Can Cats Eat Onions? Here I explain it to you

There are many human foods that you should avoid giving your cat. However, some are more dangerous than others and can be harmful in much smaller amounts. The onions are one of these foods you should not give your cat.

Onions and garlic can be so dangerous to cats that the effects have a special name, onion  or garlic toxicosis . Any plant in the Allium genus  can be dangerous, including onions, garlic, leeks, and chives.

So can cats eat onions? The answer is no. Cats cannot eat onions.

Article content

  • Why can’t cats eat onions?
  • How much onion can a cat accidentally eat?
  • Symptoms of Onion Poisoning in Cats
  • Diagnosis of onion toxicity in cats
  • What should you do if your cat eats onion
  • conclusion

Why can’t cats eat onions?

Onions are part of the plant genus A llium . Allium species contain a variety of organosulfoxides , which transform into organic sulfur-containing compounds when chewed. This is what gives onions a delicious and aromatic taste to humans, but in cats these compounds damage red blood cells, rendering the cells unable to carry oxygen to the brain.

Ingesting onions can also cause anemia (low red blood cell count), and in severe cases, anemia can lead to internal organ damage, organ failure, and even death.

Cooking onions, garlic, etc. it has no effect on the principles that cause toxicosis. Also, drying doesn’t help either. Onion or garlic powder are just as troublesome as raw onions or garlic. All onions, whether cooked or raw, are poisonous to your cat .

How much onion can a cat accidentally eat?

It takes a very small amount of onions to poison your cat. The consumption of as little as 5 grams of onions in cats has caused clinically important hematological changes.

The toxicosis onion seen in animals ingesting more than 0.5 percent of their body weight in onions. It is best that your cat does not eat onion to avoid the risk of health problems.

Symptoms of Onion Poisoning in Cats

Common signs of onion poisoning or toxicosis are:

  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Pale mucous membranes.
  • Discolored urine
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Allergic reaction.
  • Decreased appetite.
  • Asthma attacks
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Bad breath.
  • Hypersalivation
  • Vomiting and / or diarrhea.

Diagnosis of onion toxicity in cats

Diagnosis begins with a physical exam and a review of your cat’s medical history. You will be asked about your cat’s current diet, including table scraps or ingredients in your raw food diet.

Onion toxicity in cats is commonly diagnosed by examining a cat’s red blood cells. As hemolytic anemia is a common clinical sign of onion toxicity, the presence of Heinz bodies on the border of a red blood cell, viewed microscopically, will indicate oxidative damage. The diagnostic tool to reveal this clinical sign is called a blood smear, which requires only a small blood sample from the feline.

Hemolytic anemia is also a clinical sign of several other common feline diseases, so the vet will likely request a biochemical profile or X-rays to complete the diagnosis.

What should you do if your cat eats onion

Treatment for onion toxicosis will depend on whether your pet has shown clinical signs, which can take a while to manifest.

If you know that your cat ingested a large amount of onions or other plants of the Allium genus, you should go to the vet immediately. They will likely induce vomiting and give your cat a solution of activated charcoal to absorb poisonous compounds.

If symptoms have occurred and the vet diagnoses your pet with onion toxicosis , which would imply ruling out other diagnoses and performing blood and urine tests, the treatment will be more aggressive. Your pet can receive a blood transfusion, intravenous fluids, and medications to control vomiting and diarrhea if necessary.

Although there may be possible complications from treatment, with prompt attention, recovery can be expected. There are possible complications from severe cases of anemia and / or secondary kidney damage, but the prognosis is generally good.


Onions are dangerous for your cat to eat. If he eats even a small amount of onion, it is advisable that you seek veterinary assistance quickly.

Onion toxicosis is much more common in dogs than cats, but it is because cats are pickier about what they eat. Your cat is unlikely to chew on some raw onion. However, any food your cat enjoys regularly that contains onion in any form, including onion powder, could cause certain compounds to build up in her body and lead to toxicosis.

For example, baby food, which may contain onions or garlic, can be a particular problem for cats. And remember, some cats are not that demanding.

Now, if your cat eats a little of a food that contains onion, every now and then, he doesn’t need to panic. It’s going to take a lot and usually regular exposure to onions or Allium species over a longer period of time. So for cats, just be careful to avoid exposing your cat to anything that you know contains or has the potential to contain onions.



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