Cats love to try and entice you to share your food with them, and they are experts at reaching those high shelves and kitchen countertops. So is it safe for your cat to eat the foods you enjoy? There are a number of foods you can safely share, such as cooked meat, brown rice and steamed broccoli, but some foods can harm your cat. Here are five foods you should never feed your cat:
Allium vegetables, including onions, leeks and garlic, are toxic to cats. Ingesting even a small amount can cause an upset stomach, but more seriously, damage can occur to your cat's red blood cells. As the red blood cells degrade, your cat can develop anaemia, which can lead to shortness of breath and increased heart rate.
Vets don't currently understand what makes raisins toxic to cats, but they can cause kidney failure. Signs of kidney failure in cats include increased urination, lethargy, foul breath and loss of appetite. If your cat eats raisins, take them to your vet surgery immediately. They will need intravenous fluids and medication to support their kidneys.
Does your cat like to stick their nose in your cup of tea or coffee? Take care to keep your cup out of their reach as caffeine is poisonous to cats. It can cause muscle tremors, heart palpitations and convulsions. There's no antidote for caffeine poisoning, so it can be fatal if your cat consumes a large amount.
Chocolate is not a suitable treat for your cat as it contains theobromine. This is a chemical compound that's more potent in dark chocolate, but milk chocolate also contains enough theobromine to harm your cat. Chocolate poisoning can cause a rapid heartbeat, seizures, gastric upset and organ failure.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that's used in gum and as a replacement for refined sugar in sweets and baked goods. Eating a small amount of xylitol can cause hypoglycaemia in cats. This occurs as a result of the xylitol increasing your cat's insulin levels, which leads to a blood sugar crash. Liver failure can also occur, and early signs of liver failure include poor co-ordination, loss of appetite and lethargy.
Take some time to review how you currently store food in your home, and ensure family members understand it's best to feed your cat food that has been specially formulated for them. If you think your cat has eaten anything that could harm them, have them examined by your vet right away.