As a loving cat parent, I know better than to succumb to my cats’ adorable eyes asking for food.
That’s because human foods can have many harmful effects on cats.
The meals we eat often contain quantities of nutrients much higher than what your furry friend needs, which can negatively impact your cat’s health.
Second, cat foods contain essential nutrients that your kitty cannot do without. Any unnecessary food they eat will reduce their appetite for the premium foods they need.
In this article, you will get valuable information about those “people foods” you should not give your cat and why. To be specific, you will know:
- List of foods and drinks that you should never feed your cat
- List of foods that your cat can have occasionally
- What to do if your cat eats poisonous food
- How to treat toxicity in your cat
- Tips to help prevent your cat from eating toxic food/plants
- Foods in an ideal cat’s diet
- Plants that are dangerous for cats
Foods and Drinks That You should NEVER Give Your Cat
Please note that this list only contains the most common drinks/foods. Always consult your vet before feeding any human food to your cat.
We also created a simple infographic with the list of food that you should never feed to your cat.
If you prefer a video version, this is a great one that goes over most of the toxic foods to cats.
Drinks That Your Cats Should Not Eat
If you’re tempted to give your furry friend any drink aside from water, consider the effect the drink may have. If the drink is listed below, make sure to avoid it.
If you’re reading this article, I can tell that you care for your cat and you’d never do such thing, but I feel obliged to explain.
Don’t EVER give your cat any alcohol.
Even a small teaspoon of any alcohol can do terrible damage to your cat’s liver and brain. Even a small piece of food containing alcohol as a preservative would be very harmful.
Caffeine (Coffee, Energy drinks, Tea)
Just like it does to us, caffeine increases our kitty’s heart rate and causes an increase in blood pressure. The problem is that the effect is much stronger on our cats than it is on us. Indeed, if your cat takes a large quantity, it could even bring to death.
There is no antidote for caffeine poisoning and some of the symptoms include rapid breathing, restlessness, heart palpitations, and muscle tremors.
Aside from coffee and tea (beans and grounds), you will find caffeine in cocoa, colas, chocolate, and energy drinks like Red Bull, which should all be avoided.
If all that wasn’t enough, caffeine also alters your kitty’s digestion.
We often think of cats being fed milk in a saucer, but that is actually very bad practice. Indeed all cats are lactose intolerant.
Clearly, kittens are able to digest their mothers’ milk, but dairy cow milk? That’s a no-no. If you adopted a kitten and are not sure what to feed her, the best thing is to discuss that with your vet. Keep in mind that there are also specific milk replacements for kittens such as this one.
Indeed, when cats ingest dairy products, it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Dr. Tawnia Shaw, DVM, who runs The Happy Pet Vet, a mobile veterinary clinic, agrees with this.
Does this mean that mother nature doesn’t want our adult cats to take milk? I’ll leave that to you. If you insist to give your adult cat milk, goat milk is preferable, as it is easier to digest.
Dr. Judy Morgan, DVM, a veterinarian certified in food therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care, says, “Goat milk is easier to digest because it has a smaller, softer casein curd, along with smaller size fat globules, so it is more completely digested in the small bowel, leaving less residue to ferment in the large bowel, which is the cause of the gas.”
Foods That Your Cat Should Never Eat
The foods below are the most common ones that we should make sure to avoid feeding to our cats.
Avocado is mildly poisonous to cats because it contains Persin, a natural substance, that can cause diarrhea and vomiting in cats.
Be careful when you prepare guacamole,Tom should not have a taste of the dish; not even alick of the cutlery. Yes, it can be that serious.
Chocolate is perhaps one of the human foods that are most harmful to your kitty as it contains theobromine and caffeine. You will find theobromine in all forms of chocolate, especially in the dark and unsweetened forms used for baking.
When a cat consumes theobromine in any form of chocolate, the symptoms may include muscle tremors, abnormal heartbeats, and sounds, or seizures.
While your cat may crave it, I’d recommend to never feed bones to your kitty.
The risk of choking is high, and nobody would ever want that to happen, so why run the risk? Bones can also cause obstruction or laceration in her digestive system, with very bad consequences.
Onions, Garlic, and Chives
Red blood cells (RBCs) of any animal are responsible for carrying oxygen around the body and wastes out of the body.
Onion (raw, powdered, dehydrated, or cooked) can break down a cat’s red blood cells, resulting in anemia.
The onion powder you will find in some baby foods also produces the same effect on cats. Onion poisoning occurs if you serve your cat a large quantity at once or smaller amounts regularly.
Asides from onions, garlic(5 times more potent than onions) and chives can create significant health challenges that are potentially life-threatening.
Grapes and Raisins
Oftentimes, people use grapes and raisins as treats for pets. That is a very bad idea as you will soon find out.
Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in some cats, although we don’t have a clear explanation for how that happens yet. Cats are so sensitive to these foods that a small amount can make your kitty very sick. Important early signs may include repeated vomiting and hyperactivity.
However, some cats do not show signs of illness.
In any case, it’s best to keep tabletops free of grapes and raisins.
Since we still don’t know a lot about the toxic potential of grapes and raisins, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center advises not to give them to pets in any amount.
Being in the same plant family with the Deadly Nightshade, green tomatoes contain a bitter, poisonous glycoalkaloid called Solanine. It can produce violent gastrointestinal symptoms in the lower parts of your cat’s digestive system.
If tomatoes are included in pre-made pet foods, there is no cause for alarm. They are made with ripe tomatoes and they are added in relatively small quantities.
