I thought cats were highly allergic to garlic, yet a lot of people on this site seem to include garlic in their homemade cat food recipes and to avoid fleas on their cats. Is garlic toxic to cats?
By Caryn from Toronto, Ontario
Why not call your vet's office and ask them this question? They should be able to give you good advice.
The following is a list of foods that cats should never eat:
Onions, Garlic, & Related Root Vegetables
Onions contain a substance (N-propyl disulphide) which destroys red blood cells in the cat, causing a form of anemia called Heinz body anemia. Garlic contains a similar substance in a lesser amount.
Green Tomatoes, Green (raw Potatoes)
These foods are members of the Solanaceae family of plants, which includes the Deadly Nightshade, and contain a bitter, poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms. The leaves and stems are particularly toxic. (Tomatoes in pet foods are ripe, and should cause no concern because they appear in relatively small amounts)
It's becoming more widely known that chocolate is very toxic to both cats and dogs. Theobromine is the offending substance here. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, D.V.M. has an excellent article on the symptoms, effects, and treatment of chocolate toxicity.
Grapes and Raisins
These foods' toxicity has mainly been found in dogs, in quantities of varying amounts. The ASPCA advises: "As there are still many unknowns with the toxic potential of grapes and raisins, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center advises not giving grapes or raisins to pets in any amount." That's good enough for me.
Although milk is not toxic to cats, it may have adverse effects. Simply put, adult cats fed a nutritious diet don't need milk, and many cats are lactose-intolerant, which means that the lactose in milk and milk products produces stomach upset, cramps, and gassiness. If your cat loves milk, and begs for it, a small amount of cream may be okay, two or three times a week. (The more fat in the milk, the less lactose.) Another compromise is CatSip, a product made from skim milk with an enzyme added that helps the digestion of lactose. Catsip is available in supermarkets such as Safeway, Albertson's and A&P, as well as pet products chains, such as PetSmart and Petco.
These are the most commonly seen "people foods" that are potentially harmful to cats. The bottom line is to feed your cat nutritious food developed with his needs in mind and choose treats designed for cats instead of table scraps.
If You Think Your Cat Has Been Poisoned contact your veterinarian.
Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!
I noticed some people giving advice to help manage and rid fleas naturally on their pets and homes. Unfortunately, many mentioned garlic and that it may be okay for dogs. I am not really sure, but garlic is very hazardous to cats. So please take precaution.
By Deedee10 from NY, NY
Actually, garlic is dangerous for dogs too! Anything in the Allium family is dangerous to both cats and dogs even if cooked. I know there are companies out there that tout the benefits of garlic for pets, especially for flea control, but even in a healthy pet it can eventually lead to a variety of diseases including liver disease. :-( Thanks for posting your tip! (10/20/2009)
I had no idea. Thank you so much. I have three wonderful little cats and I have seen that info about garlic for fleas. I usually buy flea stuff from the vet so I've never tried it, but I had thought about it for our dog. Glad I didn't try it. (10/20/2009)
Is garlic poisonous to cats?
Doubt it. One of our cats often eats food which has been cooked in garlic, with no ill effects. (07/18/2009)
I have read a couple of articles lately where studies are showing that garlic is toxic to cats and dogs :-o I wish I had kept the articles but it's something to definitely contact a few local vets and maybe the ASPCA to see what new news they have about it before allowing them to ingest. Maybe it depends on the strength of the garlic (cooked, raw,etc) but it does make sense to me that body weight and health could make a big difference. (07/18/2009)
The ASPCA Poison Control Center says garlic is indeed poisonous to our pets.
Since I cook for my dogs I purchased a second crock pot so I can make them healthy "stews" without onion or garlic which I use in mine. Jennifer Northern Virginia
I almost lost a litter of kittens to heinz body anemia because the canned broth we used to thin their food with had onions and garlic in the making of it. We saved most of the kittens. (07/19/2009)
It depends how much you give your cat. Brewers yeast tablets or powder with garlic if given at the right dosage will not hurt your pet. It will decrease shedding and after about one month of taking it, the garlic will have built up in their system that no biting insect will bother them. I have used this product for 8 years. (08/11/2009)