Just about any time a cuddly kitty graces the silver screen, they’re being presented with a delightful saucer of milk or generous helping of tuna. But did you know both of these stereotypical treats can be extremely dangerous to cats?
We’ve collected a list of ten other common food items you are probably feeding fluffy, but definitely should not be!
- Canned Tuna– By now most of us have heard about the alarming mercury levels in some fish. Canned tuna is among the worst offenders. Given your cat’s relatively small size, it doesn’t take much for mercury to reach poisonous levels in their system. Couple that with a lack of proper nutrition and propensity to become addictive, best to steer clear of this tasty seafood.
- Onions, Garlic or Chives– The entire clan of the amaryllidaceae or allium vegetable family can create serious feline health problems. Regardless of whether it’s cooked, raw, dehydrated into a powder or as an ingredient in baby food, onions of all variety has the potential to damage vital red blood cells. This can quickly lead to anemia and other forms of gastrointestinal upset.
- Dairy Products– If you’re shocked to see milk, cream and cheese on this list, you’re not alone. As instinctive as it may be to pour out a creamy treat, keep in mind that many cats are actually lactose intolerant. Drinking milk or eating cheese can create uncomfortable gas and bloating, or diarrhea in extreme cases.
- Alcohol and Caffeine- Speaking of liquid dangers, these two top this list of no-no’s. Even a couple teaspoons of alcohol is enough to put your kitty into a coma, and any more could kill it. The caffeine in coffee, tea, chocolate and some medications can disrupt the heart, sending it into arrest. If you suspect caffeine poisoning, watch for restlessness, rapid breathing or muscle tremors and contact an emergency vet immediately.
- Bones– Whether cooked or raw, bones can create serious internal complications if ingested. Larger pieces can cause dangerous obstructions in the system while smaller fragments can lacerate the digestive tract.
- Fresh Grapes or Dried Raisins– Call it one of life’s great mysteries, but grapes and raisins are inexplicably linked to kidney failure in cats. Early signs of distress include continuous vomiting and hyperactivity.
- Uncooked Eggs– Salmonella and coli. are rampant in raw eggs. These bacteria react the same in a cat’s system as they do inside a human’s system, creating serious complications. Uncooked egg whites also contain avidin, which has been shown to complicate the body’s natural ability to absorb system critical B vitamins like biotin.
- Raw Fish– Though your cat may beg for a tiny salmon snack, don’t give in until it’s cooked! Not only do raw meats put them at risk for food poisoning, one notable enzyme in particular is a known thiamine disrupter. Without this essential vitamin, your cat may be faced with neurological issues like seizures or it may even cause them to become comatose.
- Macadamia Nuts– These nuts are a delicious treat most humans pass on because they can be quite expensive. For cats, the Hawaiian legume contains an unknown toxin that’s responsible for adversely impacting the digestive and nervous systems as well as their musculature.
- Dog Food– While you may not be able to prevent your cat from noshing on the occasional piece of kibble, you would do well to keep them for gorging on your dog’s food. The main reason is that it lacks so many of the necessary nutrients a cat needs to support itself. Cats require a constant stream of high protein, specific vitamins and higher levels of fatty acids, which no dog food is a good source of.
Ultimately, cats are as crafty as they are cute. So while you may not be able to monitor every single morsel they find, you can, and should, know what to be on the lookout for. Keep your local vet, a close emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center — (888) 426-4435 – on hand in case of an emergency.
When in doubt about what to feed your fluffy friend, stick with a nutritious, holistic diet of all natural cat food. Look for a variety that closely mimics a cat’s natural, “wild” diet and is fortified with prebiotics, probiotics and vitamins.