Toxic Foods: What Your Cat Should Never Eat
Dangerous Foods for Cats
Cats just can't eat everything that we do, and sometimes it can be hard to figure out what it safe without having a list of dangerous foods. Well, below you'll find a list of foods and drinks that you should not let your cat have. Keep in mind moderation is sometimes the ideal key, but in most cases, it's safer to just avoid letting your cat get into the tuna, even though he loves his tuna flavored cat food.
Just remember that even if your cat is a picky eater and he loves to eat the fat trimmings from your meat, that doesn't mean that it is good for him to eat. It is important that you know what you shouldn't feed your cat, so that you know what to watch out for.
Make sure everyone in the house is aware of what not to feed that cat.
What Not to Feed the Cat
- Alcohol: Never feed your cat any drink that contains alcohol, whether that's beer, wine, liquor, or even foods (such as the chocolates with a drop of champagne in them). Alcohol will affect your cat's brain and liver the same way it'll affect yours, but it'll take much less to do its damage. You'll find that just two teaspoons of whiskey can put a five-pound cat in a coma, and if you give the same cat three total teaspoons, it could kill him.
- Candy and Gum: Anything that is sweetened with xylitol should not be given to your cat. This can include anything from candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and even some diet foods. The xylitol can cause the body to increase the insulin that's circulating in the body, which can cause the cat's blood sugar to drop, which can lead to liver failure. Watch for vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination—you may also notice seizures, as well. It only takes a matter of days for liver failure to set in.
- Chocolate: Most cats won't eat chocolate on their own anyway, so it's usually not a problem, but that doesn't mean that you should tempt your cat or offer it at all. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic. Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate contains the most theobromine, so definitely keep it as far away from your cat as you can. Chocolate can cause abnormal heart palpitations, tremors, seizures, and even death.
- Coffee, Tea, and Other Caffeine: In large enough amounts, caffeine can be fatal. You want to watch out for restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and bleeding, as these are the basic signs of caffeine poisoning. You'll find that even coffee and tea beans and grinds can cause health problems for your cat. It's best to avoid giving your cat anything with caffeine, which can include cocoa, chocolate, soda, energy drinks, and even some medicines.
- Dog Food; A few bits and kibbles of dog food isn't going to hurt your cat, but you just can't use dog food as a substitute food to cat food. Dog food is formulated for dogs and doesn't meet the standard nutritional needs for cats. If you feed your cat a steady diet of dog food, he's going to be very malnourished.
- Fat Trimmings and Bones: Table scraps can contain fat and meat that has been trimmed off the bones, both of which are dangerous for cats to eat. The fat, whether cooked or uncooked can cause pancreatitis. The cat can choke on cooked bones; the bone can also splinter, causing lacerations or an obstruction in the digestive tract.
- Grapes and Raisins: So many people (myself included) have given their pet a grape or raisin on occasion, but it's not a good idea (and as soon as I found out, I stopped but that's just me). Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in cats. Even just a few can even kill your cat. You want to watch for vomiting and hyperactivity as early signs of kidney complications. You may find that your cat has never shown any signs of problems, but it's just best to avoid giving your cat any to prevent any issues.
- Human Medicine: You don't want to give your cat any medications that you were prescribed or any medications that you picked up over-the-counter. Just because you have a cold and do does your cat, that doesn't mean that you both need the same medications, much less the same dosage. If your cat sneaks a pill from the counter, you want to call your vet or an emergency vet as soon as possible. Never self medicate your cat—unless you've already called the vet to ask if it was ok. On a side note, you'll find medications that contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be deadly to your cat, so don't ever give anything to your cat that contains either ingredient.
- Liver: Liver can be healthy for your cat only if you offer it in small portions. Too much liver can cause a Vitamin A deficiency, which can affect your cat's bones. Watch for bone deformities, bone growth on the elbows and spine, and signs of osteoporosis. A vitamin A deficiency can cause death if it's not recognized early.
Milk and Other Dairy Products: But, a small saucer of milk or a slice of cheese can really affect a kitten's undeveloped digestive system. You'll find that even most adult cats just can't digest dairy. The dairy will upset their digestive system because it's just not designed to process dairy foods. You'll find that some cats will experience diarrhea or even allergic reactions after eating dairy. We've all seen it all throughout our lives—cats love milk.
- Onions, Garlic, and Chives: No matter how it's cooked, prepared, or processed, onions break down the red blood cells, which can lead to anemia. This is true for raw onions and even onion powder. Garlic and chives can cause gastrointestional issues with your cat, so it's best to avoid all three. There's no need to season your cat's food anyway.
- Raw Eggs: Giving your cat raw eggs is potentially offering Salmonella or E. coli in his bowl. Plus, there's an enzyme in raw eggs that can interfere with the body's absorption of the B vitamin biotin, which can cause skin problems with your cat's coat.
- Raw Meat and Fish: Raw meat and raw fish, like raw eggs, can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. In addition, an enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine, which is an essential B vitamin for your cat. A lack of thiamine can cause serious neurological problems and lead to convulsions and coma. Although a raw diet can be one of the more healthier diets for cats, you want to be quite cautious of offering a sole raw diet.
- Sugary Foods and Drinks: If you offer too many sugary foods and drinks, your cat can potentially suffer obesity, diabetes, and dental problems. It's best that you just don't offer any sugary foods.
- Tuna: Even though your cat may love tuna, it's just not the best idea to offer it all the time. If you offer tons of tuna, your cat can become malnourished. It just won't have all of the nutrients that your cat needs for a balanced diet. Once in awhile is ok, but don't make it a daily habit by any means.
- Yeast Dough: Raw yeast dough needs to rise before it's cooked, so if your cat eats any of the dough, it will swell in his stomach, which can cause severe pain, as the abdomen fills and stretched. Plus, as yeast ferments, it produced alcohol, which can cause alcohol poisoning.
Prevention Is Key
Just remember that if it's in your pantry, refrigerator, or on your cabinets, it's probably not ideal to give to your cat. Make sure that your cat can't get into the baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and other spices because they're highly toxic for cats. Make sure to keep cabinets and pantry doors closed. Also, keep lids on your spices and containers.
If your cat eats something that you know he shouldn't or if it's something you're not sure about, call your veterinarian or an emergency vet. You can also call the Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435).
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.