Cat Ate Nutmeg – What Now? (Solved & Explained!)

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s safe to give your cat a little bit of nutmeg, you’re not alone. After all, nutmeg is a common spice that can be found in many kitchens.

But what does the research say about nutmeg and cats? Here’s what you need to know.

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nutmeg and grinder

Can Cats Eat Nutmeg?

Cats can eat very small amounts of nutmeg, but it’s not recommended because it can be toxic to them. Nutmeg contains a compound called myristicin, a natural insecticide, and hallucinogen, which is poisonous to cats.

Why Is Nutmeg Bad for Cats?

So why is nutmeg bad for cats? Well, as we mentioned, nutmeg contains myristicin. Myristicin can cause vomiting and seizures in cats. In large enough quantities, it can even be fatal.

nutmeg seeds

How Much Myristicin is in Nutmeg?

15 grams of nutmeg contains approximately 400 milligrams of myristicin (source). Each whole nutmeg is about 5 grams or so. 15 grams is also the toxic/hallucinogenic dose of nutmeg for humans.

For cats, the toxic dose is about 5 grams of nutmeg (133 mg of myristicin). That’s the amount in one whole nutmeg.

How Much Nutmeg Is Too Much for a Cat?

There is no definitive answer to this question because every cat is different. Some cats may be more sensitive to nutmeg than others.

However, it’s generally considered safe if your cat accidentally eats less than 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg. A whole nutmeg seed would be toxic to them.

You should still call your vet if they eat any nutmeg and confirm they aren’t having symptoms of toxicity.

fresh nutmeg halves

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Nutmeg?

If your cat eats nutmeg, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away. Myristicin can cause serious health problems in cats, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

Do Cats Enjoy Nutmeg Flavors?

Cats may enjoy the taste of nutmeg and nutmeg-containing cookies or foods but it’s rare. They don’t have sweet sensors on their tongue and tend not to be impressed by cookies.

nutmeg cookies

Nutmeg Facts

  • Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans).
  • It’s native to Indonesia but also grown in other parts of Southeast Asia, India, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea.
  • The nutmeg tree can grow up to 20 meters (66 feet) tall and has dark green leaves.
  • Nutmeg has a slightly sweet taste with a hint of bitterness.
  • It’s often used as a spice in baking, Indian cuisine, and to flavor eggnog and other drinks.
  • Nutmeg is also used as a medicine. It’s said to have analgesic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
  • Nutmeg is hallucinogenic to humans in moderate doses (1-3 whole nutmegs) and has been fatal.
  • Nutmeg is fatal to dogs and cats in large doses (variable by pet weight)

nutmeg seed in fruit in hand

What Is NutmegToxicity in Cats?

Symptoms

Symptoms of nutmeg toxicity in cats include:

  • hallucinations
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • High blood pressure
  • dry mouth
  • Vomiting and stomach pains
  • Seizures

Signs of allergic skin reactions include:

  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Hives
  • Redness

If your cat inhaled nutmeg powder it could cause:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Breathing noises or wheezing

Diagnosis

If you think your cat has eaten nutmeg, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian. They will likely ask you how much your cat ate and when they ate it.

They may also ask about your cat’s medical history and if they have any other health conditions.

Your vet will then do a physical examination of your cat. They may listen to their heart and lungs and check their blood pressure.

Your vet may also take a blood sample to check for myristicin levels. Myristicin is the compound in nutmeg that’s toxic to cats.

Treatment

For allergic skin reactions, your vet may prescribe oral or injectable corticosteroids. For more severe reactions, your cat may need to be hospitalized and given intravenous fluids and other supportive care.

If your cat has inhaled nutmeg, it may need to be given oxygen therapy.

If your cat has ingested nutmeg, they will likely be given activated charcoal to help absorb the myristicin and prevent it from being absorbed into their bloodstream.

They may also be given intravenous fluids to help flush the myristicin out of their system.

Recovery

With prompt treatment, most cats recover from nutmeg toxicity without any long-term effects.

Cats that have inhaled nutmeg may have a cough for a few days after treatment.

If your cat has a severe reaction, it may need to be monitored for a few days in the hospital.

Preventing Nutmeg Toxicity in Cats

The best way to prevent nutmeg toxicity in cats is to keep them away from nutmeg and nutmeg-flavored foods.

You should also be careful when using nutmeg around your cat. If you’re baking with nutmeg, make sure to keep it out of their reach.

If you use nutmeg for medicinal purposes, be sure to store it safely away from your cat.

What Should I Do if My Cat Ate Nutmeg Spice or Pastries with Nutmeg?

If you think your cat has ingested nutmeg, call your veterinarian immediately. They will give you the signs and symptoms to look out for.

Do not try to make your cat vomit unless your vet tells you to.

Myristicin is absorbed quickly and can cause serious symptoms within hours. If you wait too long, it may be too late to save your cat.

nutmeg and spices whole form

Is Inhaling Nutmeg Bad for Cats?

Yes, inhaling nutmeg can be bad for cats. If your cat has inhaled nutmeg, it may have difficulty breathing and need to be given oxygen therapy.

Can Cats React to Nutmeg on Their Skin?

Yes, cats can react to nutmeg on their skin. If your cat comes into contact with nutmeg, it may develop a rash or hives.

Are Nutmeg Essential Oils Bad for Cats?

Yes, nutmeg essential oils are bad for cats. If your cat ingests nutmeg essential oil, it can cause serious symptoms and may be fatal. Nutmeg essential oils can also cause skin irritations on your cat.

Artizen 30ml Oils - Nutmeg Essential Oil - 1 Fluid Ounce

Conclusion

Nutmeg is bad for cats and can cause serious side effects. If you think your cat has eaten nutmeg, call your vet immediately. Nutmeg essential oils are also bad for cats and should be avoided.