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Can Cats Eat Onions? (Are Onions Bad Or Toxic For Cats)

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: November 18, 2022 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: November 17, 2022  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi

Onions are a part of almost every cuisine around the world. There are barely any dishes that don’t get a flavor enhancement with the addition of onions. This vegetable also comes with important vitamins and minerals. 

An onion bulb also has antioxidants that can help reduce cholesterol levels and prevent cell damage. Eating onions regularly can also help reduce the risk of getting cancer and keep your sugar levels under control. 

Onions also help in fighting off bacteria such as E.coli. Additionally, onions can also help in improving your digestive health.

Can cats eat onions

Considering the many benefits onions give human beings, it is no wonder they are such a major part of most cuisines. 

But do the same benefits apply to your cat? Should they be getting anywhere close to an onion at all?

Can Cats Eat Onions?

So, are onions bad for cats? The short answer is a resounding YES!

Onions contain compounds called disulfides and thiosulphates which are extremely toxic to cats

Your cat would be very sensitive to onions and even a small amount can end up being life-threatening. It doesn’t matter how much onion or which type of onion you use – red, white, or yellow.

All kinds of onions are dangerous for your cat, even table scraps or a very small amount of onions. 

Quantities do not matter, just steer clear. It is essentially food poisoning for felines.

Even if you cook the onions, it won’t make a difference. It would still be toxic to them whether they eat it raw or cooked. Even if you mix them with something else, the onion toxicity will still affect your cat. 

Onion powder is another option that you may think might be given to your cat. But that should be avoided as well. If anything, onion powder is more harmful. The dehydration from the powder will increase the toxicity even higher. 

People who tend to use onion powder in their dishes should make sure their cat stays away at all costs. 

This goes the same for raw eggs and dairy products. 

can cats have onions

Can Cats Have Onions Safely?

Onions are part of a group of plants called alliums. Edible alliums, including leeks, garlic, chives, shallots, and spring onions. These are commonly found in most home kitchens.

The general rule is that the more your cat has eaten onions, the greater the effects. According to experts, if your cat eats around 5 gm of onion for every kilogram it weighs, then it can end up causing serious harm. 

The toxic agent present in onions is the oxidant n-propyl disulfide.

When your cat eats a large quantity in a single sitting, it could be lethal. At the same time, if your cat has been eating smaller doses of onion, then the toxicity can build up over a period of time.

This could be from giving your cat foods that have trace amounts of onion as part of their ingredients. 

Symptoms of Onion Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has ingested any onion, whether it’s by eating the vegetable itself or by taking a bit out of your food that contains onion, there are a few symptoms you can look out for to determine toxicity. 

Your cat might be panting and could be lethargic, which is a sign that it’s suffering from the toxic substances that it has ingested. 

Vomiting, loss of appetite, pale gums, hyperactivity, restlessness, an upset stomach, and diarrhea are other signs that your may have had something that’s not agreeing with the body.

 If you see blood in your cat’s urine, then you should immediately take them to the vet for further checks.

The same is the case if you observe that your cat has an elevated heart rate.

Onion consumption will potentially lead to seizures, muscle tremors, or even a coma.

These symptoms may not appear immediately after consumption. If the dose is lower, it could take days or weeks for the symptoms to show up. 

But if you are very sure that your cat has certainly eaten food that contains onion, then it’s best that you take them immediately to the vet even if they don’t show any symptoms. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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are onions bad for cats

Can Onion Poisoning Be Prevented?

It may be hard to keep your cat completely away from the food you’re eating. When you eat, your feline friend would always be curious to try it out. Especially if it's something like raw meat, beef, chicken, or tuna.

Ensure that the food you’re eating doesn’t have any part of onions in it! 

Only if you’re absolutely sure there is no onion or garlic in the food should you give a bite to your feline friend. 

Also, you should make sure that your cat always stays away from the kitchen. When you’re cooking food, they may get excited and want to get a bit of the ingredient you’re working within the kitchen. You should train your cat to stay away from the kitchen at all costs. 

You should also keep vegetables such as onions, garlic, and shallots away from the reach of your cat. Your feline friend would not have any idea that it could be toxic to them. Although cats don’t show any particular interest in onions, it's better to make sure they don’t even have the opportunity to get near them. 

Onion Poisoning Treatment For Cats

If you’ve seen your cat eat onions or food that has onion powder, take them to the vet immediately. 

The first thing your vet would try to do is induce vomiting in your cat. If the food is not digested yet, it can be removed through vomiting. 

But don’t try this by yourself at home! Always let the professionals do it as they know the safest way to induce vomiting without affecting your cat. 

Your veterinarian would also do some tests on your cat’s blood and urine. 

This will help them determine the toxicity level they would be dealing with. If the levels are mild, then they may offer supportive care to treat the symptoms. But if the levels are much higher, they may even look at blood transfusion, oxygen therapy, and IV fluids to try and save your feline friend’s life. 

symptoms of onion poisoning in cats

Can Cats Eat Onions? Summary

Can cats eat onions? NO.

But when you know your cat has eaten onion, always get the treatment done quickly. Symptoms can take a few days to show up and by that time it could be too late.

The most important thing you can do to help your cat would be to take them to the vet immediately. 

Cats should not be anywhere near onions at any time. Make sure your cat can’t get access to onions or food that onions as its ingredients as they would be highly toxic.

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About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.