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Are cats allergic to Chives or is it toxic to them?

Byzantine-style illustration of a Chive plant with slender green leaves and purple flower clusters

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are a common herb often used in cooking to add a mild onion flavor. However, they are not suitable for our feline friends. Chives and other similar seasonings like garlicleeks, and onions are toxic to cats.

Chives belong to the Allium family, which is poisonous to most mammals. Chives can commonly be found in gardens, grocery stores, and as a garnish on various dishes.

Toxicity level

Moderate

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Symptoms your cat may have

If your cat eats chives, they may experience various symptoms due to the toxic compounds in the plant. Common signs of chive poisoning in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Reduced appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Pale or jaundiced gums
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid heart rate

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you suspect your cat has ingested chives, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately. They will likely follow these steps for diagnosis:

  1. Assess your cat’s symptoms and history of potential chive exposure.
  2. Run blood tests to check for signs of anemia (low red blood cell count).
  3. Check for the presence of Heinz bodies in the red blood cells, which indicate damage from the toxins in chives.
  4. Evaluate urine for signs of hemoglobinuria (blood in urine) due to red blood cell breakdown.

Your vet may diagnose Allium toxicosis based on the clinical signs, history of ingestion, and laboratory findings.

An illustrative banner depicting an anthropomorphic cat in a vet's office, alongside a call-to-action message that reads: 'If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance,' accompanied by a prominent button stating 'Find A Vet Near Me!
An illustrative banner depicting an anthropomorphic cat in a vet's office, alongside a call-to-action message that reads: 'If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance,' accompanied by a prominent button stating 'Find A Vet Near Me!

FAQ

Q: Are cats allergic to Chives?

A: Yes, cats can be allergic to Chives. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching, sneezing, and skin irritation.

Q: Are Chives toxic to cats?

A: Yes, Chives are toxic to cats. Ingesting any part of this plant can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Q: What are the symptoms of Chives poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of Chives poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, lethargy, and potential damage to red blood cells, leading to anemia. Immediate veterinary care is recommended if ingestion is suspected.

Q: How can I prevent my cat from coming into contact with Chives?

A: To prevent contact, ensure that Chives are not present in your home or garden. Keep your cat indoors or monitor outdoor activities closely to avoid exposure.

Q: What should I do if my cat ingests Chives?

A: If your cat ingests Chives, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a veterinary professional. Immediate medical attention is necessary.

Q: Are Chives commonly found in gardens?

A: Yes, Chives are commonly found in gardens and used as a culinary herb. It is important to ensure this plant is kept out of reach of cats to prevent accidental ingestion.

History of Chives

Chives have been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages, although signs of their usage date back 5,000 years. The ancient Romans believed chives could relieve pain from sunburn and sore throats. They also thought eating chives would increase blood pressure and act as a diuretic.

Chives are native to Europe, Asia, and North America. They were spread throughout Europe after Marco Polo’s travels in the East, and European colonists later brought them to America. Today, chives are one of the most widely used culinary herbs worldwide.

Further reading and sources

Please note: The information shared in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as veterinary medical advice.

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