Do Cats Like Garlic?

Have you ever caught your feline friend lurking around your kitchen when you’re cooking with garlic? Perhaps your cat is curious about the pungent aroma and wants to investigate further. As a cat owner, it’s natural to wonder whether cats like garlic or not.

Garlic is a magical ingredient in our kitchens that adds flavor and has numerous health benefits for us humans. But what about our furry companions? Cats have unique dietary needs, and it’s crucial to know which human foods they can safely consume.

In this article, we’ll explore the question of whether cats like garlic or not. We’ll delve into the potential health benefits and harmful effects that garlic may have on your kitty. Additionally, we’ll discuss some alternative seasoning options for your cat’s food that are both healthy and safe for them to eat.

So let’s settle this age-old debate once and for all: do cats like garlic? And if they do, is it safe for them to consume? Join us as we uncover the truth behind this intriguing question.

What Is Garlic?

Look no further than garlic. This pungent herb belongs to the onion genus, Allium, and is closely related to onions, shallots, and leeks. Native to Central Asia, garlic has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

Garlic’s strong flavor and aroma are well-known in cuisines around the world, from Italian and French cooking to Asian cuisine. The cloves of garlic are the part of the plant that are typically used in cooking, and they can be used fresh, dried, or powdered. Garlic is often added to soups, stews, sauces, marinades, and dressings to add depth and complexity to a wide variety of dishes.

But garlic is not just a flavorful addition to your meal – it also has potential health benefits. Studies suggest that garlic may help lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and boost the immune system. However, more research is needed in order to fully understand the potential benefits of consuming garlic.

It’s important to note that while garlic is generally safe for human consumption in moderation, it can be toxic to certain animals. In particular, cats are sensitive to compounds found in garlic and other members of the Allium family. Ingesting garlic can cause anemia in cats by damaging their red blood cells. As such, it is important not to feed garlic or any products containing garlic to cats.

Why Is Garlic Toxic to Cats?

Despite its popularity in human meals, garlic is toxic to cats and should never be given to them.

Garlic belongs to the Allium family, which also includes onions, chives, and leeks. These plants contain compounds that can cause severe health issues for cats. The harmful compound in garlic is called N-propyl disulfide, which when consumed by cats, can damage their red blood cells and lead to anemia.

Anemia is a condition where the body lacks enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues. It can be life-threatening for cats and can cause symptoms like weakness, lethargy, pale gums, and loss of appetite. Even small amounts of garlic can cause harm to your cat. Some cat owners may think that feeding their cat small amounts of garlic can help repel fleas or improve their feline’s health. Still, this is not true, and you should avoid giving your cat any form of garlic.

As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to ensure that we only provide our furry friends with foods that are safe for them to eat. You might enjoy the taste and health benefits of garlic as a human, but it’s not worth risking your cat’s health. Instead, focus on providing your cat with a balanced and nutritious diet that meets all their nutritional needs.

What Are the Symptoms of Garlic Toxicity in Cats?

However, some foods that we humans love can be toxic to our cats. Garlic is one such food that can cause severe health problems in cats when ingested.

Garlic is a member of the Allium family, which includes onions, shallots, and chives – all known to be toxic to cats. Garlic contains sulfoxides and disulfides that can damage red blood cells in cats and cause anemia. When a cat ingests garlic, their body will start to show symptoms of garlic toxicity.

The symptoms of garlic toxicity in cats can vary widely depending on the amount consumed and the individual cat’s tolerance level. Some common symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, pale gums, and an increased heart rate. In severe cases, your cat may experience difficulty breathing, collapse or even death.

It’s important to note that even small amounts of garlic can be toxic to cats. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep garlic and other Allium vegetables away from your furry friends. If you suspect that your cat has ingested garlic or any other toxic substance, seek veterinary care immediately.

Cats with anemia caused by garlic toxicity may require hospitalization and blood transfusions to recover fully. The prognosis for cats with garlic toxicity depends on the severity of the initial symptoms and how quickly treatment is sought. Early intervention can prevent serious complications and improve a cat’s chances of recovery.

How Can You Prevent Your Cat from Eating Garlic?

However, some foods that are safe for humans can be toxic to cats, and garlic is one such food. Garlic contains compounds that can cause anemia and other severe health issues in cats, even in small amounts. Therefore, it’s crucial to take measures to prevent your cat from eating garlic.

Firstly, keep all foods that contain garlic out of reach. This includes garlic bread, pasta dishes with garlic, and any other human food that contains garlic as an ingredient. Your cat may be attracted to the smell and taste of garlic, so it’s crucial to keep garlic cloves, powder, or other forms of garlic seasoning safely stored away where your cat cannot access them.

Secondly, read ingredient labels carefully when purchasing cat food or treats. Some pet foods may contain garlic powder or other forms of garlic seasoning. Therefore, it’s vital to choose products that are specifically labeled as “garlic-free.” Be diligent in checking ingredients before purchasing anything for your feline friend.

Lastly, if you suspect that your cat has ingested garlic, seek veterinary care immediately. The symptoms of garlic toxicity in cats include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, lethargy, and breathing difficulties. The earlier the treatment begins, the better the chances of recovery.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Has Eaten Garlic?

However, sometimes accidents can happen, and your curious cat may get into something they shouldn’t. Garlic is a common ingredient in many human dishes, but did you know that it can be toxic to cats? If your cat has accidentally ingested garlic, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent any potential health problems.

The first step is to closely monitor your cat’s behavior and symptoms. If you notice that your cat is acting lethargic or has lost their appetite, it’s time to take action. Vomiting and diarrhea are also red flags that your cat may have ingested garlic. These symptoms can indicate anemia caused by the compounds in garlic that damage red blood cells.

The next step is to seek veterinary attention right away. Your vet will perform blood tests to determine the severity of the garlic poisoning and recommend treatment accordingly. For mild cases, home treatment such as providing plenty of fresh water and monitoring food intake may be recommended. You may also want to switch to a bland diet, such as boiled chicken and rice, which can help your cat’s digestive system recover.

In more severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary for intravenous fluids and medication. It’s important to carefully follow your vet’s instructions and provide any necessary follow-up care after your cat returns home.

To ensure that this doesn’t happen again in the future, it’s essential to keep garlic and other toxic foods out of reach of your cat. Store them securely in cabinets or high shelves where your cat cannot access them. Always check the ingredients in any human food before feeding it to your cat and avoid giving them anything that contains garlic or other toxic ingredients.


In conclusion, it’s a resounding no – cats do not like garlic. And it’s not just a matter of taste; garlic is downright dangerous for our feline friends. This pungent herb belongs to the Allium family, which contains compounds that can wreak havoc on a cat’s red blood cells and lead to anemia. Even small amounts of garlic can be toxic, causing symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and difficulty breathing.

As responsible pet owners, we must take every precaution to keep our cats safe from this harmful ingredient. That means keeping all foods containing garlic out of reach and carefully reading labels when buying cat food or treats. And if you suspect your cat has ingested garlic or any other toxic substance, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care right away. Early intervention can make all the difference in preventing serious complications and improving your cat’s chances of recovery.

So what should you do if you want to give your cat a healthy treat? Stick with options that are proven safe and nutritious for felines, like cooked chicken or fish (without any added seasonings). And remember: even if a food is safe for humans, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe for cats.

In short, while we may enjoy the flavor and health benefits of garlic ourselves, it’s simply not worth risking our cats’ well-being by feeding them this dangerous herb.