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How Much Onion Will Hurt A Cat? Is It Toxic?

Onions have a high toxicity rate to felines. But how much onion will hurt a cat? Well, one gram for every five pounds of a cat’s body weight is enough to cause toxic reactions. If vet care isn’t sought right away, onion consumption can cause a cat’s eventual death. Unlike us, cats have a different digestive system and physiology, which is why they react differently to onions.

How much onion does it take to kill a cat?

Onions are highly toxic not just to cats but also to dogs. Ingestion of this herb can easily lead to hemolysis, a condition that destroys red blood cells.

With fewer and fewer red blood cells circulating in a cat’s body, it will start to lack oxygen. In just a matter of time, a cat will be in a critical condition. When not treated, death is imminent.

It only takes one gram per five pounds of body weight for cats to experience onion poisoning. For kittens, a single gram of onion is already lethal.

This happens because the red blood cells of cats are hypersensitive to the oxidants that onions contain. Such oxidant is the n-propyl disulfide, which is commonly found on allium species like onion, garlic, shallots, leeks, and the likes. This applies to both fresh and dried onions as well.

Also, onion powder has a higher toxicity rate than fresh onions. Since the onion has been dried, it has become concentrated, therefore more oxidants.

Although a single bit of chopped onion will not make your cat drop dead, you should still avoid giving this food item. Each cat has a different sensitivity level. Some will tolerate onion better than other felines, while others will get sick easily.

In the end, it’s not a matter of how much onion will hurt your cat; it’s about not giving it at all. Besides, your cat will not benefit from the nutrients in onion. It’s a plant, which isn’t a big part of a cat’s diet.

Also, note that some cats will take up to 24 hours upon the onion’s ingestion before showing symptoms.

Onion poisoning in cats

If your cat has ingested a substantial amount of onion, you shouldn’t wait for the symptoms to occur. It’s best to bring it to the vet immediately to arrest the poisoning right away. But if your cat consumed onion without your knowledge, you should watch out for these signs of onion poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased respiratory rate (panting, etc.)
  • Blood in urine
  • Skin irritations

Take note that all parts of onion are poisonous to cats, regardless if it’s fresh, wilted, or completely dried. Even the stems and flowers are no exceptions.

Once you notice any of the symptoms above, you should rush your cat to the vet. If it’s the middle of the night, you can call the vet’s clinic to seek first aid treatment advice.

Depending on your cat’s situation, the vet may try to induce vomiting to remove any undigested onions. Bloodwork will also be done to check the red blood cell level of your cat.

If the vet spots Heinz bodies, it’s a sign that your cat is already suffering from onion toxicity. Heinz bodies are formations on the red blood cells, which is due to oxidative damage. Hemolytic anemia will set in as well as lowering of oxygen levels as the red blood cells continue to deteriorate.

Nevertheless, cats who suffered from onion poisoning will see progress if given proper veterinary care. In some cases, the cat will be confined to the vet clinic for further observations.

Can cats have Funyuns?

Funyuns is a brand of an onion-flavored snack. The fact that this is a type of junk food is enough reason not to give it to your cat. Secondly, funyuns are packed with onion powder, which is extremely poisonous to cats. Aside from that, it’s reeking with salts and artificial ingredients that will wreak havoc on any pet’s digestive system.

If you want to give your cat a tasty snack, stay away from junk food and onion. You can give it a slice of freshly peeled cucumber or some cooked oats instead. These are safer, and it doesn’t have any onion content.

Are spring onions poisonous to cats?

Spring onions are basically the green leaves growing from the bulb of the onion itself. It’s under the same Allium species, so it’s a no-brainer that spring onions are not safe for cats. Spring onions will cause the same adverse side effects as onion bulbs, even though it has a lower oxidant level.

If you’re growing spring onions in your kitchen or garden, make sure that it’s out of your cat’s rich. As you know, kitties seek grass and leaves. Your cat might chew on some leaves and suffer from onion poisoning.

You should treat the ingestion of spring onions the same way you’ll treat the bulb’s actual consumption. Being proactive will help save your cat from suffering, and even death, ultimately.

Again, there’s no need to feed your cat spring onions. It’s a vegetable, and the nutrients in it are not what your cat needs.

Are sour cream and onion chips bad for cats?

Onion chips and sour cream are often flavored using onion powder. This is equally – or even more – poisonous to/than fresh bulbs. Aside from that, sour cream contains a lot of salts and dairy that will cause stomach upset in cats.

Even though some of these snacks don’t contain actual onion, it’s still packed with salts and artificial flavoring. It’s a lesser evil than onion, but evil nonetheless.

Is smelling onion bad for cats?

Sniffing onions won’t hurt your cat, but it can cause mild eye irritation if they come too close. If you’re slicing some onions, it’s best to keep your cat away. Nevertheless, most cats will back off the moment they sniff the strong scent of onions.

You should avoid your cat from having physical contact with chopped onions. The juices can easily cause skin irritation, especially on hairless breeds.

Also, the smell of cooked onions is not toxic to cats. As long as you’re not giving the cooked onion to your kitty, there shouldn’t be a problem. I always cook onions, and my kitten Watson doesn’t vomit or collapse, whatsoever. He seems to hate the smell as well because he won’t stay in the kitchen.

What should you do if your cat eats onions?

If you suspect that your cat has ingested onions, you should call the vet’s clinic immediately. Onion poisoning can be lethal, but it can be treated if detected right away.

Cats can die from eating large quantities of onion. But if your kitty only chewed a small bit or two, observing it for 12 hours should be enough. You should also increase the cat’s hydration.

However, if your cat has ingested a large amount, you should never resort to self-medication. Take note that onion poisoning is more than just curing the symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting. Your enemy is within your cat’s bloodstream, something that only the vet can deal with.

Aside from that, cats will become dehydrated after hours of vomiting and diarrhea. In this case, your cat needs to be put in an IV drip to replenish the lost fluids. For worse cases, a blood transfusion might be needed to replace the damaged red blood cells.

Final words

How much onion will hurt a cat? Depending on your cat’s size and sensitivity, a single gram of onion might be enough to cause poisoning. You should never feed you cat anything with onions in it, regardless if it’s fresh, dried, or powdered.

Remember that your cat is a carnivore and will not benefit from the supplementation of onions. But if your kitty ingested onions by accident, you should call the vet immediately.

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