Having young children, my kids often ask me if they can feed our cat certain foods and I always have to look it up and tell them if the cat can eat it or not.
I wasn’t able to find an extensive list of foods cats can’t eat and decided to research and come up with an extensive list of human foods that can be toxic or harmful to cats.
I spent around a week doing research on these food groups and identifying which ones are dangerous and which ones are okay to give in small quantities.
Some of the most toxic foods the cats cannot eat are alcohol, onions and garlic, chocolate, grapes, raisins, citrus fruits, bay leaves, pizza dough, caraway seeds, coffee and tea and star fruit. Some non-toxic but dangerous foods for cats are nutmeg, beef jerky, salty foods, raw eggs and tuna.
Alcohol and cats make for a bad combination. Alcohol and products with alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning which causes serious health risks in cats.
Health issues can occur if your cat has ingested dyes, inks, disinfectants, mouthwashes, paints, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, gasoline, alcoholic beverages and hand sanitizers.
Even a little amount of alcohol can cause serious health problems to cats such as vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, disorientation, trouble breathing, coma, and even death.
Take your cat immediately to the vet if they have ingested any form of alcohol or show any of the above symptoms. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our feline friend.
You can keep your cat safe by making sure that all alcohol products are locked away in cat proof places and cleaning up any spills as soon as they occur.
Although animal crackers without chocolate and xylitol are generally safe for cats. They do not provide any nutritional value to the cat and hence should be avoided.
Very small amount of animal crackers should be safe for cats but it is hard to find animal crackers without chocolate and xylitol which are toxic to cats.
It is better to avoid feeding your cat animal crackers.
Cats should never eat avocados as they contain a chemical called Persin. Persin is toxic to cats and must be avoided at all costs.
It’s not just the flesh of the avocado that contains Persin but the whole avocado plant is toxic to cats, the pit, fruit and leaves.
Perisin can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, obstruction of stool and pancreatitis.
If you suspect your cat has had any part of an avocado, take them to the vet immediately.
Bay leaves are very toxic and poisonous to cats and must never be fed to cats. Don’t take this humble leaf so lightly around your cat as it contains Eugenol, a toxic and dangerous chemical for cats.
Bay leaf poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, digestive obstruction and digestive tract damage.
If your cat displays any of these symptoms or has eaten bay leaf, take them to the vet immediately and make sure your cat gets plenty of rest.
Beef jerky though is not toxic for cats but it is best that you avoid feeding your cat beef jerky on a regular basis because it contains high salt content and could contain other seasoning which can be toxic to cats.
There is no need for concern if your cat eats a very small amount of beef jerky, your feline friend should be perfectly fine with it.
You can create homemade beef jerky for your cat without salt or other seasoning for your cat to enjoy.
It is not recommended to feed your cat bones as they can cause damage to their teeth and cause constipation and internal blockages.
Raw or uncooked bones can also contain bacteria which can make your cat ill.
Cooked bones can splinter and cause damage to their gums or teeth.
If your cat has gotten hold of some bones, it is better to keep a close eye on any discomfort your cat might show and take them immediately to the vet if they show any discomfort.
Bread or Pizza Dough
There are two parts to this food group, “Baked bread” and “Raw dough” or “Pizza dough”. Small amount of baked bread is generally safe for cats to eat but it should be in moderation.Baked bread can be given once in a while as a treat but not on a regular basis.
It is important to note that baked bread does not provide any nutritional value to cats and hence should not be given to cats to eat on a regular basis.
Raw dough or pizza dough on the other hand pose a serious threat to a cat’s health and should never be given to cats to eat.
Raw dough or pizza dough contains yeast which quickly produces alcohol and carbon dioxide inside the cat’s stomach which causes severe bloating and alcohol poisoning leading to extreme abdominal pain and other issues.
Take your cat to the vet immediately if the cat has eaten raw dough or pizza dough.
