Dangerous Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat
It is understandable wanting to share a snack with your cat but a cat’s digestive system is very different from ours and many of the foods that people consume on a daily basis can wreak havoc on a cat’s body causing severe health problems. As a loving pet owner, it’s crucial that you give your cat healthy food but it’s even more important to know what human foods you should never feed them. In this blog, we will talk about 14 human foods that are toxic to cats. Why do milk and tuna make it to our list? What’s wrong with grapes and avocados? Why are salt and seasonings bad for cats?
Chocolate is a delicious treat for humans but it is toxic to cats because it contains a substance called theobromine. Humans break down and metabolise theobromine easily but cats don’t. Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate varieties are even more dangerous for cats because they contain a higher concentration of a cocoa powder. Side effects of eating chocolate include vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures and death.
- Milk cheese and dairy products
Many of us grew up with the image of cats drinking milk or dairy products in picture books and cartoons. But in reality cats and dairy products don’t mix. Kittens like other baby mammals have an enzyme called lactase the function of which is to break down the lactose from their mother’s milk after they are weaned however, their bodies produce less lactase. It prepares the animal for its transition to adult food. Although some adult cats may still produce some lactase enzymes, most felines are lactose intolerant, meaning cow milk and dairy products such as cheese or cream can upset their stomachs. They may experience anything from mild to severe gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhoea, loose stools, vomiting stomach pain or gas. Even kittens should not be fed cow’s milk though kittens have lactose in their system, there’s just not enough of it to tackle the lactose overload found in cow’s milk. Another reason not to give your cats cow’s milk is that it’s full of fat which is why cats are attracted to milk so much. Fat and sugar in milk will cause weight gain and diabetes. Cats need to consume far fewer calories than the average human. What might feel like a small treat to you could contain more than a day’s worth ofncalories for your pet. For example, a saucer of milk for your cat is like you eating an entire 12-inch pizza which is too much on top of all your usual daily food and meals.
Do you offer your furry friend the same food as you cook yourself or maybe offer them your table scraps? Most human food contains too much salt, which isn’t recommended for cats. Eating too much salt can lead to a condition known as salt poisoning. It causes water deprivation in pets and leads to symptoms like vomiting, fever, diarrhoea, excess thirst and tremors. In severe cases, it may even cause death. Excess of sodium over time can lead to high blood pressure just like it can in humans. Clinical findings suggest that salt consumption of more than 41 milligrams a day could become poisonous to cats. That’s less than 1/16 of a teaspoon of salt, which means that you should keep your cat away from salty food such as fries, pretzels or popcorn, especially if your pet has urinary or kidney problems.
- Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits contain essential oils and citric acid that can cause problems in cats. While small amounts will likely cause only a gastrointestinal upset, large amounts can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors and liver damage. The leaves, peels, stems, fruit and seeds should all be avoided. Cats can also experience skin irritation if their skin comes into contact with citrus fruits. Even simply inhaling citrus, essential oils or any other essential oil can cause problems for cats. The good thing though is that cats hate citrus and the strong citrus scents will often shoot cats away.
- Raw or undercooked meat, eggs and fish
Raw fish, raw eggs and raw meat can contain bacteria like salmonella and E.coli that can be very harmful to pets. Cooking to a safe temperature kills off those harmful bacteria as well as any possible viruses. Feeding raw eggs to a cat can also lead to vitamin B7 deficiency as raw egg whites contain avidin an enzyme that prevents absorption of vitamin B7 in the body. This can lead to skin and coat problems. Raw fish also contains an enzyme that destroys thiamine another essential B vitamin. Without thiamine, a cat can develop neurological problems.
Contrary to what cartoons often show, house cats have no business gnawing on fish skeletons or any cooked bones. Cooked bones are a serious danger to felines because they can splinter and get stuck in a cat’s throat or stomach. Your cat could even break a tooth and get a tongue or mouth injury or cause an obstruction that could require surgery.
Avocados contain a toxic substance called persin which is perfectly safe for humans but can cause serious health problems and even death in many animals. Persin is found in avocado fruit, leaves, pits and the actual plant so all of these parts are potentially poisonous to your cat in large amounts it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, pancreatitis and myocardial damage.
- Grapes and raisins
Cats should never eat grapes and raisins. These fruits are known to be extremely toxic to cats. Grape toxicity in cats can cause serious kidney damage that can lead to sudden kidney failure which can be fatal. Products such as grape juice and grape jam and even baked goods with raisins should also be avoided. Make sure to keep your breakfast cereals away if they contain these two ingredients. According to clinical reports, many cats sadly have died of kidney failure after eating just a few raisins.
- Hot dogs
Your feline friend would probably love to chow down on the hot dog but it is not a good idea. Many hot dogs contain ingredients that are not good for cats such as sugars, artificial sweeteners and unhealthy saturated fats that they cannot process. Hot dogs also contain seasonings such as onion powder and garlic which are toxic to cats and the biggest problem with hot dogs is salt. In fact, all processed meats are unsafe for your feline these products contain a significant amount of salt, fat, chemical preservatives and added spices which are bad for your cat’s stomach.
Most cats love tuna to a fault. Tuna is very tasty perhaps much tastier than your cat’s food. However, cats can become addicted to tuna. Some felines when given tuna on a regular basis will start turning up their nose at their regular cat food hoping you will give them more tuna instead. In moderation, tuna can be a safe treatment for most cats but a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because tuna doesn’t have all the nutrients and vitamins a cat needs.
- Macadamia nuts
Macadamia nuts are very toxic to cats. These nuts are often found in baked goods, cakes, cookies, muffins and even trail mix. Make sure to keep these foods away from your pet. Even a small amount of nuts can cause severe symptoms. Eating chocolate with nuts will make symptoms worse maybe even leading to death.
Any beverage that contains a hint of caffeine is a big no-no for your cat. Caffeine over-stimulates a cat’s nervous system. It causes their heart rate to increase to a dangerous level and their blood pressure to skyrocket. It can also cause vomiting seizures and even death. Caffeine stimulates a cat much more than a human as cats are much more sensitive to it. Make sure to keep your four-legged friend away from coffee, tea, energy drinks, coffee beans and coffee grounds.
We all love our feline companions and none of us would ever think about getting them drunk. However, accidents can happen and alcohol exists in many products we wouldn’t realise, such as mouthwash, perfume, cleaning products and hand sanitisers. Make sure to keep them out of reach even the smallest amount of alcohol such as found in cough syrups, medications and raw bread dough is poisonous to cats. Signs of intoxication include vomiting, disorientation and poor breathing. In severe cases, alcohol intoxication in cats can cause the failure of the organs, systems and even death.
- Raw yeast dough
If you’ve ever made bread from scratch then you know that dough has to rise. When a cat eats bread dough the yeast in that dough can expand in your cat’s belly and cause a lot of pain and bloating. This can cause a cat’s stomach to twist, which can turn into a medical emergency. There’s also a risk of alcohol poisoning since yeast produces alcohol during the fermenting process. Make sure raw dough is out of your feline’s reach at all times.
What about feeding your cat the same food?
If you feed your cat one particular type of food for their entire life they can develop a very strong food preference for that single brand and flavour. Brand preference is no big deal until you need to change your cat’s food. Even if you think you won’t change your pet’s diet you can’t predict when a medical diagnosis might require dietary changes. For example, many cats face kidney problems as they age which require a change of diet. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you need to buy many different cat foods and rotate them around because that can lead to problems as well. But if you give them the same food all their life it can be difficult if not impossible for them to accept the new food.