Toxic Foods in your Home for Cats & Foods that are Safe for Cats

Toxic Foods in your Home for Cats & Foods that are Safe for Cats 

Cats are very particular about what they eat and when. But there are some common food items that cats should avoid and you should never feed your cat because they contain chemicals that can cause poisoning or allergies in cats. This article will focus on foods that are commonly found in Indian homes that should be avoided by cats. We’ll also see the reasons why these foods are toxic and how you can avoid them.

Why can't cats eat the same foods as humans?

Is Human Food Bad for cats? The answer is - not always. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. Human food, even those that are perfectly safe for humans, can be harmful to cats. Because all animals have different rates of metabolism and a completely different anatomy than humans, foods that are completely safe for humans and other animals may be toxic or even lethal to your cat, posing a major threat to their health and well-being. Although some foods are not hazardous in small amounts, they can be dangerous in large quantities. 

When thinking about homemade food, keep in mind that cats and humans are significantly different in terms of nutrition and eating habits. Cats have unique nutrient requirements that must be fulfilled by their diet. Providing a comprehensive and balanced commercial food developed by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist  nutrition is the simplest and most convenient way to meet a cat's nutrient requirements. 

This means that any vitamins and minerals offered by treats—even healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables—would be in surplus of what a cat eating a complete and balanced diet needs. More isn't necessarily better when it comes to nutrition. It can even be hazardous in some situations.

Several human foods are typically regarded as safe for cats if they don't make up more than 10% of a cat's daily diet. Because some cats may ingest a particular food item without trouble while others may consume the same item and have vomiting, diarrhoea, or other negative symptoms, cats must be addressed for their individual needs.

What are the most toxic foods for cats?

We all want to ensure that your dog lives a long and healthy life. In order to do so, poisonous foods should always be avoided in your cat's diet. Toxic foods can lead to major health problems in your cat. Consumption of a range of foods can cause poisoning in cats. The amount of hazardous components in a cat's food varies greatly depending on the cat’s breed and size. Here is a list of foods that your cat should avoid according to ASPCA:

1. Chocolate

Chocolates are toxic to cats as they contain methylxanthines. Chocolate toxicity can result in vomiting, diarrhoea, heart arrhythmias, and seizures, as well as death. This is due to theobromine, a component of chocolate that can be harmful to pets. The risk increases as the chocolate gets darker and the cats get smaller. If your cat consumes chocolate, consult your veterinarian.

2. Onions, garlic, & Chives

Due to a component called thiosulphate, which can harm your pet's red blood cells and induce anaemia, onions and garlic can be dangerous. Onions, shallots, chives, and onion powder all contain thiosulphate. Garlic has a very high concentration of it.  Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks are all members of the allium family of plants, which are harmful to pets. Do not feed these vegetables to your pet if you prepare a dish with chunks of them.

Consumption can harm the body's oxygen-carrying cells, resulting in anaemia or a low red blood cell count. The body will not be able to function normally if there are insufficient red blood cells, resulting in lethargy, pale gums, increased heart rate and breathing rate, vomiting, and appetite loss. Many processed and packaged meals, such as soups, broths, some cat treats, and any pre-prepared foods, contain onion powder or garlic powder. Avoid giving these to your cat. 

3. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that has the potential to harm your pet's neurological system, heart, and other organs. Soda, ice cream, and pharmaceuticals, in addition to coffee and tea, should be avoided. Within 30 to 60 minutes of consuming caffeine, dogs and cats may show clinical indications of caffeine poisoning. Restlessness, agitation, hyperactivity, vomiting, and panting are all signs to look out for. They may also get tremors and seizures as the poisoning advances. Caffeine causes them to become restless. Their hearts start to race as they become uneasy. However, because our pets are so much smaller than we are, a small amount of caffeine can cause a major problem, perhaps resulting in costly hospitalisation or even death.

4. Raw/Undercooked Eggs

Bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli can be found in raw meat and raw eggs. E. coli can be hazardous to both people and pets. Raw eggs include an enzyme called avidin, which reduces biotin (a B vitamin) absorption, which can cause skin and coat issues. If consumed in moderation, cooked eggs can be a nutritious addition to your dog or cat's diet. However, consuming too many raw eggs can cause a biotin deficiency in cats, which is unhealthy for their skin and fur.

5. Raw/Undercooked Fish, Meat and Bones

Raw bones may appear to be a natural and healthy option for your pet if they live in the wild. A domestic cat, on the other hand, could choke on bones or suffer a serious injury if the bone splinters and gets caught in or wounds your pet's digestive tract. 

