Is Asparagus Toxic to Cats

Is Asparagus Toxic to Cats? What You Need to Know

We all know that some foods are toxic to our feline friends, but did you know there is a specific plant called asparagus and its special relationship with cats?

This article explores the dangers of asparagus and how much it should be given to your cat. Let’s find out the answer to “Is asparagus toxic to cats and why/why not”.

Can Cats Eat Asparagus?

What are the benefits of asparagus ferns to cats?

Asparagus ferns have a number of benefits for cats. The ferns may be able to help cats recover from vomiting and provide them with moderate doses of nutrients.

They may be able to tolerate asparagus ferns if they are given moderate doses.

Are asparagus stems safe for cats to eat?

Asparagus is safe for cats to eat in moderation. However, exceeding the prescribed amounts of asparagus can negatively affect cats.

This is because cats are classified as “obligate carnivores”, implying that their digestive systems were created to thrive on a meat-only diet.

bunch of fresh green asparagus on dark table
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How much asparagus can a cat eat?

Asparagus is not toxic to cats, but it should only be given in small amounts. The diet of the cat should be full of animal protein rather than vegetable proteins.

Too much asparagus in the diet of the cat can affect the pancreas and compromise insulin levels. This will later make the cat be susceptible to diabetes.

Additionally, the high alkaline content of asparagus can result in urinary problems and infections. Therefore, give your feline asparagus in small portions once a month as a snack or treat.

Is asparagus toxic to cats?

cat near green fresh asparagus and ceramic mug
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Asparagus is not toxic or poisonous to cats and it is actually a good source of fiber, which can help keep your kitty’s digestion schedule on track.

The vegetable contains a lot of potassium, which can be beneficial for heart and blood pressure health. The high levels of vitamins A, C, and K can be helpful for your cat too.

Asparagus is a different type of vegetable than grass, but it may still be some ancient instinct that drives your cat to like asparagus.

When is asparagus bad for cats?

Asparagus is not an essential part of a cat’s diet, and it can be high in alkaline. Asparagus can upset a cat’s stomach if they eat too much of it.

However, asparagus is not poisonous to cats but can confer them a few health benefits. It’s best to stick to small portions served as a treat rather than as a main part of the daily diet.

Is Asparagus Toxic to Cats
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Will asparagus hurt cats?

While asparagus is not a good source of nutrition for cats, and raw asparagus can be harmful, cooked asparagus is fine for them in small amounts.

Asparagus contains a compound called asparagine, which is alkaline.

When cats eat too much asparagus, it can affect their urinary pH levels and lead to the development of stones. For this reason, it’s best to feed cats asparagus sparingly, in small chunks, and fully cooked.

Can cats eat raw asparagus?

green vegetables on wooden board in kitchen
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Raw asparagus is toxic to cats, but there are a few risks associated with feeding your cat the vegetable. Young, tender asparagus is the best type for your cat to enjoy.

Some of the risks associated with feeding your cat raw asparagus include:

  • Choking hazard
  • Digestive upset
  • Potential for gastrointestinal blockage

Cooking asparagus reduces some of these risks. If your cat snuck a bit of raw asparagus, you probably don’t have anything to worry about so long as they don’t make a habit of it.

Can cats eat cooked asparagus?

Yes, cats can eat cooked asparagus as it is normally tender and soft. Therefore, cats will have an easy time chewing and swallowing.

Asparagus should only be fed to cats as an occasional treat, rather than making up a large proportion of their diet.

Too much asparagus can result in a lot of problems for felines. For example, too much can lead to gastrointestinal upset or even diarrhea in cats.

Nutrient% of daily calories needs
Lipid fat0.77%
Dietary fiber7.01%
(Table is based on calories of an average neutered/spayed adult house weighing 3.6 kgs cat and data from USDA)

Asparagus and urinary issues

Asparagus contains asparagusic acid, which is found exclusively in asparagus.

When asparagus is eaten and digested, this acid is dismantled into sulfur-containing byproducts. These substances are responsible for the smell of urine.

There is no research available as to whether or not this same phenomenon occurs in cats, but it is likely that it does. If a cat consumes too much asparagus, it will affect the health of your cat’s urinary tract.

