Can Cats Eat Lemons?

If you have ever owned a cat, you’ll be fully aware that they sometimes try to eat some strange things.

I have one cat who loves a tasty housefly, another who enjoys tomato sauce, one who loves licking plastic, and one who will fight me for anything that smells like dairy.

None of mine have ever shown an interest in lemons, and I’ve never been tempted to try them with citrus fruits either, but can cats have lemons? Let’s find out.

Are Lemons Bad For Cats?

While lemons, and other delicious citrus fruits like limes and oranges, may be super healthy for us and packed with vitamin C, the same does not apply to our feline friends.

As with many other types of human foods, the fact that it is good for us doesn’t always mean it’s good for cats too.

Unfortunately, cats cannot eat lemons. And, due to their sour taste, it is unlikely they would want to anyway.

In fact, most cats are put off by the smell of citrus, which is good news really.

The peel, the pulp, the juice, the seeds of a lemon, and even lemon trees, are all toxic to cats.

Lemons contain psoralen, limonene, and linalool – all of which can be extremely dangerous for cats.

Limonene and linalool both create the distinctive citrusy smell of a lemon, but it is harmful to kitties.

These compounds can also be found in household cleaning products, cosmetic products, and even dog shampoos, so it’s really important to keep such items away from cats.

Lemons also contain psoralen, which, while helpful for humans (it has been used for psoriasis), can cause severe skin conditions in cats.

Is Citrus Toxic To Cats?

Yes, it’s not just lemons that are bad for cats, this applies to all citrus fruits, so it’s important your cat doesn’t digest oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, or any other citrus fruits. Even just a small amount can be very dangerous.

Lemon Poisoning In Cats

If your cat has eaten any part of a lemon, or any other citrus fruit, it is crucial to consult with your vet as soon as possible.

Even in small quantities, lemon can cause painful gastrointestinal difficulties.

Here’s a full list of symptoms of lemon poisoning in cats:

  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Cold limbs
  • Depression
  • Liver failure
  • Collapse

In extreme and sad circumstances, it can even lead to death.

Eating lemons is not the only problem, Should lemon come into contact with your cat’s skin, this can lead to photosensitivity and skin irritation.

Advice On Feeding Your Cat

As with any other pet, it’s really important your cat gets the right food. Feeding good-quality wet and dry food, in the correct quantities, will help to keep your kitty happy, safe, and well.

Occasional treats are fine, as long as they are fed in moderation. But, in general, it’s best to stick to cat treats as they’ve been specifically designed with cats in mind.

Human foods are often too rich or calorific for cats and, as we’ve learned, some can even be toxic.

If you’re unsure of what is best to feed your cat, it’s a good idea to have a chat with your vet or a pet nutritionist.

Final Thoughts

So, contrary to what you may have thought, and despite how good they are for us humans, cats actually can’t eat lemons.

Citrus fruits can be highly toxic for cats and can lead to some pretty serious health concerns.

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