Q: My cat is very curious and sticks her nose into everything I have on my plate. I feed her a high quality cat food with a high percentage of meat but her curiosity is still piqued when there is food nearby. Is there human food that is dangerous for her to eat, like chocolate is bad for dogs?
A: Cats seem to have a mind of their own, especially when it comes to eating. It’s easy to anthropomorphize our furry friends and think that they would like to eat whatever we do, but that isn’t necessarily the best choice for them. Here are some facts about making healthy choices for our furry friends.
First let’s talk about tuna. It seems harmless enough, it comes in cans specifically for cats, so we might assume it is ok for fuzzy kitty. It turns out that it might be alright once in a while but as a steady diet it has insufficient nutrients to sustain what kitty needs. Additionally the mercury content of most tuna would be exceptionally toxic for kitty, even the canned variety sold especially for kitty. Just because she likes it doesn’t mean it’s good for her. The same goes for all raw fish which can contain bacteria that kitty can’t fight off and the thiamine in raw fish destroys the B vitamin, a potential cause of serious neurological problems, coma and convulsions.
Onions in all forms-powdered, raw, cooked or dehydrated– can break down a cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia as the cat gets older. While small amounts might not matter, a constant diet including any form of onions, chives and garlic or one bout eating a large amount will end up causing stomach upset and poisoning kitty.
Milk and dairy products are most likely going to irritate the cat’s digestive system. Although kittens can tolerate milk, adult cats lose their ability to digest it properly.
Two teaspoons of alcohol can put kitty into a coma and another teaspoon will kill her. Many cats and kittens are seriously injured eating grapes and raisins. Keep these out of range for cats to avoid messy vomiting and diarrhea.
Caffeine in the form of coffee, tea, cocoa, colas and Red Bull are all dangerous to your cat. Their much smaller bodies cannot process it and an overdose has no treatment. You mentioned chocolate being bad for dogs, it’s not a safe food for cats either. The theobromine is toxic to cats, causing abnormal heart rhythm.
While it’s obvious you wouldn’t give a cat a bone to chew, the fat on meat is equally unhealthy. Fat,both cooked and uncooked, can cause intestinal upset with vomiting and diarrhea. Another less obvious danger is uncooked eggs. The protein in the eggs interferes with Vitamin B absorption and causes skin and coat problems
Dog food is not intended for cats. While an occasional nibble won’t hurt the kitty directly, as a constant food source it is not balanced for cat nutrition and would result in starving the cat. Feeding your cat a high protein low ash and carb food will keep her in optimum health for many years to come