Cinnamon, also called Cinnamomum, is a household spice used in cooking and baking. Cats are generally curious animals, and there are high chances that your cat has snooped around your kitchen and come across this spice. Cinnamon is considered nontoxic to cats, but it becomes toxic when your cat eats or inhales high levels, especially the one found in essential oils. A high concentration of cinnamon in the cat’s body results in toxicity.
Why are cats Susceptible to Cinnamon Toxicity?
When a person ingests cinnamon, the liver produces special enzymes (glucuronyl transferase) that break down the cinnamon compounds. Cats cannot produce the liver enzymes necessary to break down cinnamon, especially if the cat is exposed to high concentrations within a short period. Exposure to a high concentration of cinnamon may be due to; chewing a cinnamon tree, eating food spiced with cinnamon, chewing or licking household items, or potpourri made from cinnamon, and touching your pet immediately after rubbing cinnamon oil in your hands. In humans, cinnamon is used as a natural remedy to control diabetes. It helps in lowering the blood sugar level. Some pet owners give their cats cinnamon as part of treating feline diabetes. In the process, the cats end up being exposed to cinnamon toxicity. The act is done out of ignorance.
It would be best if you took note that cats should never be given cinnamon intentionally. Some pet owners apply essential oils to their cats. According to Petcareadvisors, cats have thin skin that absorbs the essential oils, and it will be lethal if the oil has cinnamon. Cinnamon contains a harmful substance known as phenol, classified as carbolic acid. Exposure to cinnamon burns the skin and damages the respiratory system. To be safe, avoid using any essential oils unless the product has been labeled as safe to use around pets. If you have any doubts, contact the manufacturer to obtain details on the product’s safety for pets. If a cat ingests cinnamon, it causes irritation on the skin and the oral cavity. Cinnamon reaction will cause a rash or an allergic reaction because cats have sensitive skin and are keener on smell than humans. If you notice signs of a rash or an allergic reaction that you suspect is due to cinnamon toxicity, please consult with your veterinarian immediately.
Symptoms of Cinnamon Toxicity in Cats
Your cat will exhibit various symptoms if they suffer from an allergic reaction to cinnamon or organic compounds. The symptoms will vary depending on the mode of exposure and the concentration of cinnamon in the body. Exposure to the skin and oral cavity will cause allergic reactions such as rashes, skin irritation, skin redness, and burns. Cinnamon inhalation will cause respiratory reactions such as coughing and difficulty breathing, called bronchospasm and wheezing. Ingestion of cinnamon compounds in cats results in vomiting, low blood sugar, diarrhea, low or high heart rate, liver disease, thinning of blood, and failure of other body organs such as kidneys.
Diagnosis of Cinnamon Allergy and Toxicity in Cats
If you notice signs of a rash or an allergic reaction that you suspect is due to cinnamon toxicity, please consult with your veterinarian immediately. According to Hepper, the diagnosis of cinnamon toxicity and allergic reaction will depend on the pet owner’s ability to describe exposure mode. Diagnosis involves a physical examination and going through your cat’s medical history to ascertain the actual cause of the allergic reaction. Suppose there are symptoms of consistent organ failure. In that case, your vet will undertake several tests, such as urinalysis and blood tests which will enable them to assess organ functioning in the body.
Treatment of Cinnamon Allergy and Toxicity in Cats
Treatment of toxicity will depend on the extent of exposure and the reoccurring symptoms that result from the cat’s reaction to cinnamon. If there is an allergic reaction, clean the infected part with water and mild soap. If irritation is in the eyes, the eyes should be properly rinsed to exfoliate the irritating substance. Research shows that steroids worsen skin irritation and should be avoided in your pet. According to Cattime, toxicity can also be cured using prognosis, depending on the extent of damage in your cat’s body organs. Treatment involves offering supportive care to your cat and flashing out the toxins, eventually relieving your cat of any symptoms caused by an allergic reaction to cinnamon. If there is severe organ damage, the prognosis is guarded, and your vet will offer your cat the necessary therapeutic care that is significant in restoring the organ function. You will give your cat vitamin K, which is used as an antidote in curbing poisoning in cats exposed to high levels of cinnamon. Vitamin K is important if the cat has symptoms of bleeding such as blood-thinning caused by coumarin poisoning. If your cat is experiencing respiratory distress due to inhaling cinnamon, your vet will perform air management and oxygen therapy procedures.
Recovery of cats from Cinnamon allergy and toxicity
The recovery period will depend on the level of exposure and the extent of organ damage. Allergic reactions from cinnamon clear up within a week or two after removing cinnamon from your cat’s environment. Avoid the use of essential oils as part of home treatment. It is good to consult with your vet before administering any form of treatment to your cat. Sufficient rest is part of the recovery process. Make sure you administer the prescribed medication and follow the diet recommended by your veterinarian.
As much as cinnamon is extremely beneficial to humans, that is not the case with felines. Since there is no evidence of the importance of cinnamon on cats, you should avoid it. It is not advisable to give your cat cinnamon for therapeutic purposes. Suppose your cat has inhaled or ingested cinnamon in small amounts that is no cause for alarm. If there is a high exposure to cinnamon, check if your cat has signs of gastrointestinal or breathing problems and contact your vet immediately.