Can Cats Eat Poppy Seeds? 10 Facts About It

Cats have a reputation for being picky eaters, but every once in a while we see them devour something that isn’t normally part of their diet.

They might eat a piece of banana that’s been forgotten on the counter, for instance. They might wolf down the peas on their plate. When you aren’t looking, they may even sneak a bite of your everything bagel or poppy seed muffin.

In light of this, one might reasonably wonder if cats can safely consume poppy seeds. Do poppy seeds harm or help felines?

Poppy seeds are not safe for cats to eat, to put it briefly. The extended response offers an explanation as well as suggestions for keeping your cat away from the opium plant. Let’s delve into these issues as a group.

Are Poppy Seeds Toxic To Cats?

Cats shouldn’t eat poppy seeds; they’re toxic.

There’s a lot of interest in whether or not cats can eat poppy seeds.

Poppy seeds are not safe for cats to eat, despite popular belief to the contrary.

In contrast to seeds like sunflower and sesame seeds, which are safe for cats to consume in small amounts, poppy seeds can be fatal if ingested.

Due to individual variation, some cats may have a higher than average sensitivity to poppy seeds. After ingesting the substance, some cats may experience mild euphoria, while others may become extremely fatigued, lethargic, dizzy, and even pass away.

Poppy seeds, in contrast to seeds like sunflower and sesame that cats can safely consume in small amounts, can be fatal.

Because every cat is different, their reactions to poppy seeds could range widely. While some cats experience euphoria after consuming poppies, others become sleepy, dizzy, and lethargic.

This is so because the poppy harms your cat’s brain and other parts of his central nervous system.

The poppy, regardless of reaction, is mildly toxic to cats and can be fatal in large enough doses.

As a result, you shouldn’t ever knowingly feed your cat anything containing poppy seeds.

Poppy-seed-containing foods should be kept out of your cat’s reach when you’re not around.

If your cat has ingested poppy seeds, you must immediately begin monitoring his condition. You should schedule an appointment with a veterinarian right away to discuss the situation.

If you suspect your cat has eaten poppy seeds, even if it was only a small amount in a muffin, you should seek veterinary or poison control advice immediately.

It’s possible that you’ll be instructed to rush your cat to the nearest 24-hour animal hospital.

All About the Poppy Seeds

The opium poppy flower is the source of poppy seeds. While the poppy flower is widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the opium poppy is only found in Turkey. This poppy produces the seeds that everyone is familiar with.

Opium, codeine, heroin, and morphine are all derived from the milky latex found on unripe poppy seeds. However, the tiny, kidney-shaped, and dark or grayish blue seeds that you find on your bagels and muffins are ripe.

Although typical poppy seeds do not have opiates, they may become tainted with opiate residue during harvest.

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Poppy seeds can still contain trace amounts of morphine even after processing.

Because of this, consuming an excessive amount of poppy seeds can cause a false positive opiate test. A positive result for opiates in a drug test can occur as little as 2 hours after consuming a food containing poppy seeds.

However, we won’t get sick from having a poppy seed bagel and a salad dressed with poppy seed dressing for lunch. What is the cat equivalent of this?

Are Poppy Seeds Cat-Friendly?

The short answer is no; cats should not eat poppy seeds.

Cats should not be given access to poppy plants or seeds because they contain toxins.

The problem is that the alkaloids in poppies are not uniform across species.

Certain species’ alkaloids can affect your cat’s brain and nervous system.

Your cat may become sedated or overexcited after ingesting any part of the plant.

Your cat should not be fed poppy seed heads. These are highly toxic. All of the plant’s seeds are concentrated in this part.

This could lead to a very lethal dose. Please consult your vet if you suspect your cat has ingested poppy seed heads.

Studies show that there are between 0.5 and 10 micrograms of morphine in every gram of edible poppy seeds.

Fortunately for humans, you’d have to eat quite a bit before experiencing any narcotic or drug-like effects. However, even a small amount can be fatal to a cat.

Experts say that the central nervous system (i.e. the brain) can be affected by “the alkaloids found in poppies,” which “vary with each species.”

Consuming any part of the plant can result in a relaxed or euphoric state. This is the root of feline poisoning.

Keep anything containing poppy seeds well out of your cat’s reach. Even better, just in case, don’t bring it in the house. Although accidents are inevitable, you should take every precaution to avoid this one.

What Is Poppy Poisoning In Cats?

Poppy poisoning occurs when your cat exhibits symptoms like sedation and dizziness after ingesting poppy seed.

Famously, Dorothy nods off in a field of red poppies while reading The Wizard of Oz, cementing the poppy’s place in pop culture lore.

Despite the fact that this is just a film, the symptoms of toxicity from poppies are accurate.

Taking in too much poppy can leave you feeling down, sedated, or even dead. This flowering plant is not widely found, but it is highly toxic to anything that ingests it.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested the poppy or if you observe your cat chewing on or consuming the poppy.

The poppy plant, with its bright red flowers, is one of the most recognizable species of wildflowers. Although the poppy is aesthetically pleasing, it is poisonous if ingested.

Your cat’s health should be evaluated by a vet immediately if it ingests this plant.

Symptoms Of Poppy Poisoning In Cats

Poppy poisoning in cats can cause a variety of symptoms.

  • Inappetance
  • Small, pinpoint pupils.
  • Trembling
  • Ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Sedation
  • Suppressed breathing
  • Lessened pulse rate
  • Coma
  • Death

Take your cat to the vet immediately if he shows any of these signs.

The poppy belongs to the genus Papaver. The plants in this genus are known for their widespread, bowl-shaped flowers that come in a rainbow of hues.

Red poppies are the most recognizable variety. All of the many different kinds of poppies are deadly to cats.

