While some human foods are safe for felines, there several foods that are big no-no’s for your cat.
First let’s talk about raw fish. While sushi is usually safe for people, it can cause problems in cats, such as vomiting. Certain raw fish contain an enzyme that can cause a breakdown of an essential B vitamin called thiamine, which can cause neurological symptoms including seizures and coma in cats. Raw fish is a no-no for cats.
Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages are never good for your cat. Caffeine is found in tea, sodas, stimulant drinks and coffee, including the beans and grounds, and in large doses can be fatal. Alcohol in any amount is never good for your cat. Alcohol has the same effect on a cat’s liver and brain as it does on humans, but it takes far less to cause the same damage. Just 3 teaspoons of whiskey can cause a coma and death in a 5 pound cat.
While a cat lapping up a saucer of milk makes for a nostalgic picture, dairy isn’t a good idea for your feline. While some kittens can tolerate it, adult cats lack the enzymes necessary to process dairy foods, and the result can be diarrhea and upset stomach. It’s best to avoid dairy altogether in cats, and use kitten replacer formula for nursing kittens.
Uncooked eggs pose several hazards to felines. Raw eggs are at risk of salmonella contamination, and raw egg whites contain avidin, which can bind to biotin and cause a biotin deficiency. Symptoms of a biotin deficiency include skin problems and bloody diarrhea. Fortunately, cooking an egg inactivates avidin, and small amounts of scrambled eggs are fine for your kitty, just remember to include the scrambled eggs as part of your cat’s overall daily calories.
Onion in any form - raw, cooked, dehydrated, or powdered - can break down a cat’s red blood cells, causing anemia. Even the onion powder found in some baby foods, if fed regularly to a cat, can cause onion poisoning. Along with onion, garlic and chives can also cause stomach upset in cats.
While not a people food, dog food is not a good idea for your feline. While a bite or two won’t hurt your cat, cats have different nutritional needs than dogs, and a steady diet of dog food can cause your cat to be severely malnourished.
No matter how cautious you are, it’s possible your cat can find and swallow what it shouldn’t. It is a good idea to keep the number of your local vet, a close emergency vet, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handy should the need arise. Also, don’t forget that most indoor felines need no more than 270 calories per day to prevent obesity. If you feed your cat a raw diet or a home cooked diet, make sure to work with a veterinary nutritionist or local veterinarian to ensure your cat is getting a complete and balanced diet. Making sure that cats stay safe and eat a proper amount of a balanced diet are two important factors that can contribute to a long and healthy life.