Is garlic bad for cats?

In this brief guide, we’ll explore the search query: “Is garlic bad for cats?” Also, we’ll explore what foods are contraindicated for cats, and what to do if you suspect your cat has ingested any of the foods that are contraindicated. 

Is garlic bad for cats? 

Yes, garlic can cause damage to cats that eat it. This is because garlic, along with other plants that are members of the Allium genus, contains high concentrations of sulfuric compounds known as disulfides and thiosulphates. 

Thiosulphates are secondary metabolites that if ingested, can cause a wide array of symptoms, ranging from indigestion to even a potentially deadly form of anemia. 

For this reason, garlic, onions, chives, and leeks are strictly contraindicated for feeding pets. It’s important to note that garlic has an especially concentrated amount of these sulfur compounds, and should, at all times, be kept out of reach of both cats, and dogs. 

Cats that have ingested garlic may have varying symptoms, though severe ones should be attended to by a licensed veterinarian, who will not only help them abate but provide treatment for life-threatening conditions. 

What foods are contraindicated for cats? 

Along with other plants of the Allium genus (and family, by extension), foods that are contraindicated for cats include:

  • Chocolate – The theobromine present in chocolate can cause poisoning, with symptoms such as tremors, tachycardia and it can be potentially life-threatening
  • Caffeine – as caffeine is a stimulant, it is contraindicated for cats. Accidental ingestion can lead to restlessness, tachycardia (a fast heart rate) strained breathing, and muscle shakes.
  • Raw meat – raw meat contains bacteria that can trigger food poisoning symptoms
  • Raw fish – raw fish can inhibit thiamine absorption, which is potentially life-threatening.
  • Dog food – dogs have different nutritional needs than cats and therefore, feeding cats dog food is not recommended.
  • Offal – offal may have dangerously high concentrations of waste and other substances, which can lead to poisoning.
  • Raw dough with yeast – raw dough can contain microbes that can cause food poisoning, and the yeast can lead to digestive problems
  • Medicine – A cat’s body weight is considerably lower than a person’s, and pharmaceutical formulations are designed for human patients. A cat Can easily overdose on a portion of human medication.

    As a result, medicating cats with medicine that is neither prescribed by a veterinarian nor in the appropriate dose is strictly contraindicated. Also, some active ingredients may be toxic altogether for cats and therefore are not indicated.
  • Dairy products – cats are lactose intolerant, and dairy ingestion can cause gastrointestinal problems
  • Tuna – pet owners should avoid feeding tuna to their cats, due to the inherent risk of heavy metal poisoning
  • Alcohol – alcohol can cause severe damage to a cat’s liver and other organs. As a cat’s body mass doesn’t compare to a person’s, even the smallest dose of alcohol can have severe effects.
  • Fat trimmings and bones – fat can lead to indigestion and bones fragments  can injure your cat’s digestive tract
  • Raw eggs – due to the distinct risk of food poisoning, raw eggs shouldn’t be fed to cats. Also, raw egg protein can negatively affect biotin absorption.
  • Grapes – Similar to onions and chives, grapes contain secondary metabolites that can negatively affect a cat’s health. 

What should I do if my cat has eaten something it shouldn’t have? 

If your cat has ingested any of the above-listed substances, we encourage you to seek veterinary care.

A veterinarian will discern whether medication or further intervention is necessary, and also provide orientation for owners to avoid it happening again.

Severe symptoms of poisoning may require emergency medical care such as intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, and other types of therapy. 

Minor symptoms may be addressed with medication, and cats can recover at home while they abate. 

We urge our readers not to medicate their pets without first consulting a veterinarian, and more importantly, to make the utmost effort to avoid their cats from consuming any of the foods and substances we’ve listed above.

A cat may survive a life-threatening toxicosis, but its lifespan may be severely cut short by the experience, due to damage it may have sustained to organs such as its liver and its digestive tract. 


In this brief guide, we’ve explored the search query: “Is garlic bad for cats?” Also, we’ve explored what foods are contraindicated for cats, and what to do if you suspect your cat has ingested any of the foods that are contraindicated. 


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