Cats can be very food-motivated pets. They will often scavenge for food on counters, tables, and in the sink. Some human foods are ok for cats to eat in moderation. However, some human foods are highly toxic to cats and should never be a part of a cat’s nutrition.
Human Foods Toxic to Cats
Some human foods can cause mild health conditions in a cat if ingested. However, other human foods can be highly toxic and cause severe illness or death if eaten by a cat. The following list of foods should be kept away from cats:
- Dairy products
- Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in some baked goods
- Coconut milk
- Raw meat and fish
- Bread dough
Fruits and Vegetables
Many fruits and vegetables are toxic to cats. In some cases, only specific parts of the fruit or vegetable are toxic to cats. The following fruits and vegetables are toxic to cats:
- Seeds, nuts, and pits
- Grapes and raisins
- Rhubarb leaves
- Tomato leaves and stems
- Potato leaves and stems
Spices and Seasonings
Pet parents might forget about seasonings when thinking about safe human foods for cats. For example, cooked chicken is safe for cats to eat. However, if the chicken has been seasoned with garlic, it is not safe for the cat to eat. The following seasonings are not safe for cats to eat:
- Spanish thyme
Human Food Not Toxic to Cats
Many pet parents are now supplementing their cat’s diet with fresh meats and vegetables that provide good cat nutrition. Cats can eat many human foods as long as they’re properly prepared. These foods include:
- Meats: Cooked lean meats are ok for cats to eat because any toxic bacteria has been removed in the cooking process.
- Fish: Cooked and deboned fish and fish products are very healthy for cats.
- Whole grains: Cats require a high protein diet, and whole grains are rich in protein. However, cats are carnivores and require meat in their diet. Whole grains should not replace meat.
- Eggs: A cooked egg added to the cat’s regular diet is a safe and healthy treat.
- Vegetables: Cats typically aren’t interested in vegetables. However, the fiber in vegetables helps the cat digest food. However, too many vegetables can cause the cat to have stomach upset and vomiting. Small amounts of carrots and celery leaves are safe for cats to eat.
- Fruits: Similar to vegetables, they should be offered in small amounts. Safe fruits for cats are bananas, blueberries, and pumpkin.
During the holiday season, many families and guests give their cats extra treats from the dining table or while prepping food. It pays to be extra careful during this time to ensure the cat is not given any toxic or harmful foods.
When to Seek Help
Pet parents should contact their vet immediately if they suspect their cat has ingested something toxic. Some signs to look out for include vomiting, diarrhea, difficult or labored breathing, seizure, coughing, and more. Fuzzy members can contact Fuzzy’s 24/7 Vet Chat for cat health questions regarding toxic human foods or call Animal Poison Control in case of an emergency.
Thankfully, many human foods that are toxic to cats don’t cause serious health problems. Often, the cat will have a mild case of vomiting and diarrhea. However, if a highly toxic food was ingested, fast treatment could be the key to saving the cat’s life. If the pet parent isn’t sure what the cat ate or how much of it, they should treat the situation as an emergency and seek immediate help and cat advice.