Toxic plants

Is Lemon Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Lemon Toxic To Cats? 

Lemon is a common fruit in most households and is known to be a good source of vitamins and minerals; however, cat owners should be careful in using lemons as it is considered toxic to cats. Lemon contains compounds such as limonene, linalool, and psoralen that are all harmful to felines.

Limonene is a terpene that gives lemons their citrus fragrance. Flavorings, cosmetics, and cleaning goods all include this substance. All of these products containing limonene should be kept away from your cats since they can be lethal. Linalool is an insecticide that also gives lemons their citrus aroma. While psoralen is used to treat a variety of skin conditions in cats, it can potentially cause photosensitivity disease.

What Is Lemon?

Cat sits near lemons

Lemon, scientifically known as citrus limonia from the Rutaceae plant family, is a kind of small evergreen tree native to Asia, particularly in Northern India, Northern China, and Myanmar. The elliptic yellow fruit of the lemon tree is utilized for culinary and non-culinary reasons worldwide, primarily due to its juice, which has culinary and cleaning applications. Both the lemon pulp and the rind can be utilized in cooking and baking. The lemon juice contains citric acid which provides its sour taste.

Clinical Signs of Lemon Poisoning in Cats

Lemons and cats

Your cat may develop the following symptoms in case he or she has ingested a portion of the lemon tree:

  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Potential photosensitivity
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Photosensitivity
  • Skin irritation or rash
  • Weakness
  • Cold limbs
  • Liver failure
  • Tremors
  • Collapse
  • Low blood pressure

First Aid and Treatment of Lemon Poisoning in Cats

Cat with lemons

Plant poisoning symptoms should be treated by consulting a veterinarian. Because the cat could inhale the essential oil of a lemon into its lungs, inducing vomiting isn’t an option for lemon poisoning. Instead, your veterinarian will perform gastric lavage to eliminate as many poisons as possible from your cat’s gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, the veterinarian will prescribe activated charcoal to further keep any potentially harmful compounds out of the cat’s system.

Other supportive therapies will be administered by the veterinarian, including IV fluids to rehydrate your cat and correct any electrolyte or blood glucose abnormalities. If your cat’s tremors get too severe, he or she may need oxygen support and anti-seizure medication.

Recovery from Lemon Poisoning in Cats

If you got your cat to the vet clinic right away, you should be able to help him recover from his lemon poisoning. The poisoning effects are only temporary but you should not dismiss your cat’s poisoning. If your cat consumes any of the essential oils present in lemons, his or her recovery outlook may be bleak.

Prevention of Lemon Poisoning in Cats

Products that contain citrus scents and any of the recognized poisons should be kept out of reach of your cat. When buying cat care products or sprays to keep them away from your furniture or walls, always read the labels carefully. You should also use caution while using any portion of a lemon in your home.

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

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