Enjoying a steaming mug full of your favorite tea is a great way to start your morning routine or wind-down after a long day of work. Taking some time to savor a soothing drink can help to slow down a racing or anxious mind and serves as a gentle reminder that no matter what lies ahead, you are here now and it’s all ok.
If your house is anything like mine though, you might find your relaxation interrupted by a cat or two jumping up on your lap and peering into your mug, curious to see if you’re secretly stashing tuna in there. Sharing some food or a drink with your pet can be a great way to bond, so how about you re-brew those leaves and give your furry friend some of your tasty plant water.
While not all teas are safe for cats, there are more than a few that you can safely give them, either for flavor or medicinal effect. Here are 5 tasty brews that you and your cat can enjoy together:
1. Green Tea
Green tea is an incredible drink for both humans and animals alike. Unlike black tea, green tea is low enough in caffeine that it’s perfectly safe for cats in small quantities.
But why would you want to give your cat green tea you ask? Well, green tea has been around for thousands of years and is considered one of the world’s healthiest drinks. It’s full of antioxidants that give it anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you haven’t started drinking green tea yourself, you might want to give it a try. Especially in the summer, iced green tea provides a refreshing energy boost while helping you to cut down on those sugary drinks. You can also brew your cat’s green tea in cold water to cut down on the caffeine content without sacrificing the antioxidant boost.
2. Catnip Tea
This classic feline herb makes a great tea, both for humans and our furry companions. When most cats breathe in nepetalactone, the minty molecule and active ingredient in catnip, their nervous system gets stimulated, sending their energy levels into overdrive and making them even more hyperactive than usual. Other cats respond differently to catnip, becoming so deeply relaxed they almost appear sedated. This is what makes catnip a very useful medicinal herb for anxious or easily frightened cats.
While catnip doesn’t have a stimulating effect on humans the way it does in cats, it’s still a tasty tea that some researchers have suggested can promote relaxation in people similar to valerian root.
Catnip is also a natural way of easing stomach discomfort, menstrual pain and other digestive issues in both humans and cats as it relaxes the smooth muscles of the stomach and intestines. So if you or your cat are suffering from some tummy trouble or simply want to share a soothing drink together, consider brewing a cup of catnip tea.
3. Licorice Root Tea
Licorice is a sweet-tasting medicinal root that your cat will love. It’s been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine and can be really helpful for both you and your feline. Licorice root tea acts like a natural steroid, gently relieving allergies and skin conditions in both cats and humans when used internally and topically as an herbal rinse.
When drank, licorice root tea is prized for its anti-inflammatory effects and can offer your feline natural relief from arthritis pain and respiratory congestion. Just don’t give your cat this herbal brew if they suffer from high blood pressure, as it can worsen the condition.
4. Chamomile Tea
Safe, gentle and soothing, chamomile is one of the most commonly used teas around the world. This herb is mild, yet effective, and often recommended for colicky human babies. Chamomile tea can be used to help relax an anxious cat or to help them get through a bout of indigestion. Chamomile gently relaxes the body’s muscles, relieving stomach cramps and muscle tension.
You can even use a chamomile infusion to help soothe your kitty’s irritated skin by gently rinsing the affected area once or twice a day. Your kitten will appreciate the relief!
5. Valerian Root Tea
While valerian root has been used since ancient times by people to relax and promote restful sleep, the compounds in this plant have the opposite effect on cats. Not only do cats actually like the strong, earthy (read: stinky) scent given off by this herb, it actually functions as a potent stimulant if you’re a feline. Valerian root tea can make even the most sedentary cat seem like an energetic and playful kitten again.
If your cat is one of the few felines who doesn’t respond to catnip, valerian root can have him bouncing off the walls in no time.
Bonus: Cistus Tea
Cistus incanus, also known as rock rose, is a great wellness tea for cats, humans and many other pets. This delicious, berry-flavored tea has a whole bunch of medicinal and anti-viral effects and been used for centuries in parts of Europe as, you’ll never believe it, a natural tick repellant!
It’s reported that when drunk daily, it provides a deterrent effect that keeps ticks away. While its mechanism of action has still yet to be studied more, cistus tea is a safe and effective way to keep yourself and your cat safe from ticks.
How to Brew Tea for Your Cat
Making tea for your cats is pretty simple. Just take 1 teaspoon of the herb your working with combine with a cup of warm water. Steep for 5 minutes, strain out your herbs and cool down to room temperature. You don’t want to burn your kitty’s tongue! You can then pour it into their favorite bowl or mug and serve.
To make a lighter infusion you can use cold water and steep for 8-10 minutes instead. This method is recommended to reduce the caffeine content of green or white teas.
Teas can have diuretic effects and some cats already struggle to stay hydrated, so don’t give your cat more than half a cup of tea a day. Always make sure your cat has unrestricted access to fresh, clean water too, even while they’re enjoying a nice tea break with you.
Next time you sit down with a relaxing brew in hand in your favorite cat mug, don’t forget you can share some of those good feels with your cat. You may even be helping them live a happier, healthier life by pouring them a bowl too.