Asparagus, especially uncooked asparagus, is very high in alkaline and can affect the health of your cat’s urinary tract if consumed in large quantities.

The stalk of asparagus is also difficult for a cat’s digestive system to digest and can lead to long-term pain and health issues.

green asparagus on marble table
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How to prepare asparagus for your cat

1. Raw asparagus

Chop up the asparagus into really tiny pieces before feeding your furball. This is to eliminate any chance of choking.

However, raw asparagus is very tough and fibrous, and most cats will not enjoy any part of the plant raw. While cooking may have its upside when it comes to boosting some antioxidants, studies have shown that it may reduce the content of other nutrients.

In this regard, raw asparagus, while a bit more difficult to chew, is much more beneficial if your goal when eating asparagus is to get the optimal amount of vitamin C.

2. Cooked asparagus

Asparagus can be cooked in a variety of ways to make it more palatable for your cat. Steaming or boiling asparagus will make it more tender for your cat to chew before swallowing.

Asparagus should only be used as an occasional treat for cats. Too much asparagus (or other treats) may keep your cat from eating adequate amounts of their regular cat food.

Are cats allergic to asparagus?

Just like human beings, some cats are allergic to asparagus. It is important to monitor your furry friend for any allergic reaction after feeding on the vegetable.

Asparagus Allergy Symptoms

Asparagus is a common allergen for cats. Allergic reactions to asparagus in cats can range from mild to life-threatening. Symptoms of an asparagus allergy in cats include:

  • Coughing, wheezing, and struggling for breath.
  • Wide, staring eyes
  • Drooling
  • Streaming from the eyes, or irritated and itchy eyes
  • Sneezing and a runny nose
  • Excessive scratching
  • Breakouts of hives on the skin

If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms, they may be allergic to asparagus. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has an asparagus allergy.

What to do if your cat ate asparagus

If you think your cat ate a lot of asparagus, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian. If you have an old cat, a kitten, or a cat with chronic health issues (especially urinary issues), take it to the pet hospital immediately.

In most cases, your cat will be just fine. They might vomit for a little while, and their urine will smell strange (like human urine does after eating too much asparagus), but the asparagus will run through their system, and they will not be too much worse for the wear!

The effects will usually fade away within a few hours. Excessive nausea and vomiting can be caused by higher-than-normal doses or sensitivity.

Additionally, withholding food until vomiting has stopped for at least 12 hours is common early therapy for cats with stomach distress, and this may be what your veterinarian suggests.

This method is frequently successful in allowing the cat’s stomach muscles to recuperate from the vomiting.

During this period, modest amounts of water and crushed ice should be provided often.

bunch of green asparagus
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels

Additionally, only soft, bland foods should be administered for the next 24 hours after the initial withholding period.

One readily digestible carbohydrate and a modest protein source would make up the optimum recovery diet.

Cooked rice, pasta, or potatoes are examples of suitable carbs. Unseasoned boiled ground beef, non-fat cottage cheese, or skinless white chicken meat would be good choices for protein.

What type of asparagus ferns are toxic to cats?

Asparagus densiflorus and Asparagus aethiopicus are both toxic to cats.

While Asparagus densiflorus is more common and is slightly more hardy in cold conditions, Asparagus aethiopicus thrives in tropical and subtropical areas, where they can be planted in gardens or grown as an indoor ornamental plant. The rich feathery plumes are very popular as a flower arrangement accent.

Various names have been given to these plants, including Emerald feather, Emerald fern, Foxtail fern, Lace fern, Plume asparagus, Plumosa Fern, Sprengeri fern, and Sprenger’s Asparagus.

close up of ferns
Photo by Till Daling on

How to treat asparagus fern poisoning in cats?

Asparagus Fern is a common houseplant that is poisonous to cats. If your cat has consumed any part of the plant, it is important to take action immediately. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Rinse the cat’s mouth with water thoroughly.
  • Take the cat to the vet for further treatment.
  • Remove as much of the toxin from exposed tissue as possible.

Most canines will avoid consuming much of the actual substance due to the discomfort and foul taste of the plant.

However, if your cat has consumed a large amount of asparagus fern, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

If the cat’s reaction is more severe, your veterinarian will prescribe an anti-inflammatory or pain treatment.

