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Can Cats Eat Lemon?

Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

Can Cats Eat Lemon?

Lemons are one of the sourest citrus fruits but they are used in our diet quite a lot, especially with fish, in sweets or in the form of lemonade. That being said, we don’t tend to eat too many lemons at once as they are quite acidic. You might ask yourself can cats eat lemon? As some seem to be attracted to the smell, so let us find out here!

Nutritional Value

With only about 20 calories for a medium-sized lemon, they contain very little fat and proteins, being composed mostly of water and carbohydrates (10%).Vitamin C is the main reason why we eat lemons since they have ample amounts of it and, even if cats need this vitamin as well, their body produces it for them.

Aside from that lemons also contain fiber, minerals and essential oils. For us they can lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and kidney stones but some of the essential oils in them are toxic for cats.


The psoralens and essential oils in lemons have put them on the ASPCA list of toxic foods for cats (as well as for dogs or horses for that matter). These can cause stomach problems like vomiting and diarrhea but also can lead to depression and potential photosensitivity making them a really bad choice for a cat. If you know that your cat ate some part of the fruit then it is highly recommended to visit your veterinarian since they will probably become poisoned.

Another problem is the very high acidity of the lemons which by itself can do damage to a cat’s digestion so if you know that your cat requires more vitamin C then there are other safe sources out there.

Lemon Tree Leaves

Even if you don’t feed your cat pieces of lemon some of them might still be attracted by the smell of the trees and could even get curious to have a taste of a leaf. This is usually not the case since the strong scent of citrus tends to repel cats and dogs.

The essential citrus oil is concentrated mainly in the fruits but there is sufficient quantity in the leaves as well. Nibbling on a leaf can make your cat vomit, give them diarrhea, depression, overall weakness and make them drool. In more severe cases they can even get their liver damaged so make sure you keep trees out of a curious cat’s reach and see a vet if they manage to ingest leaves or lemons.

Cats are even more susceptible to getting poisoned by these fruits as they have a lower body weight than dogs or horses so take the needed precautions.

Short Answer:

No, cats cannot eat lemons as the essential oils in them are quite toxic as well as the psoralens.

Does this mean oranges are a no-no as well? Find out here if oranges are safe.


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