What Kind of Plants Are Good for Cats to Eat for Gingivitis?

You may be interested in determining what kind of plants are good for your cat to eat if she is suffering from gingivitis. This is a common point of discussion amongst pet owners.

The conversation has grown even further in recent years as people have become more interested in exploring natural remedies for common pet health issues. When I noticed that my cat’s gums were becoming inflamed, I started paying very close attention to this developing research.

While the details can be a bit tricky to sort out, there are some solid facts about cat gingivitis, plant remedies, and cat-safe plants that all cat owners should be familiar with. So, what kind of plants are good for cats to eat for gingivitis? While some plants, such as eucalyptus and mint, have been shown to help improve gingivitis conditions in people, these plants are toxic to cats and should therefore never be used. Stevia and parsley, however, are two plants commonly linked with holistic gingivitis treatment that are also cat-friendly.

Always check with your veterinarian to determine your cat’s specific sensitivities before trying a plant-based remedy.

There are many causes for cat gingivitis. By becoming familiar with the common signs and symptoms of this disease, you will be better equipped to recognize the development of gingivitis in your cat. If you decide to try a plant-based remedy at home, you should be aware of the certain risks of different plants, including those that can have potentially life-threatening side effects for your feline.


Plants That Are Good for Cat Gingivitis

If you’re like me, you may prefer to avoid taking your cat in to the vet for a harsh and frightening medical treatment for common problems, like cat gingivitis. Adopting a less invasive, holistic approach may be a way to reduce your cat’s stress levels.

Plant-based approaches have been widely researched for treating gingivitis in people, but the research is less complete when it comes to our feline friends. Some plants, like pomegranate and green tea, are generally known to help treat gingivitis in people, but the effects of these plants on cats is still under-researched. Therefore, it is never safe to assume they can be used effectively to treat cat gingivitis.

Similarly, articles in multiple medical journals suggest that switching to a plant-based diet may help treat gingivitis in people. However, we know that cats are natural omnivores, meaning that they need meat as part of a well-balanced diet. Switching your cat to a plant-based diet to curb gingivitis would be like removing the wheels on a car in order to avoid flat tires.

There is some good news, though!

There are two cat-friendly plants that have been explored in the treatment of gingivitis in humans. Both of these plants are listed on the American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty (ASPCA) compilation of plants that are non-toxic to cats.

Stevia

First, research has shown that chewing on stevia leaves has helped in the treatment of human gingivitis, so I checked into the safety of stevia for felines. Stevia rebaudiana, also known as sweet leaf and sugar leaf, is listed as a non-toxic herb for cats according to the ASPCA. Thus, there may be a potential link to be established between the natural components of stevia and cat gingivitis.

Chervil

Secondly, chervil is another herb that has the potential to assist in clearing up gingivitis. Chervil has many labels, including a scientific name of Anthriscus cerefolium and its other common names, garden chervil and French parsley. Chervil is also recognized as a non-toxic plant for cats.

While the ASPCA does not recognize the safety of using stevia or chervil specifically for the treatment of cat gingivitis, both of these are considered cat-friendly by the organization. In addition, both stevia and chervil have been recognized in the greater community as being potential herbal remedies for gingivitis.

With that said, remember that cats require a well-rounded diet that is catered to their omnivorous instincts. Introducing an excessive amount of any plant to a cat’s diet could result in health risks, so it is best to run your ideas past your veterinarian first.

Can Plants Cure Cat Gingivitis?

When I found out that there are actually some plants that have been suggested to help with gingivitis, I was ecstatic!

After all, anything I can do to at home to avoid taking my cat to the vet is a huge plus. Car rides and vet visits are, by far, the two most stressful things that my cat absolutely despises.

But because the research on the use of plants for cat gingivitis is pretty slim, I was curious about whether or not using these cat-friendly plants can actually cure cat gingivitis. After all, as much as I would love to save my cat a visit to the vet, I also don’t want to start sweeping health problems under the rug.

After deep diving into this question, I found my answer—or rather, I found that there is no evidence to prove that plants can cure gingivitis in cats. Plus, talking about a ‘cure’ for cat gingivitis is tricky, because this condition can come and go at different stages throughout a cat’s adult life.

Furthermore, cat gingivitis can be a fickle condition…depending on the severity of the gingivitis, a positive response to helpful remedies, including plants, can ultimately vary from case to case. This means that a very mild case of cat gingivitis may see a more positive reaction to particular remedies than a more severe case of cat gingivitis.
Instead of playing doctor and diagnosing your cat’s case of gingivitis and response to plants on your own, it is best to consult a veterinarian.

With specialized expertise, a vet will be able to assess whether the effect of particular plants or other treatments have helped returned your cat’s gums to a stable state of health.


