If you’ve ever wondered if cats can eat lemons, you’re not alone. The answer is emphatically no.
Lemons and other citrus fruits contain toxic chemicals that are hazardous to most domestic pets, so they can injure your feline friend. Because these toxins can be found in both lemon fruits and lemon trees, pet owners should exercise caution when leaving their fruit trees open or unsupervised.
If your cat does not receive immediate medical assistance after consuming lemons, lemon juice, or other lemon products, it could die. Continue reading to learn more about why cats shouldn’t eat lemons.
What is Lemon Poisoning?
In most cases, a modest bit of lemon is enough to cause gastrointestinal problems in your cat. Because both the tree and the fruit contain these poisons, your cat (and other pets) should not be allowed free access to them.
Consider how your cat reacts to the scent of citrus fruits. Cats find any lemony odor irritating, so it may pull back and flee to another part of the house. Cats are somewhat poisoned by all citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons). Consider every part of the fruit to be harmful to your cat, from the seeds to the fruit and skin.
Even though you and your family can safely consume lemons, the chemicals present in lemons (Citrus limon) are poisonous to your cat. Linalool and limonene, as well as psoralens, are toxic chemicals found in lemons. The final chemical is phototoxic, which means it might cause skin burns in your cat when exposed to sunshine.
Symptoms of Lemon Poisoning in Cats
A curious animal might sniff or lick a lemon, or bite down on a lemon tree branch. This level of exposure is not hazardous, and your cat will most likely be repulsed by both the scent and the taste and continue to live its life.
It goes without saying that if your cat eats a piece of lemon fruit or ingests lemon oil, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Lemon consumption can cause diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, weakness, lethargy, tremors, cold limbs, and low blood pressure, among other symptoms.
Any hazardous ingredient in lemon oil can cause skin irritation, rash, photosensitivity, and depression when applied to the skin.
We can’t watch a cat’s every step, so any of the above symptoms are significant enough to require a trip to the vet, even if you only believe they’ve eaten lemon fruit.
Causes of Lemon Poisoning in Cats
Lemons include three chemicals that are poisonous to your cat: limonene, linalool, and psoralen.
Limonene is a terpene that gives lemons their citrus fragrance. Shampoos and scents for dogs include d-limonene. The minimal amount in dog products is safe for dogs of all sizes. It has the potential to be fatal for cats. Flavoring compounds, cosmetics, and cleaning goods all include limonene. All of these should be kept away from your cat.
Linalool is also responsible for the lemon’s zesty fragrance. It’s used in soaps as a pesticide and as a fragrance in creams. Linalool is an insecticide in and of itself.
Photosensitivity difficulties in cats are caused by psoralen. It’s used to treat a variety of skin conditions.
Diagnosis of Lemon Poisoning in Cats
Fortunately, cats loathe the acidic flavor of lemon and do not consume it. Your cat will not be harmed by a single curious lick. If you catch your cat eating lemon, take it to the vet right away. Take a piece of the tree or a lemon with you for testing to assist your veterinarian in making a diagnosis.
Expect the doctor to ask you a few questions and perform a full physical examination on your cat, including a urinalysis and blood work. Your veterinarian can use the blood chemical profile and complete blood count to rule out underlying diseases and better establish which toxins are affecting your cat. To determine the source of toxins, your veterinarian may check your cat’s stool and vomit samples. The amount of lemon or lemon tree your cat ate has the ability to make your cat’s problems worse.
Your cat may also be subjected to neurological testing, which allows the veterinarian to examine his or her coordination and reflexes.
Treatment of Lemon Poisoning in Cats
Your veterinarian will be able to identify the best treatment for your cat once she knows what is causing her problems. Inducing vomiting isn’t an option because the cat could breathe the essential oil of a lemon into its lungs. Instead, your cat’s stomach will be washed out (gastric lavage) to remove as much of the lemon and toxins as possible. In addition, the veterinarian will provide activated charcoal to prevent any hazardous chemicals from entering the animal’s bloodstream.
Even though cats dislike citrus aromas, you should wash your cat’s fur and skin with a light soap and warm water if you find your cat eating a lemon.
Aside from that, your veterinarian’s therapies are supportive, such as intravenous fluids to rehydrate your cat and correct any electrolyte or blood glucose abnormalities. If your cat’s tremors get too severe, it may need extra oxygen and anti-seizure medication.
Recovery of Lemon Poisoning in Cats
If you got your cat to the clinic right away, you should be able to help him recover from his lemon poisoning. The poisoning effects are only temporary. Don’t dismiss your cat’s poisoning; if it consumes any of the essential oils present in lemons, its prognosis may be bleak.
If your cat is an indoor-outdoor cat, confine it to the house for 48 hours after undergoing phototoxicity therapy.
Your veterinarian will ask you to bring your cat in on a regular basis so she may check its blood chemical levels. She’s looking at your cat’s liver and kidneys to see how they’re doing.
Place all citrus products in a cabinet or the refrigerator before bringing your cat home. Citrus-scented goods that contain any of the recognized poisons should be kept out of reach of your cat. When buying cat care products or sprays to keep them away from your furniture or walls, read the labels carefully.
Using Lemon Water as a Deterrent for Fleas
I recently read that softly spraying a cat with lemon water as a natural flea repellent is recommended. Is this a safe situation?
The short answer is that fleas dislike the smell of lemon, but your cat, more than likely, does as well. We also know that if lemon juice or oil comes into contact with a cat’s skin, it can be detrimental.
If your cat has fleas, choose an anti-flea medication that isn’t obnoxious or potentially harmful to your cat. Because vinegar is non-toxic to cats, you might wish to try it (and there are other ways cat owners can use vinegar).
Can I Keep a Lemon Tree if I Have a Cat?
Growing and caring for a lemon tree may be highly rewarding, especially since some varieties can be grown both indoors (such as the Meyer variety) and outdoors (such as the Meyer variety) (like the Lisbon).
However, because lemon trees can be dangerous to our pets, deciding to keep them in a house might be difficult.
The good news is as follows: Because most cats despise the fragrance of citrus fruits, they will most likely ignore your trees. However, for your pets’ safety, try keeping a close eye on your cat’s behavior around your lemon trees for a few days or even weeks.
If they leave the tree alone, you’ll most likely be safe with your lemon plants and cat.
When used correctly and in precisely measured amounts, lemon water can be useful in eradicating fleas from cats.
The use of lemons in cats, on the other hand, is commonly associated with dangers that, in many cases, result in death.
As a result, it would be advantageous to examine each situation separately and carefully assess the benefits and risks. In most cases, the disadvantages of using lemons for cats outweigh the advantages.