When it comes to your feline friend, you want to ensure she has the best nutrition possible. While it may be tempting to share table scraps or special treats with her, it’s important to be aware that certain foods can be toxic and even deadly for cats. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most dangerous foods for our furry companions.
Onions and Garlic
Onions, garlic, shallots, and scallions can cause damage to your cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. While these foods are typically poisonous when eaten in large quantities, even exposure to concentrated forms such as onion soup mix or garlic powder can be toxic. If your cat exhibits symptoms like lethargy, weakness, reduced appetite, pale gums, or orange to dark red urine, it’s crucial to take her to the vet immediately.
Raw Eggs, Raw Meat & Bones
Similar to humans, cats can suffer from salmonella or E. coli poisoning if they consume raw eggs or meat. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. It’s important to note that these illnesses can also be transmitted to humans, so make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw food. Additionally, raw eggs contain enzymes that can lead to skin and coat issues. Avoid giving your cat raw bones as well, as they can pose a choking hazard, cause injuries to the digestive tract, or damage teeth.
Chocolate and Caffeinated Drinks
You may already know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs, but it can be just as poisonous for cats. Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, which can cause various symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, high body temperature, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythm, abdominal discomfort, increased thirst, and seizures. Methylxanthines are also present in caffeinated beverages and should be strictly avoided. If your cat experiences any of these symptoms, consult your vet immediately. Dark chocolates are particularly more dangerous compared to milk and white chocolate variants.
Alcohol and Raw Dough
Alcoholic beverages and foods containing alcohol can be extremely dangerous for cats. Ingestion can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, disorientation, trouble breathing, coma, and even death. It’s crucial to keep your cat away from raw dough as well, as it can cause expansion in the stomach or create alcohol in the stomach. If you suspect that your cat has ingested even a small amount of alcohol, seek immediate veterinary care.
Milk and Dairy Products
While cats may enjoy the taste of milk, it’s not necessarily good for them. Cats have difficulty digesting lactose, which can result in an upset stomach or diarrhea. Kittens may tolerate lactose during nursing, but as they grow older, their digestive systems become less equipped to handle it. It’s best to avoid giving cats anything other than their mother’s milk while they’re still kittens to prevent digestive issues.
Grapes and Raisins
Even a small amount of grapes or raisins can cause illness in cats and potentially lead to kidney failure. Symptoms may include vomiting within 12 hours of ingestion, followed by lethargy, diarrhea, reduced appetite, abdominal pain, decreased urination, and abdominal pain within 24 hours. While it’s unclear why grapes and raisins have this effect on cats, it’s best to avoid giving them these fruits and ensure they’re kept out of your cat’s reach.
Although dog food is not toxic to cats, it’s essential to understand that cats require different nutrients than dogs. Cat food should contain adequate amounts of vitamin A, taurine, arachidonic acid, and protein, which are often present in lower levels in dog food. Cats cannot thrive with lower levels of these essential nutrients. Unlike dogs, cats cannot produce sufficient amounts of taurine and arachidonic acid on their own, so these acids need to be present in their diet. Insufficient taurine intake can lead to heart disease, vision problems, and dental issues in cats.
Preventing Cats from Eating Dangerous Foods
Your cat’s health and well-being depend on the food she consumes. By keeping poisonous and hazardous foods out of her reach and ensuring she has a balanced diet, you are helping her stay healthy. Here are some tips to prevent your cat from eating dangerous and toxic foods:
- Store foods securely, out of your cat’s reach. Installing cat-proof locks on cabinets may be necessary to keep curious kitties away.
- Do not allow your cat on the counter while you’re cooking or eating.
- Avoid feeding her table scraps.
- Be extra cautious during holidays when there may be more tempting people food around that can upset your cat’s stomach or pose harm to her.
If you notice or suspect that your cat has ingested any of these dangerous foods, take her to the veterinarian immediately. While some foods may only cause slight discomfort, others can be severely hazardous to her health. When in doubt, seek guidance from your vet to ensure your cat’s well-being.