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June 7, 2016

What Foods Are Dangerous for Your Cat?

By: Hillary Brown

People who don’t own cats assume that they don’t beg for human food in the same way that dogs do, but that’s not always true. Plenty of kitties get used to a morsel here and a morsel there from their owners’ plates and then expect to be fed from the table, meowing loudly for a special bite. Just as with dogs, you have to be careful what you feed your pets. 

Our Atlanta Cat Sitters Know What Foods Your Pet Should Stay Away From

Human foods may seem tasty and you might think just a bite can’t hurt, but remember that cats are much smaller than dogs, so you have to watch what they eat even more. Like dogs, cats should stay away from all forms of:

  • onions and garlic, (including onion powder in baby foods)
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • chocolate
  • grapes and raisins
  • the artificial sweetener xylitol
  • yeast dough
  • macadamia nuts
  • human medications

But what might affect your cat differently than your dog? One thing you should remember is that cats and dogs have different diets for a reason. Dogs certainly eat meat, but they’re not obligate carnivores like cats. They can eat a diet rich in starches and vegetables and are much more adaptable in where they get their nutrients.

Cats, on the other hand, are true carnivores, not omnivores, and need animal flesh to survive. They might eat small amounts of vegetables but they can’t digest them well and often they eat them deliberately to provoke vomiting. This is one reason you may see your cat eating grass. To avoid a potential shortfall in essential nutrients, don’t feed your cat dog food on a regular basis! It’s not designed to meet his nutritional needs and could eventually cause malnutrition or heart disease. Canned tuna is fine as an occasional treat, but cat food is formulated to include some of the nutrients cats can’t synthesize from other sources, like taurine. The same is true of salmon, especially the smoked kind, which is much too high in sodium for cats. These differences in body chemistry also mean that acetaminophen is extremely toxic to cats.

Understand Your Pet’s Needs and Know The Dangers

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Both dogs and humans produce enzymes that can break down this drug, but cats do not. Even a small amount can be very harmful. Citrus peels contain chemicals used to warn cats away from clawing the furniture, so if your cat eats the actual peels, she’ll probably vomit. That said, she’d have to ingest a lot of citrus peel to do any real damage. And, despite the common association of cats with a saucer of milk, adult cats are lactose-intolerant, and dairy products will upset their stomachs. Lilies aren’t food (obviously!), but they’re another common household item that can endanger your kitty. Many varieties can be extremely toxic, causing acute kidney failure, so if your cat likes to snack in the garden, make sure you choose your plants carefully and examine floral arrangements for any of these beautiful but deadly plants. Even the pollen from lilies can harm your cat if she brushes against the flowers, gets some on her coat and grooms herself later.

Finally, that grooming behavior is one of the more common causes of accidental feline poisoning. Your cat may not realize it if he’s rolled in, walked in or been dripped on by something potentially dangerous, and he’s a lot more likely than your dog to end up accidentally ingesting it as part of the usual elaborate grooming process.

Contact Our Atlanta Pet Sitters For Your Pet’s Needs While You’re Away

If you have both cats and dogs, you should know that topical flea and tick medications for dogs are in this category and are very dangerous to cats. So be certain to follow the directions and apply these to the back of the neck. Be careful what you leave out around your cats, especially when you’re not home. Their curiosity might be natural, but it could result in serious injury or death.

To get in touch with Critter Sitters, contact us at 404.973.2541 today if you have certain health concerns for your cat or dog or want to know more about our Atlanta dog walking and cat sitting services.