Our feline friends can enjoy some human foods as special treats. Wet and dry cat food are specially formulated to meet all of a cat’s nutritional needs, so they have no practical need for any human food.
Many common human foods are poisonous to cats, but can they eat garlic? No way! Here’s how to keep your cat safe from the poisonous vegetable.
Is Garlic Bad for Cats?
Yes. According to veterinarian Genna Mize, garlic is more toxic to cats than it is to dogs.
The technical services veterinarian at Virbac warns, “It not only causes gastrointestinal upset, but it potentially alters red blood cells and interferes with their very important function of transporting oxygen to the body.” This is a leading cause of anemia, which, if left untreated, can be fatal.
N-propyl disulfide, which is present in garlic and all other members of the Allium genus, is the main toxic component. So, is it safe to feed cats garlic-flavored food? No way. Garlic in any form, whether raw or cooked, in the form of garlic salt or powder, is poisonous to cats.
Mize claims that the concentrated nature of garlic spices makes even small amounts of them more toxic than the same weight in raw garlic. She explains, however, that ingesting even a single clove of garlic “can be all it takes to result in serious illness.” ”
If you want to treat your cat to a tasty nibble of salmon, turkey, or chicken, make sure the meat is fully cooked and free of garlic.
Keep in mind that veterinarians recommend treats account for no more than 10 percent of your cat’s daily diet, so it’s best to leave them unsalted.
An additional consideration is that garlic is not the only aromatic member of the Allium family that can be toxic to cats. Mize advises people with pets to refrain from:
- Green onion scallions
She says that “poisoning can occur from either a single exposure to large amounts of [garlic] or chronic smaller exposures over time.
Why is garlic so toxic for cats?
While both onions and garlic are harmful to felines, garlic is roughly five times as toxic.
Thiosulfate, which is abundant in garlic, is highly toxic to feline and canine organisms. Your cat will experience GI distress and her red blood cells will be broken down.
The real risk of feeding foods containing garlic is the destruction of the red blood cells, leading to anemia, Dr. Schaible said, though gastrointestinal upset is an inconvenience.
Your cat may become critically ill if it develops anemia, a condition in which the body does not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to its tissues.
Too much blood cell damage can also cause kidney damage, which “worsens the cat’s illness and potentially leads to long-term health consequences,” as Dr. Elfenbein explained to The Dodo.
Thiosulfate is present in both garlic and onions. Vegetables belonging to the allium family, such as onions, garlic, chives, and scallions, also contain sulfites.
Garlic Poisoning Symptoms in Cats
If your cat eats garlic, what will happen to it? It’s conditional. Transient [gastrointestinal] upset with no serious clinical signs until days later, when the body’s compensatory mechanisms have been depleted and red blood cell changes have caused anemia, is possible if he consumes enough garlic to cause clinical issues, Mize says.
Some of the other symptoms, she says, may not appear until up to five days later, which is too long to tell how severe the toxicity is. Some other symptoms are:
- Having no food
- Resistance to Exercise
- Enhanced respiratory and cardiac activity
- Pale gums
- Urine of a reddish-brownish hue
- Skin discoloration
Keep a close eye on your cat if you think he may have eaten garlic. If he has been throwing up or having diarrhea for more than a day or two, seek medical attention immediately; other symptoms may be delayed.
Set up your exam time now. Unless your cat ingested the product very recently, Mize says, “care is generally supportive in nature,” so there is no at-home treatment.
What To Do If Your Cat Eats Garlic
Mize says the clinical team will induce vomiting to promote decontamination if it is known that the cat has consumed garlic within the previous couple of hours.
Other than that, treatment is purely supportive and may involve giving the patient things like fluids, anti-nausea drugs, antioxidants, and so on.
A blood transfusion may be required in extreme cases, she says. She continues by saying that your cat’s condition will be closely monitored and that the length of their stay will be proportional to the severity of their illness.
What can you do to assist? Bring a complete history of your cat’s symptoms and any clues as to what your cat may have eaten that contained garlic, as well as a timeline of when exposure to garlic may have occurred.
Can cats eat garlic powder?
Even a small amount of garlic powder can be fatal to a cat.
Allowing your cat to consume even a small amount of garlic powder on a daily basis is dangerous.
This also includes garlic salt and dried garlic. Please don’t put your cat in danger by letting her near them.
How much garlic is poisonous for cats?
A single clove of garlic or 197 milligrams of garlic powder is enough to cause fatal poisoning in a cat.
Your cat’s weight, breed, and health history will also affect the degree of toxicity. There are some dog breeds that are particularly vulnerable to garlic poisoning.
- Angora from Turkey
- An Example of an O.S.
- Bobtail, Japanese
Signs of garlic poisoning in cats
If you have a cat and notice any of the following signs after ingesting garlic, contact your vet or the nearest emergency clinic immediately.
- Pain in the mouth
- Appetite loss
- Increased rates of heart and breathing
- Pale gums
You may not experience the worst of the anemia’s effects (including paleness, lethargy, and weakness) until several days after eating garlic.
Treatment of garlic poisoning in cats
Veterinarians sometimes try to induce vomiting in cats after they discover they have eaten garlic. In the absence of specific instructions to the contrary, leave this to the experts.
If the garlic has already been digested, intravenous (IV) fluid therapy may be used to help flush the toxin out of your cat’s system. She may also be prescribed medication to help with her stomachache.
Your cat may need a blood transfusion if its anemia is severe.
Avoid giving your cat any exposure to garlic at all costs because treating garlic poisoning can be time-consuming and costly.
Be careful when sharing food
Despite popular belief, “most cats do not enjoy the taste of raw garlic,” Dr. Schaible says.
Even though your cat probably won’t come begging for a clove of garlic, it’s important to remember that the ingredient is used in a wide variety of dishes.
Even a small amount of the thiosulfate in garlic can make your cat sick if you feed it to him or her on a regular basis.
Bring your cat in immediately if you suspect it has eaten garlic, or call the Pet Poison Hotline at (855) 289-0358.