Toxic plants

Is Lime Toxic To Cats?

Is Lime Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Plants from the citrus family which includes lime usually cause adverse effects in felines. Essential oils such as d-Limonene, which have insecticidal qualities and can be used to treat fleas are found to be the main toxin in limes. Toxic symptoms may arise because your cat’s liver is not capable of processing these compounds. As cats are naturally carnivorous, they lack the specific enzymes in the body that help in the digestion of plant material and substances.

Psoralens are also present in limes which typically causes photosensitivity in cats. This condition makes the cat’s skin vulnerable and over-sensitive to sunlight and other forms of UV light. It usually causes rashes or burns on the skin after exposure to UV light.

Other usual symptoms of lime poisoning in cats include gastrointestinal distress and neurological symptoms. If your cat consumed lime, calling a veterinarian straight away is the best thing to do for proper assessment and treatment. 

What Is Lime?

Lime is a common fruit in most households as it has a variety of uses. This citrus fruit with acidic juice vesicles is usually spherical in shape, green in color, and one to two inches in diameter.

The fruits of citrus trees such as the Key lime, Persian lime, Makrut lime, and desert lime are some of the known species of lime. Limes are abundant in vitamin C and have a sour flavor, thus they are widely used to add flavor to foods and beverages. These trees, which belong to the Rutaceae plant family, are available all year.

Tropical Southeast Asia and South Asia are home to the bulk of citrus plant species and hybrid limes. As a result of migration and trade, they have spread all over the world. Lime is a widely used fruit in a diverse range of cuisines, beverages, fragrances, and essential oils.

Clinical Signs of Lime Poisoning in Cats

The most prevalent cause of lime poisoning in cats is exposure to products containing citrus oils generated from lime, which are routinely applied to the skin. If these substances are used in large amounts, multiple times, or at higher concentrations than recommended, lime oil can penetrate the skin and cause toxic reactions. Symptoms that you have to watch out for in your feline companions are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Hypothermia
  • Excessive drooling
  • Trembling
  • Ataxia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Photosensitivity

First Aid and Treatment of Lime Poisoning in Cats

The veterinarian may opt to perform gastric lavage and use activated charcoal to inhibit absorption through the intestines in situations of lime ingestion. Inducing vomit is not advised as it can risk your cat in lime oil aspiration. In cases of skin exposure, your cat will be bathed to eliminate lime oil residue and avoid further dermal absorption. Topical medication may be also prescribed by the vet.

Recovery from Lime Poisoning in Cats

Though cats are more vulnerable to severe lime poisoning, they normally recover fully once the symptoms subside. Depending on the extent of your cat’s symptoms, the veterinarian may suggest additional testing to make sure of complete recovery, particularly if neurological symptoms or organ systems were involved.

Prevention of Lime Poisoning in Cats

Always read the labels of the products you are purchasing. Products that contain d-limonene and other essential oils must be kept away from your cat’s reach. Be careful with deterrents, insecticides, and essential oils. Use limes moderately in your dishes and be sure to dispose of the parts properly after use.

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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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