Human Foods Are Not Meant for Cats
The main reason to discourage feeding cats “people food” is that there are a number of foods that are toxic to cats. While it is tasty and harmless to humans, a simple nibble could be life-threatening for your cat. If you are a cat owner, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the everyday foods that can be dangerous, and even deadly, for cats.
Make sure you inform yourself before giving anything to your cat. Remember that nutritious cat foods have been made to really meet all of your cat’s nutritional needs. Feeding your cat something off your plate once in a while may not cause any harm, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Grapes and Raisins
Even a small amount of grapes and raisins can cause your cat to become ill — they can even lead to rapid development of kidney failure. Within 12 hours of ingestion, vomiting sometimes occurs. Other signs that can show up within 24 hours include lethargy, diarrhea, reduced appetite, abdominal pain, decreased urination and abdominal pain.
Onions, Garlic, & Related Root Vegetables
Onions contain a substance (N-propyl disulphide) that destroys red blood cells in the cat, causing a form of anaemia called Heinz Body Anaemia. Garlic contains a similar substance in a lesser amount. It’s not likely that a small amount of garlic or onion cooked into a sauce will cause problems for your cat, but exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as onion soup mix or garlic powder, can also be toxic. Cats with symptoms of lethargy, weakness, reduced appetite, pale gums, and orange to dark red urine should be taken to the vet immediately.
Xylitol can be found in many products: gum, candy, toothpaste, diet foods and baked foods. If your cat ingests xylitol, it can lead to liver failure. Xylitol will increase your cat’s insulin levels which will lower his sugar levels. The first signs of xylitol intoxication are vomiting, loss of coordination and lethargy. The symptoms can increase to a seizure and eventually resulting liver failure.
Green Tomatoes and Raw Green Potatoes
These foods are members of the Solanaceae family of plants, which includes the Deadly Nightshade, and contain a bitter, poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms. The leaves and stems are particularly toxic. Don’t worry if you see tomatoes included in pre-made pet foods. They are made with ripe tomatoes and should cause no concern because they appear in relatively small amounts.
Milk and Dairy Products
Cats and a saucer of milk go hand in hand, right? Not exactly. For kittens, it can be ok to give them milk, but for adult cats, it’s not a good idea. Adult cats are lactose intolerant. They have a difficult time processing dairy product since they don’t have a sufficient amount of the lactase enzyme which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in an upset stomach and diarrhea.
While avocado is healthful for humans, it is mildly toxic to cats. The leaves, seed, tree bark, and the fruit itself contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats. Be especially aware if you have a bowl of guacamole out at a party. You do not want your cat eating any of this snack or licking a spoon or fork that was used to make it.
Yeast Dough (Raw dough)
If you’ve ever made your own bread or pizza dough, you know that the dough needs to rise. If your cat eats the dough, it will rise in his stomach. This is really not a good thing. It will expand in her/his stomach which will cause pain, stretch the stomach and could even result in the rupture of the stomach and intestines. Not only will the dough stretch in your cat’s stomach, but when it is fermenting, the yeast releases alcohol. Alcohol is also very dangerous for cats. It is very important to call your vet as soon as possible when you see your cat has ingested yeast dough.
Feeding your cat raw eggs is not a good idea. Eating raw eggs can lead to salmonella. The symptoms of salmonella poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting and lethargy. But that’s not the only reason why you shouldn’t feed your cat raw eggs. Uncooked eggs contain an enzyme called avidin. This enzyme can decrease the absorption of a B vitamin called biotin. This can cause some hair coat and skin problems for your cat.
Many cats love fish, but it is unsafe to feed your cat raw fish. It can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats or even poisoning because of the bacteria that raw fish carries. It can also destroy a vitamin that’s essential to cats: thiamine. When this vitamin is missing, it can cause neurological problems in your cat. It can also lead to loss of appetite, seizures and death.
Raw Meat, Fat Trimmings and Bones
Consumption of raw meat can lead to salmonella or E. coli bacteria poisoning and parasites (like Toxoplasma and even tapeworms) in cats. Symptoms of the illness vary but can include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Salmonella and E. coli can also be transmitted to humans, so be careful to properly wash your hands after cooking and keep your cat away from these raw foods. Keep your cat from eating raw bones as well—she could choke on them, injure her digestive tract, or damage her teeth. Fat trimmings can also cause pancreatitis in cats.
Small amounts of liver are OK. In fact, liver can be a great source of protein, iron, and several other nutrients, but eating too much liver can cause vitamin A toxicity. Vitamin A is fat-soluble (builds up in fat cells within the body). A cat eating too much liver for too long can build up a dangerous imbalance, a condition called hypervitaminosis A. Vitamin A toxicity can also cause death.
Cats can be addicted to tuna, whether it’s packed for cats or for humans. Some tuna now and then probably won’t hurt. But a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because it won’t have all the nutrients cats need. And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning.
This is a more common people’s food you maybe know shouldn’t be given to pets. But why can’t you give this sweet food to your cat? There is a toxic substance in chocolate called theobromine in chocolate. Chocolate toxicity can lead to tremors, irregular heart rhythm, seizures and death. All types of chocolate are dangerous for your cat. Even white chocolate. But the worst type is baking chocolate. After that, dark chocolate. Then milk chocolate, and the less dangerous one is white chocolate.
Caffeine found in coffee, tea, chocolate, colas and even cold medicines can be very dangerous for your feline friend. A small dose of caffeine can cause restlessness, rapid breathing, tremors and heart palpitations. A large amount of caffeine can be fatal and lead to death.
Giving your cat alcoholic beverages can be extremely dangerous. It can cause intoxication, coma and death. A small amount of alcohol can damage your cat’s liver and brain. For example, if your 2.5Kg cat ingests a small quantity of whisky as little as two teaspoons, it can cause coma. More than that, it can lead to death. Alcohol is very toxic for cats because it is absorbed very quickly by the body. It’s important that you don’t hesitate to contact a veterinarian if you suspect your cat has been poisoned by alcohol.
Though dog food is not toxic to cats, your cat needs a very different set of nutrients than a dog. Cat food should contain plenty of vitamin A, taurine, arachidonic acid and protein, and dog food has much lower levels of these nutrients. Dogs can survive with lower levels of vitamin A and protein, while cats cannot. Dogs are also able to produce taurine and arachidonic acid, but cats must have these acids in their food. Without a sufficient amount of taurine, cats can develop heart disease, vision and dental issues.
Too Many Treats
Eating too much too often can do the same thing to cats that it does to humans. It can lead to obesity and even diabetes.
Ingesting a drug prescribed for humans is one of the most common causes of poisoning in cats. Just as you would do for your children, put all medicines where your cat can’t get to them. And never give your cat any over-the-counter medicine unless advised to do so by your vet. Ingredients such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are common in pain relievers and cold medicine. And they can be deadly for your cat.