Garlic is a wonderful spice that we use in many types of cuisine. You may use garlic in tomato sauce for spaghetti or pizza. Or you may use garlic in salsa and other types of dishes. It’s something that many of us love! However, what happens if a cat eats garlic?
Has your cat eaten garlic? Are you worried the garlic will make your cat sick? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. We understand it’s scary when your cat eats something he shouldn’t.
In this article, we’ll take a look at garlic and whether or not it can make your cat sick. Let’s get started!
What is Garlic?
Garlic is a bulb, which is part of the Allium family. It’s related to onions and other plants. A garlic bulb grows underground on a garlic plant. The top of the garlic bulb has long green leaves with a flower stalk. The bulb of the garlic plant is covered in a papery-type skin that protects the head of garlic. The head of garlic is made up of several cloves, which are individual sections of the garlic bulb (or head).
Garlic is widely used because it’s affordable and provides wonderful flavor. It goes with almost anything (though we’ve never heard of a dessert that includes garlic!).
While we can safely enjoy garlic, what about cats?
Garlic & Cats
Unfortunately, garlic is toxic to cats. The toxicity of the garlic will depend on the size of the cat and how much garlic the cat’s eaten. The more garlic a cat has eaten, the more toxic the spice will be.
The problem with garlic is that it contains substances that can damage red blood cells in cats (and dogs). The red blood cells burst, which means the cat eventually won’t have enough red blood cells. This can lead to a type of anemia called hemolytic anemia. A cat can die from hemolytic anemia.
Symptoms of Garlic Ingestion in Cats
You may notice these symptoms if your cat has eaten garlic:
- Difficult breathing
- Increased breathing rate
- Increased heart rate
- Pale gums
If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, then call the vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.
Treatment of Garlic Ingestion in Cats
Treatment will depend on the amount of garlic your cat has eaten and your cat’s symptoms. The vet may choose to induce vomiting or to use gastric lavage and activated charcoal. In addition, your fur baby will probably require an IV for fluids and to make it easier to give him medications.
In rare cases, if the anemia is severe, it’s possible your cat may require a blood transfusion, too.
The good news is that in most cases when a cat receives prompt medical care, he will make a full recovery. However, recovery also depends on the severity of the garlic toxicity your cat has suffered.