You surely know Cinnamon, the well-known spice which comes from the inner bark of a few tree species that belong to the Cinnamomum tree, from the Lauraceae family. It has a hot or pungent, somewhat sweet aromatic flavor. These barks will roll or curl as soon as they are harvested, and as they dry they will form the popular cinnamon sticks. These are also known as quills and are either grounded to create a powder or are sold as they come, as sticks.
Cinnamon originates from Brazil, Indonesia, India, and Sri Lanka. It is usually used as a flavoring in a lot of cuisines to add sweetness to different snacks, breakfast cereals, breads, toasts, teas, alcohol, and other dishes. It is also used to add flavor to fruits along with sugar, as a condiment, or for prickling.
The most popular kind is the Cinnamomum cassia (also known as the Chinese or the common cinnamon), although there are several different species of trees that develop a bark that can be turned into Cinnamon. The most expensive type of Cinnamon is considered the Cinnamonum Verum, which is healthier, with only a limited amount of coumarin, but also less bitter.
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The short answer is yes, cats can eat cinnamon. In fact, ASPCA states that cinnamon essential oil, powder, and sticks, are all safe for cats to eat. Even though cinnamon isn’t toxic for your cat, the pet shouldn’t eat more than a small amount of this spice, and when it comes to the essential oil the quantity should be even smaller because it is a more concentrated version of the ingredient.
If the feline will ingest large amounts of either cinnamon essential oil or cinnamon powder can lead to some serious side effects like liver issues, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, or a decrease in blood sugar levels. Also, try to prevent your pet from inhaling cinnamon powder or vapor, because this can lead to the choking of the pet, irritate its lungs, create breathing difficulties, or even cause kitty cough.
The cat can get exposed to cinnamon not only while ingesting foods made with the spice, but also by munching on an ornamental cinnamon plant, licking the essential oil that is usually used in recipes or as part of aromatherapy treatments, or taking a bite out of cinnamon quills or sticks. This means that if you are a proud cat owner, you should try to prevent the pet from getting close to this substance.
If your pet recommends a treatment based on cinnamon for its anti-diabetic properties or the stabilization of its blood pressure, then you should try to mix the substance with the pet’s food to make it safer. This ingredient is usually heavily processed because in its pure form it can irritate the mouth and cause allergic reactions at the skin level.
This spice is used by humans not only in meal recipes, but also for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. It also has anti-diabetic properties, helping the body deal with insulin sensitivity, and is even thought to fight some types of cancer. These are benefits for your pet as well.
Even though it has a lot of pros, too much of it will become harmful to your health. An example is the coumarin found in cinnamon, which can cause all kinds of issues like allergies, liver damage, or GI tract problems. The spice is also known to cause low blood sugar, and some types of cancers, and can also interact with different medicines that your cat might ingest.
In case of strong allergies, irritation, blistering and redness may be seen at the exposure site. Also, if your cat were to accidentally inhale the substance, it may lead to respiratory problems, breathing difficulties, and coughing.
Some people test their limits and ingest a tablespoon of cinnamon within 60 seconds as part of a challenge, but this is dangerous and can lead to all kinds of side effects like lightheadedness, bronchospasm, irritation, bloody nose, pain, and difficulty in breathing. If humans experience these side effects then you surely understand that the same situation would be a lot harder for a smaller pet like a cat.
What can you do if your cat has ingested or inhaled cinnamon?
As long as it was just a small amount, you shouldn’t worry about it. It will usually go right through its system. It becomes a problem when the inhaled or ingested amounts are considerable because then they can lead to gastrointestinal or breathing issues. If you notice any signs of medical issues after your cat has consumed cinnamon, talk to the vet as soon as possible.
Do cats like the taste of cinnamon?
Not only will cats hate the taste of cinnamon, but the strong flavor and smell will push them away pretty quickly. This is one of the main reasons why some people will actually use this spice to ward off unwanted cats. Even so, cats might eat cinnamon unknowingly, as an ingredient inside more complex dishes.
Can cats eat cinnamon rolls or other foods containing the spice?
Yes, it is ok for most cats to eat food with small traces of cinnamon, as long as they don’t overdo it. You should keep in mind, though to make sure that those foods don’t contain other ingredients that might be even more harmful to your pet, like xylitol, chives, onions, cloves, nutmeg, caffeine, raisins, grapes, garlic, or others.
This will also mean that you shouldn’t feed your cat cinnamon rolls because these are known to contain raisins which are considered toxic to felines. Some of these might even contain macadamia nuts, which are also known as toxic for small pets.
The most important thing to consider is that cats are considered devout carnivores, so you should avoid giving them any sugary foods because these will be really hard on their bodies.
Although eating just small amounts of cinnamon will have no effect on the cat’s body, you should try to avoid feeding it with this spice. Most therapeutic techniques that involve the use of essential cinnamon oils have been proven ineffective on cats, so don’t try any of those either.