At some point, all cat owners may be tempted to give their furry friends a taste of human food, whether as a treat or just to share in the enjoyment of a meal. However, it is essential to know that not all human foods are safe for cats to eat. In fact, many human foods are toxic to cats and can cause severe health issues or even death. As a responsible cat owner, it is crucial to be aware of these harmful foods and prevent cats from accessing them.
Unlike dogs, cats don’t have a reputation for scarfing down birthday cakes or unattended chicken dinners. You might think your feline friend has no appetite for human food at all, and it may seem far-fetched to imagine your cat begging for a chocolate bar or a sip of an alcoholic beverage. However, it is essential to note that in some cases, even a mouthful of human food can make your cat very ill.
Any food not specifically designed for cats can affect the digestive system and may cause tummy upsets like vomiting and diarrhea or even worse. Protect your cat by preventing them from getting their hands on these dangerous foods. In this article, we will discuss some human foods that are toxic for cats to eat and how to protect your beloved feline friend from harmful and poisonous products.
Milk or Dairy Products
As you probably know, the majority of cats are lactose intolerant. This means that their digestive system cannot process dairy foods, especially when it comes to human products. The symptoms can be an upset stomach combined with diarrhea.
Another lethal food for cats, chocolate, has a toxic agent called theobromine. If a cat eats chocolate, either by mistake or offered as some sort of treat, we advise you not to do it. It can show signs of abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and ultimately death. The most dangerous chocolate items for a cat are dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate. It also contains a substance called methylxanthines responsible for causing diarrhea or vomiting, muscle tremors, high body temperature, abdominal discomfort, abnormal heart rhythm, increased thirst, and seizures. Methylxanthines are also present in caffeinated beverages.
Onions, Garlic, Chives, Shallots, Scallions
Onion is very bad for cats to ingest in all forms, available powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated, including onion powder found in baby foods. Garlic is five times more potent than onions, which makes it even more harmful. The same goes for chives, shallots, and scallions. Both onions and garlic contain disulfides and sulfoxides which poison the cat by breaking down its red blood cells. This eventually leads to anemia, weight loss, gastrointestinal problems, lethargy. Any cat that shows these signs plus weakness, pale gums, reduced appetite, orange to dark red urine, must be taken to the vet immediately.
Avoid the cat’s contact with all sorts of alcoholic drinks and foods – beer, liquor, wine, etc. Alcoholic drinks have the same effects on a cat’s liver and kidneys as in humans. Ingestion of alcohol can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, tremors, vomiting, trouble breathing, disorientation. Just a small amount of alcohol can cause a coma for your cat, and a larger amount can actually kill it.
Caffeine – Coffee, Soda, Tea
There is no antidote for what happens if the cat ingests caffeine. It can be fatal. Caffeine poisoning in cats includes symptoms such as restlessness, heart palpitations, rapid breathing, and muscle tremors.
Although cats love tuna cans, and their favorite beans are tuna-flavored, don’t ever serve your furry friend tuna prepared for humans. It doesn’t have all the nutrients a cat needs, and this may lead to malnutrition. Also, valid for both humans and cats, too much tuna can lead to mercury poisoning. How can you tell if your cat suffers from mercury poisoning? A few signs to watch out for: a loss of coordination and balance or difficulty walking as a result of neurological damage.
Fat Trimmings and Bones
Mostly present in the kitchen when you prepare meat, fat trimmings remain, and bones represent a danger for cats. Even if the fat is cooked or raw, it can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Bones can make a cat choke, cause an obstruction, a splinter, or a cut inside its digestive system.
As you may probably suspect, raw eggs can pose a threat for both humans and cats because of the risk of being contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli. But this is not the only reason to worry. If the cat happens to eat raw eggs, this food contains an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of a B vitamin called biotin. This may lead to hair coats and skin problems for your cat.
Raw Meat and Fish
Same as eggs, raw meat and fish can be contaminated with bacteria causing food poisoning. Also, raw fish contains an enzyme that destroys thiamin, an essential B vitamin for your cat. Lack of thiamin can lead to convulsions in coma generating serious neurological problems.
Too much of this food item can lead to vitamin A toxicity, which affects your cat’s bones. You may notice deformed bones, osteoporosis or bone growths on the spine and elbows. Ultimately, vitamin A toxicity can lead to death.
Too Many Treats
Same as humans, the cat can suffer from obesity and even diabetes if it has a diet too rich in treats.
The dough can swell inside a cat’s stomach, stretching the abdomen and causing severe pain. Also, when the yeast ferments the dough to help it rise, it can produce various amounts of alcohol, also poisonous to the cat.
As you can imagine, cats have different nutritional needs than dogs. Cats need more taurine, proteins, vitamin A, and arachidonic acid, while dogs need less of these nutrients. An inadequate amount of taurine can make cats develop vision and dental issues or heart disease.
Green Tomatoes or Potatoes
Both of these foods contain a poisonous alkaloid called glycoalkaloid solanine, very toxic, which can lead to lower gastrointestinal problems. Even if some foods contain tomatoes, producers use a very small quantity in ripe products, so they don’t cause problems.
Xylitol Found in Sugar-Free Gums, Candies, Toothpaste
Xylitol ingestion in cats can lead to liver failure. This increases the cat’s insulin levels, lowering sugar levels. In addition, signs of Xylitol intoxications are vomiting, loss of coordination, lethargy. Symptoms can increase to a seizure and eventually result in liver failure.
As a responsible cat owner, it is essential to protect your feline friend from these harmful foods. Here are some tips on how to keep your cat safe from toxic foods.
Tip 1: Store Foods out of the Cat’s Reach
If your kitty is curious by nature, make sure to use locks on cabinets and don’t let it out of your sight when entering the kitchen.
Tip 2: Do Not Allow Your Cat to Stand on the Counter While You Are Cooking or Eating
Cats can easily ingest dangerous foods or ingredients if they see leftovers on the table because they are curious and like to smell everything. So make sure you don’t feed your cat with table scraps.
Tip 3: Be Mindful During Holidays
These days involve a lot of cooking, foods, friends, or relatives coming over that might want to feed your cat with human delicacies. Pay attention to these kinds of moments if you want your cat to be safe and away from toxic foods.
In conclusion, there are many human foods that are toxic for cats to eat. Any food not specifically designed for cats can affect the digestive system and may cause tummy upsets like vomiting and diarrhea or even worse. Protect your cat by preventing them from getting their hands on these dangerous foods. Make sure to store all these foods out of your cat’s reach and do not allow your cat to stand on the counter while you are cooking or eating. And finally, be mindful during holidays.
Being a responsible cat owner requires taking all the necessary precautions to ensure your pet’s safety and well-being. By following these tips and guidelines, you can keep your cat safe and healthy and avoid any serious health issues that may arise from feeding your cat dangerous or toxic foods. So, it is essential to be aware of the kinds of foods that your cat should avoid and take every step necessary to protect them from harm.