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Can Cats Eat Chives? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

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	Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Chives are pretty common in our human food. However, they are not suitable for our furry friends. Chives are toxic to cats and other similar seasonings like garlic, leeks, and onions. Chives belong to the Allium family, which is poisonous to most mammals. Humans can develop toxicity if they eat a lot of it. Because our cats are so much smaller than us, it takes very little for them to eat enough chives to develop symptoms.

Chives may be a common topping for your soups, but you should avoid feeding your feline even a little bit. Smaller felines will be more sensitive to this ingredient, though any feline will be affected if they eat enough. It doesn’t take one large dose for symptoms to appear either. Instead, a small dose over time can also cause issues.

In this article, we’ll look at everything you need to know about your feline eating chives.

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Why Are Chives Poisonous to Cats?

Chives are a member of the plant genus Allium. This family also includes onions, garlic, and leeks. One common feature of this plant family is that they all contain compounds called organosulfoxides. In their basic form, these compounds are pretty harmless. However, when they are chewed up, they are converted into sulfur compounds.

Sulfur can cause your cat’s red blood cells to break down. It doesn’t take a large dose for this to take place either. Dangerous changes in their blood can happen pretty quickly.


Signs of Chive Poisoning

If your cat eats chives, symptoms may not develop for some time. The dose matters. Larger doses will often cause symptoms earlier, while smaller doses may not show apparent symptoms until days later.

Typically, the first and most minor signs are gastrointestinal. While chives are primarily dangerous because they can harm your feline’s red blood cells, they can also cause stomach upset. Symptoms of this typically include vomiting, nausea, drooling, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

More seriously, damage to the feline’s blood may also become apparent. Red blood cells are essential to your feline’s body. They carry oxygen throughout your cat’s body. If they are quickly destroyed, the most common signs you might observe are blood in the urine, yellow mucous membranes, your cat shivering or appearing very cold, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and disorientation or collapse (in extreme cases).

A lower than normal number of red blood cells is known as anemia. Anemia can cause other problems as well. For instance, circulatory problems can occur, and low blood pressure may develop. This further makes it difficult for the blood to deliver oxygen where the body needs it.

cat drooling
Image Credit: Ling_Chen, Shutterstock

Treatment for Chive Poisoning

If you suspect that your feline has eaten chives, you should call your vet. Signs may not be apparent right away, but early treatment is still vital. If the cat has recently consumed the chives, then the vet may be able to induce vomiting to remove the chives from your cat’s system. This is the best option, as it lessens the extent of the poisoning.

Activated charcoal may also be used to prevent the toxin from absorbing into the digestive tract.

If the cat already shows signs, it is likely too late for any of the above treatments. Instead, the only option is supportive care in the form of GI medications, fluid therapy, and oxygen therapy. Complications that arise in other organs as the result of the poisoning are treated on a case by case basis.

Hospitalization and monitoring may be required, as the worst signs typically don’t occur several days later.

vet checking up the cat
Image Credit: PRESSLAB, Shutterstock

Avoiding Chive Poisoning

You should keep chives stored away from your cat’s reach.. Cats can easily access food that has been left on the counter. Of course, don’t purposefully feed your feline anything that contains chives or any other plant from the Allium group.

All forms of chives are poisonous, including dried, fresh, liquid, and cooked. Some human supplements also contain these toxins, so be careful when leaving supplements where your cat may access them.

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Chives are incredibly poisonous to cats. You should avoid feeding your feline anything with chives in it and be careful about where your chives are stored. Cats can quickly get into some cabinets and access stored foods, including chives.

If your feline does ingest chives, you should seek vet care right away. Treatment is more effective and less costly if it is started early, and prognosis is better with earlier intervention as well.

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Featured Image: _Alicja_, Pixabay