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Published: Sep 10, 2012

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.