Dangerous fruits, do cats like lemon? And can they eat them?

No one can probably resist the refreshing scent of lemon and a glass of icy cold lemonade on a hot summer day. However, how about your cat? Do cats like lemon?

Some people love the sour taste of this yellow citrus fruit. However, there are also those who can't tolerate its acidic taste. How about cats? Do cats like lemon too?

Lemon and other citrus fruits such as orange, grapefruit, and lime are an integral part of our diet due to their vitamin C content.

We need daily supplements of vitamin C because our body isn’t capable of manufacturing this kind of nutrient.

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is an essential nutrient that can significantly boost our immune system. A healthy immune system effectively protects our body from diseases and deficiencies.

Aside from vitamin C, lemons also contain a high level of antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals in our body.

The highly antioxidant juice of lemon helps make our skin look younger as it also aids proper weight management. However, that's not all.

They are also rich in fiber that flushes away harmful toxins from our body. Thus, eating them helps lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Plus, lemons are also packed with vitamin A and lutein to promote healthy vision.

Considering all the health benefits that we get from this fruit, it would be great to let our feline pets get the same.

However, do cats like lemon? Is it safe to feed them to felines? Can cats eat lemons?

It’s seldom to see felines eating lemons because they typically detest the pungent aroma of citrus fruits.

Felines are generally not into fruits because they are meat-eaters. So even if you offer a slice of lemon to them, they’ll probably walk away from it.

However, all creatures are born different from each other. Moreover, that also goes the same with your lovely pet.

While most felines dislike the smell of this fruit, there's no guarantee that your particular kitty would hate it too.

Some felines are attracted to the fruit's scent. Also, if your kitty happens to be one of them, you'd probably thinking about sharing this fruit with your furry buddy. However, is it safe for cats to eat lemons?

Are There Health Benefits of Lemon to Cats?

Health Benefits of Lemon to Cats

There's no question about the amazing health benefits of this fruit to humans. However, remember, the human body is entirely different from a feline body, so posing the question of "do cats like lemon?" has to be done with a grain of salt.

Lots of people benefit from lemon because it is a good source of vitamin C.

However, unlike humans, felines are capable of manufacturing their own vitamin C. This means that they don't need any vitamin C supplement from other food sources.

How about its antioxidant properties? Can felines benefit from it too? Carnivores such as felines rely mostly on meat food, and they're getting all the necessary nutrients and vitamins from meat.

Of course, this also includes antioxidants. Fishes such as salmons, herrings, mackerels, and halibuts are good sources of antioxidants that are essential for cats.

Adding fish to their diet gives them a sufficient supply of antioxidants they need without the need of feeding them with lemons. How about fiber? For sure, cats need dietary fiber to aid digestion.

Unlike other animals, felines do not require much fiber in their diet. They get all the fiber they need from the bones, tendons, ligaments, collagen, and cartilage of their prey.

Most commercial cat foods are enriched with the right amount of fiber necessary for cats.

Humans can consume as much fiber as they want to treat gastrointestinal problems.

However, a high amount of fiber consumption in cats decreases the level of pancreatic enzymes needed for digestion of protein.

Unlike humans, cats lack pancreatic enzymes making it harder for them to absorb and assimilate nutrients from their food.

If you give additional fiber supplement into their diet, they’re likely to suffer from bowel disorders.

To sum it all up, felines do not need to eat lemons because they’re obtaining all the nutrients they need from their meat diet.

Can Cats Eat Lemons?

Do cats like lemon

We've already explained that this fruit has no nutritional value for felines. So they should not be included as an integral part of their diet.

Hence, Do cats like lemon? Generally, they don't. Cats hate lemons. However, what if they like the taste of them? Would it be okay to use it as an occasional treat?

The answer is a resounding ‘no.' There's a good reason why most felines dislike the fruit. Felines are very conscious creatures, and they are wary of potential threats that could harm them.

One of the main reasons why cats don’t like lemons is because this fruit contains essential oils that are toxic to felines.

Most citrus fruits including lemons have essential oils containing phenols. Felines can get phenol poisoning from ingesting phenol-containing food sources as well as via limited exposure (through skin or fumes).

Moreover, this fruit also contains a high amount of psoralen, a photoactive compound that has been used in the treatment of eczema and psoriasis in humans.

However, psoralens may have phototoxic effects when exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet light.

Even cats are susceptible to this side effect when they happen to ingest foods that contain psoralen.

Namely, this means that psoralens can cause your feline to suffer skin burns when exposed to sunlight.

Not to mention, lemons are highly acidic, and they're likely to upset your kitty's stomach.

Can Cats Drink Lemon Juice?

Do cats like lemon

Generally, a small amount of lemon juice is enough to give your kitty gastrointestinal distress when ingested.

Thus, it is not advisable to let your feline pet drink lemon juice due to its very acidic nature.

In case you're wondering how acidic lemon juice is, ponder on this. The acidity of lemon juice is so powerful that it can kill pests such as fleas, ticks, and lice.

Lemon juice has been used as a natural free-repellent solution that is applied topically to the feline’s fur and skin.