Raw fish or meat may contain hazardous bacteria that can cause food poisoning in your pet, even though it is not inherently poisonous to dogs and cats. Furthermore, due to a parasite typically seen in salmon, trout, sturgeon, and other upstream-swimming fish, your pet may be at danger of contracting "fish disease." When going fishing or to the beach, keep a watchful eye on your pet.

6. Grapes and raisins

In dogs and cats, grapes and raisins can cause kidney problems. Even small quantities might cause drowsiness, shivers, and a loss of appetite. Grape poisoning can lead to kidney failure and even death in severe circumstances. 

Grapes and raisins can induce kidney failure in cats for unknown reasons, and even a small amount can make a cat sick. Early indications include frequent vomiting and hyperactivity. Although some cats appear to be unaffected, it's better not to feed grapes to your cat and to keep grapes and raisins off countertops and other locations where your cat can reach them.

 7. Dog food

Is Dog Food toxic for your Cat? Yes, in the long run, it is. Though dog food is not hazardous to cats, they require a different set of nutrients than dogs. Vitamin A, taurine, arachidonic acid, and protein should all be abundant in cat diet, whereas dog food has significantly lower levels of these nutrients. Dogs can survive on less vitamin A and protein than cats, but cats cannot. Although dogs may manufacture taurine and arachidonic acid, cats must consume these acids through their food. Cats can develop heart illness, visual problems, and dental problems if they don't get enough taurine.

8. Alcohol

Even little amounts of alcohol can cause toxicity. Alcohol can be extremely harmful to your cat, causing liver and/or brain damage. Cocktails aren't the only thing you should avoid giving your pet. Dogs and cats can be poisoned by mouthwash and fermented foods. Our pets' bodies absorb alcohol in as little as 30 minutes. This hazardous chemical is quickly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and the skin.

Cats can be poisoned by products like rubbing alcohol, antifreeze, and even fermenting bread dough. Alcohol poisoning occurs when a cat consumes ethanol (such as alcoholic beverages and liquid pharmaceuticals), isopropanol (such as alcohol-based flea treatments), or methanol (as in windshield washer antifreeze). Because the alcohol is swiftly absorbed into the cat's system, toxicity develops quickly. Symptoms include dizziness, lethargy, and vomiting, as well as seizures, respiratory failure, and even death. 

9. Medicines

Cats are poisoned by paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets, and should never be given to them for pain management. Paracetamol, in particular, is extremely poisonous to cats and can harm their red blood vessels and liver permanently. Panting, difficulty breathing, and a brown tongue and gums are all signs to watch out for.

10. Milk & Dairy

In reality, most cats and dogs lose their capacity to digest milk as they grow older, making them lactose intolerant as adults. For both cats and dogs, drinking milk, cheese, or yogurt can cause diarrhoea and other problems. Milk is permissible for cats. But proceed with caution. Some cats are lactose intolerant and have difficulty digesting milk. Since most cats are lactose intolerant, giving them a saucer of milk may cause them to vomit. Because branded cat milk has little nutritional value, it is preferable to leave a bowl of fresh water out instead.

11. Coconut

Cats should avoid coconut water, coconut flesh, and coconut oil. Coconut water is extremely hydrating for humans, but it is rich in potassium. Potassium levels in the body must be maintained at a certain level. If your pet is given too much potassium, or if their body is unable to handle high potassium levels due to a medical condition, they may suffer heart rhythm irregularities, which can lead to death. Low energy, weakness, or collapse are all possible symptoms.

Coconut meat does not have as much potassium and different pets may react differently to it. Coconut flesh has the potential to produce intestinal disturbance, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, a lack of appetite, and dehydration. If you're giving your pet small amounts of coconut flesh and they seem to tolerate it well (no negative side effects), you should be able to increase the amount without causing any problems. If you wish to feed coconut oil to your pet, it is not hazardous in little amounts, but it might create health problems in pets who are allergic to it or when given in large quantities.

12. Nuts

Nut toxicity could be the cause of your cat's seizures, lethargy, vomiting, or loss of muscle control. Macadamia nuts are particularly dangerous to dogs and cats. The cause is unknown to veterinarians, however it is known to cause vomiting, weakness, hyperthermia, and loss of basic functioning. One of the most prevalent symptoms is weakness, particularly behind the hind legs. If you feel your cat has eaten a dangerous level of macadamia nuts, contact your veterinarian immediately. Many nuts are heavy in fat and sodium, which can lead to a range of health problems.

