Can Cats Eat Oregano? 13 Things You Need To Know

Oregano is a well-known culinary herb that is used for both its flavor and its medicinal properties around the world. Cats can safely consume many common cooking herbs, but is oregano one of them? Can a cat eat oregano? Is that good for their health?

No, oregano is not safe for cats to eat. The oils in oregano can cause stomach upset in cats and, in extreme cases, liver failure.

Is Oregano OK for Cats?

While some herbs are safe for cats to consume orally or apply topically, oregano is never acceptable because all strains of the herb are toxic to cats.

Oregano is toxic to cats and should never be given to one. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has concluded that oregano is toxic to cats.

It’s poisonous whether it’s fresh, dried, cooked, or raw. Oregano’s toxic properties come from the essential oils it contains.

Cats are unable to metabolize the phenols and terpenoids found in oregano. Cats can’t process and eliminate these toxic oils because they lack the same variety of enzymes that humans do.

The glucuronyl transferase enzymes necessary for the digestion of this herb’s active chemicals are absent in a cat’s liver. Your cat will become sick from a buildup of these toxins because it lacks the digestive enzymes necessary to break them down.

Cat Oregano

Do Cats Like Oregano Scents?

Oregano has no chemical qualities that would entice your cat. Oregano has a camphor-like odor. A sharp, earthy, green flavor with a touch of mint and hay is present. It has a slightly bitter taste.

It shouldn’t entice your cat because it doesn’t contain catnip or cat thyme. It can be grown without worry in and around the house or garden. Your cat will not be enticed by the oregano in your kitchen.

Both the smell and flavor of oregano are unpleasant to cats, so it’s not hard to keep them away from it. Cats, on the other hand, are naturally inquisitive and might try a bite if they can get past the odor.

Can Oregano Kill Cats?

Your cat should avoid oregano at all costs. The oil in particular poses a threat. If your cat has been exposed to a large amount of oregano, it could have some unpleasant side effects.

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This usually occurs after the oil has been purposefully applied topically or after the cat has been fed it. Your cat may die from severe oregano poisoning.

Sickness, diarrhea, excessive wind and bloating, oral irritation, skin irritation, difficulty breathing, difficulty walking, and death will have already beset them by that time. Any person who likes cats faces a terrifying possibility.

Is Dried Oregano Dangerous for Cats?

Dried oregano is more widely available. The majority of diners prefer it to fresh oregano because it is more subtle.

It’s also easier to keep on hand in the pantry throughout the year. The good news is that this variant is much less likely than oregano oil to kill or seriously injure your cat.

Even if you know your cat hasn’t gotten sick from nibbling on dried oregano, you should still keep a close eye on it.

Dried Oregano

Is Fresh Oregano Safe for Cats?

We humans prefer the flavor and aroma of fresh oregano. Oregano is a popular addition to bouquet garni because it adds a robust flavor to broths and stocks. Oregano is one of those herbs that can be easily grown in a home herb garden or on a windowsill.

If a cat eats fresh oregano, it will likely just feel sick and have diarrhea until the poisonous compounds are passed out of its body.

Your cat may become ill if it eats too much fresh oregano, but it’s highly unlikely to consume enough to cause serious illness.

If you suspect that your furry friend has consumed a large amount of this plant, you should visit a veterinarian immediately.

Is Oregano Oil Toxic for Cats?

Oregano is loaded with potent compounds and antioxidants that have been shown to improve human health.

Oregano contains compounds that are beneficial to humans but extremely harmful to cats. Unless it is used intentionally on a cat, a cat is very unlikely to come into contact with oregano essential oil.

As a result of reading about oregano’s purported benefits for humans, some pet owners mistakenly feed it to their animals.

Oregano essential oil, which some people mistakenly believe can be used in place of antibiotics, can be extremely harmful to a cat’s health.

This is a catastrophic oversight. Even though it’s not safe to give your cat any form of oregano, the oil is by far the worst option.

Oregano oil is the most toxic form of this herb because of its high concentration.

Cats should not be given oregano oil. Toxic to feline consumption.

oregano oil

Oregano Toxicity in Cats

The American SPCA warns that cats should not eat oregano. It shouldn’t be eaten, applied topically, ingested fresh or dried, or included in any kind of food.

Cats can be poisoned by the phenols and terpenoids found in oregano’s essential oils. Cats are particularly vulnerable to the toxicity of certain oils because they lack the enzymes necessary to break them down and excrete them (glucuronyl transferase).

