective repellent and is even used in some natural sprays against pests and animals these days. But it is a serious irritant for cats, so not only will it repel them, but it could also make them develop health issues. If you are an animal lover, you should avoid using this solution to deter cats from coming to your garden.
There are many other types of products that you can use these days if you want to stop cats from visiting your property — motion-detecting sprays, sprinklers, ultrasound repellers, and you can even grow plants that cats are known to hate — such as lavender, lemon thyme, rue, or pennyroyal.
Using cinnamon oil in a diffuser can be dangerous for cats as they can inhale the solution and develop respiratory complications. In case you didn’t know, very few essential oils are actually safe for pets, and even those that will not produce any clinical signs make pets feel uncomfortable — as their sense of smell is far, far better than ours, so when the whole house smells like cinnamon, your cat’s senses are going to go crazy.
How Can Cinnamon Toxicity Be Treated?
It depends on the exact form of intoxication your cat has developed. Skin lesions are somewhat easier to treat compared to the respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Supportive care is typically necessary to ensure that your pet’s organs are functioning properly. Depending on the severity of the clinical picture, your cat might have to be hospitalized for several days.
For respiratory distress, oxygen therapy might be necessary, as well as administering decongestants and bronchodilators.
What to Do If Your Cat Ingested or Inhaled Cinnamon?
If you suspect that your cat came in contact with cinnamon in such a way or if cinnamon essential oil might have ended up on your cat’s skin, the best advice that we have for you is to go to the animal hospital as soon as possible.
If your cat develops severe symptoms of cinnamon poisoning, you should be as close to a vet as you can — so that they can act fast and save your cat’s life.
Calling the Pet Poison Control Control Center you might have in your country can be another good idea, but they could only provide you with limited advice. Poisoning is always an emergency, so seek out veterinary assistance.