Food (And Other Items) That Are Dangerous to Your Cats
31 August, 2015
cat food dangerous picture

As you’ve probably discovered by now, your cat is an amazingly curious and resourceful hunter of new things to encounter and eat. Our felines will climb on countertops, open cabinets, and be their curious selves adding fun and mischief to our lives.  Unfortunately, some of these new discoveries can be harmful or even fatal which is why it is important to keep most locked up and out of reach.

Below is a list of food and some common household items you need to keep out of your cat or kitten’s reach and definitely out of his or her mouth!

Xylitol in sugar free treats can be very harmful to your cat

Xylitol, which can be found in most sugar free gum or low calorie treats, can be very toxic to cats. It can prompt a sudden release of insulin, resulting in low blood sugar, a condition known as hypoglycemia. Signs that your cat may have swallowed a product containing xylitol include a sudden lack of coordination, vomiting, lethargy and, eventually, seizures and possibly coma. Ultimately a cat that eats xylitol may end up with liver failure, which can sometimes be fatal.

Raw eggs whites can harmful to kitties

Raw egg whites contain an enzyme that destroys certain B vitamins. Raw egg yolks are OK as an occasional treat, but they must be separated from the whites.  Cooked egg yolks are also OK and preferred to raw, but not on a daily basis.

cat food dangerous picture


Raw bread dough can upset your cat’s stomach

Raw bread dough made with live yeast can be hazardous to cats. When a cat swallows raw dough, the warm, moist environment of the stomach provides an ideal environment for the yeast to multiply, resulting in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach. Expansion of the stomach can be severe enough to decrease blood flow to the stomach wall and affect breathing.  All rising yeast dough should be kept out of reach of cats.

Chocolate (especially dark) can be very dangerous to our cats

Most cats don’t have a sweet tooth. However, some will eat foods containing chocolate, such as chocolate candy, cookies, brownies and chocolate baked goods. These and other chocolate-flavored treats can cause chocolate intoxication in cats. The compounds in chocolate that are toxic are caffeine and theobromine, which belong to a group of chemicals called methylxanthines. These compounds cause stimulation of the heart and nervous system. The rule of thumb with chocolate is that the darker it is, the more dangerous it is. Cats showing more than mild restlessness should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Ethanol in alcoholic beverages can also be harmful to cats

Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol and drinking alcohol, can be very dangerous for cats. Due to their small size, cats are far more sensitive to ethanol than humans are. Even drinking a small amount of a product containing alcohol can cause significant intoxication. Cats are often attracted to mixed drinks that contain milk, cream or ice cream. Alcohol intoxication commonly causes vomiting, loss of coordination, disorientation and stupor. In severe cases, coma, seizures and death can occur. Cats who are intoxicated should be monitored by a veterinarian until they recover.

Moldy food (except cheese) can be dangerous to cats

A wide variety of molds grow on food. Some molds produce toxins which can cause serious or even life-threatening problems if eaten. Cats tend to be finicky, but they can eat molds that grow on dairy products, like cheese and cream cheese. The signs of this poison generally begin as fine muscle tremors that progress to whole-body tremors and, finally, convulsions that can lead to death in severe cases. Left untreated, these tremors can last for several weeks. Fortunately, they usually respond well to appropriate veterinary treatment.

Onions and Garlic, especially, can harm your cats

All members of the onion family (shallots, onions, garlic, scallions, etc.) contain compounds that can damage cats’ red blood cells if eaten in sufficient quantities. Garlic tends to be more toxic than onions on an ounce-for-ounce basis, and cooking does not destroy the toxin. While it’s uncommon for cats to eat enough raw onions and garlic to cause serious problems, exposure to concentrated forms of onion or garlic, such as dehydrated onions, onion soup mix or garlic powder, can put cats at risk of poisoning.  Green tomatoes and raw potatoes can cause violent lower digestive symptoms.

Your medication can be harmful to your kitties

Common pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen are very toxic to our feline friends. Cats don’t have the enzymes needed to detoxify and eliminate these substances, so they can cause liver or kidney failure. Other human drugs that are commonly involved in accidental poisoning include antidepressants, antihistamines, sleeping pills, diet pills, blood pressure medications and vitamins. Alcohol can also be are extremely hazardous to cats.

Some household plants can be dangerous to your cats

A number of common household plants can cause toxic reactions from vomiting all the way to hallucinations, convulsions, and death. Some plants to remove from your house: Dieffenbachia (dumb cane); lilies, daffodils, crocuses or other bulb flowers; ivy; and spider plants.  

I hope that your cat never eats or ingests any of these items; however, if you think that your cat might have eaten any of the above listed food/medicine, contact your veterinarian or local animal hospital animal immediately for further tests.  


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