13. The sugar substitute xylitol

Sugarless chewing gum, candies, pharmaceuticals, vitamins, condiments, some peanut butters, and even mouthwashes contain xylitol, which might cause your pet's insulin to increase. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that can be found in a variety of human foods, including candy, chewing gum, and many baked goods. It's highly poisonous to cats, triggering fast insulin release and putting them into a coma in 15 to 20 minutes. Xylitol can lead to vomiting, lethargy, and liver failure in pets. 

14. Salt and Salty Snacks 

Salty meals and excessive salt are not recommended for cats. Excessive salt consumption (also known as "salt poisoning") can result in dehydration, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhoea. In moderation, salt is not harmful to your cat. It can, however, cause major health problems and even death if used in large quantities. Large amounts of salt, on the other hand, can cause salt poisoning, which can cause serious neurological symptoms such as seizures and brain swelling. Salt in excess can cause increased thirst and urine in pets, as well as sodium-ion toxicity. Vomiting, diarrhoea, depression, tremors, high body temperature, convulsions, and even death are signs that your pet has consumed too much salt. As a result, we recommend that you don't give your pets salty treats like potato chips, pretzels, or salted popcorn.

15. Fat trimmings and bones

Table scraps frequently contain meat fat and bones that a human would not eat. Both are harmful to cats. Cooked and uncooked fat trimmings from meat can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Your Cat can choke on it. Bones can also splinter and block your cat's digestive system or cause cuts and bruises. Make sure you have a garbage can with a cover or a trash bag that can be sealed nearby so your pet can't sniff around for leftovers or bones. Don't  throw chicken, pork, turkey, or rib bones on the ground because your pets will have easy access to them.

16. Tuna

Cats can become addicted to tuna, regardless of whether it is packaged specifically for cats or for humans. A little tuna now and then won't hurt. A continuous diet of tuna cooked for humans, on the other hand, can promote malnutrition in cats since it lacks all of the nutrients they require. Furthermore, consuming too much tuna can result in mercury poisoning. 

17. Yeast

Yeast, a frequent ingredient in bread dough, is toxic to cats because it expands in their stomach, causing organs to tear or twist. Vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach bloating are all symptoms of yeast ingestion. Call your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs. Some yeast dough ferments as well and results in alcohol toxicity.

18. Liver

For most cats, a little liver here and there isn't a problem. Indeed, liver is a good source of protein, iron, and a variety of other minerals. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! Vitamin A is abundant in the liver, and it is fat-soluble (builds up in fat cells within the body). As a result, a cat who eats too much liver for too long might develop a deadly vitamin A imbalance known as hypervitaminosis A.

19. Citrus foods

Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, oranges, clementines, and grapefruits, contain citric acid and essential oils that might harm cats. Avoid the stems, leaves, peels, fruit, and seeds. While small amounts are likely to cause nothing more than an upset stomach, large amounts can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, and Brain depression.

20. Cherries

These fruits are poisonous to dogs and cats, causing dilated pupils, breathing issues, shock, and even death in extreme situations. Cherry trees and shrubs should also be avoided. These plants are poisonous to pets, with the exception of the ripe pulp around the seeds, because the non-pulp parts contain cyanide.

These foods can be harmful to your cat's health and are toxic to them. However, you should be aware that some plants in your house or garden may be harmful to your cat and cause serious health problems if they are consumed.

Read: Toxic Plants for your Cats in your Home and Garden

Signs that your Cat has ingested something Toxic

Cats are adored for their curious nature. But  if they swallow or get into contact with any number of poisonous substances in and around the house, their curiosity can lead to disaster. Some toxins may produce relatively little irritation and pain when they interact. Others, on the other hand, can quickly attack and shut down vital organs, therefore it's critical to make your home secure for your pets.

Despite their owners' best attempts, cats occasionally swallow something harmful. Poisoning from a poisonous substance usually has obvious symptoms, such as gastrointestinal distress, neurological disorders, respiratory problems, and other apparent concerns such as vomiting or jaundice. If you suspect your cat has eaten something poisonous, note any symptoms they are having, try to identify the poisonous material if possible, and contact your veterinarian right once.

If your cat has consumed a toxin, you may notice the following symptoms: Vomiting and diarrhoea in the gastrointestinal tract, wheezing or difficulty breathing Weakness or lethargy, a lack of appetite, drooling, extreme thirst, Gums that are pale, Poop, vomit, or saliva with blood and seizures. 

