Foods That Are NEVER Okay To Give Your Cat

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This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts. This was originally posted at Catological

Alcohol

Really? Are there people who do this on purpose? For shame.

Don’t give kitty any of your drinks. It’s not cute or funny.

Pets don’t have our natural tolerances to alcoholic beverages. That sip you’re sharing hits your cat’s tiny body like a 12-pack. A single tablespoon can put her into a coma.

Apricot, cherry, peach pits, apple seeds

These seeds contain toxins that cause cyanide poisoning. You’ve probably heard of cyanide. It’s not good.

This deadly chemical works by preventing oxygen in your blood from being delivered to your cells. In other words, your kitty will suffocate while she’s still breathing.

If that’s not the worst thing you’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is. Keep these out of sight!

Avocado

Love guacamole? Then you should know that all parts of the avocado contain persin, which is toxic to small animals.

Luckily for cats, persin is less dangerous for them than for other species. Symptoms in cats are generally minor stomach pain and diarrhea, but still, it’s straight up toxic and you should never feed this to your cat.

Bones (Non-Ground)

Whether from fish, chicken, turkey, or any other animal, please keep bones away from kitty.

Bones are a vital part of the diet of raw-food eating cats, but they’ll be eating them ground up very finely.

Your kitty can probably deal with small bones of rodents and birds, but don’t tempt her by trying to give her a “treat” that might splinter when she chews on it and get stuck in her throat/stomach/etc.

Caffeine

No coffee, no tea, no soda. Seems obvious, but some people like to tempt fate.

Caffeine pumps the heart rate, increases blood pressure, and alters digestion.

Plus, cats are more sensitive to caffeine than humans. Too much can cause seizures and even death.

Chocolate

Chocolate contains the alkaloid theobromine (which is also found in tea leaves). Theobromine is caffeine’s second cousin and twice as dangerous.

Too much causes extreme stomach distress, seizures and heart attacks.

Fortunately, your kitty can’t taste sweets and cats usually have little interest in chocolate, but we’ve all heard the saying, “curiosity kills the cat”. Don’t let it hurt yours.

Citrus Oil Extracts

Citrus oil extracts are found in insecticidal shampoos, creams, food additives, and perfume.

Citrus oil is toxic to your cat’s liver. Even skin exposure can make your kitty sick.

Symptoms include drooling, hypothermia, dermatitis, and potentially death.

Grapes, raisins, and currants

These berries are tasty, but they contain a deadly mystery. An unknown toxin causes acute liver failure in dogs and cats – but no one knows exactly what.

Whatever it is, avoid berries in general. A tired, vomiting cat with little energy just might be suffering from liver damage. This means wine is especially dangerous, in case you missed our first point (alcohol)!

Green potatoes and tomatoes

Both potatoes and tomatoes are actually members of the family Nightshade. Nightshade plants are so named because they produce the alkaloid solanine – which is lethally poisonous. Anything green on these plants is toxic.

Abdominal pain, diarrhea, paralysis, and death will result from careless feeding.

Hops

Do you really need another reason not to give kitty alcohol? Well, we’ve got it for you.

Hops are great for brewing the perfect mug of beer – but they’re poisonous to dogs and cats.

The growing popularity of home brewing means more cats are being exposed to hops every year. The toxin triggers malignant hyperthermia – a rapid and uncontrollable rise in body temperature.

Are you noticing a pattern yet? No beer!

Milk

Wait, really? Then what else is a little girl supposed to give her kitten?

Well, when little miss kitty grows up, she usually stops making the enzyme lactase. Lactase is what lets us digest cow milk.

Most adult cats are lactose intolerant as a result – dairy products upset their stomach.

Moldy Food and Trash

This seems painfully obvious to me, but apparently not everyone realizes that if a food can make YOU sick, it can just as easily make your CAT sick!

Here’s a refresher: Spoiled foods are thriving with bacteria. Bacteria means food poisoning.

If food is bad, it’s bad. Throw it away.

Mushrooms

This beautiful fungus is a staple of the human diet dating back for millennia. Mushrooms are an extremely diverse family, which makes it difficult to distinguish a safe species from a dangerous one.

When a mushroom is bad for you, it’s really bad for you.

Fungal toxins cause enormous damage to multiple body systems, even in tiny doses. The result is usually systemic shock, followed by death.

Nuts

Nuts are generally are bad for smaller animals (especially dogs).

While the jury is still out on whether specific nuts are poisonous for cats, I’d rather not take any chances.

It’s worth noting that nuts are too high in fat for your cat either way.

Onions and Garlic

Sorry, Garfield. We all love Italian food, but you’re no longer allowed to eat lasagna.

Onions have sulfides and disulfides that destroy red blood cells, causing anemia. Cats are especially vulnerable.

Onion powder is a very common food additive – watch out. Garlic is less dangerous but still unsafe.

Rhubarb

Another plant we love that cats should avoid. The leaves of the rhubarb plant have several nasty alkaloids, the most dangerous of which is oxalic acid.

Oxalic acid is toxic to kidneys and corrosive – it literally burns living tissue.

Seeds

Cats have always hunted food. They love fresh meat, like any good predator. As a result, your cat has never developed a way to digest seeds.

They’re too hard and too densely packed with tough plant fibers.

Seeds often get stuck in the feline intestinal tract, causing serious inflammation.

Salt

Cat’s have more sensitive body chemistry than humans or dogs. Salt is bad for cats.

If your cat eats extra salt, she will vomit and urinate excessively, becoming dangerously dehydrated in the process.

This is a big reason why cats need specialized food products.

String

I know, I know. String isn’t food, you say.

That’s true, but cats are around string constantly. Sometimes cats don’t notice small pieces in their food and accidentally eat them.

It happens often enough it even has a name – “string foreign body“.

If you ever see a piece of string hanging from your cat’s bottom, DON’T PULL IT OUT! It might be tangled up inside the intestines and you risk causing an internal hemorrhage.

Tobacco

It’s your decision to smoke. Just pay extra close attention to where your butts get thrown away.

And not just cigarettes; watch patches, gum, vapes, etc.

If your kitty accidentally ingests any nicotine, she could harm her nervous system, fall into a coma or die.

Ready to quit?

Vegetarian or Vegan Diet

Diet is an intensely personal decision. What you feel comfortable eating is shaped by your personal background, your nutritional needs, and ethical beliefs.

I’m not going to argue against a vegetarian diet – for people – but you shouldn’t force your preferences onto your pets.

Cats do not tolerate a vegetable diet as well as dogs. Your kitty is soft and cuddly, but she’s 100% predator. As an obligate carnivore, she loves and needs meat.

Vitamins and Supplements for Humans

Okay, so you might not consider pills a food, but cats occasionally eat them.

Many supplements contain iron, which damages the lining of the intestines. Metals are hard on the liver and kidneys.

All of your pills should be put up and out of reach, no exceptions. It is OK, however to give your cat species-appropriate vitamins and supplements with the approval of your vet in order to improve health.

Yeast

Raw dough expands during digestion. Yeast produces gas as it rises.

In the oven, this is great; it makes our bread and cakes light and fluffy.

Not so great in the tight confines of your cat’s digestive system, though.

All the gas and expanding dough can cause intense abdominal pain – even a critical stomach rupture.

This article is shared through the courtesy of Emily Parker at Catological, “Our goal is to write articles that are super easy to read and take action with, but contain facts, figures, and footnotes in case you ever wonder where we get all the information.” Copyright 2017 by Catological.