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CATS NO-NO FOODS - Dangerous Foods for Cats

Dangerous Foods

Because they're such picky eaters, we humans sometimes think cats know what's best for them when it's time to eat.

The fact they'll walk away from a piece of bad meat doesn't mean they'll bypass an open can of tuna. And that can of tuna can be just as dangerous. In fact, you may be surprised to learn some of the common foods your cats should never eat might be the very food your cat would consume.

Onions, Garlic, Chives, Leeks, Shallots and Related Root Vegetables,
Milk and Other Dairy Products
Grapes and Raisins
Pips and Kernels: Pear/Apple Pips, Apricot/Plum/Peach/Nectarine Kernels
Chocolate, Cocoa, Cacoa
Candy and Gum - Xylitol
Fat Trimmings and Bones
Raw Eggs
Raw Meat and Fish
RAW Green, Red, Yellow Tomatoes, All Raw Potatoes
Dog Food
Too Many Treats
Yeast Dough
Human Medicine

If Your Cat Eats What It Shouldn't
No matter how cautious you are, it's possible your cat can find and swallow what it shouldn't.

Always keep the number of your local vet, the closest emergency clinic, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center -- (888) 426-4435 -- where you know you can find it in an emergency. And if you think your cat has consumed something that's toxic, call for emergency help at once.

Details for each of these food sources are listed on our web site:www.Naturally


Cats can be addicted to tuna, whether it's packed for cats or for humans. Some tuna now and then probably won't hurt. But a steady diet of tuna prepared for humans can lead to malnutrition because it won't have all the nutrients, especially the amino acid l-Tarurine, which a cat needs. And, too much tuna can cause mercury poisoning.


Do not feed your cats root vegetables such garlic, leeks, chives, shallots or onion in all forms, powdered, raw, cooked, or dehydrated are poisonous to cats. These vegetables contain a substance known as N-propyl disulphide that can cause anemia when it attacks a cat's red blood cells.


What could be wrong with offering your cat a saucer of milk or a piece of cheese? Although kittens are able to tolerate milk, most adult cats cannot. Their digestive system cannot process dairy foods, and the result can be digestive upset causing diarrhea or upper respiratory ailments.


Grapes and raisins have often been used as treats for pets; it's poison to a cat. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in cats; while a small amount can make a cat ill. Repeated vomiting and hyperactivity are early signs. Although some cats show no ill effects, it's best not to give your cat any grapes and to keep grapes and raisins off countertops and other places accessible to your cat.

PIPS and KERNELS: Pear/Apple Pips, Apricot/Plum/Peach/Nectarine Kernels

Pear pips, apple pips and the kernels of drupes - plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots and related fruits, all contain cyanogenic glycosides that can result in cyanide poisoning. Cyanogenic glycosides interfere with the ability of the blood to release oxygen into the tissues, resulting in suffocation even though there is oxygen in the bloodstream.
Apricot kernels are more dangerous to cats due to their liver function and smaller body weight.


All parts of the avocado contain a toxin known as persin. It causes gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, congestion, fluid accumulation around the tissues of the heart and even death. Cats may be attracted to the oily texture, but should never be fed avocado pieces or avocado dips.


Rhubarb leaves contain oxalates. Eating rhubarb leaves leads to oxalic acid poisoning which can cause kidney failure. The cooked rhubarb stem may cause indigestion, intestinal discomfort and diarrhea. In practice, cats are unlikely to eat rhubarb leaves due to the taste. Some cats will chew on leaves without swallowing them.


Can cause gastrointestinal upsets. Where it exceeds 25% it could prove fatal. Cats digestive system means they wouldn't digest broccoli as thoroughly as another mammal and might not absorb the isothiocyanate toxin.


Many nuts are not good for cats and the high phosphorus content may cause problems. Walnuts are reported to be toxic to pets. Raw and roasted macadamia nuts are harmful to pets. There is no data for cats, but there are toxicity cases in dogs. Dogs that ate between 6 and 40 macadamia kernels or macadamia nut butter developed temporary muscle tremors and hindlimb weakness/paralysis. Some had swollen and painful limbs. They became unable to get up and were visibly distressed. Although the effects were temporary, they were painful and distressing.
With their less effective livers, cats are also at risk from macadamia nuts and related products. While cats may be attracted to the oily texture of some nuts, it is wisest not to allow them to eat nuts; especially macadamia nuts.


Chocolate can be lethal for cats. Although most cats won't eat it on their own, they can be coaxed to eat it by owners and others who think they are giving the cat a treat. The toxic agent in chocolate is theobromine. It's in all kinds of chocolate, even white chocolate. The most dangerous kinds, though, are dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate. Eating chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death.


