- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
You love your cat. And because you love your cat, you might be tempted to spoil them with treats—including food meant for humans.
But before you start feeding your cat directly off your plate, it’s important to understand that while some foods might be healthy and delicious for humans, they might be flat out dangerous for your cat.
Here are five surprisingly dangerous foods that you’ll want to avoid giving to your feline friends:
There’s no denying that cats love tuna. And it’s fine for them to enjoy—as long as it comes in the form of cat food. But if it’s been canned and prepared for humans? Keep it away.
Even small amounts of human-prepared tuna can cause digestive issues in cats—and too much can lead to even more serious issues, like steatitis, a condition categorized by inflammation of the cat’s fatty tissue.
If your cat loves tuna, make sure you stick to tuna-based cat food—and leave the canned stuff for your next tuna melt.
Kittens need their mother’s milk to survive. But once they grow into adult cats, that milk is replaced by solid foods—and not only do they no longer need milk to survive, but it can actually be harmful.
Just like humans, many adult cats are lactose intolerant—and giving them cow’s milk (since, you know, cat milk isn’t readily available on the shelves of your local grocery store) can cause indigestion and stomach issues, like vomiting and diarrhea.
The old saying “Milk: It does a body good” just isn’t true for cats—so make sure to keep your cat’s fluid intake limited to good, old-fashioned H20.
You might like to unwind with a beer, cocktail, or glass of wine at the end of the day—but it’s imperative that you keep your beverage away from your cat. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause brain damage, liver damage, coma, and death in cats. It might take you two or three drinks to catch a buzz, but your cat can be put in harm’s way with as little as two or three sips.
Bottom line: if you’re going to enjoy alcohol, enjoy it responsibly—and keep it far, far away from your feline.
If your cat is a meat lover, you might think giving them the fat trimmings from a nice cut of meat is a no-brainer. But fat trimmings are actually extremely dangerous for cats. Feeding your cat raw meat can lead to a host of digestive issues (like vomiting) or food-borne illnesses (like salmonella). Also, fat trimmings, in particular, can lead to pancreatitis—which can be extremely serious for cats and lead to long-term health issues.
If your cat is a lover of all-things-meat, there are plenty of healthy cat treats out there that will satisfy their meat cravings without putting them in any danger.
You might need a healthy dose of caffeine to get going in the morning, but that same dose of caffeine can be dangerous for your cat.
Caffeine impacts cats similarly to humans; too much caffeine and your cat can experience anxiety, jitters, restlessness, rapid breathing, and heart palpitations—only it takes much less caffeine to qualify as “too much” for cats than it does for humans.
Keep a lid on your coffee, and if your cat needs a dose of energy in the morning, you can give it to them in the form of nutritious cat food and plenty of water.
Tips to keep your cats away from dangerous foods
Clearly, there are plenty of human foods that could be hazardous to your cat, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying them! Here are a few tips for storing and eating food in your home (and protecting your cat at the same time):
- Keep all cabinets shut and locked. If you store food in cabinets, make sure they’re shut, locked, and inaccessible for your cat.
- Make sure to clean up any stray food. After cooking, prepping food, or eating a meal, make sure to check counters, tabletops, and the floor for any stray food—and if you find any, clean it up (before your cat finds it).
- Watch your plate/glass. When you’re eating, keep an eye on your plate—and make sure your cat doesn’t try to steal any food (or drink!) while you’re not looking.
If you suspect your cat might have eaten one of these dangerous foods or anything else that might be hazardous to their health, it’s important to get help immediately. Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435, where you can connect with a poison control specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.