Cat Health E-mail

Foods Not to Feed Your Cat

Some foods which are edible for humans, and even dogs, can pose hazards for cats because of their different metabolism. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas others can cause severe illness, and even death. The following common items should not be fed (intentionally or unintentionally) to cats.

Alcoholic beverages - Can cause intoxication, coma and death.

Baby food - May contain onion powder, which can be toxic to cats. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.

Bones from fish, poultry, or meat - Can block or tear the throat or the digestive tract.

Canned “human” tuna – A small taste now and then makes a yummy treat; large amounts can cause malnutrition.

Chocolate, coffee or tea – These contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and will affect the heart and nervous system.

Citrus oil extracts - May cause vomiting.

Dog food- accidental ingestion won’t cause any problems; if fed repeatedly instead of cat food, may result in malnutrition and diseases affecting the heart.

Fat trimmings - Can cause pancreatitis.

Grapes and raisins - Contain a toxin which has been found to damage the kidneys.

Human vitamin supplements containing iron - Can damage the digestive system, liver and kidneys.

Large amounts of liver - May damage muscles and bones.

Macadamia nuts - Contain a toxin which has been found to damage the digestive and nervous systems, and the muscles.

Marijuana - Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting and changes in the heart rate.

Milk and other dairy products - Contrary to popular belief, some adult cats can’t break down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for cats.

Moldy or spoiled food, or garbage - Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.

Mushrooms - Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.

Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder) - Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs; Garlic is less toxic than onions.

Persimmons - Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.

Raw eggs - Contain an enzyme which can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw fish - Can result in a B vitamin deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. Most common if raw fish is fed regularly.

Salt - If eaten regularly it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.

String - Can become trapped in the digestive system; in severe cases could require surgery.

Sugary foods - Can lead to obesity, dental problems and possibly diabetes.

Table scraps (in large amounts) - Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.

Tobacco - Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.

Yeast dough - Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.