There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of articles about food you should never feed to your dog. You don’t have to be a dog owner, or even like dogs, to know that foods like raisins, onions or chocolate can make a dog sick, or even kill them.
But what about cats? What human foods are safe to give cats, if any at all? In what quantities are these foods safe? Maybe it’s the independent nature of cats that causes people to assume they can fend for themselves when it comes to what foods are good for them or not. After all they seem so smart, so independent. Unfortunately when it comes to food, cats like any living being, are susceptible to overindulging and maybe even poison.
As you prepare your Thanksgiving feast, keep in mind any food not specifically designed for cats can affect the digestive system, causing vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite or, in some cases, prove fatal. Here are some foods of particular concern.
As little as a tablespoon of alcohol can lead to problems for your cat. It can cause severe liver and brain damage.
Chocolate contains theobromine. While this bitter-tasting stimulant is found in all forms, it’s most concentrated in dark and unsweetened chocolate. Ingestion can cause heart problems, muscle tremors, or seizures. Chocolate also contains caffeine.
3. Coffee, tea and energy drinks
These contain caffeine — it can cause your cat to become restless, suffer from rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors.
4. Dairy products
Some cats, believe it or not, are lactose intolerant and if they eat dairy products it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
5. Fat trimmings, raw meat, raw eggs and raw fish
Hese can cause vomiting, diarrhea or a painful condition called pancreatitis (from excessive fat) and there is also a risk of Salmonella or E. coli associated with these foods.
6. Grapes and raisins
Dogs can suffer acute kidney failure from eating grapes or raisins — and although toxicity in cats is only anecdotal, we would strongly advise that you keep these foods out of your cat’s reach.
7. Onions and garlic
All members of the onion family can cause problems if eaten in sufficient quantity. A little bit of onion or garlic in some sauce is not likely to cause any problems. However, eating a clove of garlic or a green onion may cause digestive upset. Eating some type of onion on a regular basis could cause anemia. Also avoid foods that may have onion powder; check your ingredients. Remember, it doesn’t take a lot to cause big problems.
Bones can splinter and cause a cat to choke, as well as block the intestinal tract, possibly even perforating the intestines. Never ever give them anything that is as hard as their teeth because it can cause dental fractures.
9. Raw Fish
Human-grade sushi is generally safe for people, but it can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. There is thiaminase in raw fish that could break down the essential B vitamin called thiamine in cats. Thiamine deficiency can cause neurological problems — and even lead to convulsions.
Cats benefit from protein, but raw eggs may expose them to salmonella and other parasites that could lead to an inflamed pancreas, known as pancreatitis. It maybe safe to serve your kitty cooked eggs — but only on occasion, and in small amounts. Check with your veterinarian if you have any concerns that maybe specific to your cat.
Just to be safe, keep your cat away from the dining area when you have guests to avoid any accidental ingesting of potentially harmful foods and keep the number to your emergency veterinarian handy just in case.