Pennyroyal and Cats
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Gail
Posted on: March 16, 2002

Can you tell me if pennyroyal is poisonous to cats? I want to use it as an ant repellent if it is not poisonous.

We are not aware of any specific problem for cats. Pennyroyal oil is known to have abortifacient properties in humans, but it is unclear if the dried or fresh herb has the same effect. The oil, which is much more concentrated than the dried or fresh herb, is also known to have toxic effects on the liver when taken internally over a period of time. Our best guess is that if you are fresh or dried pennyroyal around the house to repel ants then your cat should be safe. If you are using the essential oil, then you should exercise caution not to let your cat ingest the oil (would probably be repelled by the odour of pennyroyal anyway). By the way, another reputed ant repellent is the herb tansy.

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