Can Cats Eat Lemongrass? 8 Facts To Know

Many dishes feature lemongrass as an ingredient. Marinades, stir-fries, spice rubs, salads, and pastes are just some of the many applications.

However, you shouldn’t feed your cat any food that contains lemongrass because it is mildly toxic. How much your cat weighs also plays a major role, as does the amount of food it consumes.

Cats have a tendency to overeat grasses because they enjoy eating them so much. The amount of food a cat eats can usually be controlled.

Grass, however, may make this task difficult. Your cat may start eating too much, which can have mild side effects.

Cats should avoid large amounts of lemongrass because it is toxic to them. No cat could ever consume enough food to become seriously ill from eating alone. The vast majority of cases are extremely mild and resolve without treatment.

Can Cats Eat Lemongrass?

Lemongrass is a member of the grass family, the Poaceae, and is also known as oil grass. Humans use it for a variety of purposes, including aromatherapy, medicine, and food.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals claims that the leafy plant’s essential oils and cyanogenic glycosides are toxic.

Your cat probably won’t get sick from nibbling on the plant, but she might feel queasy if she eats too much of it.

Your cat can’t digest fibrous food, so feeding it to it increases the risk of gastrointestinal obstruction. Symptoms of anemia and hyperthyroidism, for example, have been linked to the excessive consumption of lemongrass.

Lemongrass oil is highly toxic to cats and should be kept out of reach at all times. If your cat or kitten ingests too much of it, she may experience abdominal swelling, fever, shock, vomiting, anorexia, and diarrhea.

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Chronic cystitis (a painful pressure or burning in the pelvic region) and weakness of the hind legs may also occur in severe cases.

Why Is Lemongrass Toxic?

Lemongrass comes in at least three distinct varieties. There is only one variety of lemongrass that is suitable for consumption.

The second type is commonly known as citronella and serves as an effective insect repellent. The third and final type is called citronella grass, and it serves no practical purpose whatsoever. The maroon hue is very attractive.

Not just the culinary variety of lemongrass, but all of these can be mildly toxic to cats. The citronella plant, whose oil is in all of them, is responsible for the toxic reaction.

It takes a lot to make a cat sick, but some felines are more delicate than others in this regard. Kittens and smaller cats are especially at risk because of their diminutive size.

A cat can safely nibble on raw lemongrass in small amounts. Toxic oil is extracted from lemongrass, so moderation is essential. Lemongrass essential oil is highly toxic after processing.


Lemongrass Essential Oils

Essential oils often include lemongrass as a popular ingredient. Its potency increases when concentrated.

Many different names, including “lemon,” “lemongrass,” and “citronella,” are used to market essential oils derived from lemongrass.

It could also be a staple in citrus-based cocktails. Concentrated citronella, which is found in all of these oils, is more effective at repelling cats than the fresh plant.

Essential Oil Poisoning in Cats

Pure essential oils are safe for use around cats, but their concentrated forms can be harmful. Essential oils, especially those that are highly concentrated, are toxic to cats if they consume them orally or absorb them through the skin.

Peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, eucalyptus oil, and tea tree oil are among the most dangerous essential oils.

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Keep lemongrass essential oil out of your cat’s reach, even though it has a low toxicity index.

Lemongrass essential oil bottle

What Are the Signs of Lemongrass Poisoning?

Symptoms of lemongrass poisoning are typically mild. Your cat will initially experience mild vomiting and diarrhea. Lemongrass may cause varying degrees of sensitivity among people. It’s also possible for your belly to swell up.

If the cat consumes an excessive amount of lemongrass, it may develop a fever. In extreme cases, there may be symptoms of shock and vomiting.

Cats that ingest large amounts of lemongrass may lose bladder control and back leg strength. They may be unable to urinate or defecate normally. Now is the time for veterinary attention.

The essential oil, a concentrated form of lemongrass, is even more toxic. If your cat eats these, it could be very dangerous.

How Do Vets Diagnose Lemongrass Poisoning?

The most straightforward method of diagnosing lemongrass poisoning is to catch your cat in the act of eating the grass.

Alternatively, your veterinarian may be able to detect the toxin in your cat’s blood using a battery of tests. A complete blood count, urinalysis, bloodwork, and biochemistry profile are all examples of what this can entail.

Cats should not consume large amounts of lemongrass because it can cause intestinal blockage. Because of this, your vet may recommend an ultrasound to check for obstructions in the digestive tract. A barium study, which highlights the obstruction, may be part of this process.

When cats consume excessive amounts of grass, they may become poisoned by pesticides. Your veterinarian may perform pesticide testing for this reason.


How Is Lemongrass Poisoning Treated?

If your cat vomits and becomes dehydrated from exposure to lemongrass, intravenous fluids are a common treatment option. The vet will need to express your cat’s waste to prevent a ruptured bladder.

In the event of a blockage, the veterinarian will need to empty the intestinal tract of leaves. Surgical removal of the mass is sometimes necessary.

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If the essential oil is the source of the poisoning, additional measures may be required. The essential oil can severely impair your cat’s liver function, so keep a close eye on her.

Your veterinarian may choose to use activated charcoal to remove any remaining toxins from your cat’s system at the same time that he or she flushes the stomach.

Do Cats With Lemongrass Poisoning Recover?

When given prompt medical attention, these cats usually make a full recovery. The plant’s mild toxicity means it rarely causes serious issues.

Symptoms tend to be more severe when using a more concentrated essential oil. However, medication can alleviate the symptoms.

Your cat may repeat getting poisoned from nibbling on lemongrass if they do it just once. We advise getting grass that isn’t toxic to cats in place of the lemongrass.

Cats with intense desires for lemongrass may be suffering from a medical condition such as malnutrition.

Your veterinarian may conduct additional tests on your cat to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Best Grasses for Cats

The consumption of trace amounts of lemongrass should not be dangerous. You probably don’t need to alter it if it already exists in your garden.

However, if your cat shows signs of biting or chewing on the lemongrass, you may want to switch to a non-toxic grass.

Oat grass, wheat grass, and alfalfa are all good choices because they are easy to grow and won’t harm your cat.

Last Thoughts

While a nibble or two from a lemongrass plant probably won’t hurt your cat, it’s still best to steer it away and toward a safer plant. Cats can safely roam and play on many different kinds of grass.

However, lemongrass essential oils are a different story, so if you suspect your cat has been poisoned by exposure to these substances, keep a close eye out for signs of poisoning and schedule an appointment with your vet immediately.

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