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Are raisins toxic to cats?

Species: Cat
Breed: domestic short hair
Age: 11-15 years
Hello,

On Monday of this week (today is Wednesday) my cat came up to me while I was eating some raisins and he was sniffing them so I gave him one. He played with it and ate it and I thought it was so cute because he's usually not interested in people food at all, so I gave him a few more...maybe 5 raisins total. This happened again on Tuesday and today. I thought it was odd that he liked raisins so much being that the only other human food he's ever eaten were some frozen peas that I spilled all over the floor one time, so I did a google search for "cats and raisins" and was horrified to find that raisins may be toxic to cats. He ate about 5 or so raisins three days in a row. He doesn't seem be exhibiting any symptoms of kidney problems, but it's hard to monitor his litter box situation as there is another cat in the house and I'm at work during the day so I don't know which one is using the box/how often, etc. Money is tight (huge student loan bills each month) so I don't want to pay to take him in for testing if there's no need - but if I should be concerned, I would like to take him in as I don't want him to experience pain or suffering. He is an older cat (about 13) and I understand older cats are at an increased risk for kidney troubles in general...I just hope I haven't hurt him by letting him eat raisins! I love this cat so much and I feel so bad that I may have unknowingly poisoned him! Do you think approximately 5 raisins a day for 3 days is cause for alarm and/or do you think I can just keep an eye on him for any symptoms of a problem and go from there? So far, I have not observed any unusual behavior (lethargy,vomiting, etc.). I appreciate your time and this service!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I can't say that I have ever heard of a cat who actually liked raisins. Oliver has strange taste!

No one knows why raisins are toxic to some pets (or grapes for that matter). Many theories are out there but to this date we still don't know the culprit.

I usually get asked about whether or not raisins are toxic to dogs as dogs are more likely to eat raisins or grapes. What I tell people is that this type of toxicity is very uncommon. Many dogs can eat grapes and never have a problem and then there is the odd dog that can have serious kidney problems afterwards.

The same thing actually does apply to cats. I did some research for you and did find some case studies where cats had acute renal failure after eating raisins. Now, this does not mean that every cat who eats raisins will have kidney problems.

In an ideal world, it would be great to have Oliver's urine and blood tested for signs of kidney problems. But, if money is tight then, given that the chances are low of him having an issue, it is probably acceptable to monitor him for now. If you see any of the following over the next few days then I would take him in:

-vomiting
-lack of appetite
-extreme thirst
-flooding the litter box with urine
-extreme lethargy

I would be surprised if there is a problem here. But, if you see the above then I would not wait, but take him in right away. The treatment would be hospitalization with IV fluids. The good news is that if this was a kidney problem it is an acute problem as opposed to a chronic problem. Chronic kidney disease is what we worry about in older cats.

I hope that helps and I hope he is well!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.