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Xylitol and Cats

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that may not be good for cats.

Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that has been gaining popularity in human products for several years. It does not harm humans and can even help fight oral bacteria, making cavities less likely. As people look for ways to decrease sugar in their diets, xylitol has emerged as a good option.

However, xylitol is incredibly toxic to dogs. It causes a sharp, life-threatening dip in blood sugar and can rapidly result in death. In some dogs, it also causes liver failure. It isn't known why or which dogs will experience liver complications.

Is Xylitol Toxic for Cats?

Whether or not xylitol is toxic to cats like it is to dogs has been a matter of debate. The pet poison hotlines have not received many calls for xylitol ingestion in cats. However, that could be because:

  • Cats don't have as much of a sweet tooth as dogs and don't ingest xylitol-containing products as readily.
  • People haven't recognized that their cats' signs of illness correlate with ingesting something containing xylitol because cats don't devour as much of it as a dog would.
  • Cats are more resistant but not immune to xylitol's effects.

It appears, as the question has been studied more in recent years, that the likely answer is that cats are more resistant if not immune to xylitol's effects. However, this isn't known with absolute certainty. It is also not known whether some cats may experience the liver failure that some dogs do from xylitol exposure.

The Bottom Line on Xylitol and Your Cat

At, our recommendation on this issue is to assume xylitol can be toxic for cats and keep products containing it out of reach. If your cat does ingest something containing xylitol, observe for signs of illness, including:

  • Wobbliness
  • Drooling
  • Dullness
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

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