Next to humans, domesticated cats have vastly different nutritional needs. Many of the foods you'll find in your refrigerator are surprisingly poisonous to your feline companion. Consuming any of these can lead to gastrointestinal issues, essential vitamin deficiencies, or worse, death! Cats will forever be known as curious animals. We all know the saying, "curiosity killed the cat." Here we will discuss which foods to have locked away from your kitty, keeping them safe from ingesting something that might cause them serious harm.
Cats shouldn't be fed human food. Of course, we've all broken that rule, sneaking that morsel of juicy chicken to your cat under the table. But have you ever considered what that chicken might have been seasoned with? Garlic and onions, for example, are incredibly toxic to cats! They are often used to season many chicken dishes and many other savory meals not meant for cats. Onions affect the red blood cells in cats, leading to weakness, difficulty breathing, and anemia.
Everyone knows chocolate is toxic to dogs, but surprise! Cats are susceptible to what's known as 'chocolate poisoning' too. The chemical compounds found in chocolate, theobromine, and caffeine, are both very toxic to cats. They can create a lot of unpleasant symptoms, including but not limited to vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, seizures, cardiac arrest, and even coma. The severity of symptoms depends on how much chocolate was consumed and what kind of chocolate it was. Identifying the type of chocolate and the quantity consumed will help your veterinarian diagnose and treat your precious feline properly. Milk chocolate, for example, has the least amount of harmful components of chocolate. To be considered toxic, a cat weighing 8 pounds would need to consume at least 1.14oz of milk chocolate. But the same cat needs only eat .5oz of dark or semi-sweet to show symptoms of 'chocolate poisoning.' Baking chocolate is the worst culprit; only .2oz ingested will cause possibly life-threatening issues for your cat. Of course, sometimes it's impossible to know how much chocolate is consumed. If your cat is caught munching on chocolate in any amount, you should contact your vet immediately!
Many people who have cats as pets also enjoy having dogs as companions too. Dogs' food includes many ingredients you will find on any cat food bag label. Some cats enjoy munching on Fido's food, and the occasional nibble won't necessarily be harmful. Still, it's best to avoid allowing your feline friend to dine on food meant for the barker of the family. Cats require a diet high in protein, vitamins, and fatty acids to stay healthy. This can be obtained through specially formulated cat food, which is designed to meet a cat's unique nutritional needs. Never use Fido's food as a substitute to feed your cat. Doing so can lead to severe malnourishment!
Maybe you saw it in an old cartoon, or perhaps when your neighbor was feeding the strays, but tuna fish is surprisingly not safe for cats! Offering canned tuna to your feline friend as a regular meal can lead to malnutrition or worse! Tuna fish does not have the proper nutrients meant for keeping your cat healthy, and consuming too much of this popular seafood can lead to mercury poisoning. It's best to stick to foods designed to meet your cats' specific nutritional needs. If your cat loves tuna, you can try offering them a food formulated for cats made with human-grade tuna.
We've already discussed some surprisingly toxic foods for your cat, but this last one may come as a shock to most. Imagine a cat; maybe he's lounging in the window, outside chasing a bird, or perhaps drinking a saucer of milk. Well, surprisingly, milk and dairy products can be poisonous to cats! Many cats develop an intolerance to lactose as they mature. Lactose is an enzyme found in products containing milk or dairy ingredients. Like many people, cats with an intolerance to lactose cannot process the enzyme effectively, which leads to gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea. It's best to avoid allowing your feline friend to consume dairy. Sticking to foods and treats specifically designed for your cat is the best way to ensure your pet's overall health and well-being.
Common signs of toxicity in cats can include diarrhea, vomiting, respiratory problems, dilated pupils, frequent drinking or urination, coughing, confusion, depression, skin irritation, weakness, shivering, seizures, and tremors. If you notice any of these symptoms or are otherwise concerned your cat may have ingested poisonous food or substances, do not wait! Observe the cat's symptoms and any non-typical behavior and contact your veterinarian immediately. If it's after hours, call your nearest emergency vet! Please don't wait. Your cat's life may depend on it!