VCA Animal Hospitals

Foods that are dangerous for your cat

Published: Sep 10, 2012

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Feeding your cat a proper diet is essential to his health and wellness.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, cats are obligate carnivores. They must eat a meat-based diet in order to get adequate protein in their diets. In addition, they need other nutrients such as taurine, fatty acids and vitamins.

The good news is that you can help your feline friend get the nutrients he needs by feeding him a healthy cat food diet. Because there are a lot of different types and brands of cat food available in the marketplace, you may want to speak with a pet health expert about which one is best for your animal.

The problem many pet owners encounter is that their cats are picky eaters. This often leads them to believe that feeding their pets table food is the best way to ensure they are getting adequate nourishment. But veterinarians warn that some foods you may think are okay for your cat could actually harm him.

While it's known that cats love tuna fish, feeding your pet a diet that contains too much of it is risky, according to WebMD Pets. Not only will a tuna-based diet leave your animal lacking many essential vitamins and minerals, it also puts him at risk of mercury poisoning if he eats too much of the fish.

Milk is another food that may be bad for your pet. Although he may like it, your cat may become ill after drinking milk, as most adult cats can't tolerate the lactose in milk.

Foods that contain onion, garlic and chives are also dangerous for your cat, although onions are the most dangerous. You should keep any products that contain onion products such as onion powder and flakes as well as raw and cooked onions out of your pet's diet. According to, onions contain substances known as sulfoxides and disulfides which can damage cats' red blood cells and cause anemia.

Grapes and raisins can cause long term health problems in cats too. These foods may lead to kidney failure in felines and should be avoided at all costs.

In addition, alcohol and caffeine may harm your feline friend. According to WebMD Pets, just two teaspoons of whiskey can cause a five-pound cat to go into a coma, and large quantities of caffeine can result in poisoning that can be fatal. Clinical signs of caffeine poisoning in a cat include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors and fits. However, pets suffering from the condition may not exhibit any clinical signs.

This being said, coffee and tea are definite no-nos for your cat. But other foods contain caffeine as well. This includes cocoa, chocolate and energy drinks.

Experts say that in addition to caffeine, chocolate contains another substance that can be fatal if ingested by cats. It's called theobromine and it may lead to abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizure and death.

Other foods that can make your cat sick include sweets, gum, avocados, citrus fruit, macadamia nuts, mushrooms, potatoes, yeast dough, liver and raw eggs.

If you suspect your cat has ingested a food that can be harmful to him, pet health experts say it is important contact a veterinarian.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.