Caraway Seeds or Persian Cumin
Caraway seeds are extremely toxic to cats as they are rich in carvone and limonene, common ingredients in essential oils and pesticides.
Caraway seeds can cause serious health problems such as vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, weight loss, loss of appetite, and jaundice.
Chamomile is generally not harmful to cats in small doses but can have severe effects if large doses are consumed or is consumed over long periods of time.
Chamomile contains many harmful substances, including tannic acid, anthemic acid, chamazulene, bisabolol, and volatile oil which can cause serious health problems in felines such as anorexia, diarrhoea vomiting, contact dermatitis.
Long term use of chamomile can also lead to bleeding tendencies.
As long as cheesecake does not contain any chocolate, raisins, xylitol and dairy products, cheesecake isn’t dangerous for cats.
Cats are lactose intolerant and even just a little bit of dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, that’s why it is advised not to feed your cat cheesecake.
Cheesecake doesn’t offer any nutritional value to cats, is full of sugar and fats which are generally good for cats.
Although cheez-its are not particularly harmful to your cat, they are not recommended because they contain cheese (not good for cats as cats are lactose intolerant), high levels of salt and fat.
These ingredients can cause obesity, salt poisoning and pancreatitis.
Cheez-its also contain a preservative called TBHQ, which is known to cause cancer in pets.
Cats cannot eat chicken nuggets, I know it’s disappointing but chicken nuggets contain breading, preservatives and other potentially harmful seasoning that can cause health issues to cats.
To keep your cat healthy and safe, keep them away from chicken nuggets and get in touch with your vet if your cat has gotten their paws to it.
Chocolate is as dangerous to cats as it is to dogs. Don’t take this sweet treat lightly around your cat, it can cause some serious damage to your cat’s health.
Chocolate in even small quantity can cause :Hyperactivity, Restlessness, Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Increased thirst, Tremors, Death, Increased reflex responses, Muscle rigidity, Rapid breathing, Seizures
Only 0.2 oz of a bar of baking chocolate needs to be bitten off, for it to be dangerous to a cat.
Immediately inform your vet and keep an eye out for the above symptoms.
Want to learn more about chocolate and cat? Read this article, Can Cats Eat Chocolate?
Cinnamon is generally not safe for cats as per Pet Poison Helpline. Cinnamon is rich in essential oils and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in small amounts.
Essential oils with cinnamon contain a large concentrated amount of it and can have serious health impacts such as liver damage.
It is best to avoid giving your cat any food that contains cinnamon, believe me they won’t miss it.
NO, cats cannot have any citrus fruit as the fruit contains psoralen, limonene, linalool and essential oils which are particularly harmful chemicals to cats.
Consuming any citrus fruit can cause diarrhoea, drooling, vomiting, weakness, cold limbs, skin irritation, rash and depression.
Talk to your vet immediately if your cat has ingested or bitten any citrus fruit.
Coconut Flesh and Coconut Milk
Small amounts of coconut and coconut derived products are usually safe for cats to consume. Yet RSPCA advises that coconut flesh and coconut milk can cause stomach issues such as diarrhoea and loose stool as coconut contains high level of potassium
Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea contains caffeine which is quite toxic to cats and should never be given to them.Caffeine can be found in coffee beans, brewed coffee and coffee grounds are all dangerous to cats if ingested.
A small amount of caffeine won’t kill the cat but can cause organ damage so it is best to avoid any drink that contains even a little amount of caffeine, even pop drinks.
Caffeine can also cause abnormal heart rhythm and respiratory difficulties.
Contact your vet if your cat has ingested any caffeinated thing.
Cats should not be given coleslaw because most coleslaw recipes contain onion, garlic, salt and mayonnaise which can be quite dangerous to cats, if not toxic.
Onion and garlic are particularly toxic to cats so it is better to be safe and avoid giving your cat coleslaw.
Cotton candy though not toxic (if it doesn’t contain xylitol), you should still not feed cotton candy to your cat.
