Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

Vitamin A Toxicity in Cats


Your cat may love that raw liver treat, but did you know that too much liver can cause severe irreversible disease in cats?

How Is Liver Bad for Cats?

The disease is called hypervitaminosis A, or vitamin A toxicity. Liver contains very high levels of vitamin A, and when fed routinely to a cat for several months, can cause abnormal bone growth due to excessive vitamin A accumulation in the tissues. Extra bone forms at the attachments of tendons and ligaments and where joint capsules attach to bones.

The vertebrae of the neck are usually affected first, but the process can extend to the rest of the spine, the ribs, elbows, and other joints. Eventually, complete fusion of the joints along the spine and elsewhere occurs, resulting in the cat being unable to move his or her neck or affected limbs. The bony growth can also place pressure on nerves as they exit the spinal column, and on the spinal cord itself, which is extremely painful. The cat is reluctant to move, cannot groom his or herself, and may be partially or completely paralyzed. Kittens can also suffer from loose teeth, abnormal tooth development, and bone growth abnormalities.

Unfortunately, the disease is not reversible once the extensive bony changes have occurred. If the diet is corrected early enough, however, some of the stiffness and discomfort can be alleviated. It can be challenging, though, to introduce a different diet to a cat that has become accustomed to eating liver. Some cats will simply refuse to eat anything else. It is, therefore, very important to feed your cat a good quality cat food that is scientifically formulated to meet specific dietary needs right from the start. Avoiding liver altogether is the wisest choice.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Fishy Food and Feline Hyperthyroidism

Helpful Tips for Getting Your Cat to Eat More Canned Food

Why Do Some Cats Carry Food Out Of Their Bowls to Eat It?

Ethoxyquin, Mercury, and PCBs: Is Feeding Fish Safe for Cats?

Foods Toxic to Cats - Slideshow

Reading Cat Food Labels

Wet Food vs. Dry Food For Cats

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with

Notice: Ask-a-Vet is an affiliated service for those who wish to speak with a veterinary professional about their pet's specific condition. Initially, a bot will ask questions to determine the general nature of your concern. Then, you will be transferred to a human. There is a charge for the service if you choose to connect to a veterinarian. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian.