The Vet Experts
What Cats Can Eat And What They Shouldn’t: Avoiding Urgent Animal Care
It’s happened to every cat owner - you’re chopping up something for dinner on the kitchen counter and a curious cat paw reaches up to interrupt you. It’s normal for cats to be interested in our cooking activities and the good smells that come from them, but how safe is it to give them a taste?
There are certain foods you can definitely give to your cat, and then there are others that need to be avoided at all costs. Some are so toxic they’ll lead to an immediate trip to animal urgent care, a cat owner’s worst nightmare.
So, what can cats eat from our table and what should they avoid?
What Can Cats Eat?
Other than your range of dry and wet cat foods, there are a handful of human foods that you should be able to give your feline friend without concern.
Take a look at some of the options you can safely snack on together with your cat below:
Fish, Beef or Chicken
Since your cat is a little carnivore, there are several meat products that are safe for them to eat. Fresh fish, plain cooked chicken, or beef mince are all human foods that are ok for your cat to ingest. Just remember that the key is that these proteins need to be low in sodium, so stay away from ham and other cured meats.
Believe it or not, there are several fruits that your cat may be interested in trying (and doing so safely). Some may even already be included in the make-up of your cat’s kibble!
The fruits that tend to be safest for your cat to try include things like cantaloupe and blueberries. As long as it’s in moderation (read: small amounts only), these fruits can be a great source of vitamins A and C as well as other key nutrients.
Last but not least there are the greens. There are several vegetables that your cat could potentially enjoy, such as peas, carrots, or spinach. You may have noticed that certain veggies are already included in your cat’s wet or dry food - this is a clue that these will be good for your cat if cooked plainly without seasoning.
Foods Cats Shouldn’t Eat
Now that we’ve covered the foods that are safe for your cats to eat, it’s time to look at the human foods which are risky or potentially even lethal for your cat when ingested.
Whenever your cat is begging for a taste of what you are eating, make sure you never give it to them if it contains:
Milk And Dairy Products
Contrary to what we’re told in cartoons, milk and dairy products are never safe to give to your cat. The majority of cats are actually lactose intolerant, and giving them milk or dairy products like yogurt or cheese can cause painful gastrointestinal issues.
Chocolate is well-known as being dangerous for dogs, but it’s equally dangerous to cats. Most chocolate contains ingredients like caffeine and theobromine which are toxic to felines.
This one is especially dangerous, and consumption of even a small amount can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and even heart failure.
While fresh fish is safe for your cat, canned options like tinned tuna are better to avoid. To start with, the preservatives and sodium used to preserve the fish are risky for your cat’s health, but there is also the issue of mercury poisoning.
Seasoning Including Garlic And Onion
Typical seasonings used in human food can be particularly dangerous for cats, with garlic and onion being the biggest culprits of health risks. These two ingredients along with others found in the allium family can cause serious illnesses like anemia in cats.
It doesn’t matter whether they have been cooked or not, these are better left to your food than your cats.
Remember, cats are innately curious creatures. Even if you aren’t directly giving them any harmful foods, they may still jump on your counter and examine the leftovers on the plates while no one is looking. This can make your trip to animal urgent care even more difficult - how will you know exactly what they ate that made them sick?
To make a long story short, always try to scrape out your plates or close up any food that your cat may get access to!
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