Do Cats Like Burning Sage – A Feline Mystery?

Burning sage is a practice where people burn an herb in their homes for different reasons, including spiritual ones. If you have a pet at home, it’s important to think about whether it’s safe for them or not. So, the question that often comes up is: do cats enjoy the smell of burning sage?

Cats generally don’t enjoy the scent of burning sage, although it is not harmful to them. The smoke particles from sage can cause breathing difficulties for cats with respiratory issues and may trigger allergy-like symptoms such as sneezing or watery eyes.

This article explores the topic of burning sage around cats, including whether cats enjoy it, if it’s safe, and what precautions should be taken when doing so.

Signs That Indicate That Your Cat Does Not Like Sage 

If your cat sneezes, has itchy eyes, looks distressed, or makes a strange face, it’s a sign that they don’t like sage or the smell of burning sage. We’ll go into more detail about these symptoms below.

Sneezing Constantly

If your cat keeps sneezing when there’s sage around, it’s best to keep sage away from her because it means she’s allergic to it. She might also have an itchy nose.

Itchy or Wet Eyes

If your cat has watery eyes when you burn sage incense or bring sage around her, it means she is having an allergic reaction, and you should take her outside.


If your cat doesn’t like the smell of burning sage, she might run away or act unhappy. She might lie in one spot, hide behind things, or find a quiet place to sit. Cats are sensitive to smells, so they can react strongly to scents they don’t like.

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Making a Weird Face

Have you ever seen your cat scrunching up her nose or making a strange expression when she doesn’t understand something? That’s exactly what she’ll do if you bring sage close to her or burn sage incense in the room, indicating that she doesn’t really enjoy the smell, or maybe she really dislikes it.

Running Away 

If your cat doesn’t like a certain smell, she won’t go near where it’s coming from or stay in that room. If she’s already in the room, she might try to escape or find a way out.

Is Sage Safe for Your Cat

Burning sage is not harmful to cats, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe. You may have seen your cat sniffing and even nibbling on sage leaves in your kitchen garden, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they enjoy the taste or smell. There could be other reasons for their behavior.

Your cat might be attracted to the sage herb because of the way the leaves feel and may want to play with it. If your furry friend is curious, she might even try tasting a leaf. A small quantity of sage won’t harm your cat, but if she eats a lot of it, it could lead to digestive issues like upset stomach, queasiness, diarrhea, or vomiting in cats.

Cats usually rely on protein sources for most of their energy, and a herb like sage, which is thought to have beneficial effects on humans, can have a negative impact on cats because their stomachs are not designed to digest this herb effectively. While burning sage itself is not specifically dangerous, the smoke it produces can cause serious respiratory issues in cats.

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In addition, cats are at risk when exposed to sage oil. The scent and components of the oil can lead to various health problems. Cats are unable to process these substances, causing them to accumulate and become highly poisonous. In severe cases, if a cat inhales or ingests sage oil, it can lead to liver failure. Therefore, it is strongly advised to avoid using sage oil if you have a cat in your household.

Precautions To Take When Burning Sage Incense  

If you want to burn sage incense, make sure you do it in a place with good airflow and keep an eye on your cats. The issue for cats is not the sage itself, but the smoke that comes from burning sage or smudging. However, if you still want to have a smudging ceremony for its benefits, you should be careful and take some precautions.

When burning incense, it is important to do so in a safe location that is fireproof. It is also crucial to ensure that the room is well-ventilated by opening doors and windows before lighting the incense. To protect your cat, it is advisable to keep them away from the area where the incense is being burned. This is especially important if your cat already has respiratory problems, as the incense could worsen their condition.

Make sure you watch your cat to prevent her from getting close to the incense and getting hurt by the burning embers or the bowl it’s in. Keep an eye on your cat while the incense is burning. If she starts sneezing or her eyes get watery, take her to another room or outside.

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After you finish the smudging ritual, leave the windows open for a bit so that fresh air can come in. Remember to thoroughly clean up any leftover residue or ashes before your cat accidentally eats it. If your cat does consume any of the residue, it’s best to take her to the vet as soon as possible.

Things To Consider

If a cat eats a few sage leaves, it’s not too dangerous or poisonous, but be careful that she doesn’t eat too many because it can cause issues. Breathing in smoke for a long time can lead to respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis in cats.

So, it’s recommended to burn sage or sage incense in a well-ventilated area where your cat won’t be bothered. It’s important to keep all types of essential oils away from cats because they can be really harmful.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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[Wikipedia] [Encyclopedia Britannica] [National Geographic] [] [Purina]

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