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Toxic foods for cats - Easter edition

Toxic foods for cats - Easter edition
by Dr Grant Hampson

Read time: 3 min

Easter beckons with its four day weekend and promise of better weather on its way.

But, did you know that this, the most egg-filled holiday, comes with some pitfalls for your cat you might not be aware of? Luckily, we’ve outlined them for you, so you can make sure your Easter is cat friendly, and finally embrace what you’ve given up for Lent (unless it happens to be on the list below).

Onions and Garlic (Allium Family)

You know the allium species, usually found in a kitchen cupboard or counter, adding a little flavour to our meals; they include onion, spring onion, shallots, garlic, chives, leeks and more. Unfortunately, these products can be very dangerous for cats and lead to gastrointestinal effects, dehydration and development anaemia.

Three onions on a chopping board on is halved and sliced
Garlic heads and cloves

Milk and other dairy products

It turns out cartoons have been lying to us for years, and cats shouldn’t be given milk on a regular basis. In fact, most cats are lactose intolerant and giving them milk and other dairy products might lead to them having an upset stomach! It’s best to avoid giving these altogether and stick with a fresh bowl of water. Less cute when it gets caught in their whiskers, but much better for the tummy.

Grapes and Raisins

A key component of the hot-cross bun, any fruits from the Vitis vinifera family should be considered toxic to cats. If ingested your cat may stop eating, have gastrointestinal side effects like vomiting and diarrhoea and if the most serious of cases develop acute kidney injury. Cats are commonly affected by eating products that contain grapes and raisins rather than the fruit themselves, like mince pies.

A bowl of white grapes


Lilies, while incredibly beautiful and a very common household plant, are extremely dangerous when ingested by cats. When any part of the lily plant is ingested (we’re talking petals, stem, leaves, even the water they sit in), the kidneys can become damaged which may result in kidney failure and death.


Finally, something cats and dogs can agree on; chocolate is a no go. It’s very dangerous for cats, but thankfully it is not as common a problem as with dogs. However if your cat does ingest chocolate it can lead to gastrointestinal signs as well as heart and kidney problems. It is always safe to lock chocolate away to avoid your cat eating it.

Shot from above of a chopping board with chocolate shavings on it

Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol)

If you’re off for an Easter weekend drive, give the anti-freeze a miss. Ethylene glycol is a product used commonly in cars, and cats can be exposed to it when it spills out onto the floor or into puddles. Unfortunately ethylene glycol is extremely palatable to cats meaning they will actively drink it if they come across it.

Ingesting ethylene glycol is extremely toxic to cats and can result in severe kidney damage. Clinica signs involve vomiting, ptyalism (hypersalivation), reduced appetite, but if your cat gets treatment rapidly they have an increased chance of surviving.


This one is definitely relevant to the whole year round, but you should never give your cat medications that are designed for humans, unless indicated by your vet. Paracetamol in particular is extremely toxic to cats and can lead to irreversible damage to the liver and red blood cells.

Blister packs

While all of the products listed in this are dangerous to your cats, in most cases of toxicity timing is key. The sooner your cat gets treatment, the better the outcome will be. If you have any questions about what we’ve mentioned in this article, get in touch and our in-house vets would be happy to help:

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