Cats are always curious to try out new things, including foods. But there are certain fruits and vegetables that are toxic for cats. As a cat owner, it is often difficult to distinguish between the right kinds of foods, but fear not, we are here to help you out.

Can Cats Eat Leeks? Are Leeks Poisonous To Cats?

In this article, we will discuss whether can cats eat leeks? We will also discuss the symptoms that your cat can experience when they consume leeks. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Can Cats Eat Leeks

Leeks are poisonous for your cats, especially if consumed in large quantities. Even when taken in small amounts, they can cause symptoms like diarrhea, jaundice, vomiting, and lethargy. If left untreated, your cat can get extremely ill and even die. 

So to be on the safe side, it is better to keep your cats away from leeks. 

Are Leeks Poisonous To Cats

Leeks are one of the most important members of the allium family. Other plants include chives, onions, and garlic. While these plants are safe for humans to consume, they can be pretty deadly when consumed by pets, especially cats. Your cat can get seriously ill even if it only consumes a minimal amount of the plant. 

Why are they poisonous?

Leeks are one of the worst things to give your cats. They are potentially deadly to kittens and cats. When the cat eats leeks, either in the raw or cooked form, the organsulfoxides in the leeks get converted into dangerous sulfur compounds. 

The above can seriously hamper the sensitive red blood cells in your cat’s system. When the red blood cells rupture, the cat can experience other long-term symptoms like weakness, lethargy, depression, and intolerance.

Cats are usually considered very docile and friendly beings. However, due to this illness, they can experience an irritable mood. This is mostly because they experience a more relaxed heart muscle and dilated blood vessels. This results in overall low blood pressure. Moreover, leeks can also release some dangerous toxins that can prevent the blood from clotting. 

The above leads to less blood circulation, thus diminishing the cat’s ability to function correctly. In severe cases, leek poisoning can cause your cat to collapse and even die. 

How can you detect the illness?

Leeks are undoubtedly a toxic vegetable for cats and can sometimes be fatal. This is because your cat won’t show instant symptoms when it consumes the plant. The symptoms appear much later than the illness, making the situation quite worrisome for the owner. 

What Happens If A Cat Eats A Leek?

The n-propyl disulfide is the substance that is responsible for making your cat sick. It works by targeting the hemoglobin within your cat’s red blood cells. In normal conditions, hemoglobin is responsible for safely transporting oxygen throughout the body.

However, leek consumption can cause burning damage or oxidative effect on your cat’s hemoglobin. This makes it harder for the substance to transport oxygen from the cat’s lungs to the rest of its body. This can lead to hemolytic anemia, otherwise known as oxygen starvation. 

Symptoms after eating a leek

Please remember that you will not see these symptoms immediately. A few days might pass before the development of the problem and the appearance of symptoms. Common symptoms that you will see after a few days include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Discolored urine (reddish or brown)
  • Depression

Advanced symptoms of consuming Leek

These symptoms will appear if your cat remains untreated. Try to take your cat to the vet as soon as you see the first signs of symptoms. This will prevent it from experiencing severe anemia. 

Some of the most common symptoms that can appear due to the breakdown of Red Blood Cells include

  • Elevated heart and respiratory rate
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Panting
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Death related to anemia
  • Heinz body anemia
  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Blood in cat’s urine
  • Collapse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale gums

Are Leeks Good To Cats

A minimal amount may not do anything to your cat, and they can survive without developing any major signs. However, this should not make you assume leeks are good for cats. They don’t offer any significant nutritional benefits. Moreover, when consumed, they do more harm than good. So it is best to avoid leeks altogether.

Alternatives to leeks that I can give my cats

If your mind is set on giving healthy vegetables to your cat, you can try out some other, more beneficial options. Here are some great alternatives to leeks that your cat will love. 

  • Chopped carrots: an excellent source of beta carotene, Vitamins, potassium, and fiber
  • Peas: beneficial for the cat’s eyes, muscles, nerves, and overall health
  • Frozen Corn: have a high content of fibers, vitamins, and minerals. 
  • Broccoli: helps facilitate the regular bowel movement in your cat.
  • Spinach: has a low amount of calories and a high fiber content.


Are Leeks Safe For Cats

Leeks are part of the Allium family and are not safe for cats. Some cat breeds like those of Japanese descent are relatively more vulnerable to the effects of leeks. 

Can Cats Eat Cooked Leeks

Most plants within the allium family, including leeks, are dangerous for cats. This includes both cooked and uncooked forms of leeks. The leeks can pose an even greater threat to the cats when consumed and flavored. Your cat may be compelled to eat a significant number of leeks, which will put them at the risk of developing anemia. 

How Much Leek Is Toxic To Cats?

When it comes to leeks, any dosage that is around 0.5% of the cat’s body weight will pose great danger. So if you see your cat rubbing on even a tiny amount of the plant, take instant caution. If you are unsure how much your cat has ingested, take a small sample of the leek plant and your cat to the vet instantly. The vet will be able to diagnose your cat before any symptom appears.


  • The number of leeks exceeding 0.5 of a cat’s body weight can be toxic.
  • Symptoms of leek poisoning include lethargy, diarrhea, jaundice, and depression.
  • Leek consumption can also disrupt the red blood cell performance in your body.
  • Symptoms may take some time to show, but you should take your cat to the vet as soon as they do.

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