are onions harmful to cats

Can cats eat onions? Cats shouldn’t eat onions because they are part of a group of plants called alliums, which are toxic to cats. Onions (including spring onions and shallots) are the most toxic allium for cats, but garlic, chives and leeks are also toxic, even when cooked or dried.

My Cat Ate Onion. Now What?

See your cat’s veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian right away if you think they may have eaten an onion or food containing onions, or even if you just suspect it. For your cat, the sooner medical intervention occurs, the better.

For advice on how to handle your cat’s onion exposure, it’s also advised that you or your veterinarian give the Pet Poison Helpline a call at 855-764-7661 to speak with a veterinary toxicologist. Prompt medical attention and intervention can effectively treat feline onion poisoning before excessive red blood cell destruction takes place.

Symptoms of Onion Poisoning in Cats

Onion poisoning may not be evident immediately. It is possible for symptoms to wait until a considerable number of red blood cells have been harmed. Anemia can appear as soon as 12 hours after consumption, but it usually takes two to five days after exposure to begin showing symptoms.

Lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most frequently reported symptoms of onion poisoning in cats, but there are additional symptoms that may include:

  • The first vague symptoms include nausea, drooling, oral irritation, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • A weakening, exercise intolerance, pale, yellow, blue, gray, or brown gums and other mucous membranes in the body, depression, lethargy, elevated heart rate, elevated respiratory rate (short, shallow breaths), yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, collapse, seizures, and death are among the symptoms of anemia and secondary damage to the liver and/or kidneys.

Are Onions Bad for Cats?

Although a cat could bite into a raw onion, it’s more likely that they’ll eat something that contains onions. Keep your cat away from anything that contains onions, such as pizza, sauces, soups, gravy, and other foods that are cooked because they are just as toxic to cats as raw onions. Consuming food that has been cooked with onion powder or dehydrated/freeze-dried onions increases the risk of food poisoning by at least double.

Red blood cell damage and severe stomach distress are caused by onion toxicity in cats. This harm increases the possibility that the red blood cells will burst, which could result in fatal anemia. Your cat’s body needs less oxygen to survive when red blood cells burst because they are the source of oxygen in the body. The liver, kidneys, and lungs of your cat may also be impacted by this red blood cell degeneration.


What happens if a cat eats a little bit of onion?

Onions contain compounds called disulfides and thiosulphates which can be toxic cats and dogs if ingested. The ingestion of onions causes conditions called hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, and methemoglobinemia which are all manifestation of damage to red blood cells.

How much onion is safe for cats?

An onion can become toxic to a feline if more than 1 gram per 5 pounds of body weight is ingested. Onion powder has a high toxicity rate and is potentially more potent than a fresh onion. Onion toxicity in cats is caused by the oxidant present in onions, n-propyl disulfide.

Is it bad to cut onions around cats?

Onions and other aromatics are in the Allium spp family, which includes hundreds of species. Mize adds that any Allium food items are all potentially toxic to your cat and should be avoided, including: Chives.

Are cats attracted to onions?

Some of the most common smells cats hate include citrus, vinegar, peppermint, pine, onions, or spicy food. The dislike for certain smells might be rooted in survival, says Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, Veterinary Medical Advisor for Rover and Chief Veterinarian at Kleinburg Veterinary Hospital.