Can Cats Eat Garlic
Common sense would dictate on this one, as most of us should know that to offer a clove of garlic to our cats would not be a good idea.
This is also supported by the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). They state that close members of the onion family (onions, shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.) contain compounds that cause damage to our pets. The red blood cells in both dogs and cats, can be detrimentally affected, if garlic is ingested in sufficient quantities.
However, we here at Cats Can hope that the majority of cat owners will not be serving up the garlic in large amounts.
In view of this, a much more relevant question would be, ‘can cats eat foods containing garlic?’ This is the more likely outcome, if you have a tendency to offer your cat a little food from your plate, or maybe some leftovers.
Many human dishes contain garlic – can cats eat food with traces of this ingredient?
In this article, we shall take a little look…
Can Cats eat Garlic – Any Benefits
For a long time it has been believed that garlic has holistic remedy qualities in humans. It is said to help prevent conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Can our cats benefit the same when they eat garlic, even in the correct amounts? The answer is no. We are obviously built differently from our cats, and the aforementioned low tolerance to the harmful compounds found within garlic, put any benefits out of reach of our poor little cats.
This effect is very damaging as it causes the bursting of red blood cells circulating through the cat’s body, (and is just as nasty as it sounds).
Ingestion of garlic can also lead to gastroenteritis; this causes the inflammation of the stomach and intestines, resulting in extreme stomach pain.
Symptoms of garlic toxicity in cats include weakness or a reluctant to move at all, (which can sometimes be difficult to detect in some cats). Diarrhea and vomiting are also the tell tale signs, meaning you should take your cat to the vets as soon as you can.
Can Cats Eat Garlic – How much is too much?
So to answer the original question that we posed here; while it is clear that garlic is toxic to cats, if they eat traces of garlic as an unforeseen ingredient to other foods, how much is too much?
A handy rule of thumb is to compare the toxicity levels of Garlic and onion.
Garlic actually has a higher concentration of the relevant compounds that cause harm to our pets. (The Associate director of Veterinary Services at Pet Poison Helpline has stated that Garlic is “actually considered to be about 5 times as potent as an onion.”)
If we take the general warnings for onion consumption in pets, (as little as 5 g/kg of onions in cats) we can see that if garlic is 5 times more potent than onions, even the smallest amount is going to cause our little cat significant health issues.
Even trace elements of garlic in human foods will have damaging toxicity levels for cats.
Can Cats Eat Garlic – the bottom line
It is plain to see that garlic should be left well alone. It also serves to highlight, that even when you are giving your cat completely different foods as a treat, if they are flavored with ingredients such as garlic, you are in fact unwittingly poisoning your pet.
If any of the symptoms listed above occur, be sure to take your cat to the vets immediately.