If you’re a plant person who also happens to have a cat, you know how challenging it can be to keep the feline away from your greenery.
Even though we make a concerted effort, our cats always end up finding a way to sneak back inside. Knowing how sage affects cats is important because we don’t want our cats to ingest anything they shouldn’t.
Many home gardeners find success with sage, a popular herb. Fortunately, sage is safe for feline consumption. However, restraint is required. If sage is one of your favorite herbs to cultivate, read on to find out whether or not it is safe for cats.
Can cats eat sage?
Sage is safe for cats to eat. Plant this herb without worry because it is safe for cats to eat in the garden.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center lists sage as nontoxic for felines, so it’s safe to assume that even if your cat accidentally ingests a bit, they won’t get sick.
If your cat is known to eat houseplants or other greenery, you should keep a close eye on it if it has access to sage plants. If your cat eats a large amount of sage leaves, they may experience stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.
A Closer Look at Sage
Salvia officinalis, more commonly known as sage, is a culinary herb that originated in the Mediterranean and is now cultivated all over the world. There may be medical benefits from using it, but more study is required to confirm those claims.
Although it’s possible to cultivate a few other types of sage, Common Sage is by far the most common. Sage, like catnip, is a member of the mint family, but this fact is not widely known.
Large, broad, and tall leaves are typical of many members of the mint family. A cat would love to snack on this leaf.
Sage won’t give cats the same high as catnip, but the ASPCA has determined that it’s safe for them to eat many other members of the mint family.
Essential oils, on the other hand, are unique. These are extremely potent oil extracts, and they could hurt your cat.
Your cat should be taken to the vet immediately if it tries sage oil out of curiosity.
Is sage safe for cats?
Sage is safe for cats to consume in most cases. You should move your cat to a different, well-ventilated room if it begins to sneeze or have watery eyes while you are burning sage.
The upper respiratory tract of a cat is more sensitive than that of a human, so keeping it away from smoke is a good idea.
Keep an eye on the sage to make sure your cat’s inquisitive nature doesn’t get it burned by embers flying out of the burn bowl and scorching its paws if you keep your cat in the room with you.
Are Cats Attracted to Sage?
Cats can be enticed to various plants. It’s unclear whether cats are drawn to sage because of its aroma, its wide-spaced leaves, its flavor, its texture, or its novelty.
Sage has a compelling, earthy aroma with dark undertones that could be off-putting to some cats and appealing to others due to their acute sense of smell.
Sage also lacks the chemical nepetalactone, which is responsible for catnip’s stimulating effects. It’s likely that sage has the same allure for your cat as grass does for mine. Even so, a few cat owners claim their felines enjoy the taste of sage.
If your cat enjoys eating this herb, you should limit its intake to prevent stomach problems.
How Much Sage Can My Cat Eat?
Your cat can eat as much sage as it wants. As obligate carnivores, cats can’t survive without regular access to meat. Cats can consume small amounts of plant matter that is safe for them.
Your cat can benefit from limited exposure to certain plants, such as sage. There is a trace amount of sage in some cat treats.
The use of such treats may explain your cat’s apparent fondness for your plant, but we still don’t want cats to have unrestricted access to this herb.
If your cat eats too much sage, it could cause stomach problems. If your cat is having digestive problems, you should contact your vet immediately.
The herb sage contains the chemical thujone, which has the potential to have serious effects on the central nervous system in high doses. However, this has only been tried on laboratory animals, so its effects on household cats are unknown.
What About Burning Sage?
Smudging is a spiritual practice that involves the burning of sage. Common Sage is not used in this ceremony. Although White Sage (Salvia apiana) is typically used for this purpose, other species of the genus can be tried. Your cat can also have a few nibbles of white sage in moderation.
There appears to be no evidence from current studies that suggests it’s harmful to burn White Sage near your cat. Cats that are elderly or have breathing problems shouldn’t be exposed to the practice.
Open a window for ventilation if you want to burn White Sage indoors, or put your cat somewhere it won’t have trouble breathing.
It’s a win-win situation because opening the windows is part of a traditional smudging ceremony’s ritual.
Is burning sage safe for cats?
In most cases, burning sage is safe to do around cats. Sage smoke is no more dangerous than that from a candle or incense that is safe for pets.
Smoke could be irritating to cats with respiratory conditions like asthma. Be wary of cats, as they have been known to bat burning sage out of its container, singeing their paws in the process.
If you are burning sage and your cat is nearby, keep a close eye on them. If you are concerned about your cat’s respiratory system, talk to your vet before burning sage.
How to burn sage near cats
Sage can be burned either unbundled or in a fireproof bowl. Blow out the flame of the sage to release its fragrant smoke.
Sage should be held over a burn bowl to collect the embers. Move the burning sage sluggishly around the space.
When performing a smudging ceremony, it is customary to open windows and doors to release any negative energy and welcome in the positive ions released by the sage.
Keep in mind that the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chemicals that are harmful to health, can rise to levels similar to those in a smoker’s home if you burn sage without ventilation, such as an open window.
Cats with preexisting conditions like asthma or bronchitis are especially vulnerable to respiratory irritation caused by this.
Herbs toxic to cats
If your cat happens to nibble on a few sage leaves while you’re setting up, don’t fret; sage is harmless to felines. But not all herbs used for the same purposes are safe for consumption, and anything consumed in excess can cause harm.
Cats are extremely sensitive to the ketones and phenols found in essential oils, including sage essential oil. Liver failure occurs in the most severe cases.
Cats should not be exposed to chives, garlic, St. John’s wort, chamomile, cannabis, or lemon grass on their own.
Some people experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after ingesting even nontoxic plants.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your cat has ingested a toxic plant.
The bottom line
Ingesting sage or being in close proximity to it being burned is not harmful to felines.
However, care should be taken if a cat already has a respiratory condition, as sage smoke has the potential to make it worse.
Cats shouldn’t be given access to sage either, as even small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
If you are worried about your cat’s well-being, you should always contact your veterinarian for advice.