Can Cats Eat Garlic? Is Garlic Safe For Cats?

Home red and white kitten sniffs garlic, prevents photographing.

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Can cats eat garlic? You might have found yourself wondering this if your cat tried to sneak a taste while you were hanging out in the kitchen and chopping up some garlic for use in your evening dinner. If humans can eat garlic, can cats safely eat it too?

The short answer is no, cats can’t safely eat garlic. For humans, garlic is seen as a positive addition to any person’s diet. But for cats, it’s considered by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to be toxic.

Here’s what you need to know about garlic and cats.

Why Is Garlic Bad For Cats?

You’ll find garlic in kitchens all over the world. But while humans can safely digest and process garlic in their meals, it’s a different matter for cats.

Garlic is part of the allium family, which also includes leeks, onions, and chives, and cats digest these foods differently than humans. When a cat eats garlic, there’s a chance that it might end up harming their red blood cells. In turn, felines can end up suffering from a condition called hemolytic anemia.

When a cat suffers from hemolytic anemia, they might develop any of these symptoms:

Beyond cases of hemolytic anemia, if a cat suffers from garlic poisoning, they could end up showing some of the following symptoms:

  • Seeming fatigued
  • Having breathing difficulties
  • Seeming like they might collapse
  • Having an increased heart rate

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Garlic?

Cat on the windowsill of the old house

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If you discover that your cat has managed to eat some garlic, the severity of any symptoms can depend on the size and weight of your cat. Even a small clove of garlic can be toxic to a cat, so make sure to monitor your feline’s behavior and look closely for any of the previously mentioned common symptoms.

If your veterinarian advises you to bring your cat in for an examination after they have eaten garlic, there’s a chance that they will attempt to use a hydrogen peroxide solution to make your cat vomit. This is to remove the garlic from your cat’s digestive system. The vet might also recommend the use of activated charcoal.

In more severe cases of garlic poisoning, a vet might suggest a stomach pump or even a blood transfusion.

Has your cat ever managed to eat some garlic? Did they feel sick afterward? Let us know in the comments below!