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essential nutrition advice for your pet.

5 Dangerous Foods for Cats

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Dangerous Foods

By Jessica Remitz


While we may consider cats to be members of our family, treating them as such at mealtimes can cause more injury to them than just spoiling their dinners. Here’s a look at the five most dangerous foods for your cat, how they affect their bodies, and what to do in case of an emergency.

1. Onions/Garlic

Onions and garlic can cause the destruction of red blood cells and lead to anemia in cats, Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center says. “Cats tend to be much pickier eaters as opposed to dogs, but we’ve seen cats eat an entire cup of caramelized onions.”


Although the size of the dose determines the level of poisoning, lethargy and a reduced appetite can be symptoms of a toxic reaction. The sooner you diagnose potential poisoning in cats the better, so if they’re acting strangely don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.

2. Raw Eggs

Similarly to people, consumption of raw eggs can lead to salmonella in cats, according to Dr. Wismer. Symptoms of the disease will vary but can include vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. Salmonella can also be transmitted to humans from animals, making it even more important to keep your cat away from eggs and to properly wash your hands after baking or cooking with raw eggs.

3. Alcohol

Cats tend to be attracted to drinks with milk or cream in them, Dr. Wismer says, making your holiday White Russian a potentially toxic substance if consumed by your pet. Cocktails aside, alcohol can also be found in desserts and can be created in your cat’s stomach if they ingest homemade or store bought yeast dough used in making bread, rolls, and pizza. Even small amount of alcohol (both ingested through alcoholic beverages and produced in the stomach) can be life threatening, making it important to call your vet before you notice any serious poisoning symptoms like seizures.

4. Raw Fish

Like raw eggs, raw meat and fish can cause food poisoning in cats. Additionally, raw fish contains a compound that breaks down thiamine, an important B1 vitamin for cats that, when missing, can cause serious neurological problems in your cat, Dr. Wismer says.


“Pets aren’t just small, fluffy humans,” says Dr. Wismer. “They have different dietary requirements and metabolize things differently [than people]. Talk to your vet about the things you should or shouldn’t feed your pets.”

5. Tuna

A diet rich in tuna can not only cause mercury poisoning in your cat (just like people) but can also leave them malnourished because it doesn’t contain all of the important vitamins and minerals your cat needs, Dr. Wismer says. A bite now and then won’t hurt them, but it’s best to steer clear of tuna as a main source of your cat’s diet.


If you believe you pet has ingested a toxic substance, call the ASPCA animal poison control center at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Hotline at 855-213-6680. Both phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Comments  4

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  • Tuna and raw meat
    04/02/2014 09:05am

    While feeding a cat tuna canned for humans on a regular basis is not a good idea, feeding a cat ANY fish/seafood flavored cat food on a regular basis is also not a good idea for the same reasons.
    As for raw meat like chicken or turkey or other poultry, I have to disagree with that one completely. What do cat's eat in the wild? They eat raw meat. No matter if it's a feral (and hopefully fixed) neighborhood cat, or a lion, felines eat raw meat by instinct. That is what they are designed by nature to do, and what their bodies are designed to consume. Obviously you don't want to feed a cat spoiled raw meat. However, there are many, many studies out there that show feeding a cat a RAW chicken diet is the best thing you can do for your cat. Some studies show it can reverse/prevent things such as diabetes in cats. There are not many pet stores that sell the raw chicken food made for cats (and also made for dogs), but there are some. There is a pet store near my home called "Chow Hound" that sells it. You can also make your own RAW chicken or turkey cat food IF you have the proper recipe AND you add the proper ingredients (such as extra taurine) to make sure your cat is getting all the nutrition your cat needs. I have been feeding this to my cats for many years now. They love it, and they are very healthy. If you feed your cat the proper raw food diet for a week or two, you will see a positive difference in your cat. It's the best diet for cats. It's what they need. The standard dry and canned foods most people buy are awful. Most use corn as the one or more of the main ingredients, and the corn and grains they put in the food have been shown to be linked to FLUTD, among other issues.

  • 07/21/2014 11:31am

    I have a older cat female and we use to live in the mountain area she caught most of her food and seem to like it, now we have moved to the city and she can no longer hunt for wild food, what kind of diet should I feed her? Thanks

  • 10/12/2014 01:12am

    Where do you find a good recipe for the chicken dish suitable for cat's that have all the right vitamins etc.?

  • Agree to disagree
    10/11/2014 04:39pm

    I have to kindly disagree to some of the above foods. I come from a long line of farmers with animals and I myself grew up with pets. Pet food was not readily available until the 70's in rural areas and it was very expensive when it did come in. Cats were fed raw eggs mixed with milk/cream and dogs were fed dinner scraps. Unless they met an unfortunate accident, they lived a very ripe old age. I feed my animals actual pet food now but I have fed my cats a little tuna as a treat their whole lives and they have all lived until late teens, early 20's.