(A list of things you definitely don’t want to feed your cat, and a few that are safe to try)
Unlike dogs, who can eat a variety of things that are typically considered “human food,” cats’ digestive systems are especially sensitive to foods that were not specifically designed to be consumed by cats.
When in doubt, your best bet is to play it safe and just avoid anything that was not marketed for cats or specifically recommended by a veterinarian.
There are, of course, many items that are far more dangerous and potentially lethal to your cat than others, and should be avoided at all costs. These items include:
Theobromine, which is found in all chocolate (but is especially concentrated in dark and unsweetened chocolate) can cause muscle tremors/spasms, heart problems, and even seizures. Chocolate also contains caffeine, which is a huge no-no for your feline friend.
Found in chocolate, tea, coffee, and energy drinks, caffeine can cause your cat to become restless, have muscle tremors/spasms, rapid breathing, and heart palpitations. Caffeine in large quantities can be fatal to your pet, and there is no antidote.
Contrary to popular belief, and despite the fact that cats love a bowl full of milk, products containing dairy such as milk, cream, yogurt, and cheese can cause serious problems for your cat who is actually lactose intolerant.
Consuming dairy can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and other serious digestive problems.
Including fish and eggs, and fat trimmings- Excessive fat intake can lead to pancreatitis, and consuming any of these foods in any amounts can cause diarrhea or vomiting, and leads to an increased risk of salmonella and e. coli, just like it does with humans.
Yeast in dough needs to rise… and that’s exactly what it will do inside your pet’s tummy; causing bloat and all kinds of other uncomfortable and unpleasant digestive problems.
A tiny amount of alcohol can cause severe problems for your cat. As little as a tablespoon can cause severe liver and brain damage.
These are found in many sugar free foods and can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar, which can lead to seizures, liver failure, and even death.
Most dog owners know that grapes and raisins can pose a deadly threat to their canine companions, but anecdotal evidence shows that these items can also cause serious toxicity issues with cats as well, so it’s best to avoid letting your cat consume them.
All members of the onion family will cause digestive problems, and eating them on a regular basis can actually lead to anemia in your feline friend.
Tomato plants are a member of the nightshade family and can easily poison your furry friends.
Toxic to cats.
You can share… sometimes… Just keep in mind that cats are carnivores- They are meant to eat meat and really nothing else. So here are a few things that you can share from your plate, in moderation, without having to worry about harming your cat or feeling terribly guilty:
Beef, turkey, chicken, fish, ham… really any meat that has been thoroughly cooked and doesn’t have bones or a ton of fat in it.
Cooked whole grains are actually good for your cat in moderation, and many cats like to eat them, as long as you get the texture right. Polenta, for example, which is a coarsely ground corn meal product, has a texture that many cats will enjoy.
You can also try millet, couscous, brown rice, wheat berries, and barley. You may have to mash them or experiment a bit to find a texture that your cat enjoys, and always make sure they are fully cooked so your cat can digest them.
Not all cats will eat vegetables, and even less will eat fruit, since cats are not conditioned to taste sweet flavors, but they are high in vitamins and most won’t harm your cat in any way.
Some good ones to try are cucumber, asparagus, steamed broccoli, or cantaloupe, but avoid things like avocado due to the high fat content.
Sweet potato is fine in tiny amounts and can actually aid in digestion and proper bowel movements; dehydrated or dried, cooked, boiled, or baked, with no additives, toppings, or spices. Too much sweet potato can have the opposite effect and cause digestive issues, so it is best to give as an occasional treat in very small amounts.
We all know the old saying “Curiosity killed the cat” so you want to err on the side of caution when it comes to your cat’s curiosity (or your own) pertaining to new and exotic foods. Better to be safe than sorry!