Most cats are selective about what they eat. However, some foods that are widely perceived to be good for cats such as dairy products like milk and cheese are not good for them at all! Most cats are actually lactose intolerant and feeding them dairy products can cause gastrointestinal upsets.
Foods that you should avoid giving to your cat, or allowing them access to are:
- Alcohol – can be potentially fatal in cats, causing brain and liver damage
- Baby food containing onion powder – human baby food is not nutritionally balanced for cats, and can contain toxic onion powder which can cause haemolytic anaemia
- Chocolate – contains theobromine and caffeine which can lead to heart problems, muscles tremors or seizures
- Citrus oil extracts – can cause severe vomiting
- Cooked bones – can splinter can cause obstructions and perforations of the gastrointestinal tract. If you feed your cat bones, ensure they are always fresh and raw.
- Coffee, tea and energy drinks – contain caffeine which can cause restlessness, muscles tremors and heart palpitations
- Diets that are predominately raw fish – are often deficient in thiamine due the presence of enzymes that break down the thiamine. If feeding raw fish, only offer once to twice weekly or alternatively cook before serving.
- Diets with excessive/large amounts of liver – liver is very high in Vitamin A which can be toxic if fed in excess. Only small amounts of liver should be fed
- Dog food – can cause severe nutritional deficiencies
- Grapes and raisins – can cause kidney failure
- Garlic and onions – can cause haemolytic anaemia
- Mouldy food – including dairy products, bread, rice, fruits and nuts. Can contain mycotoxins which cause tremors, vomiting, rapid heart rate and breathing, and in severe cases convulsions. (More common in dogs)
- Potato, rhubarb and tomato leaves and stems, green tomatoes – contain poisonous alkaloid glycoalkaloid solanine, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal problems
- Sugar-laden foods, high carbohydrate foods – cats are obligate carnivores and high carbohydrate foods can lead to obesity, dental problems, and diabetes mellitus