The Allium family, which also comprises onions and leeks, includes garlic. Although it is a delicious ingredient in many cuisines for humans (who doesn’t enjoy garlic bread? ), cats should not be exposed to garlic at all.
It can be tempting to share a treat with our cats when they show an interest in human food, but you must be extremely cautious about what they try.
Cats should stay away from garlic. Garlic not only upsets the stomach but also severely harms the red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Red blood cell rupturing causes anemia that is fatal. Anemia can cause cats to become lethargic, pale, breathe quickly, and even pass out.
Being carnivores, cats are drawn to odours and tastes that are mostly meaty or fishy. Plant materials don’t greatly appeal to them as food. Cats, on the other hand, are renowned for their curiosity and may try everything they come across, including any crumbs of human food.
Anemia can take a few days to progress to the point of producing obvious symptoms, thus the symptoms may not appear right away. Even if your cat doesn’t seem ill, you must seek quick veterinary care if your cat ate garlic.
This applies to all forms of garlic, including garlic powder, garlic tablets, dried, cooked, and fresh garlic.
Nutritional Facts About Garlic
Looking at the nutritional values above, we can see that garlic is low in fat, but contains some protein and carbohydrates, as well as some added nutrients.
Cats have very specific nutritional needs, and as carnivores, they derive a significant amount of their needs from meat and meat derivatives rather than from plant material. They do not digest fruit and vegetables well.
This is all rather obsolete when it comes to garlic and our feline friends, as garlic is toxic and therefore of no nutritional benefit.
Benefits Of Garlic For Cats
There is a well-known myth that feeding garlic to cats and dogs can rid them of fleas. This is not true, and in fact, feeding garlic is harmful to cats rather than beneficial. There are no known benefits to feeling garlic in any form to cats.
How much garlic is safe for cats to eat?
Cats shouldn’t eat any garlic at all. Even small amounts of garlic can be problematic and cause serious health problems. This includes powdered or dried garlic, fresh garlic, and cooked garlic (such as on garlic bread).
How Frequently Can Cats Eat Garlic?
Cats should not eat garlic at all, as it can be toxic even in small quantities. If your cat eats a small amount of garlic and suffers no ill effect, they could still react badly to it in the future, and the effects can be cumulative.
The Risks Of Eating Garlic For Cats?
Eating garlic has multiple risks for cats, even in small amounts. It is thought to be about five times as toxic to cats as onion is, which means that even small amounts can cause problems.
The main risks of garlic to cats include the following:
- Garlic contains organic sulfur compounds that cause damage to the red blood cells, causing them to rupture. This leads to anemia, which can be life-threatening. Symptoms can take a few days to develop, and include lethargy, pale gums, increased heart and breathing rate, and discolored urine (brown/red).
- Garlic can cause irritation and ulceration to the gastrointestinal tract. This can result in vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and tummy pain.
- Garlic can cause heart problems by relaxing the heart vessel and dilating blood vessels, causing weakness and collapse.
These risks are serious ones. Eating garlic can lead to severe health problems for your cat.
Do Cats Enjoy The Taste Of Garlic?
Cats are carnivores and are mostly attracted to meaty or fishy smells and tastes. They are not particularly drawn to plant materials as food.
However, cats are known for their curiosity and may take a taste of anything they might find, including leftover human food. For optimum safety, it is therefore recommended to keep any form of garlic away from your pets.