Is green tea really good for cats?
‘Can cats drink green tea?’ is a commonly asked question by many pet owners.
Green tea is one of the most popular and widely consumed type of tea.
It is made from the unoxidized leaves of the camellia Sinensis plant, also known as the tea plant.
Green tea consumption has been growing in recent years – and there’s a good reason for this.
Chock-full of beneficial antioxidants, green tea is being touted as one of the world’s healthiest drinks.
It has been credited with multiple health benefits, from promoting weight loss, reducing inflammation, boosting heart health, and even killing and stopping the growth of cancer cells.
You can feed your feline friend green tea, but only in moderation.
Below are the 5 things you must know about green tea for cats, including health benefits, potential risks, and how to make green tea for your cat.
Is green tea safe for cats?
For the most part, cat owners stick to plain water and milk as part of their pet’s balanced diet.
However, green tea is also safe for your cat as long as it is consumed in moderation.
That’s because green tea contains a small amount of caffeine.
And cats are more sensitive to caffeine than humans.
Green tea possesses numerous beneficial compounds that boost your cat’s overall well-being, helping it live longer.
It is packed with epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a type of polyphenol that helps prevent cell damage by reducing free radicals.
Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that have also been shown to support the body’s normal detox system.
This improves the discharge of toxins and waste products from the cat’s body.
There is also evidence that the use of antioxidants can protect the skin against the harmful effects of UVB radiation.
The bottom line is that green tea is considered safe for your cat, and small amounts of decaffeinated green tea are the safest.
However, if it’s the first time or you’re reluctant about green tea for cats, you should consult your vet to recommend how much green tea is safe for your pet.
4 Health Benefits of Green Tea for Cats
Based on findings from various laboratory animal studies that green tea can provide the following benefits for your cat:
1. Keeps Your Cat Hydrated
Green tea gives your cat a good amount of water, helping prevent kidney stones and struvite crystals.
Research has found that moderate amounts of tea can be as hydrating as clean water.
Giving your cat green tea after dry foods is a perfect way to keep it hydrated.
2. Helps Reduce Bad Breath
Green tea is good for your cat’s oral health.
It can abolish bad breath, thanks to its antibacterial properties and ability to eliminate mouth microbial contamination.
The antioxidants in green tea, more specifically polyphenols, can reduce the oral bacteria and sulfur compounds that contribute to bad breath.
3. Improves Cognitive Function
Green tea is one of the most popular beverages for enhancing mental clarity and improving cognitive function.
It contains the chemical compound L-theanine, which offers multiple health benefits, including improving mental focus and sleep quality.
In addition, the consumption of green tea’s bioactive compounds appears to prevent cats’ brain dysfunction with ageing.
This significantly reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Fights Inflammation
Clinical trials suggest that green tea ingredients like phytonutrients and antioxidants can help alleviate inflammation and fight cancer.
Green tea also offers your cat an adequate amount of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamins E, A, C, and B.
What are the Risks of Green Tea for Cats?
While there is evidence from multiple studies that cats can experience the incredible health benefits of green tea, large amounts of caffeinated drinks can lead to serious health problems.
Caffeine is a stimulant.
This means that it increases brain and nervous system activity.
Small animals like cats and small dogs are highly sensitive to caffeine.
The good news is that green tea contains a small amount of caffeine with only 30 to 50mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving, compared to coffee, which contains up to 90 to 100mg of caffeine in an 8-oz serving.
However, cat’s best friends must be very cautious when serving green tea for their pets to avoid the side effects of caffeine like:
- Irregular heart rate
- Accelerated breathing
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Behavioral changes like signs of hyperactivity
Keep in mind that the amount of caffeine in green tea bags differs significantly between brands.
On top of that, decaffeinated drinks often contain a specific amount of caffeine.
Although green tea leaves are processed to eliminate as much caffeine as possible, regulation allows teas containing less than 2.5% of the original caffeine content to be branded ‘decaffeinated.’
Hence, you must be very keen when buying and serving green tea for cats.
To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to give your furry friend moderate amounts of decaffeinated green tea occasionally.
Can Cats Drink Flavored Green Tea?
While plain green tea is safe for your cat, flavored green tea may provide added benefits.
However, you must ensure that the green tea is organic and the flavorings are natural.
Artificial flavorings and additives might be harmful and hard for your cat to digest.
The common fruits and herbs used to improve the flavor of green tea and are safe for your cat include:
- Valerian root
Do Cats Like the Smell of Green Tea?
Green tea exhibits vast flavors and aromas from fresh, vegetal, grass-like, and oceanic.
These smells typically do not deter or attract cats.
Whether your feline friend will like the smell of green tea is a matter of personal preference.
Cats often purr (produce soft and continuous vibratory sounds) to express contentment, happiness, and satisfaction.
If you notice her purring and walking about when you’re consuming green tea products, it may be a sign that she loves the scent of green tea.
Can Cats Eat Green Tea Ice Cream?
Green tea ice cream is not harmful to cats, provided it’s given in moderation.
But although green tea ice cream is highly non-toxic, it contains sugar and milk, which are difficult for cats to digest thoroughly.
Cats that are lactose intolerant may develop an upset stomach or diarrhea if they consume a large amount of ice cream.
As cats age, they lose the ability to digest lactose.
As such, products containing lactose, such as ice cream, can lead to health issues.
If you must share some green tea ice cream with your cat, don’t exceed one spoonful.
What Foods Should Cats Avoid?
Other than high amounts of caffeine, here are other foods that you should avoid feeding your cat:
- Green tea extracts – a component that contains high amounts of minerals, vitamins, and caffeine which can have adverse effects on cats.
- Products with strong essential oils and artificial flavors.
What Types of Herbal Teas Can Cats Drink?
Herbal teas are excellent when it comes to offering your cat health benefits.
However, be warned that some herbal tea ingredients can negatively affect your pet’s health.
You want to ensure that the herbal tea is organic and does not contain added flavors, ingredients, dyes, or preservatives.
That said, here is a list of herbal remedies for cats that are safe when consumed in moderation:
- Rooibos tea
- German chamomile tea
- Catnip tea
Herbal teas that can be harmful to your cat include:
- Peppermint Tea
- Decaf tea
- Roman chamomile tea
- St. John’s Wort
- Lavender Tea
How to Brew Green Tea for Your Cat
You can make green tea using cold water as follows:
- Pour two cups of cold water into a glass pitcher
- Steep two teabags of organic green tea for 15 minutes
- Remove the tea bags and pour a half cup of tea into the cat bowl
- Cover the glass pitcher and store the remaining tea in the fridge for up to 3 days
Here’s how to make green tea for cats using hot water
- Heat 2 cups of plain water up to 160 °F
- Steep one tea bag in hot water for 5 minutes
- Remove the tea bag and let the brewed tea cool down to room temperature
- Serve your cat ½ cup of tea once per day
Generally, cats prefer non-roasted green tea as opposed to roasted tea.
But because every cat is unique, you can try varieties to find out what your cat likes.
Additionally, cold water absorbs less caffeine than hot water.
Hence, you don’t have to use decaffeinated tea if you’re using cold water to make your cat’s tea.
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