To prevent dehydration, IV fluid therapy will be given at the veterinarian’s office.

How long do cats take to recover from asparagus fern poisoning?

Asparagus ferns contain saponins, which are poisonous to cats. The severity of the toxicity will depend on how much plant material was consumed and the size of your cat. Most cats will recover within a few hours after eating asparagus ferns.

However, if you were not present when the cat ate asparagus, your veterinarian may recommend a visit to the office based on the symptoms you are experiencing.

Any opportunistic eating your cat may have done, as well as any concurrent prescriptions or supplements your cat is currently receiving will be noted by your veterinarian.

A biochemistry profile, complete blood count, and urinalysis will almost certainly be performed.

If your cat has swallowed enough plant material to cause vomiting, the vomitus will be inspected and tested for poisons as well.

tabby cat on white surface
Photo by Anna Venezia on Pexels

How to diagnose asparagus fern poisoning in cats?

To diagnose asparagus fern poisoning in cats, try to look for remaining plant material around your cat’s face and take her to the vet.

If you notice your cat eating the Asparagus fern, identifying the plant is typically all that’s needed to figure out what’s causing the problem.

The Pet Poison Helpline does not list the Asparagus fern as a toxic plant for cats.

Symptoms of asparagus poisoning in cats

Asparagus poisoning in cats causes vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. The steroid in asparagus is the source of cats’ stomach upsets as well as the sap’s cutaneous reaction.

To diagnose asparagus poisoning in cats, try to look for remaining plant material around your cat’s face and take her to the vet.

Is asparagus safe for kittens to eat?

Asparagus is safe for kittens to eat, but only in small chunks and fully cooked. Kittens have shorter intestines and are primarily carnivorous, meaning their digestive system isn’t as evolved as adult cats’.

Feeding Asparagus to a kitten can strain their pancreas and cause health issues down the road.

If your cat is a senior cat or a kitten, avoid any dietary change and keep them on the veterinary-recommended diet.

black and white cat with tongue out
Photo by Guillaume Meurice on Pexels

Here are some potential side effects of asparagus to be aware of (In the case of cats)

1. Excessive alkalinity

If your cat eats too much Asparagus, his urine can become alkaline.

Too much alkalinity in the cat’s urine emphasizes the value of only giving your cat asparagus as a special treat.

You should stop offering Asparagus to your cat if it has a history of kidney or urinary tract disease. Any other sick cats should not eat Asparagus.

2. Stomach irritation

Asparagus can irritate a cat’s stomach because they are obligate carnivores. This means that their digestive system is only built to absorb animal protein.

When cats eat asparagus, it can cause stomach irritation and other digestive problems. As a result, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects of asparagus before feeding it to your cat.

3. Allergic reactions

Cats can suffer from allergic reactions to a variety of things, such as pollen, dust, and asparagus. If your cat eats or comes into contact with an asparagus fern, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin irritation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irritable behavior

4. Choking risks

Raw Asparagus poses a choking danger for your pet. The risks depend on the size of the vegetable and the portion of the plant consumed by the cat.

It is easier to chew and swallow cooked Asparagus than raw Asparagus. The preferred cooking methods are boiling and steaming.

How much raw asparagus can my cat eat?

Cats shouldn’t eat too much raw asparagus. The plant contains a compound called thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine (Vitamin B1).

A lack of Vitamin B1 can lead to neurological problems and potentially death.

Cooked asparagus is safe for cats to eat because the cooking process destroys thiaminase.


What are the asparagus ferns?

Asparagus ferns are climbing plants in the genus Asparagus. The leaves are actually leaf-like cladodes with a diameter of 0.1 mm that grow in bunches of up to 15 from the stem, forming a delicate, soft green fern-like foliage. On the stem, there are sharp barbed thorns.

The small greenish-white bell-shaped flowers are 0.4 cm long and are followed by small green berries that blacken with maturity. They bloom from spring to October. It is native to Southern Africa, reaching as far south as Calitzdorp in the Karoo in the west.

It is grown as an ornamental plant in other parts of the world. In numerous places where it has been introduced, it has become an invasive species.

Asparagus fern is grown as a decorative plant for use in gardens and pots, as well as for use as a houseplant.

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