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7 People Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

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7 People Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

A kitty serenely lapping at a bowl of milk is a familiar image, but believe it or not, many adult cats are lactose intolerant. Drinking milk can actually cause severe diarrhea in cats, and cleaning that litter box is not a happy ending to any story.

Of course there are exceptions, and some cats have no problem drinking cow’s milk. Still, if your cat hasn’t had milk since kitten-hood, why risk it? The same goes for many other foods we eat but shouldn’t be shared. Some are downright poisonous to cats, whereas others may cause gastrointestinal distress only for some. Here’s a list of specific people foods your cat should never eat:

Chocolate: Everyone seems to know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but it’s just as bad for cats. Generally, the darker or less sweet the chocolate the worse it is. In cats it is a central nervous system stimulant and a cardiovascular stimulant. It can raise blood pressure and cause nausea and vomiting. Avoid letting the cat near cocoa powder too and watch out if your outdoor cat seems interested in the cocoa bean mulch in the flower garden.

Green tomatoes: Tomato plants are members of the nightshade family. Green tomatoes and tomato plants contain a bitter poisonous alkaloid, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms in cats. Ripe tomatoes are no threat, however, and are sometimes found on the ingredient list of commercial cat foods.

Onions and scallions: No, they don’t make cats cry, but then again they might since they contain N-propyl disulfide, an alkaloid that is poisonous to pets because it destroys red blood cells and causes anemia. It is also found in smaller amounts in garlic.

Avocado: The leaves, seed, tree bark and fruit all contain Persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or even lack of stool production in cats, so no guacamole for kitty.

Alcohol: Along with denying your cat avocado dip, keep your pet out of the tequila, too. Cats’ livers are not very efficient at detoxifying, so cats should never be given alcohol. In addition to liver damage, alcohol’s effects on cats can include as gastrointestinal irritation as well as intoxication and alcohol poisoning that can result in breathing difficulties, coma and even death. A kitty cocktail is no laughing matter.

Sugarless candy or gum: According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, xylitol, a sweetener found in sugar free gum, candy and sometimes toothpaste, is highly toxic to pets. In cats it causes a sudden release of insulin, resulting in hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Signs that a cat may have ingested xylitol include a sudden lack of coordination, vomiting, lethargy and, more seriously, seizures and possibly coma. Xylitol can even cause liver failure that results in death.

If your feline companion is giving you “that look” and you really want to share some human food, try giving him some cooked sweet potato, or bits of scrambled or hard cooked egg. And while straight up milk can cause diarrhea in cats, many vets recommend plain yogurt to treat or prevent it. Those probiotics that are so good for your tummy can also be good for your cat’s tummy.

Of course, no matter how cautious you are, it’s possible for your cat to eat what he shouldn’t. Always keep the numbers of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center — (888) 426-4435 — where you know you can find them in an emergency.

What foods are dangerous for dogs? We have the list here.

8 comments

1 Louise { 03.09.16 at 11:36 am }

anything from china is not safe for humans or animals look on labels fish is not safe anymore since Fukashima I would not eat it let alone feed it to my cat or dog. Wake up people food is not safe anymore read labels and check it out if you can’t understand what it is it is not safe to eat if there is 15 ingredients put it back on shelf who uses that many ingredients not someone cooking right.

2 Diane { 02.05.16 at 6:49 pm }

I have fed my cat ham and bacon for over 10 yrs. She absolutely adores the stuff! She’s almost 15 and is extremely healthy! Another thing I feed her is shaved Bonita flakes, which I purchase at an Oriental market. I’ve given her that ever since she was about a yr. old. If you’re looking for a nice treat for your cat buy her some. Mine goes crazy for it!

3 Rae { 02.05.16 at 12:05 pm }

Sherri nicol enzymes are destroyed by heat. A bite of the cooked product should be alright, on the enzyme count, anyway. There could be other reasons to keep pork from kitty’s though. I don’t eat pork because it raises blood pressure in many folks.

4 Terry Niemeyer { 02.04.16 at 12:11 am }

On a different but similar issues, the lightweight clumping cat litter is very dangerous to cats as well. The regular clumping litter is more dangerous to kittens. They lick their paws ingesting the litter and it will clump in their stomachs which if not caught fairly quick it can kill them. The lightweight version is bad for the same reason but the dust is dangerous as well causing respiratory problems, and in humans too. We had a kitten almost die from the regular clumping litter and the only thing that saved her was us catching it quick enough and force feeding her Pedialyte for children. It helped dissolve it enough she lived. She now is 3.

5 Sherri Nicol { 02.03.16 at 2:45 pm }

I would like to add 1 more food item, that my vet here in Cumberland, MD says cats should not have. Pork. In any form. He states that there is an enzyme in pork that cats cannot tolerate, although pork is ok for dogs. However….I have given my cats a small piece of bacon or ham occasionally, and I have not noticed any ill effects. But don’t let my vet know!

6 Mledesma5@cox.net { 02.03.16 at 9:32 am }

FYI…

7 Susan Higgins { 02.02.16 at 9:45 pm }

Hi Pam Gaffke, yes, very sweet! And you are correct, dog food is also one for the list. While not poisonous, it’s definitely a good idea to keep the foods separate.

8 Pam Gaffke { 02.02.16 at 9:11 am }

It is great to have a forum and advice to keep our pets healthy and happy. I also found when I was visiting my son who has two young cats; that dog food is not so good for them either. I had three Yorkies with me and the cats loved getting into their food dishes. The cats had reacted to the food in a not so pleasant way. I did have a great experience when I found that cats and dogs don’t dislike each other. They were all playing and sleeping in the dogs kennels. Sweet!

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