The Hervey Foundation for Cats

Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

Cats can be fussy eaters, but some are curious enough to try different things when the opportunity presents itself. Truth is, not all foods are good or even digestible for cats, and some can present a real danger to their health.

We’ve assembled a list of foods you should avoid giving to your cat, and some they can have in moderation.

Dog Food

If you have both a cat and a dog, you may notice either party sampling each other’s food. This is not the end of the world and if it happens once or twice, there is no need to head to the vet. However, you cannot provide your cat with a steady diet of dog food. Cats need vitamin A, taurine and arachidonic acid – which are not found in dog food.

Yeast and Bread

Bread, if consumed once or twice is not a big deal, but it is essentially worthless to your cat as they are meat-eaters, and breads don’t contain any protein or fats. Yeast and raw dough can be dangerous if eaten by a cat as they can rise inside their stomachs causing digestive and other issues.

Onions, Shallots, Garlic

These are truly dangerous for cats. They can cause damage to the red blood cells in your cat and cause anaemia. They should be considered poisonous in large quantities, and their powdered forms (garlic powder, onion powder, gravy/soup mix) can also be just as dangerous. 

Raw Foods (Eggs, Meat, Bones)

While cats are natural predators, raw meat, eggs, and bones can lead to salmonella or E. Coli poisoning. If you are truly interested in feeding your cat raw foods, ensure you talk to your vet first and purchase them from a licensed pet food store. The raw meat diets sold there are loaded with nutritional supplements and handled in a way to prevent bacteria from growing out of control. 

Chocolate/Caffeine

Chocolate and caffeine are also to be considered poisonous when consumed in large quantities. No cat should be consuming these at all, but some are drawn to them and will try to sip from your cup when not looking or lick a wrapper from a chocolate bar. While they aren’t likely to get sick from randomly consuming a few licks or either, you need to be careful. Both chocolate and caffeine contain methylxanthines – which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, high body temperature, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythm, abdominal discomfort, increased thirst, and seizures.

Alcohol

Alcohol is truly terrible for your cat. Their bodies are not designed to handle it and it can cause serious indigestion, vomiting, tremors, breathing issues, disorientation or even death. This is why it’s so important for them to never consume alcohol. 

Milk and Dairy

A series of foods wrongly prescribed to cats by television and movies, milk and dairy products can actually be quite harmful to your cat. Cats are not tuned to digest lactose, and because they only consume it for a few weeks as kittens, an adult cat is not going to be able to handle a reintroduction to lactose. Some might not have issues with it, while others might experience diarrhea and an upset stomach.

Tuna

Cats love tuna, and we all know it, however, certain types of tuna (many of them found in the supermarket) contain trace amounts of mercury. It’s safe to give your cat a treat of tuna once in a while, but too much tuna can be really bad for their health. The same goes for humans. Too much tuna can result in mercury poisoning, a serious condition that can be helped if caught early enough.

Grapes and Raisins

 Grapes and raisins can be very dangerous to a cat. Even a small amount can lead to rapid kidney failure. Within 12 hours, the cat is expected to vomit, and within 24 hours, some symptoms can start to appear for them, including vomiting and diarrhea, high body temperature, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythm, abdominal discomfort, increased thirst, and seizures.