Are Cats Attracted To Sage? (Unraveling the Mystery)

are cats attracted to sage

I’ve had cats for years and I’ve also been big on growing my own herbs at home. There’s a small herb garden in my backyard that has sage, sweet basil, dill and rosemary.

Whenever I tend to my sage plants, my cat is always there trying to rub itself all over them. I have to always physically remove my cat to get some gardening done.

Is there a reason why cats are attracted to sage?

There isn’t anything in sage that cats would find to be chemically appealing. Some cats might just like the way the sage plant smells or even its texture. Even though it is relatively safe for cats to nibble on sage, it isn’t something that your cat should be eating in large amounts.

Let us take a closer look at what sage exactly is and the effects this plant can have on your cat.

What Is Sage?

A sage is technically a herb that is widely used in the culinary world. I use sage leaves frequently when making a herb marinade.

I prefer using it over bay leaves which I find to be rather underwhelming.

Sage has a strong earthy and herbal palate and you can buy it dried or fresh.

This herb is part of the mint family and has a slightly fuzzy appearance and texture to it. I wouldn’t recommend eating it raw as it tastes quite bad uncooked.

Is Sage Toxic To Cats?

You will be glad to know that there’s not much to worry about if your cat decides to take a bite or two of your sage leaves or rub itself against the plant.

According to the ASPCA, common sage is classified as non-toxic to pets and its fine for consumption.

However, cat owners should still be aware that our cats are still first and foremost obligate carnivores and should not be consuming too much plant matter.

If you have a cat that is attracted to sage, it might be the smell or the texture that your cat really likes.

Your cat’s sense of smell is 14x better than yours and it can pick up odors that you can’t. Sage might not just smell like ‘sage’ to your cat.

For all you know, sage smells like a big juicy chicken burger to cats.

Guess we will never find out.

It might come as a surprise to you but many cats are known to chew on grass.

The exact reason isn’t known but scientists believe that they do it to help them regurgitate out something toxic which they might have eaten.

Or cats are able to extract some nutrients and fiber from the grass which they eat.

It could be that cats eat sage for the same reasons.

How Much Sage Can I Give My Cat?


Even though it is ok for your cat to nibble on sage, it should not be part of your cat’s daily diet.

Your cat is a pure meat eater and too much plant matter in its food can mess up its tummy.

This is because cats do not possess the necessary enzymes to break down carbs and plant matter.

Whatever they can’t break down in their stomachs, will be passed out in their stool.

Allowing your cat to eat too much foodstuff that it can’t properly digest will place more stress on its digestive system.

This can lead to:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy

If you really want to feed your cat some sage, a couple of leaves every now and then as a treat is fine.

What Does Sage Do For Cats?

There aren’t any specific studies done on cats with regard to the benefits of sage. So we can’t really say for sure if our cats derive any direct benefits from eating sage.

There have been reports on sage being high in minerals and vitamins, full of antioxidants, has anti-bacterial properties and is able to lower sugar levels.

As of now, the benefits are more geared toward humans than cats.

Many cat owners seem to think that sage is similar to catnip.

Well, these two plants are similar in some ways but are different in others.

Catnip belongs to the Lamiaceae family which includes other herbs such as:

  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Basil

This is where the similarity ends between catnip and sage because only catnip contains a special chemical called Nepetalactone.

Catnip is what I call ‘kitty weed’ because of Nepetalactone. This herb can cause cats to behave in very erratic ways almost to the point of being lost in their own world.

Not all cats are affected by catnip though, only about 50% of them.

My cat likes to smell catnip and rub himself against it but it only goes that far.

By the way, please don’t let your pet near any type of plant that can alter your dog’s state of reality.

Canines possess more cannabinoid receptors in their brains which intensify the effects.

Is Sage Essential Oil Toxic To Cats?

Even though the sage plant itself is considered non-toxic to cats, you should not let your cat near sage essential oils.

Sage oil is distilled from the leaves of the sage plant and it comes in a very concentrated form.

Often used in aromatherapy, sage oil has a couple of health and wellness benefits.

But when it comes to cats, sage essential oil is more toxic than beneficial.

Cats lack the necessary enzymes to break down certain chemical compounds in essential oils.

These compounds can build up over time and cause liver damage in your cat.

Using essential oils to stop your cat from peeing in certain areas of the house isn’t a good deterrent.

There are many better and safer ways to do so.

Is Burning Sage Safe For Cats?

burning sage

Sage not only tastes great in your food but it also smells nice when your burn it.

Some people believe that burning sage has a cleansing effect on negative energy and healing properties.

I have a friend who is into metaphysical stuff and he once told me that before he moved into his current home, he could feel a dark negative presence at times.

He made it a point to cover the whole house with burning sage to eradicate whatever was causing it.

Even though burning sage isn’t toxic to cats, the smoke from this activity can irritate your cat’s respiratory system.

Cats with respiratory issues like asthma can start coughing and wheezing when they inhale the smoke.

If you are burning sage, make sure your cat isn’t in the same room and let the smell dissipate before letting your cat back in.

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