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Your cat may be able to tolerate small amounts orally, but it will accumulate in the body and cause liver damage over time.

What Parts of the Oregano Plant Are Toxic?

Your cat should avoid eating any part of an oregano plant because of the oils it contains. However, the worst offender is oregano oil, which is simply a highly concentrated form of the plant’s essential oils.

Oregano essential oil, in any form (oral or topical), is toxic to cats and should never be given to them. Oregano, in any form (dried herb, fresh leaf, or stem, or food containing oregano), should never be given to a cat.

What Are the Symptoms of Oregano Poisoning?

Consuming plants typically results in no more than mild stomach discomfort. A cat’s reaction to oregano essential oil can be life-threatening.

Constant use will cause symptoms to appear. Here are all the signs to look out for: sickness, throwing up, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, sore mouth, loss of appetite, liver issues, and fainting.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats Oregano

Oregano can cause temporary gastrointestinal distress in your cat, such as diarrhea and vomiting. The oil’s potency and spiciness may also cause some mouth irritation.

Extreme toxicity in your cat can cause the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea and vomiting that is severe
  • Reduced lung capacity
  • Otitis media, or mouth inflammation
  • Damage to the liver
  • Anorexia
  • Collapse

Poisoning from oregano can be fatal, so keep that in mind. Keep an eye on your cat if it consumes even a small amount of fresh or dried oregano and see if it develops any symptoms.

Call your veterinarian or the nearest emergency room if you have any concerns. If you take action quickly, you’ll have a better chance of success.

Go to the emergency clinic immediately if your cat has consumed a large amount of fresh or dried oregano, or if it has come into contact with pure essential oil.

To determine how much of the herb your cat ingested and if there is any liver damage, your veterinarian may run blood and urine tests.

To help your cat recover from the toxicity, the vet may administer supportive therapy, such as an IV to flush the oregano out.

The vet may prescribe oxygen and painkillers for your cat if it is having trouble breathing or seems uncomfortable. You may need to leave your cat at the animal hospital for several days if the toxicity is severe and your cat has a severe reaction.

If you act quickly, your cat should be able to make a full recovery if it only ingested a small amount. Your cat’s liver could be damaged by a concentrated dose of that. The advice of your veterinarian is essential to the future health of your cat.

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sad cat

How Quickly Do Cats Recover From Oregano Poisoning?

Your cat could be fine in a few days, or it could be permanently damaged by the poison.

Oregano essential oil should never be used on cats. Painful irritation can result from even topical application.

If your cat ingests oregano essential oil, he or she may develop liver damage that will require ongoing medical attention. Minor burns to the skin and mouth should mend quickly.

Your cat will likely make a full recovery from any fresh or dried oregano plant matter it ingested. Be sure your cat can’t reach the herbs in their pots.

To prevent your cat from coming into contact with potentially dangerous garden plants, you can keep it indoors.

What Herbs Are Bad For Cats?

While many herbs and spices add wonderful flavor to food, many of them are toxic to cats.

Garlic, chives, chamomile, St. John’s wort, lemongrass, mint, and tarragon are all herbs you should stay away from.

It’s best to have your veterinarian handle any medication for your pet, and to keep your cat’s diet as straightforward as possible.

Common Cooking Herbs That Are Toxic to Cats

The oregano in your spice rack isn’t the only poisonous herb. Cats should not be exposed to many common herbs used in human cooking.

  • Marjoram
  • Cocoa
  • Epazote
  • Tarragon
  • Chives
  • Scallions
  • Bay leaf
  • Borage
  • Sorrel
  • Vervain de citron
  • Lemongrass
  • Lavender
  • Chamomile
  • Mint

Keep your cat away from any plants you grow indoors or use in the kitchen that could be toxic to him, especially if you have a cat.

You can stock your kitchen with cat-friendly herbs like those listed below.

  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Cilantro
  • Dandelion
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Root valerian
  • Also, the ubiquitous catnip!

Your cat can safely consume these herbs, but you shouldn’t. There is always the chance that your cat will have an adverse reaction to an herb that is otherwise safe, and some herbs are only safe in very small amounts.


Do not give oregano to your cats. Never give your cat oregano, either the plant or the oil, as it can be fatal.

If you think your cat has been poisoned by oregano, use your best judgment and take it to the vet. If your cat is seriously ill, you need to get them to a vet immediately, and you shouldn’t try to treat them yourself at home.

If your cat has accidentally ingested a small amount of oregano, they may be uncomfortable for a few days, but this should pass on their own.

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