Can Cats Have Matcha? | Weighing the Risks and Benefits

Can Cats Have Matcha? | Weighing the Risks and Benefits

As a cat and animal lover, you naturally want to do everything in your power to keep your furry family members as healthy and vivacious as possible. We know that green tea has enormous benefits for us humans, including reduced inflammation, heart-protective benefits, and increased focus and attention. But do these benefits also translate to cats?

Can cats have green tea?

When it comes to knowing what food and supplements to give your cat, the list can be long, and it’s not always easy to figure out the best options. You might be sipping your favorite matcha latte and wondering if your feline friend could enjoy some of the same health perks. Green tea extract is also a common ingredient in cat food and cat treats.

The next time your curious kitty gives you the “Can I try?” look while you’re making your morning cup of matcha, you’ll know exactly what the risks and benefits may be of sharing.

Is matcha good for cats? What are the benefits?

Is matcha good for cats?

Matcha is a type of green tea that is specially grown and processed and turned into a very finely ground powder. Unlike traditional green tea, where the tea leaves are steeped and then discarded, matcha involves consuming the entire tea leaf, which provides a more potent source of nutrients.

To produce matcha, tea leaves are shaded for several weeks leading up to harvest. This increases the chlorophyll levels and enhances the production of amino acids. Tea leaves are then hand-picked, steamed, dried, and carefully ground into a vibrant green powder. This process preserves matcha’s rich nutrition profile but also imparts its distinct, slightly sweet, grassy flavor. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, matcha is known for its incredible health benefits, including improved mental clarity, enhanced metabolism, and better cardiovascular health (just to name a few).

Cats may reap some of these benefits, but only in moderation and with the approval of your veterinarian.

Benefits of matcha for cats

Cognitive benefits

L-theanine, an amino acid naturally found in matcha, has a calming effect and is thought to ease anxiety, stress, and behavior issues in both cats and dogs. One of the benefits of l-theanine is that it can calm your feline friend without making them drowsy. Animal studies also suggest that matcha can improve cognitive function, memory, and attention.

Maintain a healthy weight

In humans, studies show that matcha can help with healthy weight management, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. These effects may also be seen both cats and dogs.  

Protect against mouth infections

Gingivitis and periodontitis are common dental diseases in cats, which can be painful and even affect quality of life. Green tea has been shown to help fight plaque buildup and may combat oral bacteria, leading to fresher breath. Matcha and green tea extracts may also be used topically to help heal mouth and gum sores.

Immune function

Matcha may boost immune function in cats as it does in humans. Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, matcha can halt cell damage and lower the risk of infection and illness. EGCG, an antioxidant found in matcha, has been well-studied for its effect on enhancing immunity. In fact, one animal study showed that green tea may be effective against several viral infections, including influenza.

Skin and ear health

Green tea may also be applied topically as a way to help soothe hot spots, mouth sores and clean ears. Matcha has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which may help soothe irritation, redness, swelling, and itchiness.

Are there any risks?

Is matcha safe for cats?

Unfortunately, studies on animals and green tea are limited, making it difficult to determine the exact risks. Green tea does contain caffeine, which may cause sleeplessness, nervousness, increased heart rate, and anxiety in your pet. 

Matcha also contains a small amount of a compound called theobromine, which is also found in chocolate. Theobromine can be toxic to cats and, in large amounts, may even be fatal. So, if choosing to supplement with matcha or a green tea extract, it is essential to use the correct dosing.

Additionally, there may be interactions between matcha and some medications. 

It’s important to consult your veterinarian before giving your cat matcha to ensure it’s safe for them.

Quality matters

When thinking about giving your pets matcha, keep quality in mind. High-quality matcha is made with young tea leaves, which are carefully processed in order to retain maximum nutritional value and minimize any harmful substances. In contrast, lower-quality matcha may contain higher levels of pesticides, heavy metals, or unhealthy additives, which can be detrimental to your furry family member's health. Due to their smaller size and different metabolic processes, even small amounts of these harmful substances may cause health issues.

Bottom Line: Ask your veterinarian about adding green tea (in moderation) to your cat’s food

Why is green tea added to cat food?

There are limited studies on cats and green tea, so it can be difficult to give a clear-cut answer on whether cats can and should be given green tea. Matcha, a type of green tea, is a particularly rich source of antioxidants and boasts many health benefits. In humans, it may increase cognitive function, improve immunity, reduce the risk of cancer, promote a healthy weight, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

In cats, matcha may:

-   Help fresh breath

-   Reduce the risk of oral diseases

-   Improve stress, anxiety, behavioral issues

-   Maintain a healthy weight

-   Protect against type 2 diabetes

-   Improve blood pressure and cholesterol 

Given the limited research, it’s important to check with your veterinarian before supplementing your cat’s diet with green tea.

Disclaimer: These statements in this blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It's essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.  


BAI, L., TAKAGI, S., ANDO, T., YONEYAMA, H., ITO, K., MIZUGAI, H., & ISOGAI, E. (2016). Antimicrobial activity of tea catechin against canine oral bacteria and the functional mechanisms. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 78(9), 1439–1445. 

Dramard, V., Kern, L., Hofmans, J. et al. Effect of l-theanine tablets in reducing stress-related emotional signs in cats: an open-label field study. Ir Vet J 71, 21 (2018). 

Isogai, H., Isogai, E., Takahashi, E., Koichi, T., &  Kurebayashi, Y. (2008). Intern J Appl Res Vet Med, 6(2), 82-86.

Koch W, Zagórska J, Marzec Z, Kukula-Koch W. Applications of Tea (Camellia sinensis) and its Active Constituents in Cosmetics. Molecules. 2019 Nov 24;24(23):4277. doi: 10.3390/molecules24234277. PMID: 31771249; PMCID: PMC6930595.

Kochman J, Jakubczyk K, Antoniewicz J, Mruk H, Janda K. Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review. Molecules. 2020 Dec 27;26(1):85. doi: 10.3390/molecules26010085. PMID: 33375458; PMCID: PMC7796401.

James, K. D., Forester, S. C., & Lambert, J. D. (2015). Dietary pretreatment with green tea polyphenol, (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate reduces the bioavailability and hepatotoxicity of subsequent oral bolus doses of (−)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 76, 103–108.

Xu J, Xu Z, Zheng W. A Review of the Antiviral Role of Green Tea Catechins. Molecules. 2017 Aug 12;22(8):1337. doi: 10.3390/molecules22081337. PMID: 28805687; PMCID: PMC6152177.