Tea is a common beverage in many households, and it’s not uncommon to wonder if you can give some to your cat. It’s also not unusual for your cat to sneak a sip when you’re not looking, causing some concern. The short and quick answer is no, your cat cannot drink tea, but that is a very broad statement, and we’re going to take a closer look at tea-drinking cats to see how dangerous it is, and if there are any substitutions, you can use.
Is tea bad for cats?
Unfortunately, there are a few ingredients in common tea that can be harmful to your cat.
The biggest problem with allowing your cat to drink tea is the high level of caffeine it contains. Many people don’t realize that caffeine is dangerous1 to cats and that they are much more sensitive to it than humans. Only a small amount is required to increase their heart rate and cause them to become hyperactive. They can become restless, unable to sit still, and they may vocalize more than usual. It can also raise your cat’s blood pressure leading to heart arrhythmia, and they may have tremors or seizures. Caffeine can also upset their digestive system causing vomiting and diarrhea. Your pet may have a fever become weak, and even collapse into a coma, and the symptoms of a caffeine overdose can last for several hours.
Because of the serious side effects associated with caffeine, we recommend avoiding tea, coffee, soda, and any other beverages or foods that contain it.
Unfortunately, caffeine isn’t the only ingredient in our tea that can be harmful to our pets. Most of us put sugar in our tea, which can be harmful to your cat’s health. Cats are one of the only animals that cannot taste sweets, so there is little reason to add it to their food or drinks2. They lack the enzyme to digest sugar properly, and it results in a higher blood sugar level, which can lead to an increased rate of obesity and diabetes. In extreme cases, too much sugar can damage the liver.
Another ingredient that many of us put in our tea that can be harmful to cats is cream and milk. Milk and cream contain a lot of fat that can lead to obesity and several other health problems, but it’s not the only reason to avoid giving it your cat. Though people have been leaving out saucers of milk for cats forever, cats are lactose intolerant, and drinking it can cause stomach cramps, soft stools, and diarrhea. While some cats can ingest milk in small amounts, and cream is better because it contains less lactose, we recommend avoiding it altogether to prevent any issues.
Is tea good for cats?
There are plenty of herbal teas that don’t contain any caffeine, which can be soothing for your pet if you don’t add any sugar or cream. Valerian root and fruit teas like apple and blueberry are possible substitutions to regular tea. Ensure the fruit teas are made from fruit parts that are cat-safe. For example, apple flesh is safe for cats but the seeds, stem, and skin of the fruit aren’t considered safe. If you’re not sure about how the tea is made, it’s best to not let your cat have a sip of it. These teas can supply your cat with helpful antioxidants and can help them relax and reduce anxiety. Please note that Valerian root won’t relax your cat as it works in a similar fashion to catnip.
How can I feed my cat tea?
If you are determined to feed your cat tea, we recommend only serving the caffein free herbal varieties we’ve mentioned. You want to make sure you don’t steep it as long as you would your own because the strong flavor can upset your pet’s stomach causing digestive problems. You will also need to allow the tea to cool considerably before allowing your pet to drink it, or it can burn your pet’s sensitive nose. Place the tea in a shallow bowl or saucer to enable them to drink it.
If your cat jumped on the table and took a sip of your tea while you weren’t looking, it will probably be fine. It would be best if you watched your cat for a few hours to look for signs of hyperactivity and calling the vet if you notice irregularities in your pet’s behavior. Regular tea and even green tea can contain too much caffeine to allow your cat to have even small amounts. However, caffeine-free herbal teas can provide you with a way to occasionally share tea-time with your pet if you are careful not to add any sugar or milk. The herbs in the tea can also provide some nutritious value in the form of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can potentially help ward off infection and help them heal faster. Some herbal teas may even reduce anxiety.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading and have learned something new from this guide. If we have helped put your mind at ease and gave you some new ideas, please share this guide to tea drinking cats on Facebook and Twitter.
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