Lemon poisoning in cats: causes and remedies

Citrus fruits can be dangerous for your cat’s health. Do you know the symptoms of lemon poisoning in cats? Here’s everything you need to know.

A healthy and balanced diet is essential for the well-being of our cats. Very often, however, we are tempted to share some food with him, without asking ourselves if it is really suitable for him. Have you ever heard of lemon poisoning in cats? Let’s find out together what it is, and what are the causes and remedies respectively.

Fruit in the cat’s diet

The cat is a carnivorous animal, and its diet must be composed almost exclusively of meat. This does not mean that he cannot eat other foods as well, but he must be very careful. Fruit, for example, is not part of a cat’s natural diet.

This means that in nature it does not eat any. There are some foods that can eat, such as blueberries, but many are the fruits that are forbidden to the cat , because they are harmful to its health. Unfortunately, lemon is one of them.

What is lemon poisoning?

We know the cat’s general aversion to citrus fruits, which it cannot bear the smell of, but it is more than justified. Even a small amount of lemon is enough to cause health problems for the cat. Obviously, the greater the quantity of the fruit ingested, the worse the consequences will be.

From the seeds to the peel to the pulp of the fruit, anything can cause damage to the cat. The toxic components for cats present in lemon are linalool, limonene and psoralen. In particular, the latter component can cause skin burns to cats after exposure to sunlight.


Symptoms of lemon poisoning in cats can be varied, and differ according to the severity of the situation. Here’s what they are:

  • Diarrhea
  • He retched
  • Weakness
  • Decrease in body temperature
  • Skin irritation
  • Burns

In severe cases the poisoning can even cause the death of the animal.

Diagnosis and treatment of lemon poisoning in cats

If your cat has any of these symptoms, or you’ve seen him eat a piece of lemon, take him to the vet immediately. The professional will carry out the necessary checks to establish which substance the animal has ingested, especially if you have not seen him eat a lemon.

If the cat has vomited it could be very useful to collect a sample of the rejected substance: this will speed up the veterinarian’s analysis. Once it is ascertained that it is lemon poisoning, the most appropriate therapy can be proceeded, depending on the condition of the cat.

Normally we proceed with a gastric lavage, to cleanse the stomach of toxic substances. Subsequently, the cat is given a drip to rehydrate lost fluids. Under ordinary conditions, complete recovery will take place in a few days, at most a week.

Some useful tips

It is known that prevention is better than cure; and that is why it is better to take the appropriate measures to avoid running into this situation. You will get full cooperation from the cat; he hates citrus fruits and is unlikely to get close to them, much less taste them.

However, if you have lemon trees in your yard, it is always best to prevent your cat from entering that area. Pay particular attention to the food you give them. Do not share meals with him unless you are sure you know all the ingredients that make it up.

Avoid foods that contain even small traces of lemon, and in general all citrus fruits.

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