When monitoring your cat’s diet, it is important to be aware of food that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed by your pet. Taking the proper precautions when handling these foods can be the difference between a healthy pet and a trip to the veterinarian.
We reached out to Dr. Joyce Ashamalla, who spent over four years working as a veterinary assistant at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, to shed some light on this important subject.
1. Chocolate, Coffee and Caffeine
Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine can be extremely dangerous for cats. These foods and beverages contain methylxanthines and if consumed can lead to hyperactivity, excessive panting, diarrhea, vomiting, increased thirst/urination, body tremors, seizures and possible death.
Alcohol can be very dangerous for felines. Alcohol can cause diarrhea, impaired coordination, central nervous system issues, vomiting, breathing difficulties, changes in blood acidity, coma, and even death if consumed by cats. Owners must exercise proper storage and serving practices when felines are present.
3. Onions, Garlic and Chives
While delicious and perfectly fine for human consumption, onions, garlic, and chives can be dangerous and toxic to your pet. If consumed, these veggies and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and can cause damage to your feline’s red blood cells. When preparing and serving dishes containing these herbs and vegetables, be sure to store these ingredients in safe place, thoroughly clean prep areas after use and immediately attend to any accidental spills.
4. Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs, and Bones
Bacteria found in raw eggs and undercooked meat can pose serious health risks to your cat. Microorganisms like salmonella and E. coli can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration in cats. Pet owners should never leave these foods unattended, always clean and disinfect meal prep stations, and properly store food after use.
Xylitol is a chemical that can be very hazardous to your cat’s health. Xylitol is commonly used as a sweetner and can be found in a wide variety of products including, gum, candy, baked goods, and even toothpaste. If consumed, this chemical can cause a cat’s body to release insulin, which can lead to liver damage and/or failure. Ingestion of xylitol can also lead to an increase in your cat's insulin levels and lowered blood sugar levels known as hypoglycema. Some early warning signs of xylitol ingestion include vomiting, decreased coordination, lethargy, and in extreme cases, seizures can occur.
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