It’s an easy habit to fall into: slipping your cat a bite of food while you’re cooking or letting them have the leftovers from your plate instead of their dinner. But while your cat (or dog) may love and beg for human food, many foods range from less than nutritious to downright toxic for pets. You shouldn’t even give your cat that piece of sushi that fell on the floor, because raw fish can be bad news for them (more proof that cartoons are filled with lies).
The best approach for kitty mealtime is to stick to foods formulated specifically for your cat, according to veterinary experts at the University of Missouri Small Animal Clinical Nutrition Service. This ensures that they’re getting the nutrients they need as well as avoiding potentially harmful ingredients.
Foods your cat shouldn’t eat
While some of these foods may be tolerable in very small amounts, you won’t know how much is too much for your cat. Some are toxic with just a bite or two, and can cause everything from gastrointestinal upset to nervous system damage. The safest bet is to avoid them altogether.
- Bread dough
- Coffee and caffeine-containing products
- Coconut (oil, water, and fruit)
- Grapes and raisins
- Milk and dairy
- Onions, chives, garlic, scallions, shallots
- Raw meat, fish, and eggs
- Raw bones
- Salty foods
Note that this is not an exhaustive list, as many other foods may also be poisonous for your cat.
Foods that are (generally) safe for cats
While there are some foods that may be OK to give your cat, keep in mind that not all pets will tolerate them in the same way. Check with your vet if you’re unsure.
- Apples (flesh only)
- Bananas (flesh only)
- Blueberries (stemless)
- Strawberries (stemless)
- Watermelon (no seeds or rind)
- Peanut butter (xylitol-free)
- Cooked eggs
- Baked bread (plain with no mix-ins)
Again, even foods that are “safe” can cause GI issues in some cats, so be on the lookout for vomiting, diarrhoea, and other abnormal behaviour if you choose to feed anything other than cat food. Cats that have other health issues may be particularly susceptible to these adverse reactions. Your best bet is to stick with the cat food your pet knows and to consult with your vet if you have questions.