As a self-confessed cat lady, I try to be the best pet-parent!

I thought I was pretty clued up on what would be considered “good” human food for my kitties. I was surprised to read this list from Although I have a no-scrap rule, where I do not feed them any meal leftovers, I have on occasion given them some of the items on this “no-no” list without knowing that it could cause them harm in the long run….

Cats are inquisitive little creatures, and as part of the family it’s only natural to want to share our food with them. Although they can be fussy eaters, some might help themselves to something they shouldn’t! How many of these items are you feeding your precious feline and did you know that it can be harmful in some cases?

What to Watch For:

According to, any food not specifically formulated for cats can affect their digestive system, which might lead to diarrhea, vomiting or loss of appetite.

Some common household foods of concern are:

1. Chocolate. Chocolate is not a sweet treat for cats. Chocolate contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine – which are both and toxic to cats. Although it comes in all forms of chocolate, it is most concentrated in unsweetened baking chocolate and dark chocolate. Consumption can cause muscle tremors, heart arrhythmias, and in some cases, lead to seizures. Consult your vet immediately if you suspect your feline has eaten any form chocolate – including cookies and other food items that might contain traces of chocolate.

2. Coffee, Tea, Energy Drinks. Drinks and food containing caffeine can cause your cat to have rapid breathing, become restless, heart palpitations and lead to muscle tremors.4

3. Dairy Products. Cats love milk but it’s not that good for them. According to WebMD most adult cats are lactose intolerant, and unable to digest most common dairy products. Milk, cream, cheese and yogurt can cause stomach distress, vomiting and diarrhea.

4. Fat Trimmings, Raw Meat or Eggs, Fish. Should you be making your own cat food consult a veterinary nutritionist before adding these foods to your cat’s diet, as there is a risk vomiting, diarrhea, Salmonella or E. coli associated with these foods for some animals, especially when given improperly. Fat trimmings can also cause pancreatitis in cats.

5. Grapes and Raisins. Ripe, juicy grapes can damage your cat’s kidneys, and so can sultanas and raisins. Dogs can suffer acute kidney failure from eating grapes or raisins, so it is best to not to risk your cat’s health and keep these items out of reach.

6. Onions and Garlic. All members of the onion family can cause problems if eaten in sufficient quantity. Raw, cooked, powdered or even dehydrated onions can be a cause of anaemia in cats. Baby food made from meat is often seasoned with onion or garlic, so read the labels carefully if you feed these to your cat.


7. Tuna. Tuna when made into cat food is perfectly fine for cats. On the other hand, tuna sold for human consumption may cause digestive upset when given as an occasional treat in small amounts. It can even cause a painful condition called steatites, or inflammation of the body’s fat, when fed to cats on a regular basis.

8. Xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in sugar free products and it’s highly toxic to cats. If your pet ingests xylitol it can lead to seizures and liver failure, so don’t let them get into any of your sugar free products. If you’re not sure if there’s xylitol in your house, check the ingredients list on any diet products you might have, or look up their ingredients online.

9. Alcohol. Yes, cats like humans can get drunk, but it can also easily cause severe liver and brain damage. As little as a tablespoon can put an adult cat in a coma; a little more can kill her. Yikes!

Immediate Care

  • If your cat is displaying symptoms such as muscle tremors or repeated vomiting – seek medical advice immediately. If your veterinarian is unavailable or unequipped to handle the situation, call the nearest animal.
  • If you suspect your cat ate any of these foods, try to determine how much she may have eaten. Call your veterinarian for specific advice; in many cases small quantities are not likely to be a problem but larger quantities may require you to induce vomiting in your cat or to take her to your veterinarian.

Veterinary Care & Treatment: Treatment should be continued until all symptoms are resolve. This could include hospitalisation, monitoring of organ function via repeated blood testing, intravenous fluids, , and other measures as indicated by the specific circumstances.

Prevention: The best cure is prevention, so keep your human food out of reach of your cat. An added advantage of not giving your cat your food is the prevention of begging behaviour. If you choose to give your cat human food, follow these guidelines:

  • The food should only be considered a treat and only given on occasion to prevent gastrointestinal upset and nutritional imbalances.
  • If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to your cat. If you wouldn’t eat the food raw, then your cat shouldn’t either.

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About the author: Stefanie Bosman is a self-confessed cat-lady and passionate about improving the quality of life of pets, and the humans that love them – one fur kid at a time! She is the owner of Cosmic Pets™, offering a wide range of products that are pet approved and people friendly. For more information visit or contact,