Cats are carnivores. Their digestive tracts are short and geared for digesting a high-protein diet. Gastric juices are very strong to break down meat and soften bones.
Herbivores and omnivores have much longer digestive tracts, as it takes time to digest plant matter and carbohydrates. Cats don’t do well on diets which are high in carbohydrates as they do not have the right enzymes necessary for the digestion of plant matter.
Foods that are perfectly safe for human consumption may be harmful to your cat. Here are 9 harmful cat snacks to avoid.
- Alcohol: It’s definitely not cool to give your cat beer. In fact, any alcoholic drink from wine to various spirits can be dangerous for your pet. Small amounts of alcohol can put your cat in a coma and just a small bit more may be fatal.
- Caffeine: Keep tea, coffee and cold drinks away from your cat. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and if your cat ingests too much of it she may get caffeine poisoning. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, rapid breathing and increased heart rate. It may be fatal.
- Chocolate: Most people know that dogs must not eat chocolate, but cats shouldn’t receive the sugary treat either. Chocolate contains the compound theobromine. It stimulates the nervous system and causes the heart rate to increase. Large amounts of chocolate may cause vomiting, trembling, seizures, a coma and even death.
- Dairy products: Never give your adult cat cow’s milk. Most adult cats are lactose intolerant and don’t have the right enzyme to break down the milk. Too much of a dairy product may cause gastrointestinal upset.
- Dog food: It may sound silly, but you should never give your cat food that is manufactured for dogs. Feeding your cat dog food over a long period of time will result in nutritional deficiencies. A dog food diet is ‘unbalanced’ for your cat and can weaken her immune system and make her more susceptible to illness.
- Onions and garlic: Sulfoxide and disulfide are found in raw and cooked onions and garlic. They are dangerous to some animals including cats, dogs, horses and cattle. In some animals the compounds found in onions and garlic can damage red blood cells so severely that they are not able to get enough oxygen to different parts of the body for optimal function if fed regularly over time.
- Raisins and grapes: Various studies have indicated that raisins and grapes may damage the kidneys of some animals – including cats and dogs. It is still unclear as to what toxin is responsible for the damage. Studies are ongoing and veterinarians advise cat owners rather not to give their pets raisins or grapes.
- Tomatoes: The green parts of the tomato plant and unripe tomatoes are harmful to cats. These parts contain a toxin called solanine. Your cat’s system can’t cope with it and even a little can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Tuna: Pregnant women are advised not to eat too much tuna because of the risk of mercury poisoning. The same applies to your cat. While kitty will love the treat (and it’s okay as an occasional treat), it’s not okay to feed your cat ‘human’ tuna as part of her regular diet. It won’t provide her with a balanced diet and may result in an inflammatory disease.