Poppy alkaloids include morphine and codeine. Although these chemicals have legitimate medical uses, excessive consumption can be dangerous.

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It’s not a good idea to give your cat poppy seeds even though they’re not toxic.

How To Diagnose Poppy Poisoning In Cats?

Taking your cat in for a checkup at the vet can reveal whether or not she has been poisoned by opiates.

The first thing your vet will do when you bring your cat in is a physical exam.

This will help her evaluate your cat’s condition and vital signs. The poison’s effects on the body’s metabolism will be studied in the lab.

The health of your internal organs can be gauged with the help of a complete blood count (CBC) and a chemical panel.

The degree of hydration can be measured by performing a packed cell volume (PCV) assay. A urinalysis will be carried out to investigate the kidneys in greater detail.

The veterinarian may choose to perform an ECG or an ultrasound on the heart if abnormalities are suspected.

She will learn different things about your cat’s health and the effects on his heart from each of these methods.

How To Treat Poppy Poisoning In Cats?

Taking a cat to the vet is the best course of action when dealing with poppy poisoning.

The vet may induce vomiting in your cat to remove any remaining poppy pieces.

To prevent the remaining poison from entering her bloodstream, she may also take activated charcoal.

The veterinarian will likely start your pet on intravenous fluids and admit them to the hospital.

Your vet may start your cat on oxygen via flow-by or place him in an oxygen cage if he is having trouble breathing.

Your vet may intubate your cat and continue giving him oxygen through the tube as long as he continues to have trouble breathing and show signs of swelling.

Placing your cat in a quiet, dark area will help him remain calm while the toxins leave his system. This is especially true if he is lethargic, depressed, or his pupils are narrowed.

Your cat will be outfitted with monitoring equipment if he or she has heart problems. This way, the veterinarian can keep a close eye on his vitals, including his heart rate, and act quickly if necessary.

The veterinarian will give additional medication if it is necessary to prevent further complications.

How Do Cats Recover From Poppy Poisoning?

The amount of poppy your cat ingested and how quickly he received veterinary care are the two most important factors in his recovery from poppy toxicity.

Your cat has a good chance of making a full recovery if she only consumed a small amount of the foliage through chewing or ingestion. The prognosis may be good to fair if your cat ingested a larger amount but was taken to the vet quickly.

The prognosis for a full recovery is, however, cautious to poor if your cat consumed a large amount or did not receive any veterinary care.

Once the lab work comes back normal, your cat will be acting normally, and he will have his appetite back, at which point he can go home.

It is not common to find the poppy because of its potential for illegal use. If you come across this plant while out walking your cat, please do not touch it. The best treatment is preventative care.

Cats and Poppy Seeds

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, poppy seeds are toxic to both cats and dogs. The seeds of the poppy plant are not necessarily poisonous unless a large quantity is consumed; however, all other parts of the poppy plant can be relatively toxic to cats.

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If your cat eats any part of the poppy flower, it may experience the same symptoms as when it consumes poppy seeds:

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Vomiting
  • GI distress
  • Lethargy
  • An imbalance
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Optimistic/excited (more common in cats).
  • Vocalization
  • Wide-open eyes
  • Zoned out

Cats will have varying responses to poppy seeds due to their effect on the brain and central nervous system.

Some felines may become listless, while others may become overly active. Dogs are more likely to be sedated and sleepy, whereas cats react in this way.

Keep an eye on your cat for the next few hours if you suspect they may have ingested something containing poppy seeds, and take them to the vet if their symptoms worsen or you have any concerns.

A Cat’s Diet

Cats shouldn’t be snacking on seeds anyway, especially in the long run. Because of their status as obligate carnivores, feline companions benefit greatly from a diet rich in meat. In fact, animal protein should make up at least 70% of your cat’s diet.

Because of their carnivorous diet, cats have a much more difficult time absorbing nutrients from plant-based foods. Nuts and seeds are examples of such foods.

Beautiful feline cat eating on a metal bowl

The best thing you can do for your cat is to feed it a high-quality cat food that has been formulated to meet its nutritional needs. Most commercial cat food has a sufficient quantity of animal protein in addition to the appropriate vitamin and mineral balance.

It’s fine if your cat occasionally sneaks a bite of something that isn’t great for them (and could potentially contain poppy seeds).

But don’t give your cat any food that wasn’t made specifically for them, or that isn’t a regular part of their diet. This includes switching your cat’s diet to a plant-based one.

Cats may experience immediate and long-term health problems as a result of this.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats eat poppy seed bread?

There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t give your cat any poppy seed bread. There might not be enough poppy seeds in a single slice to kill your cat, but it could still make them sick.

In most cases, poppy seed bread has extra sugars added to make it taste better. Cats should also avoid sugar and other sweeteners. These two factors will lead to obesity and the health problems that come along with it, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Can cats have poppy seed dressing?

Dressing with poppy seeds is toxic to cats. However, there may be other ingredients in the dressing that are harmful to your cat even if there aren’t enough poppy seeds to cause a toxic reaction.

Your cat should not be fed any sauces or salad dressings. They are not good for your cat’s health because they contain too many carbohydrates and sugar.

Final Thoughts

Although it would likely take a lot of poppy seeds to seriously sicken your cat, you shouldn’t give them to your cat anyway.

Stick with cat food and cat treats, and don’t let your cat eat from your table or plate because some foods that contain poppy seeds may have other ingredients that won’t be good for your cat.

If you’re worried about what your cat may have accidentally eaten, it’s best to consult a vet.

If you’re not sure if your cat needs to go to the emergency clinic or if something it ate will hurt it, you can call the Pet Poison Helpline (for a small fee, of course).

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