Cilantro, aka Coriander or Chinese parsley, is a common enough herb in most kitchens, particularly among cooks who like to do Mexican or Indian cooking. With a tart, lemony flavor (Though some people call it soapy), and a distinct odor, cilantro is easily recognizable.
While it is quite good for humans to eat, both in terms of nutrition and flavor, can the same be said for cats? If you caught your cat nibbling your herbs or licking at the ground spice, should you be worried?
Short answer: no. Although cilantro is related to parsley and parsley is very toxic to cats, coriander is usually quite safe, albeit in small amounts. Just keep in mind that cats aren’t really built to eat vegetables or herbs and so won’t get as much out of coriander as you would.
Do Cats Like Raw Cilantro?
Results will likely vary from cat to cat. Some may enjoy chewing on it for the texture at least, others may like the flavor (it’s tart and lemony more than sweet). Most cats won’t specifically go after coriander since it’s not something they have evolved to eat, but some of them may try a nibble out of curiosity. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will like it or want more of it though. I’ve never had a cat who goes after coriander in my spice rack (yet), but I’m sure other people have.
Do Cats Hate Cilantro?
Just like there are some humans who don’t like cilantro, there will also be some cats who don’t like it. If this is your cat, don’t try to force it on them. While cilantro has some very small benefits for cats, it’s nothing they can’t make up for in their regular food and cat treats.
Cats don’t get much out of plants and herbs at the best of times and forcing cilantro on your pet won’t endear you to them. Cats are also not evolved to crave vegetables or herbs so your attempts to broaden their culinary horizons may not go very far.
Can Cilantro Kill Cats?
Cilantro probably won’t kill cats. It’s nontoxic and they would have to eat a lot of it to feel uncomfortable, let alone be at risk of anything fatal.
However, like anything else, there is always the chance of something interacting badly with a particular cat. Cilantro has a 1% chance of causing arrhythmia or gastrointestinal issues in cats and if they eat too much, it can irritate the stomach, causing vomiting and diarrhea. This won’t be fatal of course, but it will be very uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Cats can also be allergic to cilantro, just like humans. When letting your cat have cilantro for the first time, monitor it after and look for signs of an allergic reaction such as:
- Difficulty breathing
If you’re not sure about the way that your cat is behaving, always call your vet for more information or to get your pet looked at.
How Much Raw Cilantro is Safe for Cats to Eat?
Cats aren’t really meant to be eating plants, so you really only want to let one have a small amount of cilantro. While eating more won’t necessarily hurt your cat, it could lead to a stomach-ache and a decreased appetite for the food they are supposed to be eating. In other words, cilantro can be a bit of a treat and it should be treated as such.
Cats can have both dried or fresh cilantro and all parts of it are safe to eat (though I’d avoid the seeds simply because they will have a harder time digesting them). If you let your cat have dried cilantro remember that they will want to eat even less of that than the fresh since it’s more concentrated when dried.
Fresh cilantro will be appealing to cats because they can chew on the leaves. Ground cilantro on the other hand will probably be better sprinkled on their regular food.
Health Benefits of Cilantro for Cats
Cilantro is packed with all kinds of vitamins and minerals, making it very popular for us humans to use. These vitamins are good for cats too, though since they will only eat a little of the herb, they will only derive a trace amount of the benefits. Still, cilantro has some good stuff in it:
- Protein and fats (trace)
- Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B5, B9, C, E, and K
All of these things can really help your cat’s coat, immune system, bones, joints, and muscles which makes cilantro a really easy way to boost your cat’s intake of all these things.
Cilantro is also a source of fiber which is good for cats since their digestive systems can always use a bit of a boost. And it’s an anti-inflammatory which is good for your cat’s kidneys unless your cat has kidney disease in which case, you’ll probably want to avoid cilantro. The plant is also a good source of antioxidants that can help slow down the onset of cancer.
And even if cats just want to chew on the leaves, they may enjoy the texture and the feeling of the cilantro even if they don’t particularly want to eat it.
As always when we are dealing with cats and vegetation, it’s important to note that while these things are good for humans, cats don’t get nearly as much out of them. Felines are still carnivores at the end of the day and while many plants won’t hurt them, it also won’t do as much for them as it does for humans.
Cilantro definitely falls in that category. Yes, it has plenty of health benefits and it’s pretty non-toxic; however, for cats, it’s still a treat and it should never replace their regular kibble/canned food. You should also monitor your cat’s intake to ensure that they don’t suffer an allergic reaction or a stomach problem from eating it. But if your cat takes a nibble, you probably rest easy knowing that your friend will not suffer any harm by it.
Does your cat like cilantro?