There’s nothing cozier than curling up on the couch with a warm cup of tea and a cuddly cat. Some cats, however, like my very food-motivated cat, Captain, make it their mission to get a sample of whatever nearby humans are eating and drinking. Is this safe, though? Can cats drink tea? For the sake of Captain, and all our tea-curious feline friends, let’s investigate.
What Ingredients Can Cats Not Drink?
As much as we relate to our cats, they just aren’t set up the same way we are. That means, while certain ingredients may be fine — and even beneficial — for us to drink, they can be dangerous for cats.
The main offender in tea is caffeine. Caffeine can be toxic to cats, so you should avoid giving any caffeinated teas to your cat. If your cat does drink a bit of your caffeinated tea by accident or out of stubborn cat curiosity, you should monitor their behavior. Most likely, a very small amount of caffeine will not affect them. If they start showing signs of hyperactivity, vomiting, nausea, or stress, call your vet for advice.
You will need to do some of your own research and determine what ingredients work best for your cat, as there is much debate over whether certain herbs and chemicals are safe for cats. Generally speaking, steer clear of cherries, grapes, citrus, and anything with strong essential oils or flavors. Consider talking to your vet on your cat’s next visit about which herbs they would recommend or advise you stay away from.
What Ingredients Can Cats Drink?
Some diluted herbal teas are fine for both cats and humans to enjoy, and in some cases, can provide stress relief to both pets and their humans.
A few ingredients that may work well for your next cat tea party include chamomile, valerian, peppermint, apples, apricots, blueberries, and other safe fruits.
Be sure to check the ingredients on your tea before giving it to your cat to make sure it does not have any strong oils or flavors that could give them an upset stomach. If your cat is taking any medication, do some research to make sure that none of your tea ingredients will interact negatively.
How Can Cats Drink Tea With Me?
Next comes the fun part. Now that you’ve fully researched all your ingredients, you and your cat can start enjoying tea together. Your cat’s cup will look a little bit different than yours, however. You will not want to steep kitty’s tea as long as yours, to avoid a potential stomach ache. Also, you will want to let the tea cool before serving it so that your cat won’t burn their good little nose. If your cat is as eager as my cat, Captain, it may be a bit of a challenge to keep the tea away from them long enough for it to cool down.
When it’s ready, set the tea in a place where your cat will feel confident and comfortable to try something new. You may want to pour it into a shallow bowl or saucer so they can easily lap it up.
Depending on your cat, you may have wildly different reactions to introducing cat-safe tea. For example, a cat like Captain will be head-first in the bowl before you can set it on the ground. A more cautious cat like his brother T’Challa, however, may take some time to pace the room and consider the tea before taking a sip.
While you may be a several-cups-a-day tea drinker, this probably isn’t a good idea for your cat. Cat tea parties should be reserved for special occasions to avoid the risk of stomach ache or buildup of any unusual substances in your cat’s system.
There is no simple, definitive answer to “can cats drink tea.” There are a variety of factors that may make a tea okay for a certain cat and not for another. However, with the proper research, you can find a safe and healthy way to share tea with your buddy. Your cat will be pleased to know that they can have a bit of what you’re having.