5 Holiday Table Scraps that Could Kill Your Cat

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Avoid the Holiday Emergency

The holiday season may be a time for sharing, except when it comes to sharing certain table scraps with your cat. Foods commonly found on our dinner and party tables, such as turkey, lamb, pork, and cheese, are too high in salt and fat for our pets. An overload of fat can even lead to medical issues like pancreatitis, which causes the pancreas to become inflamed. Forgo the holiday table scraps for Fluffy and Fifi this year, especially when it comes to these 5 foods, which can be deadly if consumed in sufficient quantity.

1. Onions/Garlic

Onions, garlic and other foods in the Allium family, such as leeks and scallions, can all be extremely poisonous to cats if consumed in sufficient quantity. "Onion and garlic poisoning results in oxidative damage to the red blood cells (making the red blood cells more likely to rupture) and gastroenteritis (e.g., nausea, oral irritation, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea)," according to the Pet Poison Helpline. Garlic is also considered to be about five times as potent as onions, so think again before offering your cat some potatoes with the ingredient.

2. Alcohol

Beer, wine and 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 holiday breads and rolls. 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. 

3. Grapes (and Raisins)

Most stuffing recipes include raisins as an ingredient. Although cats are not likely to eat these, dogs have been shown to suffer from acute kidney failure when eating raisins or grapes (which is the un-dried version of a raisin), so it is best to not to risk your cat's health and not let him eat anything that contain these foods.

4. Cherries

Found in glazes for the turkey or in desserts, it isn’t the ripe pulp of cherries that is poisonous to cats but the seed that contains cyanide. “When ingested in toxic amounts, clinical signs of dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, inadequate oxygen levels, bright red gums, shock, and death can be seen,” according to the Pet Poison Helpline. So be careful not to leave unpitted cherries or cherry seeds on the kitchen counter when your cat may get to it.

5. Caffeine

An after-dinner coffee couldn’t hurt anyone, except maybe your cat. “While 1-2 laps of coffee, tea or soda will not contain enough caffeine to cause poisoning in most pets, the ingestion of moderate amounts of coffee grounds, tea bags or 1-2 diet pills can easily cause death in small dogs or cats,” according to the Pet Poison Helpline. Signs of poisoning include hyperactivity, vomiting, an elevated heart rate, tremors, and seizures.

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