Cinnamon is a popular household spice, probably because of its sweet and aromatic flavor. There are very few kitchens in our homes that will miss cinnamon. Cinnamon is mainly used as a flavor in sweet and savoury dishes like bread, cakes, breakfast cereals, etc. There is simply something about cinnamon that makes food incredibly tasty and alluring. Aside from the flavor, it adds to food, there are a couple of health benefits associated with this spice. For one thing, it’s loaded with antioxidants. Secondly, it contains a compound referred to as cinnamaldehyde that works to improve your metabolism. There are many other benefits of cinnamon, such as anti-inflammatory properties, to help fight infections and aid in regulating blood sugar levels.
All these should give you a hint of why cinnamon is very popular and would barely miss in our kitchens. While we may understand the importance of cinnamon and its many benefits, very few people truly understand if it’s bad for cats. The truth is the ASPCA has not labelled cinnamon as toxic or unsafe for cats. However, even with that revelation, cinnamon is still considered harmful to our furry friends. As much as the ASPCA does not rank it as toxic, it can trigger an allergic reaction in your pet as well as vomiting and other health complications.
The advice to take home is that cinnamon may not necessarily be toxic to your cat in very small amounts. On the other hand, exposure to large doses of cinnamon in any of its forms can cause severe health complications for your pet. To be safe, it’s better if you ensure the pets don’t come anywhere close to the spice or have access to it.
What types of cinnamon are harmful to cats?
We do know that cinnamon comes in different forms. Some of it is naturally available, while other forms are readily available in the market. With that said, it’s always advisable not to allow your cat to get access to cinnamon in any of its forms. These include;
- Dried cinnamon tree
- Cinnamon tree
- Human food that is spiced with cinnamon
- Cinnamon-infused air fresheners and diffusers
- Essential oil
- Powdered cinnamon spice
- Keep in mind; there is no particular version of cinnamon that can be safe for your furry friend. All of them pose complications to your pet, and for that reason, you should keep your kitty away from it at all times.
Why is cinnamon bad for cats?
Most of the cats don’t like cinnamon, possibly because of its strong, pungent smell. That doesn’t mean your adorable cat will resist the urge to touch or even ingest it. Like I mentioned, any form of cinnamon is bad for cats, whether ingested, inhaled, or touched. The result will be allergic reactions and other health complications that can be avoided.
That said, you might want to know why cinnamon is bad for your kitty. Well, cinnamon contains a compound referred to as coumarin. This is basically an organic chemical compound found in aromatic plants. It’s meant to act as a defence for the plants against predators. While humans can tolerate this compound quite well without any problems, cats lack this ability. Our fluffy buddies cannot break down coumarin in their digestive systems. That’s why they suffer allergies and adverse health complications such as liver failure.
You now know why cinnamon is potentially harmful to your kitty. Aside from that, all forms of cinnamon can pose a health risk to your beloved pet in three ways that we will discuss further. When your cat ingests, inhales, or comes into contact with cinnamon in any way like touching it, there are health issues that may occur, as discussed below.
Unlike humans, cats will not find the smell of cinnamon to be likable. If you are using cinnamon diffusers or air fresheners in your home, ensure your pet does not inhale it by accident. Also, carefully store your powdered spice to avoid spills that may result in your cat inhaling the scent. When your cat inhales cinnamon either in vapor form or powder, it may develop an allergic reaction causing symptoms such as;
- Difficulty breathing
Cinnamon is toxic to cats when ingested in large quantities. Your kitty can ingest cinnamon sticks, spiced foods, essential oils, or powdered spice. To make matters worse, if you are not careful, there is no control over the amount of cinnamon your pet will eat. Essentially, cats don’t have enzymes that will break down coumarin and hence cannot digest this compound. As a result, a cat can experience symptoms such as;
- Liver failure
Cinnamon exposure to the skin or fur
Aside from inhalation and ingestion, cats can have an allergic reaction when either their skin or fur gets in contact with cinnamon. Sometimes there may be no symptoms, but you should still exercise caution and avoid leaving cinnamon powder or cinnamon essential oil unattended. Cinnamon essential oil is especially highly concentrated, with many of harmful compounds. Watch out for symptoms such as
- Excessive scratching
These symptoms indicate an allergic reaction arising from the cat’s skin or fur getting in contact with cinnamon.
What should I do when my cat has contact with cinnamon?
There is no need to panic if your adorable kitty does not experience an allergic reaction or suffer from cinnamon toxicity. However, keep an eye out for any of the symptoms mentioned above. If you notice any symptoms, contact your vet immediately and take the cat for examination. Many treatment plans will help your kitty have a full recovery.
Even when you watch your cat like a hawk, you cannot be absolutely sure she will not play with your cinnamon-infused diffuser or get tempted to eat the spilled powder. After all, cats are curious and quite unpredictable. However, if, in any case, your kitty gets in contact with cinnamon, take her to the vet for treatment. This will prevent issues such as allergic reactions, cinnamon toxicity, and life-threatening health complications.