Ahh, basil: a must-have topping for pizzas, an essential ingredient in tomato sauce and one of those flavors that seems to be able to make anything taste better (and don’t even get us started on pesto)! Most humans love the taste of basil, and keep it 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.

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 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 to cats.

There are several theories as to why cats eat grass: they aren’t feeling well, they’re having difficulty digesting something, and it is 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. 

It's simple.We have the most comprehensive pet insurance for cats & dogs.

Herbs for happy 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 when consumed. Plant a few, and your kitty won’t give that yucky basil a second glance — he’ll be way too busy enjoying these natural, cat-friendly delicacies!

Mar 1, 2017

Get covered with Petplan

An insurer who cares about your pets (nearly!) as much as you do.

Start quote

More from 



View All

Join Our Newsletter and Get the Latest
Posts to Your Inbox

By subscribing you agree to our terms and conditions.
No spam ever. Read our Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.