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For some pets, food is their favorite part of the day and when it comes to your cat you definitely want to make sure that he or she gets the best diet available and receive the proper nutrition it needs.
Although cats have been around humans for centuries they have not adapted to our diet as well as other animals have. This is why it is important to keep an eye on what they eat. Some of the foods that are harmless for us humans are toxic or harmful to cats. Foods that are not specifically developed for cat consumption can affect their digestive system, causing diarrhea, vomiting or even internal damage.
In this article, we will cover some common toxic foods for cats as well as the health consequences if your cat ingests them. After reading you’ll know what to keep out of your kitty’s reach. You’ll also know what to do in the event that your cat consumes one of these foods.
Common Foods Cats Can’t Eat
Just as in humans, alcohol has a direct effect on a cat’s liver and brain. However, because of their small size, cats don’t need to consume very much alcohol to begin suffering the consequences. Consuming alcohol can cause cats to experience breathing problems, vomiting, diarrhea and in extreme cases a coma or even death. If you think your cat has consumed any alcohol contact your veterinarian immediately.
Onions and Garlic
Eating any food belonging to the onion or garlic family on a regular basis can damage your cat’s red blood cells and cause anemia. So, if your kitty happens to snack on a piece of onion or garlic, there’s no need to panic, but don’t let him make a habit of it.
Cats normally wouldn’t eat chocolate anyway, but some owners might consider it a treat. Although is more dangerous for dogs than cats, theobromine, a substance in chocolate is toxic for cats as they metabolize it more slowly than humans. Early signs that your cat has consumed chocolate are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you notice any of these symptoms call your vet, he or she will tell you how to proceed.
Milk and Dairy Products
Although cats drink milk while they are kittens from their mothers, most cats are lactose-intolerant. Their digestive system may not process dairy foods properly, thus causing them digestive issues. So, even if your cat enjoys drinking milk, keep in mind that it could upset her stomach and cause cramps or gassiness. Of course, if your cat eats dairy products and doesn’t experience these symptoms she probably isn’t lactose intolerant and you don’t have to worry!
Raw Eggs or Meat
Just like in humans, cats are susceptible to salmonella or E. Coli which can be found in raw meat and eggs. As you probably know, this infection is dangerous and could cause gastroenteritis and septicemia. It’s also important to note that salmonella can be passed from cats to humans. The last thing your cat needs is a sick caretaker!
Symptoms of this illness vary but generally include vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect your cat has been exposed to salmonella, contact your veterinarian. Your vet will run a series of different tests to confirm the diagnosis before advising on the best treatment.
Coffee, Tea and Energy Drinks
Methylxanthine is an ingredient found in caffeinated beverages as well as chocolate. This substance is rapidly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract and metabolized in the liver. Methylxanthine affects the central nervous system and other vital organs and can cause restlessness, rapid breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and heart palpitations. Although large amounts are needed to cause significant damage, keep them away from your cat to avoid any risk.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are far more dangerous in dogs than cats, but this food can cause kidney failure. Despite the fact that it is still unclear how these fruits cause such serious damage, it’s still important to keep them out of your cat’s reach. If your cat has eaten raisins or grapes she may experience diarrhea, vomiting, and weakness. These symptoms may seem minor, but it’s important to contact your vet if you suspect your cat has ingested these fruits.
How to Protect Your Cat From Toxic Foods
Some sneaky cats may eat any of the items listed here without you even realizing. So how do you spot the symptoms? Remember, small quantities of these foods may not be dangerous, but eating some of them in large portions could require urgent treatment. If you notice symptoms of lethargy, weakness, unusual urine color, reduced appetite, vomiting or any other strange behavior in your cat you should contact your vet for further guidance.
As usual, prevention is key to avoid any unnecessary health mishaps with your beloved cat. Here are a few suggestions that will help to keep your cat safe from toxic foods:
Save your food in closed containers and cupboards that aren’t accessible to your cat.
If you have a party or have leftovers from your meals, keep them in closed containers and stored in the fridge. Place the garbage in a covered receptacle or inside a cupboard where that your cat cannot access. Do not let your cat on the counter where you prepare your meals, as not all human foods are safe for your cat.
Lastly, keep in mind that most human foods are not part of a cat’s regular diet. Cat food is designed to provide cats with a full nutritional profile, so there’s really no need for them to eat human food.
Even though a slice of ham or a can of tuna won’t hurt your cat, it may encourage bad habits that could put her at risk in the future. Take care of your cat by limiting their food to what is meant to be eaten by them. If you do choose to offer human food as treats, place it in your cat’s dish so as not to reinforce your cat’s tendency to beg.
Consider Investing in Cat Insurance
Looking for more ways to protect your kitty? Consider investing in a cat insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1 Get your free quote today.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.