Toxicity in the Home: What’s Lurking in the Kitchen
It may seem innocent to let your cat have some of your pizza or sandwich, but just like with your canine companions, many table foods are actually dangerous for your cat. This week we’ll talk about what’ s toxic and what’s safe to share.
Onions, Garlic, Shallots, and Scallions
These tasty treats are definitely one to keep to yourself. If eaten in large quantities, onions and garlic can cause damage to red blood cells, even resulting in anemia. However, small quantities of onion powder or garlic powder can be toxic to your cat because of how concentrated they are. Be careful of soup mixes, crackers and chips, and sauces.
Chocolate and Caffeinated Drinks
Even in small quantities these can be dangerous for your cat. Chocolate and caffeinated beverages contain substances called methylxanthines that are toxic to your cat. Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal upset, muscle tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, and even seizures. The most dangerous varieties are dark and unsweetened baking chocolate.
Grapes and Raisins
While extremely toxic in dogs, some cats have no symptoms after ingestion. However, some cats, even in small amounts, can cause acute kidney failure. Best to avoid these.
Milk and Cheese
Again one that some cats are able to tolerate, but in general dairy isn’t a good idea for your cat. It can cause gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea.
Xylitol and Artificial Sweetners
While it’s most commonly associated with toxicity in dogs, xylitol should be avoided in cats as well. It can cause drops in blood sugar, seizures, and liver failure. It can be found in a variety of foods and supplements so always check the label to be safe.
Tips to Keep Your Cat Safe
1) Always make sure to put produce like onions and garlic cloves away in a closed container. Never leave them exposed on the counter top where your curious feline could take a nibble.
2) Don’t leave out dirty dishes in the sink or stove top if you’ve used anything potentially toxic.
3) Don’t leave baked goods unattended on the counter top to cool. Again curious kitties could be tempted to take a nibble. My own cat jumped on the countertop and ate 2 big bites of freshly baked raisin bread while I stepped out of the room for less than 5 minutes!
4) Don’t share food scraps with your cat. Instead get them one of their treats or bake up something special just for them.
Feed this, Not That
If you want to give your cat something special, bake or boil plain chicken breast or other lean meat. Avoid using any spices or salt – skinned and plain is best.
Your cat can also take a nibble of these safe fruits and vegetables:
Pumpkin or squash, cucumbers, peas, cooked green beans or carrots, bananas, blueberries, watermelon
Just remember to keep these to a minimum because ultimately cats are carnivores so the best treat is meat!
While these treats are safe, they are a change in your cat’s diet so they could cause GI upset. Introduce new treats slowly and discontinue if your cat has any issues. Always consult your veterinarian if your cat has any underlying issues like kidney disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or allergies.