What to do if your Cat has consumed something toxic?

Unintentional poisoning is the most common cause of cat poisoning. Our family pets have frequently gotten into situations they shouldn't have, leaving worried cat owners unsure what to do.  If you suspect your cat has been exposed to a poison, call your veterinarian first. If this happens after your regular veterinarian has closed, get guidance from the nearest emergency veterinarian.

If your cat has been poisoned, be calm and contact your veterinarian right away.  As soon as you can, get your cat away from the deadly substance. If your cat has already eaten anything, they may return to it while you are on the phone. Remove the substance from your cat’s reach in a safe manner.

Your veterinarian may tell you to come in immediately away or give you advice for at-home treatment. Never induce vomiting unless a veterinary specialist instructs you to do so, as some toxins cause more damage when they are vomited back up. If the skin comes into contact with one of these locations, you may need to rinse your cat's coat, eyes, or mouth.

Do not attempt to provide first aid to your cat. Different toxic compounds necessitate various responses. While causing vomiting may be necessary in some situations, inducing vomiting may make your cat even sicker. Bring your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible and let your veterinarian offer necessary medication.

Bring any packaging or a sample of the poison to your veterinarian's office if you know what poisoned your cat. The package will assist your veterinarian in fully comprehending the problem and determining the best course of action for your cat.

Human Foods that are safe for your Cat

Vegetables, with the exception of the ones stated above, are the greatest human foods you can feed your pet. Vegetables as a treat will help your pet feel satisfied while preventing overeating from commercial pet treats. Carrots, pumpkins, cucumbers, Spinach Beets, Potato Broccoli, Cherry tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, broccoli,  Green beans are all safe to feed your dog. 

Allow your cat to eat fruits in moderation to avoid consuming too many calories and sugar. Treats should account for no more than 10% of your cat's daily calorie consumption. Apple slices, tomatoes, berries, Strawberries, Blueberries, bananas, Melon, Mango, Pineapple, Pears, Seedless watermelons are all safe for your cat. 

Other human foods that you can feed your cat include Eggs, Fish, Tuna, Salmon, Meat, Rice, Ham, Cashew, Corn, Oatmeal, Cheese, Honey, Peanuts, Pork, Shrimp, Chicken, and Wheat/ Grain. 

Which Cat food should you feed your Cat?

Cats are carnivores who require meat to survive. Discussing your cat's diet with your veterinarian and following the advice on the label will assist to guarantee that your cat's diet is balanced and that your cat remains healthy. Cooked boneless beef or brown rice can be a tasty treat on occasion. However, it is preferable to keep it minimal and infrequent.

Since cats are carnivores, they require a source of animal protein to stay healthy. Find a high-quality commercial cat food that is suited for your cat's age and condition. If required, consult your veterinarian before deciding what to feed your cat so that they may examine their health and guarantee you're giving them the proper nutrition. The amount of food your cat requires is determined by its weight, size, and age, so don't always follow what everyone does. Obesity is common in cats and can lead to a shortened lifespan, so be sure you're offering the right amount of food to your cat.

Read: Complete Guide to Feeding Your Cat according to Age, Breed and Lifestyle to know more.

Final Words

As shown above, there are a variety of potentially dangerous foods to keep your pets away from. So, to keep your dog safe, you should keep dangerous foods out of reach of cats. If you have any poisonous foods for cats in your house, make sure to put them away as soon as you get home and store them safely. Make sure your friends and family are aware that they should not feed your cat.

Request that any visitors to your home refrain from feeding your dog. Lastly, Feeding table leftovers is a bad idea. Feeding your cat table scraps is not a good idea. Foods can include hidden substances, which can cause gastrointestinal irritation or serious health issues like pancreatitis, even if the meal is not harmful.

We at want to ensure the very best for your pets and want to equip pet parents with the right knowledge they need to care for their pets. You can visit our Cat Store for healthy and top-quality Dry Cat food and Wet Cat food from over 50+ premium brands and choose from top quality diets. Shop for Cat Food for all ages, breeds, and lifestyles and all your pet supply needs that are safe and expert-approved and get them delivered safely for your pets. 

 If you found this article helpful, read our other articles here:

Guide to Grooming your Cat or Kitten
Complete Guide to Potty Training your Kitten at Home
Complete Guide to Feeding Your Kitten Right according to Age, Breed and Lifestyle
What are the Best Cat Toys for Your Cat?

Monsoon Pet Care Guide for Dogs and Cats



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