A cat looking at a flower

Eight Things You Should Never Feed a Cat

Today we’re looking at eight foods and plants that are dangerous to felines:

Onions & garlic

A staple in almost every kitchen around the world, onions and garlic are amazing flavor enhancers used in countless recipes. A cat’s stomach, however, will not respond very well to them.

It doesn’t matter whether they are fresh or cooked either; both can cause gastrointestinal issues and diarrhea. They can even contribute to chronic renal failure if large amounts are frequently ingested.

Raw onions have another extra poisonous effect: they contain two compounds called thiosulphates and disulfate, which damage the red blood cells that transport oxygen through the whole body.


Lily plant

Lily plants are extremely poisonous to felines

Officially known as Lilium (from the family of Liliaceae), these plants are among the most dangerous things your cat could possibily eat. Ingestion can quickly lead to acute renal failure, a severe condition where the kidneys cease to function in just a few days.

The kidneys remove metabolic waste products from the blood and are therefor very much essential to our survival. Acute renal failure is lethal unless very agressively treated by a vet.

If you have a cat (or if you are planning on getting one), it’s probably a good idea to get some different plants or to move your lilies to a place that you are 100% sure your cat is not able to reach.


Green Tomatoes

Tomatoes are members of a family of flowering plants called Solanacea (more commonly known as nightshades). Some members of this family are highly toxic to animals, but several others are a major source of food for humans. Tomatoes, potatoes and chili peppers are examples of nightshade plant parts that are frequently harvested and consumed.

Green tomatoes are best avoided; they contain an alkaloid compound that causes violent gastrointestinal probems in cats. Thankfully, the more familiar red tomato that we often use in the kitchen is not so poisonous.


Raw salmon

Some foods that contain healthy fats
This raw salmon looks delicious, but you should always cook it before putting it into a meal

As we wrote in our salmon kibble and treats article, raw salmon contains a substance that can cause thiamine-defficiency when ingested by cats. If you plan on making some delicious home-made meals with salmon for your kitty, it is vital that you remove this by cooking the meat.

Once cooked, salmon is an amazing source of protein and super healthy fat. The omega 3 and 6 present in the meat have a whole range of extrordinary benefits.


Cocoa products

Your cat probably loves the stuff, but be very careful with chocolate!

Fortunately this has become somewhat common knowledge in recent years, but we still think it is worth mentioning: cocoa and chocolate contain a compound known as theobromine which cats (and dogs!) are unable to break down.

Once this substance builds up in the body’s tissues it will quickly become toxic and cause very serious poisoning symptoms. The purer or darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it usually contains, and thus the more dangerous it is for your cat.

Also, with cats being as small as they are, they don’t need to ingest a whole lot of theobromine before they become sick. Make it a point always keep cocoa products out of reach when your pets are around.


Grapes

Raisins are dried grapes, They also get a pass!

They make for a delicious flavor in the purple and pink soda’s, but grapes have been known to cause acute kidney failure in pets. Experts are not entirely sure yet on the mechanism behind this.

Studies showed some dogs could eat a whole lot without getting sick, while others experienced severe poisoning symptoms after ingesting just a small amount.

So far, the potential dangers to other pets are not well-documented. Since we’re rather safe than sorry, we suggest you keep your cat away from grapes (and raisins) entirely.


Xylitol

A lot of research is currently being done to review the potentially toxic effects of xylitol in animals

These white crystals are often used as an artifical sweetener or substitute to white sugar. The toxicity of xylitol in mammals is subject of an ongoing debate, but it has been established with certainty that high doses of xylitol can promote a sudden release of insulin in the body, resulting in the same symptoms as those often seen in diabetes type 1. These symptoms include:

  • Dizziness, anxiety and excessive sweating
  • Irregular/faster heartbeat
  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Irritability

In the worst cases, ingestion of large amounts of xylitol could lead to seizures, brain damage & liver failure.


Certain Nuts

Although cats are unlikely to eat nuts (they don’t particularely like the taste), they are potentially hazardous and should be avoided. Macadamia’s and walnuts in particular are known to have caused problems in felines.

Walnuts

Walnuts are not nescessarily toxic to cats, but they contain large amounts of fat (and often salt too). Ingestion can lead to an upset stomach and vomiting. Regularely giving walnuts to your cat can also result in kidney failure.

Macadamia’s

It is yet to be uncovered why, but macadamia nuts are highly toxic to pets. Ingestion can negatively affect the muscles and nervous systems. Possible symptoms include vomiting and hypothermia.


Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

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