Can Cats Eat Mushrooms?

If you are a fan of mushrooms, you know that they come in different shapes and sizes. There are different types and have varied ways of growing them. Additionally, there are numerous ways to prepare and serve mushrooms. But given that you are reading this, preparation and serving is not a problem you have. What you are wondering about is can cats eat mushrooms? Are mushrooms safe for your cat.

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In this piece, you should note that we are not talking about the poisonous mushroom types. We assume that the mushroom in question is safe for human consumption. It would be pretty reckless of you to serve poisonous mushroom to your cat, don’t you think?

How Much Mushrooms Can Cats Eat?

For the safety of your cat, mushrooms are not recommended for consumption by cats. In the event that your cat ends up eating some pieces of mushroom you bought from the store, there are high chances that she will be fine. The thing about sore bought mushrooms is the fact that they are free of toxins and that they are usually the non-poisonous type.

That said, it is important to note that there are numerous poisonous mushrooms that grow in the wild. These can be toxic to your cat. The wild mushrooms normally grow alongside weeds. But at times, you might notice them hidden in the corners of your basement. You need to be careful not to have hidden mushrooms in your home, especially in areas that your cat frequents.

The fact that mushrooms come in a wide variety of types and styles makes the decision to feed or not to feed your cat on mushrooms, all the more difficult.

Determining which mushrooms are toxic and which are safe even for human consumption, for most cat lovers, proves to be a difficult task. Many people do not have the knowledge of the factors they should be on the lookout for when deciding on mushroom safety. If your cat ends up taking a small bite of mushroom on your plate, as pointed above, there are high chances it will be fine. However, this should not be converted into a habit.

The Good and Bad of Mushrooms

It should not come as a shock to you that your cat, just like you, seems to love mushrooms. As a matter of fact, your cat could even be craving some mushrooms. It is for this reason that we need to be clear. Mushrooms that are generally safe for human consumption are also good, to some degree and extent, great for cats.

Mushrooms can be used to replace meat in a cat’s diet. Mushroom texture is similar to that of meat and it could very well help your cat shed some weight in the process, especially if it is used to feeding on treats and other high calorie meat products. That said, it will do you some good to remember that mushrooms are not to be fed to your cat in high amounts. If anything, they should be relegated to ‘treat’ status.

Now, as we have mentioned a couple of time above, a small amount of mushroom is great for your cat. However, not all mushrooms are equal. Ensure you research the type of mushroom you have before you proceed to feed it to your cat. Additionally, if you have a lot of wild mushrooms growing in your property, it is best you get in touch with a vet to make sure that the mushrooms present are not poisonous to your cat.

Many mushrooms have gills and are basidiomycetes. They all fall under the same genus. Therefore the name may not do you any good. Your best bet is getting your mushrooms from a local store. You should never experiment on mushrooms you find while you are out on a run or taking a walk, unless you have studied them and know how to differentiate the safe from the poisonous mushrooms.

Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning

You should try your best to control everything your cat eats. Now I understand that for many cat parents this is easier said than done. But be it as it may, this should not stop you from trying to take control. For all the mushrooms you get from the local store, be sure to keep them in your fridge or locked up and away from your cat’s reach. In the event you throw some mushrooms away, you should consider taking the trash outside. Always clean the plates and the dining area after meals. This is very important since like dogs, cats also love nibbling on left over foods after dinner.

You should pay more attention to your garden. If there are any mushrooms growing, consider fencing that specific area to keep the cats from roaming inside. Also, consider spraying a liquid around the area the mushrooms are growing to prevent mushroom growth. You also can spray a cat deterrent to keep your cat away.

Since mushrooms grow fast (the pop up overnight), you should perform a visual inspection of the property every morning. Any mushroom you come across should be uprooted. This will ensure you take care of the problem before the cat gets a chance to sniff around and take a bite.

Mushrooms contain several toxins. One of these toxins is amanitin. This is the leading mushroom poison in pets and humans. Any mushroom containing amanitin should be avoided.

The symptoms that follow after your cat consumes poisonous mushroom include vomiting, drooling, diarrhoea and excessive tearing. In some severe cases, liver damage may follow. The problem with mushroom poisoning is that the symptoms usually manifest after 6 or even 24 hours. In some cases, these symptoms tend to subside only for them to pop back up at a later date.

Note that liver failure is dangerous and the effects it causes are irreversible. If the poisoning is not caught early and treated seriously and aggressively, sorry to say but your cat may lose its life. Yes I know people say cats have nine lives, but the truth of the matter is that it only takes eating a poisonous mushroom to go through the nine lives and make it permanent. I do not say this to scare you but to paint a picture of the seriousness of the matter.

Another toxin is Muscarine. This usually results in vomiting, salivating an increased heart rate and a reduction in respiration, and diarrhoea. The signs of poisoning manifest in 30 minutes. To remedy the situation you should give your cat Atropine.

Another toxin found in most mushrooms is isoxazole. It causes depression, hyper excitement and vomiting.

Treatment of Mushroom Poisoning

When you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms, you should do your due diligence and take the cat to your vet immediately. Be sure to collect a sample of the ingested mushroom. Carry it in a moist paper towel if you can.

If you feel this will take a long time, you should try and induce vomiting. The longer the mushroom toxin remains in your cat’s system the greater the risk of liver damage. To induce vomiting, orally administer 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide (not the strong type that is used in colouring hair).

To Conclude

There are two different answers about cats eating mushrooms. The first is yes, provided the mushroom is safe. And the second is no, if you have no clue what type of mushroom you are dealing with.

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