Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Decaffeinated pussy cat
February 3, 2006 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Our ten year old cat has suddenly decided that she loves cold green tea. Will it do her any harm? Could this be a safe treat for her that's healthier than cat milk?

On one hand it's a plant based drink, it's non-toxic (to humans at least) and cats are normally pretty intelligent about not eating things that are harmful to them.

On the other hand, she prefers drinking this to drinking her own water, and I'm having to actually force her away from the mug, only for her to return ten seconds later.

What gives, and will it harm her?
posted by twine42 to Pets & Animals (23 answers total)
 
what did your vet say?
posted by kcm at 12:45 PM on February 3, 2006


Should be good for her. here's a quick link
posted by Ferrari328 at 12:55 PM on February 3, 2006


Cats are so bizarre.

We had a cat decide that she liked cold tea. But only for a week. She drank Early Grey, and nothing happened to her. (Except she got older and crankier, but I think that had nothing to do with the tea.)

My cats have a perfectly good water dish that I fill with clean water every week. They only use it as a last resort. They insist that their main water supply be a crappy old bowl tucked in a corner. Of course, they'd really rather drink from the bird baths and puddles outside, but I'm not a good parent and don't let them outside enough to get all the water they need.

Also, they much prefer any human-touched water to their two water dishes. If my wife leaves a half-filled water glass on the table (which is a common occurrent), they'll be sure to drink it down as much as they can, sometimes knocking it over to spill the rest of the water. Setting up for dinner parties can be a pain in the ass because hey! lots of fresh water in full glasses!

Dorks.

From my experience, your cat should be fine.
posted by jdroth at 12:56 PM on February 3, 2006


Tea can cause epilepsy in dogs. Here is a cite. It doesn't distinguish between black or green tea.

I read this after my dog, who loved black tea (and so I always gave her the last little bit from my cup) became epileptic. I wouldn't chance it.
posted by duck at 12:59 PM on February 3, 2006


A slight side note - My ferrets like tea as well. Particularly yerba mate and lemon ginger. I've tried my best to keep them away from my mugs, but they're sly.
posted by Constant Reader at 1:01 PM on February 3, 2006


The lethal dose of caffeine in cats is supposed to be 80-100 mg, which is like 8-10 ounces of tea, if I remember correctly.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:02 PM on February 3, 2006


Strange....Until I saw the "cats are so bizarre" above, I would have sworn the post was about dogs. I somehow did a mental find and replace through the whole question. Well presumably my advice isn't so useful, then.

This site lists tea as also poisonous for cats. It lists chocoate too and my understanding is that the stuff that's bad for dogs in chocolate is also in tea in smaller quantities (not caffeine, something else), so maybe that same stuff is bad for cats. I don't know.
posted by duck at 1:03 PM on February 3, 2006


One of our cats likes to lick espresso-residue from the cup: I try to discourage her but occasionally forget & she gets a tiny taste of it—it hasn’t caused any obvious ill-effects to date.
posted by misteraitch at 1:11 PM on February 3, 2006


OK, I try not to post comments like this, but this thread has some utterly terribly speculation and misinformation. Just call your vet, ask them how tea can be dangerous (or not), and you're done in 5 minutes with real answers. Green tea does not have 100mg of caffeine per cup unless you're cold brewing with some weirdo variety, it only has about 1/10th the theobromine of chocolate, and I think your chances of epilepsy are very slim (the comment may be confusing causation and correlation in hindsight).
posted by kcm at 1:12 PM on February 3, 2006


The problem with most of these links is that they lump tea in with coffee - with the major link between them being caffeine. Green tea is virtually caffiene free (IIRC) so does that still hold true?

jdroth - Our cat used to hate tap water until we moved to a house with a well. She now drinks tap water quite happily - unless green tea is around! I think most animals hate the chlorine and flouride in tap water and wait for it to leech out again.

captnkurt - Just incase you were serious : Cat Milk
posted by twine42 at 1:14 PM on February 3, 2006


kcm fair point, however it's currently 9pm in England and there's no chance of a non emergency appointment with a vet until Wednesday at the earliest.

