If you’re looking for a natural way to maintain your cat’s health or to treat an existing issue, you’re probably considering herbs. Furthermore, if you are considering herbs as a remedy for your cat(s), you’re probably asking yourself, “Are Herbs Safe For Cats?”. Well, the short answer is yes, but with a few conditions.
Although herbs are commonly used to support the physical and mental health of cats—before you decide to administer a dosage—it’s important to have a clear understanding of herbs and how they can effect your cat. In that regard, below are a few things to consider, before treating your cat with herbal remedies.
Less Is More
Cats by nature are carnivores, which means that their metabolism consumes meat more efficiently than plants/herbs. Also, a feline’s liver processes plants differently as compared to humans, making it it easier for them to succumb to toxicity. However, in spite of their sensitivity to herbs, cats can still be treated with herbal remedies. It’s just that when it comes to administering dosages, less is more. 
Proceed With Caution
Herbs should be approached with the caution that you would give medication. Furthermore, because herbs can mix with drugs and potentially cause an overdose or some other medical issue, it’s important to be mindful of all the medication you’re giving your cat—whether they be conventional or herbal.
Consult A Veterinarian
Consulting with a veterinarian is an ideal place to start, when you’re trying to decide what type of herbs and supplements you should use to treat your cat. Typically, veterinarians have a better idea of what can blend well with your cat’s current medications. This way, you’ll have a better chance of preventing negative reactions and overdoses. Also, if your cat is currently dealing with any medical issues, the veterinarian can advise you on avoiding herbs that can potentially make the condition worse.
Avoid Dog Products
Avoid using products that are designed for dog usage. A dog’s physiology is different; therefore, herbs created for a canine, may not have the same effect on cats.
Follow The Instructions
Read the instructions for the product and follow them correctly. Pay attention to how often you’re suppose to use it, dose requirements and the weight parameters. Heed all warnings that require you not to go over a certain dosage within 24 hours.
Products Considered Unsafe
Products that contain alcohol or essential oils are considered unsafe for cats and should be avoided.
Catnip For Stress Reduction
Catnip is scientifically known as Nepeta Cataria. It’s a perennial herb—a plant able to live past 2 years—that is a part of the mint family. Catnip contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which releases a strong smell that attracts more than half of adult cats.
Catnip Uses
Catnip can be easily used for cat trees, scratching posts, toys or anything an owner would like their cat to use. Cats usually react to catnip by smelling it, licking it and rolling around in it, with a burst of energetic excitement, that last for about 15 minutes.
A Period Of Calm
After 15 minutes of catnip enhanced playtime, cats typically come down from their high and enter a relaxed state. This period of calm is helpful in reducing stress.
Cats And Stress
Cats are susceptible to stress and can suffer physically, as well as mentally, if it is not properly managed. A common concern is immune system issues, that are caused by the overproduction of cortisol—a fight or flight hormone—as a result of too much stress.
Catnip Can Help With Anxiety
By using calming herbs—like catnip—to reduce a cat’s anxiety, they are able to comfortably enjoy life and maintain a healthy immune system.

Important: Avoid using catnip on pregnant cats. Catnip is a uterine stimulant and can cause premature labor.

Daisy Family

Chamomile is often used by humans as a relaxing sleep aid. This plant belongs to the daisy family and is aromatic—emits a pleasant smell. When used as a tea, chamomile can also help cats relax. However, caution should be exercised with the type of chamomile you use. Please read the note below.

Important: Some Chamomile types are toxic to dogs and cats. True Chamomile, Roman, Garden and English Chamomile can cause your cat/dog to experience Allergic Reactions, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Anorexia and Contact Dermatitis. German Chamomile is considered safe.

Echinacea is a flowering plant that is another classification of the daisy variety.  It helps to raise the immune system of humans as well as cats and you’ll find it contained in teas and other immunity strengthening products. Echinacea and other daisy-related herbs, can also be used to treat skin issues.
Calendula flowers are a specific kind of marigold. It is also a perennial and is generally used to treat problems with the skin. Calendula flowers can also be used to make tea; however, the flower should only be used. Avoid using the stems and leaves, because they reportedly have a toxic effect. 
Medicinal Roots

Licorice Root has natural steroids in it and can be used to help ease arthritis pain, digestive issues and an inflamed respiratory system that has been effected by allergies/colds. Licorice is traditionally used in Chinese medicine as a sweetener for candy and tea. It is found at the root of a perennial herb and is available as a capsule. One capsule, with two cups of water can make tea. Several drops can be administered to treat a felines skin problems and allergies.

Important: If your cat has an electrolyte imbalance or high blood pressure, licorice root should be avoided. Licorice contains glycyrrhizinic acid, which can cause a reaction that can contribute to your cat’s current conditions.

Goldenseal is used as a disinfectant to treat scratches, cuts, abrasions and other injuries. It comes from the buttercup family and is considered an antibiotic.
Valerian can be used as a sleeping aid, as well as a calming agent. It’s a perennial that can sometimes—depending on the cat—stimulate felines, as opposed to calming them. In which case, it can be used as a way to get your cat to exercise more.

Bach Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic herbal tincture—traces of herbs in liquid. It was introduced by Dr. Edward Bach, as a treatment for trauma. Bach Rescue Remedy is designed to work on a subtle energetic level. This tincture is a blend of 5 different flower essences—Star of Bethlehem, Rock Rose, Cherry Plum, Impatiens and Clematis. It’s typically used to treat fear, aggression, impatience, anxiety, traumatic experiences and negative behavior. Bach Rescue Remedy is made available for humans, as well as pets/cats to use.

Note: The recommended way to administer Bach Rescue Remedy is to add 2-4 drops to your pet’s wet food, treats and/or drinking water.

In Conclusion
Be sure to consult a veterinarian or holistic veterinarian, before you decide to use herbs as a form of treatment for your cat. Make your vet aware of all of your cat’s existing conditions, the medications/herbs being used or whatever you are planning for her to use. 

The important thing to be mindful of, is how the herb(s) you plan on introducing, will effect your cat’s system and/or how they’ll blend with the current medication that’s being used. 

Also, remember that less is more and that a small dosage, can go a long way to effecting your cat—be it positive or negative. 

With the above information in mind, herbs can be a safe and natural way to keep your cat healthy. Thanks for reading “Are Herbs Safe For Cats”.

Note: It would also be helpful to take a look at the ASPCA’s complete listing of non-toxic and toxic plants/herbs for cats.