Cat Health

Dangers of Lemon Pepper for Cats Revealed

How do you compensate for being absent for almost the entire week every month of the year? Barbecue nights! I am always tired from the stress of work each day and I don’t get to spend much time with my family. So I try to make the most of our weekends together—grilling!

I manufacture my own lemon pepper spice and add extra black pepper to lemon zest to intensify the flavor. After learning from experience, my daughter will never feed our cat lemon pepper spiced pepper chicken or tuna.

Eight months ago, after one of our barbecue weekends, I noticed my cat was trying to hide his misery. Apparently, my daughter served him lemon pepper pork. I immediately communicated with my vet and we stabilized the animal. So, is lemon pepper bad for cats? Find out.

Lemon Pepper Bad for Cats

What is Lemon Pepper

Lemon pepper can be anything. For me, it’s one of the best spices for marinating fish beef, and chicken. It is made with a lemon zest granule which is usually the main ingredient, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and cracked pepper.

In preparing this spice, you need to zest the lemon and ensure it’s only the outer part of the peel and nothing more because if you zest both the white part, your sauce will become bitter. This zest lemon is then crushed or ground together with the cracked black pepper, mixed with the onion and garlic pepper with the addition of salt to make the flavor pop.

Is Lemon Pepper Bad for Cats

Yes! Lemon pepper harms cats. Lemon pepper is rich in lemon peel, black pepper, garlic, onion powder, and salt. These ingredients can cause renal failure or death in cats.

Lemon pepper may not damage cats in tiny amounts, but avoid testing their survival with a reward of lemon pepper tuna, as my ragdoll became ill from eating barbecued chicken supplied by my daughter. Lemon pepper spice contains chemicals that may bother your cat.

Ingredients In lemon pepper and how they affect your cat.

Lemon pepper can never be complete without any of these ingredients. This spice takes grilling to another level. Beyond grilling, most people use it to marinate their meats before baking or frying.

I can keep going on and on about why lemon pepper is a great kitchen spice for humans, but this is not about us, is it? Lemon pepper for cats is not a good idea, have you seen a cat that ate some grape seeds? They react terribly, and that’s the way your kitty will react if it consumes onion powder. here is a list of ingredients used in lemon pepper:

Onion and Garlic

The garlic and onion used in making lemon pepper are in granulated form. The fresh onions and garlic are dried using the oven or direct sunlight. These dried onions and garlic are then grounded into a powdered form which is more concentrated than fresh onions.

The granulated form constitutes over %15 of the entire lemon pepper spice. A pinch of onion powder may not cause toxicity in cats but 600 to 800 grams in a single meal or spread across subsequent meals in a few days will cause onion poisoning in your cat.

Onion poisoning in cats can lead to anemia and hypoxia in the organs. The onion affects your cat by depleting its red blood cells. Subsequent symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Lemon Zest

The lemon zest is the reason behind the intense taste of the lemon pepper spice. The zest is extracted by different methods, either it’s taken from the lemon whole or the peels are stripped, dried, and ground.

Although lemon is toxic to cats, the peel is not as toxic as the juice, but I will advise you against giving your cat lemon pepper. Sometimes, your kitty may have an underlying disease/weakened immune system that you may not be aware of, giving it chicken or fish dipped/grilled in lemon pepper even in little amounts may lead to severe reactions.

Cracked black pepper

Abrasiveness defines cracked black pepper in any flavor. This flavor dominates most flavors. Most meals and seasonings complement black pepper.

But your cat only likes salty, sour, and bitter. Giving him sweet or spicy snacks is pointless as it can’t taste them.

Due to its fragrance, feral and domestic cats shun black pepper. With 40–80 million olfactory sensors, cats detect heat, abnormalities, and territory.

Piperine ruins black pepper’s aroma. Lemon pepper hurts cat lungs. Black pepper poisoning produces vomiting, drooling, stomachache, terror, and despair.


There are two basic salts used in making lemon pepper spice: our regular table salts and kosher salt. Our regular table salt is purer since it was refined to ensure all naturally occurring minerals are removed, but when these minerals are extracted, the regular table salt may not make your spice pop which is why kosher salt is preferred.

Kosher salt hardly contains additives, and any food you use it on gets impacted by its salinity. Most chefs will swear by the effect of kosher salt in their spices and dishes. In as much as kosher salt is a joy to we that love the kitchen, is it safe for our cats?

Your cat can eat salt, but salts contain sodium and your feline friend should not have more than a specified amount of sodium daily. A quarter spoonful of regular table salt and kosher salt contains 580mg and 480mg of sodium respectively. A cat’s daily intake of sodium should be 1.25g/kg of its weight. If it exceeds it, there is likely a chance of sodium poisoning.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats Lemon Pepper

If your cat eats little lemon pepper food/meat, they may not be poisoned. A heavy or continuous amount of lemon pepper spice may cause severe onion, sodium, or black pepper poisoning. We recommend prevention, but what should you do if it’s happened?

Stay relaxed

When your beloved pet is in pain, it’s hard to keep cool, but if you’re tight, your cat will be too.

Inform The Vet

Carefully observe your cat’s symptoms. If you can describe your cat’s condition well, your vet will be able to give you first aid advice or ask you to bring it over.


Cats may recover without treatment in minor poisoning situations, but severe cases may require IV flush, injection, and supportive care. Whether the case is severe or minor, follow up on meds, watch for abnormal behavior, and update the vet.

Lemon Pepper Bad for Cats


Chefs love lemon pepper for grilling because it adds a strong lemon flavor that makes you want more. However, cats cannot eat it. All four main elements in lemon pepper—onion, salt, black pepper, and lemon zest—are harmful to cats and can make them very sick.

Your cat can thrive on high-quality kibble, but for treats, try exotic fruits like guava or pumpkin, chicken, and tuna without adding harmful spices.


I am Joshua kaynard, an avid cat lover. Our pets provide an excellent way of connecting with nature; I am committed to helping you understand all the aspects of your feline friend's life. Enjoy!

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