Can Cats Eat Grapes?

Are they really as dangerous as people say? 🍇

Cats and grapes

Have you ever considered sharing a grape with your cat?

If you’re thinking about giving your cat a grape to eat or even play with, you might want to hold off — since grapes are definitely toxic for them.

We reached out to Dr. Christina Leung, a veterinarian at Murray Hill Pet Hospital in New York City, to find out the answer to the question: Can cats eat grapes?

Can cats eat grapes ever?

While grapes can definitely be toxic for cats, cats don’t run into issues as often as dogs do.

“There have been reports of grape toxicosis in cats, but they do not seem as susceptible as dogs are,” Dr. Leung told The Dodo.

It’s possible there are fewer reports on grape toxicity in cats simply because cats aren’t that interested in snacking on grapes — unlike their dog counterparts.

But that doesn’t make eating grapes any less risky for cats; it’s possible your cat could get sick even after just a taste.

Why are grapes toxic to cats?

It’s unclear exactly why grapes are toxic to both cats and dogs.

“Currently, there is no known mechanism for grape toxicity in cats,” Dr. Leung said.

Grapes have been tested for a ton of things that can cause kidney damage in dogs, like pesticides, heavy metals, fertilizers and antifungal treatments. And still, scientists can’t figure out why grapes can make both dogs and cats sick.

The fact that grapes cause health issues in some pets, specifically kidney problems, is actually a fairly new concept — which might explain the lack of knowledge on the topic. It was discovered only about 30 years ago in 1981 when the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) noticed a correlation between grape ingestion and kidney failure in dogs.

But even though scientists don’t know why grapes are toxic for cats and dogs, it doesn’t make them any less dangerous!

Can cats eat raisins?

Both fresh grapes and dried grape products, like raisins and currants, are toxic for cats.

Cooked grapes are bad news too, so keep your cat away from snack bars, fruit cakes, scones and other baked goods that might contain grapes in any form.

How many grapes will make a cat sick?

There’s no definitive answer for how many grapes it would take to make a cat sick, since it’s different for each cat and so little is known about how grape toxicity works.

“This [amount] varies among each individual cat or dog as some pets can ingest more than others and still have no signs of grape toxicosis,” Dr. Leung said.

In one study, some dogs showed zero signs of toxicity after eating an entire kilogram (2.2 pounds) of grapes, while some dogs died after eating a single handful. You should assume that cats work the same way. So the bottom line is that feeding your cat a grape (even if it’s just one!) is 100 percent not worth the gamble.

According to Dr. Leung, “the lowest recorded amount associated with grape toxicosis is 0.7 ounces [of grapes] per 2.2 pounds [of body weight].” That’s less than one grape for an average-sized cat. It’s totally possible your cat will show signs after just a taste, though, so it’s best to keep them out of your cat’s reach.

Signs of grape toxicity in cats

If your cat does eat a grape, she may display the following symptoms (which usually appear in the first several hours after ingestion):

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite

“The most severe result of grape ingestion is renal (kidney) failure,” Dr. Leung said.

If you think your cat took a bite of a grape, you should call your vet ASAP. “The main recommendation if there are concerns of ingestion would be to seek help from a veterinarian as soon as possible,” Dr. Leung said.

Treatment for grape toxicity in cats

“Depending on how long after the grape was ingested, your veterinarian may recommend decontamination, which may include inducing vomiting to retrieve the grapes,” Dr. Leung said.

You shouldn’t try to make your cat vomit yourself, unless a veterinarian or poison control expert gives you their permission as well as clear instructions on how to do it safely.

After eating a grape, your cat will likely be hospitalized to “perform diagnostics, provide fluid therapy and closely monitor your pet’s kidney function,” Dr. Leung said.