Lemons are zesty, juicy, and delicious.
They are frequently used by us humans to make an assortment of yummy dessert foods, to make refreshing lemonade and a slice of it always adds that perfect touch of zest into all of our soft drinks on a hot summer’s day – but are they safe for cats to consume?
If you’re the owner of a cat, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re aware of all the different foods that can be potentially toxic to our feline friends – and lemon just so happens to be one of them.
Why? Well, it essentially comes down to three compounds found within lemon that are toxic to cats: psoralens, linalool, and limonene.
In this article today, we are going to be talking you through why lemon is toxic to cats, the symptoms of lemon poisoning so that you can be aware of the signs, as well as what to do in the instance that your cat congests lemon and needs to be treated.
So, whenever you’re ready, let’s dive right in.
Can Cats Eat Lemon?
To cut a long story short, no – cats cannot eat lemons.
The main reason that cats cannot eat lemon is due to the fact that they contain high levels of toxic compounds that are extremely poisonous to cats.
In fact, only a very small amount of lemon congestion is all that’s needed to cause something known as “lemon poisoning” in felines – and this brings us to our next point.
What Is Lemon Poisoning?
If you’re wondering about whether or not you should give your cat lemon, it is first important to make yourself aware of lemon poisoning.
Regardless of what type of cat breed you own, only a very small amount of lemon is all that is needed to cause your cat to begin experiencing gastrointestinal issues.
The most common symptoms of lemon poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms may include lethargy, depression, anorexia, seizures, and even death.
Cats who are exposed to lemon for too long can also experience liver damage.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to keep your cat away from lemons. Lemons are toxic to all types of cats, which means that cats are unable to digest or benefit from lemon in the way that they would be able to do so from other types of food.
The main reason for this is because lemon contains a variety of compounds that are poisonous to cats (specifically limonene and linalool) which cats are unable to digest.
So, if your cat was to eat lemon, then they would likely begin to feel sick and nauseous, and could even experience stomach pain.
Alongside these two toxic compounds, it is also worth noting that lemon contains something else that is known as psoralens, and these compounds are not only poisonous to cats but could also cause cats to experience a higher risk of becoming sunburned.
How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Been Exposed To Lemon?
If your cat has ingested lemon, keep an eye out for the following tell-tale symptoms:
If you suspect that your cat has consumed lemon, then the first step that you need to take is to contact your vet immediately.
Your vet will be able to confirm whether or not your cat has recently eaten a lemon, and if so, how much was consumed.
They will also be able to advise on how to treat your cat if they have already begun to suffer from the effects of lemon poisoning.
How To Treat Lemon Poisoning in Cats
The most important thing when treating your cat after they have been poisoned with lemon is to make sure that they receive immediate medical attention.
If left untreated, your cat may continue to suffer from the effects caused by lemon poisoning.
As soon as your cat begins showing symptoms of lemon poisoning, call your vet straight away. They should be able to provide you with advice on the best course of action to take next.
Once you have called your vet, they will want to run a series of tests on your cat in order to determine the extent of the damage done to their body.
The results of these tests will give your vet an idea of how serious the situation is, and what treatment options are available to your cat.
Depending on the severity of your cat’s condition, your vet may recommend one of the following treatments:
- Administer intravenous fluids
- Give antiemetics
- Provide supportive care
Once your cat has received these initial treatments, your vet should be able to assess the situation further.
Based on the results of their tests, your vet may decide to administer additional treatment.
For example, if your cat has vomited up a lot of lemon juice, your vet may suggest giving them an antacid medication in order to help prevent further vomiting.
Alternatively, if your cat has displayed severe depression, lethargy, or other symptoms indicative of lemon poisoning, your vet may choose to administer sedatives to calm your cat down.
After administering the appropriate treatment, your vet should monitor your cat closely over the coming days. This will allow them to see how your cat responds to the treatment given, and if there are any side effects associated with the treatment.
Once your cat is showing signs of improvement, your cat will then be able to continue its treatment at home with you.
Your vet will usually provide you with a treatment plan that you can follow with your cat as they recover from the lemon poisoning, and follow-up vet appointments will be scheduled so that your vet can keep track of your cat’s recovery.
To sum up, all that we have talked you through above, cats should not be given lemon because it is toxic to them.
Lemon poisoning is a very common cause of illness in cats, but fortunately, it is easily treated.
However, it is important to seek veterinary assistance immediately if your cat displays any of the symptoms described above.
Thank you for reading!