Can Cats eat Garlic?

The answer to this question is a big NO. They are poisonous to a cat, along with chives, shallots, leeks, and onions. They all belong to the Alliums family. When you compare the toxicity of garlic to onions, garlic is five times more toxic. Garlic has been around for over seven thousand years and is found across the world. Garlic is closely related to onions. Garlic is found in many different things so before you decide to let your cat have a taste of what you are eating, make sure that it does not have any garlic in it.

Normally you should check with your vet to see if your cat can eat a certain human food but in this case, it is already a resounding NO so it is not necessary to ask them this question. They cannot even have a taste of your food if it contains garlic. Be considerate of your cat and make sure that nothing you are feeding them contains garlic and can harm them. You do not want to accidentally kill your cat.

Why is it poisonous?

This is a plant that a cat just cannot digest as we can. Not being able to digest it can cause hemolytic anemia. With this medical condition, their red blood cells burst as they go through your cat’s body, which is a “worst-case scenario.” This may not happen but it important for you to know that it could happen. If your cat ingests garlic, all it might do is cause its intestines and stomach to swell. This is called gastroenteritis. The condition can be painful.

Garlic has organosulfur compounds, which cause oxidative hemolysis. This occurs when the cat’s antioxidant pathways are unable to cope with the level of oxidants that are found in the blood. Cats, more than any other pets, are more susceptible to this condition. The reason is that they have a smaller body along with a digestive system that is more complicated. Simply put, a cat has trouble digesting this compound found in garlic. Some are not able to digest this compound at all.

How Much Garlic Is Toxic To Cats?

Garlic poisoning symptoms may not be immediately evident. Sometimes it can take a few days for the symptoms to appear. If you think that your cat has accidentally ingested garlic watch them closely for signs of garlic poisoning. Some of the symptoms can include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

Some may not want to eat at all or just lose their appetite. If you can check their breath, see if you can smell the garlic. When they have diarrhea or are vomiting, this means that your cat is trying to get rid of the toxins. Just make sure that you are keeping them hydrated if they are doing either or both of these. If it is excessive or gone on for a few days, you should get your cat to the vet immediately. If your cat starts to become breathless or weak, these are signs of respiratory distress and they should be taken to the vet right away

Even one small clove of garlic is cause for concern for cats. You should also make sure that you are keeping anything with garlic on it away from your cats. This includes garlic powder, garlic salt, juices. If you have food on your plate that has garlic on it, do not let your cat have it. Some cats love to get in the trash so make sure that any napkins or anything that has garlic on them are buried deep in the trash where they cannot get to them.


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Make sure that any garlic around the house is kept in a sealed container. Watch where you are disposing of the skins of fresh garlic so they cannot get to them. Check your cat’s dry food to make sure that if garlic is listed, it is as near to the bottom of ingredients that it can be. Yes, some of their dry foods do have garlic, but it generally is not enough to cause problems. The garlic that is found in cat food has been added for a reason and they know that it can be toxic to cats so there is just a little bit there.

Flea treatment

Although cats do not actually eat garlic to get rid of the fleas, there are some that believe that if you add a little garlic powder to their water it will help prevent your cat from having fleas. Even if this is true, you are putting your cat in extreme danger but giving them garlic. It can cause a buildup of garlic in their system from drinking the garlic water and this is what can cause some serious problems.


Never, ever, feed your cat garlic. It is very toxic and can be life-threatening. Do not put your cat through all the problems garlic can cause just because they want a taste of something you have that has garlic on it. Remind people that want to feed your cat human food that they cannot have it if it has garlic in it. Although garlic offers a lot of benefits for humans, they do not offer the same to your cat. Remember that garlic is more toxic to a cat than onions. For example, it would take five grams of onion to do the same damage to your cat that any small amount of garlic would do. Keep the garlic away from your cat along with any members of the Alliums family.

Make sure that you are reading the ingredients in the food you are feeding your cat and the flea medicine that you are using. Always keep garlic out of reach of a cat. They love to bat things around and if you have whole garlic around they could accidentally bat it around and then lick their paws, getting some garlic in their mouths. Put the garlic bulbs in a container so they cannot get to them. Prevention can save your cat’s life.

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