Plants that Cats with Gingivitis Should Avoid

Using human-focused home remedies for gingivitis can be particularly risky. There are many plants that hold powerful health benefits for people while packing dangerous health risks for cats. If you’re looking specifically for plants that are good for gingivitis, then you’ll want to take particular notice of the following herbs that are toxic to cats.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is one of the plants that cats with gingivitis should avoid. Eucalyptus, identified by its scientific name eucalyptus globulus, has been used in the treatment of inflamed gums and other health issues in people.

Eucalyptus, however, has a toxic property that can be very dangerous for cats, so it should be avoided at all costs.

Garden Mint

Another plant that many people use for gingivitis is mint.

Garden mint, however, can cause severe gastrointestinal complications in felines. This toxic plant should never be introduced to your feline’s diet or immediate surroundings.

Aloe

Aloe is another plant that many people mistakenly assume is safe for cats since it carries so many health benefits for people. Aloe contains saponins and anthraquinones, which give the plant its toxicity to cats. Exposure to aloe vera can cause lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea in cats, which pose serious health risks—especially for cats already suffering from an underlying issue, like gingivitis.

There are many plants that the ASPCA identifies as toxic to cats.

These three—eucalyptus, garden mint, and aloe—are highlighted because they are commonly used to treat gingivitis in humans. Because of their specific toxicity levels, however, they should never be introduced to cats.

Signs and Symptoms of Cat Gingivitis

If you’ve been thinking about introducing particular plants to your cat in an effort to curb gingivitis, then you may already be familiar with some of the signs and symptoms of this developing gum disease. Proper identification is key, so it’s helpful to become aware of all the symptoms so that you can confidently rule out other root causes.

In many ways, the signs and symptoms of cat gingivitis are similar to the same disease that appears in people. However, one puffy gum is not necessarily a foolproof sign that your cat has a developing case of gingivitis.

One of the most obvious and common signs of gingivitis is the development of red, puffy gums which can be tender to the touch. This most commonly presents in the gum area surrounding the teeth, on the side of the teeth closest to the inside of the mouth.

Another sign of gingivitis is halitosis. In common terms, halitosis is simply bad breath. However, bad breath alone does not necessarily indicate halitosis. In most cases, halitosis is severely bad breath, which should be distinguished from the normal, unpleasant odor of a cat’s breath.

Did you know…?

Cat gingivitis typically stems from the buildup of bacteria around the teeth and along the gums. Excessive plaque accumulation and calculus that is visible around the teeth is an additional sign that your cat may be suffering from gingivitis.

Advanced stages of gingivitis may even lead to your cat having loose or wiggly teeth.

This can alter your cat’s ability to eat food and can even make chewing unpleasant. Therefore, a lack of appetite may be cause for you to further investigate the state of your cat’s teeth, as gingivitis can cause eating to be a painful activity.


When to Get Veterinarian Help for Cat Gingivitis

When it comes to your cat’s health, there’s no room for error! Since our furry felines can’t tell us out loud exactly what’s bothering them and how badly it’s affecting them, we have to work from the observational signs and symptoms that appear.

Opting for home remedies can be a great way to avoid additional stress that would result from loading your cat into the car and taking a trip to the vet. One way to use home remedies for cat gingivitis is by taking advantage of the plants that have been suggested to help treat this condition.

However, seeing a veterinarian may be your best option if you have noticed that your cat’s state of gingivitis is severe. If the gums seem to be aggressively inflamed or puffy, have the vet take a look. Likewise, if your cat’s mouth health is affecting her eating habits, definitely book an appointment with the vet.

Finally, if you notice your cat’s mouth health becoming worse, it’s time to let the vet make an assessment. Keeping our pets healthy should be the top priority, so it never hurts to let the experts guide the way.

Related Questions
What are cat gingivitis remedies?
Home remedies for cat gingivitis include promoting good gum health, switching to dry food, and having a veterinarian perform a professional teeth cleaning. In some cases, a vet may recommend the removal of certain problem teeth.

Is cat gingivitis common?
Yes, gingivitis is a very common condition in adult cats. Some veterinarian reports suggest that up to 80% of adult felines (aged 3 or older) will develop cat gingivitis at some point in their adult life.

What is cat gingivitis?
Cat gingivitis is a condition that occurs in the area of the mouth and affects the dental health. In this condition, excessive bacteria buildup contributes to the inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth.

What causes gingivitis in cats?
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the development of gingivitis in cats, including old age, lack of oral care, crowded teeth, soft food, autoimmune diseases, open-mouth breathing, excessive chewing habits, and feline leukemia.

Sources

NCBI
Science Daily 
Botanical Online
ASPCA – Animal Control, Cat Poisonous Plants List
MeowCat Rescue – Gingivitis and Stomatitis in Cats
PetMD – General Health
PetMD – Health Conditions Mouth

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