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9 Foods you should never feed your cat

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

Keep these toxic human foods away from your kitty

Cats are usually pretty happy with a bowl of water and a good cat food, but as pet owners, we often want to treat our furry friends with something special.

Before you start offering up your dinner to your cat for a day of good behavior, there are some things you should know. Some human foods are downright dangerous for our feline friends.

Keep these toxic human foods away from your kitty
Image: Karen Cox/Sheknows

1. Milk

All cats love milk, right? According to celebrity veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber, that couldn't be more wrong. In fact, once they've been weaned, cats become lactose intolerant. They should not be given milk or any other dairy products for that reason. "It can cause diarrhea and upset stomach," he says.

2. Tuna

It may seem like the ultimate treat to give your cat a can of tuna, but this kind of treat should be kept to a minimum. "The problem with cats and tuna is not the tuna, it's the levels of mercury that might be present in the tuna," says Werber. "When you're speaking about canned tuna, if it's packed in water, it might still have high levels of salt, and if packed in oil, it is likely to be too rich."

Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM, adds that cats can actually become addicted to the taste of tuna and refuse to eat anything else. That can lead to other complications, like steatitis, a disease involving inflammation of fatty tissue.

3. Raw yeast bread dough

Yeast is meant to rise, and Osborne warns that no good can come from that happening once it's inside of your cat's belly. In rare cases, the bloating can be so extreme that it can cut off blood flow to the stomach and affect breathing. When the sugar from the yeast metabolizes, it produces alcohol, which believe it or not, can lead to a drunk cat.

4. Coffee

Cats don't need the morning pick-me-up that we crave from a cup of coffee. Just a little bit can cause diarrhea, vomiting, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, tremors, seizures and even death, says Osborne.

5. Chocolate

The danger from chocolate to cats is in the caffeine, according to Osborne. Cats that consume much will react in much the same ways as they would to coffee.

6. Alcohol

Your cat is not likely to take a sip from your glass of wine, but it might be attracted to drinks that contain milk or cream. Cats have similar reactions to alcohol as humans, which, according to Osborne, are usually vomiting and loss of coordination. In extreme cases, alcohol consumption can also lead to coma and death, and considering the tiny size of your cat, it won't take much to reach the danger zone. Keep your drink far out of your cat's reach.

7. Xylitol

This sugar substitute is definitely not safe for cats. Ingesting too much of a product containing xylitol can lead to seizures and liver failure. This is sometimes a sneaky ingredient, so make sure you're checking labels and keeping anything containing xylitol out of your cat's reach.

8. Onions and garlic

These smelly root vegetables will do a lot more than give your feline bad breath. "Onions and garlic have the potential to damage red blood cells, leading to anemia," says Osborne. All members of the onion family are toxic to cats, and cooking does not reduce the risk.

9. Grapes and raisins

Most cats would turn up their noses if offered a grape or raisin and that's a good thing. Carol says too much of these foods can lead to kidney failure.

Osborne explains that moderation is often key when sharing foods with your cat. "While there are many foods that can cause sickness and discomfort to cats, few are deadly," she says. "So, while we don’t feed these items routinely, a little onion powder or garlic in a pet’s meal or the accidental taste of chocolate off the floor, are generally not issues to cause pet owners concern."

Keep these toxic human foods away from your kitty
Image: Brian Costelloe/Flickr

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