A lot of cat owners are now far more aware of human foods that are dangerous to cats, the effects of which may not be visible until long after they were consumed. It can mean that foods consumed may not be considered as the cause of an illness.
Many human foods can be poisonous to cats or cause long-term health problems. It is suggested that cat caregivers should not give their cats treats because a habit can build up opening the door to begging for food or even ‘stealing‘ it which may lead to food poisoning.
Dr. Yuki Hattori usefully provides us with a list of foods that are dangerous to cats on a low to high-risk scale. He tells us that among food and vegetables, onions, leeks, spring onions, chives and garlic are high-risk and dangerous. Specifically, the risk to feline health in eating these foods concerns the enzyme alliinase in the vegetables which destroys white blood cells. Domestic cats can become anaemic in two or three days and can suffer from acute kidney failure within a week. These enzymes are found in plants of the genus allium such as garlic and onions.
Avocado is also listed as a medium-risk dangerous food for cats as it contains the toxin Persin which can cause convulsions and breathing difficulties in cats.
In the fish and seafood bracket of foods, mackerel, sardines and tuna are considered to be low-risk to cats. This is because over consumption of saturated fatty acids can lead to jaundice: inflammation of the fat around organs and the appearance of nodules, fever and pains.
In the meat category, raw pork is listed as a low-risk item as it can be infected with the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis i.e. toxoplasma gondii. It is said that a high percentage of domestic cats are asymptomatic to toxoplasmosis. Dr. Yuki Hattori tells us that they can be passed on to humans through contact with cat poo. We do know this and precautions can be taken. Toxoplasmosis is, I believe, overemphasised as a negative aspect of companion cat caretaking.
Also in the meat category, liver in large quantities can be a medium-risk to domestic cats because if they eat too much it can cause an excess of vitamin A, which may result in bone deformation.
Among other foods, spicy condiments, chocolate, grapes and raisins are featured as dangerous foods for cats. Chocolate is considered a high risk. Spicy condiments can affect a cat badly because the fiery effects of pepper and chili are experienced far more severely in cats than by people. Theobromine in chocolate is toxic to cats causing nervous and digestive problems. The symptoms include fever and convulsions and in the severest cases the cat can die.
Eating grapes has been proved to be harmful to dogs. The possible effects on cats are still unknown but it is best to play safe.
My thanks to the book What Cats Want by Dr Hattori.
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