Feeding Your Cat

Human Foods That Cats Cannot Eat

While caring for our furry, somewhat snobby, feline friends, we may be tempted to give them food off our plates. While this is done with the best intentions, there are certain human foods that cats cannot eat and hence you should avoid feeding them to your cats as it may pose a danger to their lives.

The following is a lost of some common foods that cats cannot eat:

1. Raw Foodstuff

Raw meatstuffAvoid feeding your cats raw eggs, fish and meat. Cats are susceptible to deadly viruses like salmonella and E.coli, just like humans. Signs that your cat has contracted these diseases include constant vomiting, depression, diarrhea and lethargy. Ensure that your cat’s food is properly cooked to kill all bacteria and microbes within. Proper hygiene should also be maintained when handling cats and their foodstuff to prevent transmission of the disease from your pets to you.

Raw egg also contains avidin, an enzyme that leads to a development of rough, scaly and dry fur on your cats. Avidin prevents proper absorption of Vitamin B thus preventing the development of soft, fluffy fur.

Raw bones can also be a choking hazard to your cat, especially those sharp and tiny ones such as those in fishes.

Basically, the general rule is: anything you can’t eat raw, neither can your cat.

2. Milk and Dairy Products

CheeseDo not feed your cat milk or other dairy products because the majority of adult cats are lactose (a complex sugar in raw milk) intolerant. Adult cats who are fed milk may experience a lot of gastrointestinal issues due to their digestive system’s inability to break down lactose.

Kittens, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of digesting lactose as they do drink their mother’s milk for nutrients. However, as they get older, they lose this ability. Also, even though they can drink milk, it is best to feed them cat milk as it is different from the milk that humans drink or produced by herbivores.

Therefore, do restrict milk to kittens only and avoid feeding your adult cats any milk and dairy products.

3. Alcohol

WineA tiny sip of alcohol can have deadly consequences on your cat due to the sensitive nature of their livers. Alcohol consumption leads to respiratory problems, difficulty breathing, vomiting, tremors, seizures, diarrhea, confusion, coma and left unchecked, death. Cats cannot tolerate alcohol so be sure not to do it for laughs. Rush any cat that has ingested even a tiny bit of alcohol to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Another food to avoid is raw dough. Dough, when ingested by cats, can become alcoholic in the intestine, triggering all the symptoms of alcohol poisoning listed above even though it does not contain alcohol.

*Do note that alcohol in this case is not limited to only consumption. Exposure to alcohol through skin or smell is enough to cause poisoning within 15 minutes to 2 hours, so it is highly suggested to keep the cats in a separate room during the party and clean up all traces of alcohol thoroughly after the party if it is hosted in a house with cats.*

4. Chocolate and Caffeinated Drinks

ChocolateChocolate is potentially fatal when consumed by cats (same as dogs). Methylxanthines, which are found in cacao, a primary ingredient in chocolates and caffeinated drinks, can trigger a series of fatal reactions in your cat. Chocolate poisoning has symptoms including high fever, abnormal heart rate, pain in the abdominal region, increased thirst, tremors and seizures. The darker the chocolate (higher cacao content) the more dangerous and fatal it is when consumed by your cat, hence chocolate consumption must be treated as a medical emergency in your cat.

Caffeinated drinks like Nescafe and certain energy drinks also contain methylxanthines, essentially having the same effects on cats. Hence, please do not leave soda or energy drinks in the reach or vicinity of your cats.

5. Grapes

GrapesAvoid feeding your cats grapes and raisins (dried/processed grapes) to prevent the rapid onset of kidney failure. These fruits have been proven to trigger the symptoms of a data kidney failure in felines. The reason or science behind why cats are susceptible to raisins and grapes has not been fully understood, but the deadly effect on cats has been widely reported and documented.

The symptoms of kidney failure in cats are incessant vomiting and restlessness within the first 12 hours of ingesting such harmful fruits and then diarrhea, lethargy and fatigue, abdominal discomfort, sudden loss of appetite, decreased urination within 24 hours of ingestion. It is best to take your cat to a vet as soon as you notice any of these symptoms or as soon as it ingests grapes or raisins.

6. Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic can trigger acute anemia (the reduction in the number of red blood cells) in your cat. Onion delicacies or food seasonings with concentrated onion or garlic content should be kept away from cats. Signs of anemia in cats are excessive tiredness, generalized fatigue and lethargy, urine that is dark red or orange. All these symptoms indicate a lack of oxygenated red blood cells in your cat, depriving it of energy and having potentially deadly effects.

Apart from onions and garlic, avoid feeding your cats shallots and scallions, as they are also ranked quite high on the lists of foods that cats cannot eat.

In Summary

As a cat lover and a fellow cat owner, I know that you love your furry feline family members and wish to share everything you love with them. I’ll admit that I had fed the cat off my own plate for quite a few times, and let’s just say that there are unpleasant things that happened before due to my ‘act of love’.

Caring for them in an appropriate manner is the best way to show them your love, and this includes providing them with suitable, safe-for-cat-consumption food.

If you have any questions that you want to ask, anything you wish to clarify, or simply want to express your thoughts and feelings, feel free to leave a comment!

2 thoughts on “Human Foods That Cats Cannot Eat

  1. I have always had cats around most were mutts that showed up at my door and stayed except one that was a Russian Blue that we got from the SPCA. Since all of my cats were roamers meaning they hunted even tho they were well fed at home, I got a silent chuckle about not giving them raw meat but as I continued reading I started to think that maybe all the times they were throwing up was due to something they ate outside, they always seemed to like milk but again from your article I wonder if that also was causing it as well, so now I will be weaning them off of milk now. I have had one cat who would peel and eat bananas (blamed my youngsters for not cleaning up) until I caught the cat chewing on one, Had another cat that like olives now I wonder if I should have let them eat them. I liked your article and found informative and it has made me think about what my cats eat in the future

    1. Hey Douglas,

      Cats drinking milk has been something that is around for quite some time. Even I myself used to think that cats drink milk. I bet it must have been from some cartoon (perhaps Tom and Jerry?) that I got this information from.

      Glad you found my article informative and prompted you to think more in the future!


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