Most baby foods made from meat are often seasoned with onion or garlic (which are very harmful), so you should not feed them to your kitty.
Besides, baby food is put together to fit the nutritional needs of a human infant. Vitamin deficiencies are not too far behind any cat feeding on baby foods for too long.
If you really want to serve your cat baby food, you should make sure it has no onion powder in it.
Allowing your cat to nibble on raw dough is a terrible idea as the dough will expand during digestion, releasing gas as it rises.
The gas is what makes our bread and cakes light and fluffy.
Within the tight confines of your kitty’s stomach, the gas causes severe abdominal pain and even a critical stomach rupture.
Can you guess one of the most common causes of poisoning in cats? Taking a drug prescribed for people. People often try to help their pets with what they have, but they don’t think over the fact that human drugs can be very harmful to cats.
Never administer any over-the-counter medication to your cat unless advised to do so by your vet.
Chemicals like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which can be fatal for your cat, are common in pain relievers and cold medicine.
Foods That Your Cat Can Eat Occasionally
There are times when you just feel like rewarding your kitty for good behavior or your dog is feeling generous. There are some foods that your cat can eat occasionally without any major concerns.
When you serve raw eggs to your kitty, you expose her to food poisoning due to bacteria E. coli or salmonella.
Another possible but rare effect is the interference with the absorption of biotin, a B vitamin, caused by a protein in raw egg-whites, called Avidin. This can lead to problems relating to the skin and coat of your cat.
In general, better to avoid it.
Raw Meat and Fish
This might be surprising to some. Didn’t cats evolve eating raw meat and fish? Yes, that’s why they are not on the NEVER list and they are here.
The issue with raw meats and raw fish, like with raw eggs, is that they may contain food poisoning bacteria.
So, the most important thing to consider if you are going to serve your cat raw fish or meat is that they would need to be of very high quality.
Another issue with fish is that too much of it, can lead to thiamine deficiency, which can lead to severe neurological problems that manifest as convulsions and coma. For this reason, it is better to make fish a treat more than a habitual meal.
In the wild, Cats often eat meat that contains low fat. That is probably why excessive fat produces negative effects on them.
Cooked and uncooked fat can upset the stomach of your furry friend, leading to diarrhea,vomiting and pancreatitis.
Dogs and cats have different nutritional requirements.
Although an occasional feast on dog food won’t make your cat ill, dog food cannot become a substitute for cat food.
Yes, many of the ingredients are similar, but cat food is formulated to take care of your cat’s specific needs. As a result, cat foods often contain more protein, certain vitamins, and fatty acids.
Putting your kitty on a steady diet of dog food can lead to severe malnourishment.
You can serve up liver to your cat in small quantities. That’s alright.
However, eating too much liver can create a condition known as vitamin A toxicity.
This condition affects your cat’s bones, manifesting as symptoms like deformed bones, bone growths on the elbows and spine, and osteoporosis. Vitamin A toxicity can also cause death.
Treats are good but should be given in small amounts and occasionally.
Like in humans, too many treats eaten too often can lead to obesity and diabete.
It is an understatement to say that cats love tuna. They can be addicted to it, regardless of who it is packaged for, cats or humans.
You can serve your cat tuna once in a while. But, make sure it is the one packaged for cats.
Serving your kitty a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can cause malnutrition and mercury poisoning when it is excessive.
Another painful condition that may arise due to consumption of human tuna is steatitis, or inflammation of the body’s fat.
What To Do If Your Cat Ate Poisonous Food
Accidents happen, and when they do, we need to act fast.
I’d recommend that you keep the telephone number of your local vet handyat all times. You would also want to have the emergency contacts of the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888 426-4435).
How To Treat Toxicity In Cats
If you suspect that your cat has eaten any of these foods, call your veterinarian immediately for specific instructions.
In a situation where your veterinarian is unavailable or unequipped to handle the situation, call the nearest animal clinic or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680.
Treatment typically involves supportive care (hospitalization, intravenous fluids, monitoring of organ function, etc) until symptoms resolve.
Tips To Help Prevent Your Cat From Eating Poisonous Foods
Don’t keep your food in a place where your cat can access it. Cat’s ability to find food is incredible, so you’ll have to make sure to keep food inside the fridge or in closed cupboards.
If you have to give your kitty some treats, use the one made for cats, and in moderation.
There are lots of exciting cat food treats for your cat to enjoy. A good example is freeze-dried meat. It’s good to remember that treats make up a part of your cat’s daily calorie intake. As a result, keep a tight control on your furry friend’s access to treats.
Foods In An Ideal Cat’s Diet
In an ideal diet for Cats, water is very crucial to prevent dehydration.
After that, it’s cat food.
While it’s good to mix wet and dry food, it’s better to feed them more wet food . That’s because kibbles tend to contain less protein, and too much carbohydrates.
To ensure that your kitty’s diet is balanced, discuss with your Vet concerning the food you serve to your cat and follow the directions on the label.
Plants That Are Dangerous For Cats
There are hundreds of plants that contain compounds that are toxic to the body of your cat but we will list the major ones.
|4||American bittersweet||14||Easter rose|
|8||Bead tree||18||Ribbon plant|
- Alcohols, Sharon M. Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, Ph.D., DABVT, DABT, University of Illinois, May 2013. Merck Veterinary Manual https://www.merckvetmanual.com/toxicology/household-hazards/alcohols
- Dangers of feeding milk to your cat, Franny Syufy. The Spruce Pets website https://www.thesprucepets.com/is-milk-okay-for-my-cat-552036