Toxic plants

Is Lemongrass Toxic To Cats?

Is Lemongrass Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Lemongrass is a tropical island plant that has a wide range of uses. Generally, ingestion of lemongrass cannot cause harm to cats, as long as only ate a small portion. However, when lemongrass is made into an essential oil, it is potentially deadly for your cat. As cats are carnivorous animals, they normally lack enzymes that help to break down most essential oils, including lemongrass. 

What Is Lemongrass?

Lemongrass is also known as cymbopogon species in scientific terms. It comes in a variety of forms, including cymbopogon citratus, which is commonly used in Thai and Asian cuisine. Cymbopogon winterianus is a close relative of the renowned insect repellent Ceylon citronella. Citronella grass, also known as Cymbopogon nardus, is a plant that produces citronella oil and looks similar to lemongrass except for its maroon stalks.

Lemongrass or also commonly called oil grass, barbed wire grass, silky heads, oily heads, Cochin grass, Malabar grass, fever grass, and citronella grass is a member of the Poaceae plant family and is endemic to most regions of Asia.

Clinical Signs of Lemongrass Poisoning in Cats

The common reaction of a cat’s system after ingesting enough lemongrass to cause poisoning are mild gastrointestinal symptoms. However, in any chance that your cat has ingested even a larger quantity of lemongrass, other symptoms which may be more severe can be encountered. Clinical signs may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Strains during defection
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shock
  • Chronic cystitis
  • Hind leg weakness
  • Urine leakage
  • Inability to eliminate body wastes

First Aid and Treatment of Lemongrass Poisoning in Cats

The veterinarian will provide treatment according to the symptoms your cat is exhibiting. An IV hydration infusion, anti-nausea drugs, and anti-acids are some of the treatment options for a cat suffering from plant poisoning. If your cat is suffering from an intestinal blockage as a result of the amount of lemongrass consumed, the obstruction will need to be surgically removed.

In cases of lemongrass essential oil toxicity, your veterinarian will examine your cat’s liver function. This will need to be regularly monitored to ensure that liver damage does not develop. To reduce the chances of this happening, your veterinarian will induce your cat to vomit, wash out his stomach, and administer activated charcoal to absorb any toxin left in his body.

Recovery from Lemongrass Poisoning in Cats

Lemongrass toxicity in cats usually ends with complete recovery. If your cat’s illness is serious, recovery may take longer. If your cat has a strong need for lemongrass, it could be suffering from a nutritional shortage or disease. Bring your cat to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. They should resume eating a more typical diet after receiving the right treatment.

Prevention of Lemongrass Poisoning in Cats

Take out all of the lemongrasses from your house. Grow cat-friendly grasses instead that your cat can nibble on. This will lessen the chance that your cat will graze on lemongrass or other toxic plants.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair Chesterman is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair is a plant enthusiast too and she made in-depth research on toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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