Dangerous Delicacies: What not to feed your feline friend

If your love language is food, then as a pet parent you need to be extra cautious. Your feline friends may try to woo you to share your food, but certain human foods are toxic for cats and you should be careful.

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Kritika Manchanda

The digestive system of cats is unique and different from those of us humans. That’s why it is recommended that you stick to cat food or home cooked meals suggested by your vet for your pet’s overall health and happiness. A lot of pet parents believe that homecooked meals are not balanced and nutritious. This is a never-ending debate and the best answer can be given by your vet. But what you should know is the list of 10 human foods that can be toxic for your pet.

Chocolate

Chocolate is toxic to cats and should never be given to them. Chocolate contains substances called theobromine and caffeine, which are stimulants that can have severe adverse effects on a cat’s health. Cats are particularly sensitive to theobromine and caffeine which are two major components of chocolate, and their bodies cannot metabolize these substances as efficiently as humans can.

Onion and garlic

Onions and garlic contain thiosulfate compounds, which can cause oxidative damage to a cat’s red blood cells. This damage can lead to a condition called hemolytic anemia, where the red blood cells are destroyed faster than they can be produced. Consumption of even small amounts of onion or garlic can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. This may include symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and abdominal pain.

Caffeine

You might be a coffee lover, but you should keep your feline friend away from caffeine as it is harmful for their health. Caffeine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. In cats, it can lead to restlessness, hyperactivity, and even seizures. It can increase your pet’s heart rate and blood pressure, and may result in gastrointestinal issues like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in cats.

Alcohol

Next on the list is alcohol which is also highly toxic for cats. Even small amounts for alcohol can prove to be fatal for your beloved feline friend. Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. In cats, this can result in lethargy, disorientation, and decreased responsiveness. Alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage in cats. The liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol in the body, but cats are not equipped to do this efficiently. It can cause a drop in blood sugar levels in cats which may lead to seizures or coma. In severe cases, alcohol poisoning can lead to respiratory distress, which can be life-threatening.

Raw eggs and raw meat

Raw eggs and raw meat can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can lead to foodborne illnesses in both cats and humans. Cats are not immune to these pathogens, and their consumption can result in severe illness. Your pet’s healthy and nutritious diet should not contain raw eggs and raw meat as it can lead to nutritional imbalance and deficiencies as well. Some cats may not tolerate raw food well and may experience gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and stomach cramps.

Avocado

Avocados provide healthy fats to humans, but to your pet they can prove to be a health hazard. Avocado contains a natural fungicidal toxin called persin. Persin is found in various parts of the avocado plant, including the fruit itself, the pit, and the leaves. In cats, persin can cause gastrointestinal upset and more severe symptoms in some cases. The gastro symptoms can be severe if your cat eats a large amount of avocado. The large, hard pit in the center of an avocado can pose a choking hazard or risk of intestinal obstruction if a cat decides to chew on or swallow it. Whether it is avocado pieces or avocado based dips, they should be kept away from your feline friend.

Grapes and raisins

Grapes and raisins are highly toxic to cats and should never be given to them. Even small amounts of grapes or raisins can cause severe and potentially life-threatening reactions. The ingestion of these fruits can lead to acute kidney failure in cats. This can occur within hours to days after ingestion. It can lead to symptoms like diarrhoea and vomiting. Kidney damage caused by eating grapes and raisins can lead to increased urination and dehydration.

Bones

Your pet may love nibbling on boiled chicken, but it is best to avoid giving them cooked bones especially from poultry. Cooked bones become brittle and are more likely to splinter when chewed. These splinters can cause serious injuries to a cat’s mouth, throat, and digestive tract. Small bone fragments or splinters can become lodged in a cat’s throat, leading to choking. This is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention. In some cases when the pet eats large bones, she might not be able to digest them properly and these bones can get result in blockage in the gastrointestinal tract.

Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener commonly found in sugar-free gum, sugar-free candy, sugar-free baked goods, and some other sugar-free products. The effects of xylitol toxicity in cats can occur rapidly, often within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion

It can cause a rapid release of insulin in cats when ingested. This leads to a sudden drop in blood sugar levels, resulting in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can cause weakness, disorientation, seizures, and, in severe cases, coma or death. Xylitol can also lead to liver damage and loss of appetite. In extreme cases it can also lead to jaundice.

If you notice any odd signs and symptoms make sure you get immediate medical assistance from your vet. Also be sure to read the labels on cat foods carefully to avoid any mishap. Keep these products out of reach from your pets and in case they eat them accidently, don’t panic and quickly get in touch with your vet.

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