While it can be used as an effective flea-repellent, you should be very careful in applying this juice to your kitty.

Not only is it highly acidic but it also contains phenol that is poisonous to felines.

If used as a topical solution, make sure not to get any of the juice on the feline's face.

Although cats won't consider licking the liquid, some curious kitties may still be tempted to touch it. So you need to watch out for it.

Can Cats Eat Lemon Tree Leaves?

Cats eat lemon leaves

Just like the fruit, the leaves of the lemon tree also gives off a pungent smell that is pleasant to us but not for felines.

However, felines tend to prefer nibbling on leaves than the fruit itself. Curious kitties won’t hesitate to eat these leaves out of curiosity.

Moreover, much like the fruit, the leaves of the lemon tree also contain essential oils that are rich in phenol.

Chewing on a lemon leaf can upset your kitty's stomach and even make them drool. High concentration of phenol ingestion can also lead to liver failure.

Make sure to keep your feline friend away from these trees and take it to the vet if they happen to ingest the leaves.

Can Cats Eat Lemon Peel?

Do cats like lemon

Due to its strong citrusy aroma, some pet owners often use the peel as a feline repellent. Namely, placing lemon peels on the furniture, couch and carpets keep your kitties away from these things.

Thus, this prevents them from scratching on your household items. Both the peel and the juice of a lemon can be used as potent deterrents, although few kitties are attracted to it.

You need to be careful when using lemon peel as a feline deterrent. The essential oil found in the peel is also toxic to cats when ingested, inhaled or applied to the skin.

It would be better if you did not allow your cat to eat these peel, plain and simple. In general, lemon is not an appropriate food for cats, not even as a treat.

If you want to incorporate fruits as an occasional treat for your kitty, there are better alternatives that are safe for felines.

Unlike lemons that are highly acidic and contain phenol, fruits such as apples, bananas, strawberries, and watermelons are better options.

However, then again, remember to give fruits as an occasional treat for your furry companion. For cats, fruits have little to no nutritional value at all.

What is Lemon Poisoning? 

Do cats like lemon

Whether it's the juice, the peel or the leaf, lemon is generally not safe for felines to ingest. However, why is lemon toxic to cats?

A feline's liver is not capable of breaking down compounds such as phenol, limonene, and linalool. All of these compounds are found in this fruit.

When compounds inside the body are not metabolized, they begin to build up until the level reaches a toxic stage. This is where poisoning occurs.

Along with these toxic compounds, lemons also contain psoralen that has photo-carcinogenic effects when exposed to sunlight.

Symptoms of lemon poisoning in cats are the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Liver failure
  • Fainting
  • Tremors
  • Skin irritation or rashes
  • Photosensitivity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sudden death

Diagnosis of Lemon Poisoning in Cats 

Do cats like lemon

Ingesting a small amount of lemon shouldn't pose any serious threat to your cat.

However, if you catch your kitty nibbling a lemon and you haven't had an idea how much was ingested, take your pet to the vet right away.

Don’t forget to bring the leftovers with you to help the vet conclude an accurate diagnosis.

The vet may recommend giving your kitty a complete physical to determine the presence of toxins.

If there are no underlying health conditions aside from potential poisoning, expect the vet to examine your cat’s stool and urine to discover the source of toxins.

After the vet identifies what is causing the symptoms, he/she would advise appropriate treatment.

One of the most common mistakes of pet owners is to induce their cats to vomit. They are quick to assume that vomiting will draw out the toxins.

Although vomiting does help eliminate some toxins, it may not be enough to remove all of them.

In case of poisoning, the vet may administer gastric lavage to wash out the content of your cat’s stomach. This procedure will remove all the toxins from the digestive system.

Additionally, the vet may also administer activated charcoal in the gastrointestinal tracts. The activated charcoal will bind the poison and prevents it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

Unfortunately, there’s no antidote to lemon poisoning as of the moment. So the only way to save a poisoned cat is to flush out the toxins from the body.

Also, remember that these fruits have high levels of psoralens. Keep your pet away from sunlight for about 48 hours after ingesting lemon.

Final thoughts

Do cats like lemon? Cats would typically run away from the mere scent of lemon because they find its aroma offensive.

However, that may not always be the case for curious cats. Now you know what it means when they say ‘curiosity killed the cat. 

Poisoning in cats usually happens not because cats like the taste of toxic foods but because they're eager to know how unusual food tastes.

Also, if you have a curious cat, there's nothing you can do about it. The best thing to do is to be vigilant and keep your pet away from anything that can harm it.

Of course, lemons should be kept out of your kitty's reach. So if you have lemon trees in your backyard, make sure that your feline friend doesn't have any access to them.

Overall, it is not advisable to let your cat eat lemons. Not only are there fruits nutritionally useless but these are also toxic to felines.

If you suspect your cat of ingesting a substantial amount of lemon pips, juice, peel or leaves, don't wait for the symptoms to arise. Bring your pet to the vet immediately for medical treatment.

Nevertheless, generally speaking, do cats like lemon? The answer is no.


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