If your cat enjoys eating berries, you may have wondered if it is okay for it to consume grapes as well. After all, they are perfectly cat-sized, sweet, and juicy. Can cats eat grapes then?
We advise against giving grapes to your cat even if there is no scientific proof that they are poisonous to them. Grapes should be out of your cats’ and dogs’ reach at all times.
Can Cats Eat Grapes?
It’s best not to feed your cat’s grapes, as they may be toxic to cats. We aren’t absolutely sure at this point, but with a variety of other fruits that are safe, why take the risk? Grapes may have some antioxidants but don’t have any health benefits that are not met by cat food.
What specifically about feline grape poisoning?
The problem here is that cats are more discerning than dogs, and a lot fewer cats will be eating grapes. And if only a small proportion of those are reacting, it could take a long time to build up enough cases to prove a link between renal failure and grapes in cats, especially as cats are often outside and could have access to other toxins that cause kidney damage.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, there have been anecdotal reports of grape toxicity in cats and ferrets, but those reports haven’t been studied in detail as they’re just too few and far between.
In addition, now we know about the link in dogs, vets recommend that cats don’t eat grapes and, if they do, we treat them as seriously as we would for dogs. Whilst it’s a good thing that these cats are potentially being saved by this quick and aggressive treatment, it also means even fewer cases of cats eating raisins are available for study.
Can One Grape Kill A Cat?
Because we don’t know what is poisonous about grapes, and even whether it affects cats, this is a hard question to answer.
However, we know that dogs don’t have to eat large amounts of grapes to get symptoms, even a fairly large one, so if grapes are poisonous to cats, and your cat is one of the unlucky ones that reacts, yes – one grape could definitely kill a cat!
What Takes Place When a Cat Eats Grapes?
As we’ve said, we don’t know for sure if cats respond to grapes like some dogs do, but if we assume that the anecdotal reports are correct, and grapes are toxic to cats, here’s what we know:
Some Cats Will Be Fine
The weird thing about raisin and grape poisoning is that it doesn’t affect all animals. At the moment, we don’t know if it’s that only some grapes have the toxin, or whether it’s that only some animals are susceptible. But it’s pretty clear that not every cat that eats a grape or a sultana will go on to develop signs of poisoning.
The Symptoms Of Grape Toxicity
Digestive system symptoms are known to be the most common clinical sign of grape poisoning in dogs. Vomiting is common and doesn’t always happen immediately- but dogs that do have an upset stomach always start within 48 hours of eating grapes. It stands to reason that the same might be true in cats. Diarrhea and abdominal pain may also occur.
Neurological signs such as wobbliness (ataxia) and muscle tremors may be more common than we originally thought, and tend to occur 2-3 days after raisins are eaten. Around the same time, blood chemistry shows an increase in urea and creatinine (called ‘azotemia’) associated with kidney damage. Cats and dogs will also start to show inappetence, and changes to their thirst and urination.
What Should I Do If My Cat Eats Grapes?
Whether you’re a pet owner who has accidentally fed your cat a grape or you’ve come home to find your cat tucking into a bag of spilt raisins, you need to know what to do next.
- Stop your cat eating more grapes – the fewer they eat, the lower the risk.
- Secure your cat – you’re probably going to have to head off to the vets, so put your cat somewhere where they can’t escape. Whilst you do so, pay attention to any symptoms they’re showing.
- Call the nearest open veterinary clinic and tell them what has happened. They’ll want to know how long ago your pet ate the grape or raisin, how many they ate, and how your cat is feeling.
Even though we don’t have any scientific evidence to say that grapes are toxic to cats, we recommend not feeding grapes to your feline friend. You should make sure to keep grapes out of reach of your cats and dogs.
There are plenty of berries and other fruits and veggies that we know are safe for cats, so why not feed blueberries, cantaloupe, apple, or courgette as a healthy snack instead.