We often think that cats know what is best for them when it is time to eat. But just because they walk away from a rotten piece of meat doesn’t really mean they’re walking over an open can of tuna. And that can of tuna can be just as harmful. In fact, you may be surprised to realize that there are some basic foods that your cats should never consume.
Onions, Garlic, Chives
Onions in any form – in powder form, raw, cooked, or dehydrated – can cause a cat’s red blood cells to break down, leading to anemia. This is also true for the onion powder found in some baby foods. Eating a great amount once or eating small amounts consistently can cause onion toxicity. In addition to onions, garlic, which is 5 times more powerful than onions, and chives can both cause major and deadly health problems.
Cats can be addicted to tuna, whether it is conditioned for cats or for humans. A little tuna from time to time may not hurt. But a regular diet of tuna packed for humans can lead to malnutrition because it doesn’t include all the necessary nutrients that a cat needs. In addition, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning. Keep in mind the saying: “Honest as a cat when meat is out of reach”. Your cat will see an open can of tuna by the kitchen sink as an invitation to dinner.
Beer, alcohol, wine, food that contains alcohol, any of these are not healthy for your cat. That’s because alcohol has the identical effect on a cat’s liver and brain as it does on humans. But it requires much less for it to do its damage. Two teaspoons of whisky can provoke a coma in a 1.5 kg cat, and one more teaspoon could kill him. The bigger the evidence, the more serious the symptoms.
Milk and Other Dairy Products
What’s bad about feeding your cat a bowl of milk or a piece of cheese? Most cats are lactose sensitive. Their digestive system cannot digest dairy foods, which can trigger digestive troubles accompanied by diarrhea.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins have frequently been used as treats for pets. But this is not a good way to go. Although it is not known precisely why, grapes and raisins can provoke kidney failure in cats. And a small amount can make a cat ill. Vomiting repeatedly and hyperactivity are early warning signs. Although some cats do not show any harmful effects, it is better not to give grapes to your cat and to keep raisins away from counters and other places where your cat can access them.
Caffeine in enough quantity can be a killer for a cat. And there is no cure. The symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors. In addition to tea and coffee – which includes beans and pomace – caffeine is contained in cocoa, chocolate, colas and stimulant beverages such as Red Bull. Caffeine is also available in some cold medicines and painkillers.
Fat Trimmings and Bones
Table scraps usually contain fat from meat and bones. Fat and bones can be harmful to cats. Fat, whether cooked or uncooked, can lead to intestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhea. And a cat can choke on a bone. Bones can also breaks and cause an blockage or cut the inside of your cat’s digestive system.
Chocolate can be fatal to cats. While most cats do not eat it alone, they may be tempted to eat it by their owners and others who feel they are giving the cat a treat. The poison in chocolate is called theobromine. It is found in all types of chocolate, even white chocolate. The most harmful, however, are dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate. Eating chocolate can cause heart rhythm abnormalities, tremors, convulsions and death.
Feeding raw eggs to your cat causes two problems. The first is the risk of food poisoning due to bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli. The second is a rarely occurring problem in which a protein found in raw egg whites, called avidin, could interact with the absorption of vitamin B biotin. This can cause skin and coat issues.
Raw Meat and Fish
Both raw meat and fish, as well as raw eggs, can carry bacteria that lead to food poisoning. In addition, an enzyme found in raw fish damages thiamine, a B vitamin that is vital for your cat. A deficiency of thiamine can cause serious neurological issues and lead to convulsions and coma.
An accidental bite of dog food won’t hurt your cat. But dog food is not a replacement for cat food. It actually contains many of the same ingredients. But cat foods are formulated specifically to meet the needs of cats, which include more protein as well as specific vitamins and fatty acids. A diet of regular dog food can lead to severe malnutrition in your cat.
Small quantities of liver are fine, but eating too many can lead to vitamin A toxicity. This is a severe problem that can damage your cat’s bones. Symptoms include deformed bones, bone growths on the elbows and spine, and osteoporosis. Vitamin A toxicity can also cause death.
Too Many Treats
Feeding too often can do the same thing to cats as it does to humans. This can lead to overweight cats and even diabetes.
Before cooking, the bread dough needs to rise. And that’s precisely what it would do in your cat’s stomach if he ate it. By inflating inside, the dough can stretch the abdomen and cause serious aches and pains. Also, when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it will produce alcohol, which can lead to alcohol intoxication.
One of the most common causes of food poisoning in cats is the swallowing of medication prescribed to humans. Just as you would for your kids, put all medications where your cat can’t access them. And do never give your cat any over-the-counter medication except on the advice of your veterinarian. Ingredients such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are common in pain relievers and cold medications. And they can be deadly to your cat.
Kitchen Pantry: No Cats Allowed
Many other products commonly found on kitchen shelves can harm your cat. By storing food where your cat can’t reach it and keeping pantry doors and closets closed, you will help protect your cat from getting serious food-related diseases.
If Your Cat Eats What It Shouldn’t
Even if you’re very careful, your cat may be able to find and swallow what it shouldn’t. It’s a good idea to always carry the numbers of your local veterinarian, the nearest emergency clinic and the ASPCA Fish Control Center — (888) 426-4435 — where you know you can find them in an emergency. And if you think your cat has eaten something poisonous, call for emergency help straight away.
What Cats Can Eat
Cats are carnivorous and need meat. By consulting with your veterinarian about the cat food you feed your cat and according to the instructions on the label, you can make sure that your cat’s diet is well balanced and that your cat stays healthy. A little cooked boneless beef or brown rice can be a great treat. But it’s better to keep it small and not too frequent.