If you cook Mexican food or do certain baking, you probably have limes in your house, at least somewhere. And unlike other foods that your cat probably has at least poked at, you may have noticed that your cat stringently avoids the limes (as well as oranges and any other citrus fruits).
In fact, some people recommend having citrus around gardens or flowers to keep cats away! This is because citrus fruit is toxic to cats and unlike other foods which cats may try to eat despite being toxic, they take citrus fruit seriously.
But if you forced the issue, can cats eat lime or anything made with lime?
No. And no again! Lime, and other citrus fruit, can make a cat pretty sick if they eat it. And most of them would flat out refuse to eat it, or even go near it, anyway.
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Do Cats Like Lime?
This is one case where the vast, vast majority of cats will actually pay attention to what their instincts are saying and stay away. Cats don’t like limes.
Cats don’t like any citrus fruits. They don’t even like the smell of citrus (my cat hates it when I clean with lemon cleaner for example and won’t go near anything with lemon juice).
I would be quite shocked if there was a cat who tried to go after lime because their every instinct would tell them to stay far away.
Do Cats Hate Lime?
Yes. Cats hate lime and will refuse to go near it. They even hate the smell, let alone the taste. They know full well that limes (and other citrus) will make them sick, so they avoid it.
Can Eating Lime Kill My Cat?
Citrus fruit contain limonin, volatile oils, and a large amount of citric acid. Limes in particular contain an oil called d-Limonene which is what causes the big problem for cats.
Unlike humans who can manage these oils and acids just fine, a cat’s liver is not equipped for it. As a result, cats become poisoned by them. And since cats are so small, it doesn’t take much.
Both the fruit and the rind of lime can make a cat sick. The rind contains essential oils and psoralens that can make your cat ill and the fruit contains acids that your cat cannot process very well (And will also make them feel ill). Eating too much (Which isn’t much at all) can cause:
- depressed nervous system functioning
- Low blood pressure
Even absorbing the oils found in limes through the skin is enough to cause problems for your cat! It can cause ski irritations, make your cat smell like citrus, and cause other problems.
And if the poison level is too high, your cat can die. So yes, eating lime can kill your cat and if it doesn’t kill them, it makes them quite ill.
Cats get exposed to limes (and other citrus) usually through exposure to the oils which end up on their skin through shampoos, sprays, or insecticide dips. In the appropriate dosage, it can be beneficial (the d-Limonene also kills fleas), but if there is too much used, or it’s done too many times, it can cause poisoning.
Your cat can also get overexposed if they go too close to citrus that is sprayed on things to deter cats too many times. Fortunately, most cats don’t try to eat citrus because they know it will make them sick.
In order to deal with poisoning, it’s important to take your cat to the vet right away. They may need to have activated charcoal to clear out their stomachs or a thorough bath to get rid of the oils. They may also need IV fluids, proper warming, and medication and usually need a gentle diet for a few days afterward to let their system get back on track.
Most of the time, cats recover from their poisoning, but it can take a few days and cats are more likely to have extreme reactions compared to other animals like dogs.
How Many Limes Can My Cat Eat?
None. The peel, fruit, and seeds of limes (or any citrus fruit) are all toxic to cats. They cannot have lime in things (like pie or meat) either. Again though, most cats will steer well clear of citrus anyway, so accidental ingestion is pretty rare.
What about Cleaners with Lime?
Most people use cleaners that are made with lemon and sometimes with lime. Obviously, you don’t want to spray your cat with these, but it’s safe enough to use them as directed for house cleaning.
If you really want to be sure, put your cat in another room while you clean, and don’t let them back out until everything is cleaned, rinsed, and dried. This helps to prevent them from accidentally absorbing cleaner through their paw pads.
Most cats though head for the nearest high place when people are cleaning and stay away until it’s all dried anyway.
Using a citrus spray on things you want your cat to keep away from is pretty effective since the smell almost always deters them. This is why it’s commonly used in gardens.
Getting Rid of Fleas With Citrus and Lime?
Limes, and other citrus fruits, are great insecticides and will kill and deter fleas, making them popular for getting rid of fleas on pets.
If you’re going to go this route, it’s very important to talk to a vet to get the ratio of citrus to water correct (to prevent skin absorption) or use a specially formulated shampoo for your cat. And make sure to carefully rinse or swab your cat and avoid their eyes, ears, and mouth while washing them.
Essential Oil Diffusers
Using essential oil diffusers is always risky with cats (even scented candles) because the essential oils can make a cat quite sick.
Citrus ones are no different – too much use will cause overexposure in cats and can make them vomit, lethargic, or have other health problems. It’s best not to use them too much and try to get essential oils that aren’t toxic to cats. These include lavender, cinnamon, and jasmine.
Lime may be popular with humans for cooking and baking, but it will tend to send cats running for another space.
Citrus fruit of any kind is very toxic for cats, both topically and ingesting, and unlike food like chocolate, cats know that citrus is no good and will not go near it.
Be careful when using things like shampoos and cleaning products to ensure you don’t accidentally poison your cat and remember that you can use it as a deterrent for things like plants.
Does your cat flee at the first smell of lime or lemon, or do they care? Mine don’t like it, but they don’t tend to head for the opposite side of the house either.
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.