Candy, gum, toothpaste, baked goods, and some diet foods are sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol can cause an increase in the insulin circulating through your cat's body, which will cause the cat's blood sugar to drop. Xylitol can also lead to liver failure. Initial symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. The cat may have seizures soon after ingesting the xylitol, and liver failure can occur within just a few days.


Table scraps often contain fat trimmed off of meat and bones. Both fat and bones may be dangerous for cats. Fat, both cooked and uncooked, can cause intestinal upset, with vomiting and diarrhea. A cat can choke on a bone. Bones can also splinter and cause an obstruction or laceratons of your cat's digestive system.


There are two problems with giving your cat raw eggs. The first is the possibility of food poisoning from bacteria like salmonella or E. coli. The second is that a protein in raw egg whites, called avidin, interferes with the absorption of the B vitamin biotin. This can cause skin problems as well as problems with your cat's coat.


Raw meat and raw fish, like raw eggs, can contain bacteria that cause food poisoning. In addition, an enzyme in raw fish destroys thiamine-B1, which is an essential B vitamin for your cat. A lack of thiamine can cause serious neurological problems and lead to convulsions and coma.


These foods are members of the Solanaceae family of plants, which includes the Deadly Nightshade, and contain a bitter, poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms. The leaves and stems are particularly toxic. Tomatoes in pet foods are ripe, and should cause no concern because they appear in relatively small amounts.
Once cooked, the alkaloid is destroyed making the tomato or potato safe. Cooked mashed potato can be safely mixed into canned food as a bulking agent for overweight cats. Green potatoes should be discarded.


It is often claimed pork - ham, bacon etc. shouldn't be given to cats. In fact pork products are used in pet-foods - sometimes this appears on the label - "Chicken and Ham", "Chicken and Bacon", "... and Pork" and other times it is hidden as part of the meat byproducts and derivatives.

The idea of pork being unhealthy, as opposed to unclean, relates to tapeworm that may be carried by pigs. Pork should be cooked before feeding it to your cat. Bacon is often too salty and unsafe to feed to a cat. Cooked pork or ham is safe to feed as a treat. If you allow your cat to eat pieces of sausage, make sure it doesn't contain salt, onion powder or leeks as these are toxic to cats. Raw pork is best avoided.


Small amounts of liver are OK, but a cat eating too much liver can cause vitamin A toxicity. This is a serious condition that can affect your cat's bones. Symptoms include deformed bones, bone growths on the elbows and spine, and osteoporosis. Vitamin A toxicity can also cause death.


An occasional bite of dog food won't hurt your cat. But dog food is not a substitute for cat food. They do have many of the same ingredients. Cat food is specially formulated for a cat's needs, which defers from dogs and include more protein as well as certain vitamins and fatty acids. A steady diet of dog food can cause your cat to become severely malnourished.


Eating too much too often can do the same thing to cats that it does to humans. It can lead to obesity and even diabetes.


Before it's baked, bread dough needs to rise; that's exactly what it would do in your cat's stomach if your cat ate it. As it swells inside the cat's stomach, the dough can stretch the abdomen or stomach and cause severe pain. In addition, when the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it produces alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.


Ingesting a drug prescribed for humans is one of the most common causes of poisoning in cats. Just as you would do for your children, put all medicines where your cat can't get to them. Never give your cat any over-the-counter medicine unless advised to do so by your DVM. Ingredients such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are common in pain relievers and cold medicine; they can be deadly for your cat.


Caffeine in large enough quantities can be fatal for a cat. And there is no antidote. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and fits. In addition to tea and coffee -- including beans and grounds -- caffeine can be found in cocoa, chocolate, colas, and stimulant drinks such as Red Bull. It's also in some cold medicines and painkillers.

Coffee and tea usually contain caffeine, as do some carbonated beverages (soda). Caffeine can cause hyperactivity in cats (just like humans) as well as rapid heart beat, muscle tremors and possibly seizures.


Beer, liquor, wine, foods containing alcohol -- none of it is good for your cat. Alcohol has the same effect on a cat's liver and brain that it has on humans; it takes far less to do its damage. Just two teaspoons of whisky can cause a coma in a 5-pound cat, and one more teaspoon could kill it. The higher the proof, the worse the symptoms.


There is a lot of confusion over hop toxicity. In 1995, the National Animal Poison Control Centre in Illinois recorded 8 cases of fatal hop toxicity in dogs that consumed spent hops from home-brew kits. The result was an uncontrollable rise in body temperature. While hop residue from beer-making can cause raised temperature, increased heart rate, seizures and even death (at least in dogs), there's no evidence that fresh or dried hops are harmful.

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