Our feline family members can be finicky about what they eat – but if they want human food, it might not be the best idea.
“Feeding your cat anything not specifically formulated for cats can affect their digestive system and cause symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea or loss of appetite,” says Dr. Emilia Gordon, BC SPCA senior manager, animal health.
“There are a few food items – and recreational habits – you may want to ensure your cat doesn’t get into.”
If you suspect your cat has ingested something he shouldn’t, you should contact your veterinarian immediately for advice, Gordon notes.
What to avoid:
- Alcohol – Alcohol can cause intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing, abnormal acidity and potentially even a coma or death.
- Chocolate – Chocolate usually contains caffeine as well as theobromine and theophylline, which can be toxic and cause heart arrhythmias, muscle tremors, or seizures.
- Citrus oil extracts – Can cause vomiting.
- Coffee, tea, energy drinks – These and other caffeinated drinks and foods can cause your cat to become restless, have rapid breathing, heart palpitations, or muscle tremors.
- Fat trimmings, raw meat, eggs, fish – There is a risk vomiting, diarrhea, salmonella or E. coli associated with these foods for some animals, especially when given improperly.
- Grapes and raisins – While cats are not likely to eat these, they can cause kidney damage and it’s best to keep these out of reach.
- Marijuana and edibles containing cannabis-infused butter or oil – Marijuana, if ingested, can adversely affect your cat’s nervous system and heart rate. Products made with concentrated THC (the psychoactive component in cannabis), such as cannabis butter, are often even more dangerous.
- Milk and other dairy products – Cats can become lactose intolerant and ingesting dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhea for affected felines.
- Onions, garlic and chives – All members of the onion family can cause problems if eaten in large quantities, as these contain disulfides and sulfoxides (thiosulphate), both of which can cause anemia and damage red blood cells. Even meat products containing onion powder (such as some baby foods) are dangerous for cats.
- Tobacco – Nicotine can damage your pet’s digestive and nervous systems, increase their heart rate, make them pass out, and ultimately result in death.
- Tuna – When made into cat food, tuna is fine for cats. But too much canned tuna (prepared for humans) can cause health problems for your cat.
- Yeast (on its own or in dough) – Yeast rises, whether in your cat’s stomach or not. While a little can cause gas and discomfort, too much of it could rupture your feline’s stomach and intestines.
Learn more about household hazards and pet safety.