Everybody knows about dogs not being able to eat chocolate, raisins and onions, but less is known about what cats have to avoid.
The truth is, any food not designed for cats has the potential to affect their digestive system and cause vomiting, diarrhoea or long term struggles with appetite. Many people think that cats simply know what they can and can’t eat and will largely avoid anything which isn’t ‘normal’ for them, but the side effects are not worth the risk of consumption.
When you have a cat, it is important to keep any foods they aren’t meant to have out of sight and access, especially if they tend to nab things when you exit the room or climb up onto benches and in cupboards.
The Foods Dangerous To Cats
Just as with dogs, cats are not allowed to have chocolate. It contains theobromine, which is a stimulant which can cause heart trouble and seizures. Chocolate also contains traces of caffeine, mentioned below.
Caffeine may be needed by you to get through the day but it can cause cats to suffer from rapid breathing, heart issues and muscle tremors – basically what would happen to a human after far, far too much coffee.
Cheese, milk, cream and anything made with these ingredients is a bad idea. Adult cats can’t process lactose, meaning they are intolerant, so it could cause a very severe stomach upset.
But they are drawn to it, especially fatty creams, so ensure you keep it away from them.
As you read above, they also can’t have caffeine, so don’t leave milky coffees and teas lying around.
Vomiting, diarrhoea and pancreatitis from excessive fat intake are all associated with the consumption of raw meat by cats. This also applies to raw eggs, and then there is the risk of salmonella or E.coli as would affect humans, too.
Cooked and uncooked fat can cause pancreatitis as mentioned above. It is best to avoid giving your puss any scraps or leftovers which may contain fat and avoid giving them bones too, as these can splinter and cause issues in your cat’s digestive system.
Tiny amounts are okay, but vitamin A toxicity will develop if consumed in large amounts. This affects bones and can cause deformities, growth stunts, and osteoporosis. Too much vitamin A can even cause death.
You may feel that a small bit of liver occasionally is fine, but if your cat regularly gets a taste for certain things, it is best to avoid it completely.
Although you wouldn’t force your cat to drink alcohol, they could take a lick from an open glass of wine or beer if they are feeling particularly exploratory.
As little as a teaspoon of alcohol could cause severe brain and kidney failure in cats, and they are likely to get extremely intoxicated on a small amount so could suffer from lack of awareness and movement.
These can cause digestive upset. With dogs, onions are toxic, and while it is thought the effects aren’t quite so severe in cats, it isn’t worth the risk.
Keep onions of all varieties out of reach of your cat, including garlic and chives, and don’t give them meat leftovers from a casserole, stew or soup which had onions in.
An occasional bite will do no harm. They have many of the same ingredients, after all. But there aren’t the levels of nutrients needed for your cat, or the right ones. Cats need more protein, for example.
While dog food won’t be poisonous to your cat, it can cause malnutrition if consumed over a long period.
Bread dough rises with the yeast. Before it is cooked, that is exactly what it could do in your cat’s stomach if consumed. This can cause pain when it swells.
Yeast also ferments the dough when it rises, and alcohol is produced as a by-product. As said above, this can be fatal even in a tiny amount.
Green Tomatoes or Potatoes
We avoid them, so why give them to your pet? On a serious note, we avoid them as they produce a poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine, which causes gastrointestinal problems.
Any products which contain tomatoes or potatoes will have it in small quantities and it will be ripe, so leave those ripening tomatoes out of reach.
A form of sugar/sweetener, found in toothpaste, chewing gum and sweets. But it is also present in many baked goods or diet foods which your cat could grab a hold of, such as biscuits and cakes or cereal bars.
It will increase cats insulin levels which lowers sugar levels. This can cause lethargy and eventually liver failure. Cats cannot taste sweet things so may not even know to avoid it.
Not an obvious one to end on, and it should be regulated as opposed to stopped altogether. Cats love fish, and many dedicated cat food will contain something such as salmon.
But tinned fish for humans will often not contain the nutrients a cat needs to develop when given alone, so they should have tinned tuna as a partial treat now and then as opposed to the main part of a meal.
Too much tuna can actually cause mercury poisoning in cats as well, so opt for other tinned fish if you prefer to not give them cat food.
Which Human Foods Can A Cat Eat?
You can share occasionally…
- Meats – They have to be cooked fully, removed of all bone and not fatty. Beef, chicken and turkey are good.
- Fruit and Vegetables – Not all will like these, and fruit is particularly funny for them (they can’t taste sweet things). But in small portions, the water and vitamin content can help with digestion. Try broccoli, asparagus or cucumber.
- Whole Grains – Unlike refined grains, they contain a good amount of fibre and iron. Oatmeal, couscous and brown rice are good in managed portions.
- Cooked Eggs – Always ensure they’re fully cooked, but they can give a great amount of protein. Scrambled egg is a good choice.
- Fish – As mentioned above, the tinned stuff isn’t great. But fresh fish is a big part of any cats diet, so fresh salmon, herring, tuna and crab are good. Keep it as a treat or part of a meal as opposed to the basis of it though.