Can Cats Eat Thyme?

Cats are natural companions, and they can be playful and adventurous.

However, they can be mischievous as well. If your favorite feline seems restless or agitated, it could be due to something it brought with it.

Cats often behave differently from what you’d expect, and if you’re here for a reason, it’s likely you’ll try to help it. So, can cats eat thyme?

Thyme is used in many recipes because of its delicious and unique flavor. Most cats love thyme so it may be tempting to think that your kitty will love thyme as well.

However, thyme is very toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure if ingested in large amounts. Cats are very sensitive to this herb because it contains carvacrol and thymol which are both very toxic to cats.

It is best to keep thyme out of reach of your cat or your cat may mistake it for a treat and ingest some of its leaves or flowers by mistake.

Can Cats Eat Thyme?

Yes, thyme may taste delicious to your cat but it is not safe to eat for cats.

Thyme is not harmful to cats, according to WebMD; however, catnip is toxic to cats and thyme is in the same family as catnip (Lamiaceae) and both herbs contain carvacrol and thymol which are toxic to cats.

Thyme is absolutely safe for humans but should be avoided by cats because it contains active ingredients that may lead to serious health problems such as vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and anemia in cats.

However, if ingested in large amounts of thymol or carvacrol (both active ingredients in thyme), your cat may experience the following symptoms.

What is Thyme?

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family and is native to Southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Thymus is a genus of about 80 species of flowering plants.

The shrub has wiry stems, small oblong leaves and small pink or purple flowers that are clustered into spikes at the stem ends.

The perfume of thyme comes from the essential oil which is made from the flowering tops and leaves through steam distillation.

Teucrium marum (cat thyme) is a little plant found in Kerala, India, and smells like cat urine to repel insects, but is made of thyme oil and thymol.

Cat time, unlike thyme, has a strong musky odor and isn’t often used as a spice in cooking.

Is Thyme Safe For Cats?

Yes, cats can consume thyme; the main concern would be if your cat ate large amounts of aniseed or fennel seeds which are also in the mint.

As a general rule, cats don’t chew on plants like thyme so the risk of your cat eating herbs isn’t usually an issue.

According to the ASPCA, both fresh and dry thyme are safe for cats and often used as seasoning in cat food.

In these forms, thyme can help your cat digest foods better by stimulating the digestive system’s acids and enzymes.

If you observe your cat eating a lot of thyme, it could be a sign of more serious gastrointestinal problems so seek veterinary care immediately.

Basil and sage are also safe for cats in moderate amounts but should be avoided if your cat has a tendency to develop kidney problems which could be linked to ingesting large amounts of dried basil or sage.

It includes thymol, which improves digestion, inhibits bacterial and fungal growth and other microorganisms that can harm one’s body.

Teucrium marum (cat thyme) is likewise non-toxic to cats, with the notable exception of Thymbra spicata (creeping thyme).

Is My Cat Attracted To Thyme?

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has no major side effects and is quite safe to use in small amounts in pets.

Unlike catnip, the shrub is non-toxic to cats.

Your cat, on the other hand, may have been intrigued by the smell of the fresh herbs in the garden and might have eaten thyme leaves or stem by mistake.

As a consequence, it may take the herb a few hours to pass out of your pet’s system and the symptoms generally subside only gradually after a few hours.

If this is the case, your feline friend should be just fine as long as he doesn’t eat any more of it.

On the other side, if your kitty has swallowed toxic amounts of the herb, he may become depressed or lethargic within a matter of hours.

It is called after common thyme because of a distinct odor of the leaves which smells like thyme when crushed.

This will interest your feline friend even more than usual and could cause a recurrence of symptoms if it is ingested again.

Is Thyme Poisonous To Cats?

If utilized in essential amounts, thyme is safe for your cat.

Essential oils have grown in popularity in recent years, and Thyme oil is no exception to that trend.

Because cats are tiny and do not have the same liver enzymes as humans, their bodies do not process essential oils as well.

Are There Any Benefits For Feeding My Cat Thyme?

Thyme includes thymol, a natural biocide that has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Thyme is supposed to aid with bronchitis, whooping cough, and even the common cold.

No, your cat’s digestive tract is unable handle this herb well and it can cause several side effects including your baby vomiting and diarrhea.

As a consequence, consumed fresh or dry thyme is toxic to cats.

If your cat eats fresh thyme from your garden, they are most likely suffering from a dicky belly for a day or two after ingesting the herb.

If your cat ingests some thyme accidentally, the toxic substance will usually pass out of its system in a few hours. Thyme can also aid in asthma treatment by relaxing the bronchi tubes.

What may surprise some is the medicinal benefits of this herb. Thyme is a shrub that is part of the mint family and is native to Southern Europe as well as North Africa and the Middle East.

Can Cats Have Thyme Oil?

Thyme oil is harmful for cats so it is best to keep the oil out of your pet’s reach.

The oils of lavender, rosemary, cedarwood and bergamot are toxic to cats and ingestion can lead to death in severe cases. Thyme essential oil should be stored out of the reach of pets to help prevent accidental ingestion.

Your pet’s system cannot process essential oils, so ingesting an oil can cause a number of problems including kidney and liver damage.

Humans often use thyme essential to give a flavor to foods and add flavor to recipes.

It also works as an antiseptic and has antibacterial properties that make it useful in cleaning wounds and in mouthwashes for oral hygiene, Either fresh or dried.

Thymus vulgaris oil is harmful to cats and should be kept away from pets’ reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

Also See: Can Cats Eat Carrot Greens?


All cats are unique individuals and each will react differently to thyme.

Some cats may not show any symptoms at all while others may experience vomiting, diarrhea and excessive salivation. If your cat ingests thyme or shows signs of illness after eating it, you should immediately contact your veterinarian for advice and treatment.

Thyme contains toxins that can damage your cat’s kidney and you should not wait before seeking veterinary advice if you think your cat has ingested thyme.

Additionally , if your cat has consumed thyme once or twice and seems fine, there is no need to stress out about it.

Most cats will be fine once the initial episode has passed but others will experience recurrent symptoms after eating thyme.

If your cat eats a lot of thyme on a regular basis, you should seek advice from your veterinary as soon as possible to prevent more serious health issues.