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food not good for cats

Foods You Should Never Feed to Your Cat

We often share food as a sign of our love for our feline friends. However, cats are definitely not tiny humans and some foods can cause upset stomach, trigger pancreatitis, can be toxic or even poisonous. This article will help you determine what foods to avoid feeding your cat to prevent serious illness.

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The most common toxic effect of the following foods is listed with each item. Follow each link to learn more about each food item highlighted and how they can be toxic to cats. Note that these foods can be fatal and lead to death, depending on the age, weight, and health status of the cat and the amount eaten.

Foods Toxic to Cats

  • Alcohol and Raw dough: CNS (central nervous system) depression, gastrointestinal (GI) upset
  • Onions and Garlic: Heinz Body Anemia (destruction of red blood cells leading to anemia)
  • Raw eggs/raw meat/bones: bacterial infection (potentially transmissible to people), pancreatitis and poisoning, choking, obstruction, or perforation hazard from eating bones

Other Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Cat

  • Milk/dairy products: GI upset
  • Dog food: does not contain essential amino acids which, over time, can lead to vision issues, heart disease, and dental issues
  • Concentrated essential oils like citrus (orange, lemon, or lime): GI upset, CNS depression
  • Coconut water (high in potassium): bradycardia (decreased heart rate)
  • Nuts (high in fat content): pancreatitis, GI upset
  • Coconut/coconut oil: pancreatitis, GI upset
  • Salt and salty snack foods: increased thirst and urination, GI upset, potential for sodium-ion poisoning
  • Fried or oily foods: GI upset, pancreatitis

How to Prevent Your Cat From Eating Dangerous or Potentially Toxic Foods

Cats are naturally curious and like to investigate by jumping onto kitchen counters and even opening cabinets or pantry doors and knocking things off countertops. Here are some tips to keep your curious cat from eating dangerous and toxic foods you may have in your kitchen:

  • Keep foods out of your cat’s reach by installing cat-proof locks on cabinets.
  • Do not allow your cat on the kitchen counter while cooking or eating. Use deterrents such as double-sided sticky tape or motion-activated air spray deterrents.
  • Do not feed your cat table scraps or food from your plate.
  • Be mindful during any holidays. We often have enticing food (meant for people) available that curious cats find interesting and may taste.

If you think or know that your cat has eaten any of these foods, contact your pDVM (primary veterinarian) or the nearest pet emergency hospital right away. Some of these foods may only cause mild GI upset, while others can be much more toxic and cause severe symptoms and even death.

Read more:

Vomiting and Diarrhea in Cats

How to Recognize and Treat Pancreatitis in Cats

How to Choose the Right Food for Your Cat

Have more questions about foods that are poisonous to cats?

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