Toxic plants

Are Chives Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
What Is Chives?

Chives are related to garlic, onion, and leeks which are commonly used as herbal seasonings in different cuisines. While chives are fragrant and appetizing for humans, they are poisonous to cats because they contain toxins. Chives contain N-propyl disulfide, a compound that can harm red blood cells, resulting in anemia. Other symptoms of chives poisoning that you should note include drowsiness, pale gums, an elevated heart rate, an increased breathing rate, and weakness.

What Is Chive?

Chives with a cat sitting nearby

Chives, also known as Allium schoenoprasum, are a flowering plant species with edible leaves and blossoms that belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. Chives are a popular herb that can be cultivated in backyard gardens. The green stems of the scapes and the unopened, immature flower buds are diced and used in a variety of dishes. It also produces pale purple and star-shaped edible flowers that are usually used in salads. Chives also contain insect repellent characteristics and can be used to control pests in gardens.

Clinical Signs of Chives Poisoning in Cats

Chives and cats

Minimal consumption of chives may not cause harm but a large consumption may cause the following symptoms in cats: 

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Oral irritation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Elevated heart rate and respiratory rate
  • Weakness
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Collapse
  • Pale gums

First Aid and Treatment of Chives Poisoning in Cats

Cat looks at chives from the distance

Your veterinarian may be able to induce vomiting to eliminate undigested herbs from your cat’s gastrointestinal system if the consumption was recent; however, you should not induce vomiting at home without consulting your cat’s doctor. To detoxify the gastrointestinal tract, your veterinarian may prescribe activated charcoal. These strategies work to keep the toxin from entering the body.

Dehydration is common for cats suffering from extreme vomiting and diarrhea. The veterinarian may give your cat intravenous fluids to balance his hydration. A complete blood transfusion may be necessary if your cat may have already lost a lot of red blood cells by the time you bring him to the veterinary office for treatment.

Recovery from Chives Poisoning in Cats

Your cat may be kept by your vet after therapy to ensure that he is stable and no longer requires IV fluids or breathing assistance. To avoid damaging the cat’s sensitive stomach, the vet may advise you to stick to softer meals. Keep your cat comfortable and peaceful for the next few days as he regains his vigor.

Prevention of Chives Poisoning in Cats

Since using chives is inevitable in households, make sure that these herbs are inaccessible to your cats to avoid them from accidentally ingesting them. Make sure to not feed your cat any dish that contains chives as well. 

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

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