Cats are curious and get into small nooks and crannies in your home. It may be surprised to find out which household foods are cat poison. Most people know that you should keep cats away from chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, and household cleaning products. But it may surprise you to know that some seemingly innocuous “people foods” are actually quite harmful for pets. Here’s a rundown list of cat poison foods you should keep kitty away from:
- Onions and garlic: No, your cat is not a vampire, despite how active she is at night. Onions and garlic break down a cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Fortunately, onions and garlic are very pungent to cats, who have a low tolerance for spices, so she may turn her nose up at the offerings of Italian Night anyway.
- Grapes or raisins: Some have offered this fruit as a healthy treat for cats, but veterinarians warn against this due to grapes causing liver failure in cats. No one is really sure why this is, but stick to carrots or apples for healthy treats.
- Milk: Do the stray cats of the neighborhood rush to your house when you put out a dish of milk? You may unintentionally be giving them digestive problems. Adult cats are lactose intolerant and feeding them milk may cause them to vomit or have diarrhea.
- Raw Meat: Their ancestors ate raw meat and fish in the wild, so how harmful could it be, right? After all, Fluffy just brought you a “present” he hunted! However, raw meat contains enzymes that block your cat’s absorption of essential vitamins such as Vitamin A, plus, just like humans, they are susceptible to food borne illnesses such as salmonella and E. coli. Fluffy may be eyeing your sashimi sushi, but feed him only cooked fish, please.
- Liver: Liver is definitely good for your cat, but too much liver may actually harm his liver, causing vitamin A poisoning. As with tuna, feed your cat a varied diet so he doesn’t get sick from “too much of a good thing.”
- Tuna or Salmon (Excessive) : Of course, the occasional can of tuna will make your kitty lick his chops. But tuna processed for human consumption lacks essential nutrients that can be found in tuna for cats, and too much tuna could give him mercury poisoning. The same goes for salmon, which, when originally prepared for humans, contains too much sodium for cats, especially if it’s of the smoked variety. Switch up fish dishes with chicken, liver, or beef dishes so he gets all the vitamins and minerals he needs.
- Medicine for People: If you can’t get to the vet, surely half a human Tylenol will be a good temporary fix? Not so fast. Many human medicines contain caffeine, which can raise your pet’s heart rate to alarming levels, plus the liver damage human painkillers warn about increase tenfold for cats, whose livers are less than a third of the size of human livers.
What is good for your cat? Cooked meats without a lot of seasoning or breading, raw fruits and veggies, and a diet that reflects that they’re natural carnivores. (You may be vegetarian or vegan, but your kitty has to eat meat in her kibble or risk nutritional deficiencies and hypoglycemia.) The occasional table scrap is fine, but as we humans tend to prepare food using lots of oils, fats, and starches, make sure Fluffy gets enough exercise to be happy and healthy!