can cats eat onions

Cats are known for their curious nature, often sniffing around the kitchen and eyeing whatever their owners are eating. As a responsible cat owner, knowing what foods are safe for your feline friend to consume is important. Onions are common in many human dishes, but can cats eat onions? 

The short answer is no because onions belong to the Allium family of plants, including garlic, leeks, and chives. Onions may add flavor to your meals but the same is not true for our feline friends.

Why Onions Are Toxic to Cats

Onions contain compounds called thiosulfates, which are harmful to cats. When ingested, thiosulfates can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells, leading to a condition known as hemolytic anemia. This condition destroys red blood cells faster than the body can replace them, causing a range of severe health issues.

Can Cats Eat Onions?

No, cats cannot eat onions. Onions belong to the Allium family and contain a compound that can damage a cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Even small amounts can be harmful, and symptoms can include lethargy, weakness, pale gums, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and dark-colored urine.

If you want to keep your cat safe then you should keep onions out of reach. Don’t feed them table scraps, and choose cat food without onions or onion by-products. Onions are toxic to cats, so avoiding them completely is best.

Are Onions Toxic to Cats?

Onions are toxic to cats, causing damage to their red blood cells and leading to anemia. Even small amounts can be harmful, and symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, and discolored urine. Keep onions out of reach and avoid feeding onion-containing foods to your cat.


Symptoms of Onion Toxicity in Cats

If your cat has ingested onions, watch for the following signs:

  •  Lethargy
  •  Weakness
  •  Pale gums
  •  Rapid heart rate
  •  Shortness of breath
  •  Dark-colored urine

Can Cats Eat Onion Powder?

No, cats cannot eat onion powder. Onion powder is just as toxic to cats as raw or cooked onions and can cause the same harmful symptoms, including anemia and damage to their red blood cells. Even small amounts of onion powder can be dangerous, so it’s important to keep it out of reach of your cat and avoid using it as an ingredient in their food.

If you’re looking for a healthy and safe way to add flavor to your cat’s food, consider using herbs like parsley or basil instead.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Onions?

No, cats should not eat cooked onions. Cooking onions does not remove the toxic compound thiosulfates, which can harm cats. Cooked onions can still cause anemia, damage red blood cells, and lead to other harmful symptoms. It’s best to avoid feeding onions to your cat altogether.

Cat eating onions

What to Do If Your Cat Eats Onions

If you suspect your cat has ingested onions, seek veterinary attention immediately. Your veterinarian may recommend supportive care, such as fluid therapy and blood transfusions, to manage the symptoms.

Amount of Onion That Is Toxic

Even a small amount of onion can be harmful to cats. This includes raw, cooked, or powdered onion. Garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives, which are related to onions, contain similar toxic compounds and should also be avoided.

Treatment for Onion Toxicity

If you suspect your cat has ingested onions, it is crucial to seek veterinary care urgently. The veterinarian may induce vomiting or administer activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of toxins. In severe cases, supportive treatments such as intravenous fluids, oxygen therapy, and blood transfusions may be necessary.

Preventing Onion Toxicity

To ensure your cat’s safety, follow these guidelines:

1. Avoid Sharing Human Food

Many human foods contain onions or onion powder, even if not immediately apparent.

2. Secure Food Sources

 Keep onions and foods containing onions out of reach of your cat.

3. Educate Household Members

Make sure everyone in your home is aware of the dangers of feeding onions to cats.

Cat with a piece of onion and garlic

Safe Alternatives and Treats

Can cats eat onions? Instead of risking your cat’s health with potentially toxic foods, consider offering safe alternatives:

1. Commercial Cat Treats

 These are specifically formulated to be safe and nutritious for cats.

2. Plain Meat

Small pieces of cooked chicken, turkey, or fish can be a delightful treat for cats.

3. Catnip or Cat Grass

 Many cats enjoy nibbling on catnip or cat grass, which are safe and can provide enrichment.

Learn More About: Cat eating candy corn.

People Also Ask

Let’s solve queries about can cats eat onions?

Is smelling onions bad for cats?

Smelling onions is not toxic to cats, but it’s still not good for them. While the toxic compounds in onions are primarily absorbed through ingestion, the strong scent of onions can irritate a cat’s sensitive nose and eyes. If your cat is exposed to a strong onion smell, they may experience discomfort, sneezing, or tearing. 

 To keep your cat comfortable, minimizing their exposure to strong onion odors is best.

Can onions kill Cats?

Yes, onions can be toxic to cats and can potentially lead to death. Onions contain a compound called N-propyl disulfide, which can cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia and potentially causing symptoms such as Weakness, Lethargy, Pale gums, and more.

If left untreated, onion toxicity can lead to severe complications, including Respiratory failure and severe anemia, and eventually lead to the death of your cat.


Can cats eat onions? Cats and onions do not mix. While it may be tempting to share your meals with your feline friend, it’s essential to remember that even small amounts of onion can lead to serious health issues. Always prioritize your cat’s well-being by avoiding toxic foods and opting for safe, cat-friendly treats instead.

If you ever suspect your cat has ingested onions, consult your vet immediately to ensure their health and safety.

By Anusha

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