A close-up of a cat’s face as it walks through several basil plants.

Can cats eat basil?

Team Walmart Pets

July 2, 2021


min read

Ahh, basil: an amazing topping on pizzas, an essential ingredient in tomato sauce and one of those flavors that seems to be able to make anything taste better. Most humans love the taste, and keep basil close at hand for cooking. But is basil safe for cats to eat?

Yes, basil is nontoxic to cats and dogs. Whether it’s fresh leaves, cooked or dried and ground up, consuming basil should not harm your pet. It’s been reported that some cats experience diarrhea or vomiting, but these symptoms appear to be very rare. Unlike the other green they love to eat, grass, which can impact their health and make them sick.

Why do cats eat basil?

Cats (and dogs) just don’t have a taste for basil the way we two-leggers do. The smell, flavor, or texture may be naturally unpleasant to the feline palate. It also contains no nutritional value to cats, who are obligate carnivores and don’t benefit from many plant-based foods. However, cats are endlessly curious and do feel the need to investigate and sample everything in their environment — so if you have basil growing in your garden, it’s very possible that your cat could end up snacking on and ingesting some.

Why do cats eat plants that make them throw up?

Eating grass tends to make cats vomit, and can pose other health problems for them.

There are several theories as to why cats eat grass: they aren’t feeling well, they’re having difficulty digesting something, they’re just plain old curious—and it’s also thought to be a cat behavior inherited from their wild ancestors. Make sure to keep pets away from chemically treated lawns and toxic plants. If they do accidentally ingest something they shouldn't, call your veterinarian right away. Should they require a trip to the emergency room, it can be covered by your pet insurance policy. 

Herbs safe for cats

If your cat loves hanging out in your herb garden, consider safe plants for cats your feline friend will actually enjoy. Most cat grass varieties, rosemary and thyme are all easy to cultivate, tempting to eat and even offer health benefits to cats when they consume them. Plant a few and watch your kitty turn into a pseudo vegetarian as they enjoy these natural, cat-friendly delicacies! 

Cat won’t stop eating grass?

If your curious cat can’t stop choking away on grass, that could be an issue that you should talk to your vet about. And to keep you and your cat protected from all of life’s unexpected moments, enroll in Walmart Pet Insurance today.


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Photo by Sebastiaan Hols on Unsplash