I appriciate this is probably in the same vein as the myriad "my testicles have fallen off, do you think it's serious" type questions we get, but this is meant much more as a general enquiry than as a search for definite answers.
posted by twine42 at 1:18 PM on February 3, 2006


Looks like it's more like half-caf

Black Tea (one tea bag) 40
Green Tea (one tea bag) 20
Decaf Tea (one tea bag) 2
posted by rxrfrx at 1:19 PM on February 3, 2006


it only has about 1/10th the theobromine of chocolate, and I think your chances of epilepsy are very slim (the comment may be confusing causation and correlation in hindsight).

My dog drank black tea, though I never said it caused *her* epilepsy, just that it's known to cause epilepsy in dogs. My dog was a breed prone to epilepsy, so she may have gotten it anyway, even never drinking tea. Or maybe all the tea she drank pushed her over the threshhold. She surely drank a full cup's worth each day for her entire life. But she was a dog and dogs aren't cats; it's true.

If you call your vet, ask them to research the effects of green tea on cats. They can't know everything off the tops of their heads and if they don't know anything about it all you'll get is "well I've never heard of it being bad." which would be your answer whether it's bad or not.
posted by duck at 1:22 PM on February 3, 2006


Green tea is definitely not caffeine free. It contains roughly 2/3 the amount of caffeine in cola. Here's a page with some caffeine counts for various beverages.
posted by vorfeed at 1:24 PM on February 3, 2006


You definitely need to involve your cats and tea... so that you can be cool enough to browse this site...

I have actually seen "green tea supplements" with antioxidants etc for cats and dogs... though I think that falls into the whole "holistic medicine" category (and now we're getting into holistic pet medicine.. wow!) so I don't know what a vet would say.

I suppose I'd have to echo the "Ask your vet and don't believe everything you read on AskMeFi" sentiment.
posted by twiggy at 1:46 PM on February 3, 2006


I can't answer the specific question, but:

On one hand it's a plant based drink, it's non-toxic (to humans at least) and cats are normally pretty intelligent about not eating things that are harmful to them.

Hemlock is a plant-based drink, and if cats were intelligent about not eating things that were harmful then the ASPCA wouldn't have to make up lists of plants that cat owners should not own. Whatever you end up doing, please don't base it on your cat's judgment.

In any case, your cat will handle being tealess for another few days until you can ask the vet. I doubt you need an appointment; just call the office and ask the vet or an assistant the question.
posted by mendel at 1:57 PM on February 3, 2006


It's something like 63-66mg of caffiene per pound of cat, btw, for caffiene toxicity. We found this out when one of ours ate a coffee bean.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:10 PM on February 3, 2006 [1 favorite]


I have some cat treats that are made of liver and green tea, so I assume it's safe; dosage is another question.
posted by baklavabaklava at 5:21 PM on February 3, 2006


Hemlock is a plant-based drink, and if cats were intelligent about not eating things that were harmful then the ASPCA wouldn't have to make up lists of plants that cat owners should not own. Whatever you end up doing, please don't base it on your cat's judgment.

Comedy gold! And absolutely true. Cats will drink antifreeze if you let them.

Sugary sweet! And almost always fatal!
posted by frogan at 8:10 PM on February 3, 2006


Green tea has more caffeine than regular tea but you can get decaf green tea. I would be surpised if the vet had any reason to object to the cat getting decaf tea (but I'd still check with vet),
posted by winston at 8:13 PM on February 3, 2006


My cat used to drink black coffee (on the sly, only if we turned our backs on him). Never drank a lot of it, and never seemed to have any bad effect on him. Then one day, he didn't ever drink black coffee again. Weird animals.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:19 PM on February 3, 2006


Green tea has less caffeine than black tea, which has less caffeine than coffee, which has less caffeine than espresso (per 8oz. serving). I have no idea whether or not that's still enough caffeine to hurt a cat.
posted by fionab at 8:25 PM on February 3, 2006


I don't know about tea, but cats aren't that smart about eating things they shouldn't. They like anti-freeze, and that stuff can cause their kidneys to shut down (or is it the liver?). I wouldn't let the cat decide if it was safe or not. Ask your vet, you do take it to a vet right?
posted by inthe80s at 7:30 AM on February 6, 2006


« Older What's the difference between ...   |  I've got a Comstock Lode-size ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.