Cotton candy contains high levels of sugars, artificial sweeteners and food colouring which can cause obesity and tooth decay.
It’s okay to give a little bit of cotton candy once in a while but make sure it doesn’t contain any xylitol.
Most cats cannot have any dairy based products such as milk, cream, cheese, ice cream etc. as they are lactose intolerant.
Dairy can cause digestive problems along with diarrhoea
Dog food isn’t toxic to cats but doesn’t fulfil the nutritional requirements of a cat. Cat and dog food are designed for each on their nutritional needs basis and dog food doesn’t have all things required for a balanced cat diet.
Grapes and Raisin
Grapes and raisins are extremely toxic to cats and cause serious health issues even if a little amount is ingested. It is not particularly clear which toxin is harmful to cats but can cause kidney failure.
Symptoms shown by poisoned cats can appear within 12 hours and can include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhoea, reduced appetite, abdominal pain, decreased urination and abdominal pain
If your cat has ingested grapes or raisins, please take them to the vet immediately.
Gum, Candy and Gummy Bears
Cat owners should avoid giving candy, gummy bears or gum to their cats. Candy is not particularly poisonous to cats but offers no nutritional value to them.
Cats are not particularly good at digesting sugar and high levels of sugar can cause diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Another reason to keep cats away from candy and gum is xylitol, which is a common ingredient in many candies and gums. Xylitol is particularly toxic to cats and causes serious health risks such as seizures, coma, liver failure and even death.
Gummy bears come with extra risk of choking and hence should not be given to cats to eat.
Jello and Jelly Beans
It is not particularly a good idea to give jello or jelly beans to your cats. Other than not offering any nutritional benefit to cats, most jello and jelly beans contain xylitol, alcohol and too much sugar.
These ingredients are particularly dangerous to cats and can lead to xylitol poisoning, alcohol poisoning, liver failure and kidney failure.
Leaves and Seeds of Apples and Stone Fruits
The fruit flesh of apples, plums, cherries and peaches is safe for cats to consume, care should be taken to remove all seeds and leaves of these fruits before feeding them to your cat as they can be toxic to them.
The leaves, seeds and stem contain cyanide, which if consumed even in small amounts can cause health issues such as rapid breathing, diarrhoea, seizures and vomiting.
Seeds can also pose a choking hazard for cats
If your feline friend shows any of the above symptoms, take them to the vet immediately.
The Lily plant is particularly toxic to plants and can cause serious health issues in cats if consumed. Even licking the lily pollen can cause problems for cats.
Common symptoms can be vomiting and long term effects can include kidney failure.
Take your cat immediately to the vet if they’ve had any part of the plant.
Although not particularly toxic to cats, macadamia nuts contain an unknown chemical that can sometimes cause lethargy, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia.
It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our furry friends and avoid feeding them macadamia nuts.
Walnuts are toxic to cats but cat parents should not give walnuts to their cats because they contain a high amount of fat – not the kind of fat cats like, which can cause digestive discomfort such as vomiting, diarrhoea and kidney problems.
Mints and Breath Fresheners
Mints and breath fresheners are toxic to cats and should not be given to cats in any circumstance.
Mint poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
If your cat suffers from bad breath, try brushing their teeth or consult your vet for a cat safe catmint.
It is advised that cats should not be fed mushrooms. Mushrooms of unknown origins can be particularly poisonous to cats.
Nutmeg in large amounts can be toxic to cats and can cause health problems such as disorientation, increased heart rate, high blood pressure and seizures.
Nutmeg also contains safrole which is suspected to be carcinogenic.
Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic are strictly off limits to cats. Even small amounts of onion and garlic are toxic to cats. Any form of these plants, especially powdered forms, are very dangerous to cats.
Onions, garlic, leek, shallots and chives contain chemicals called, Sulfoxides and aliphatic sulphides, that destroy red blood cells and can cause anaemia.
The first symptoms usually seen are vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and depressed behaviour.
These are followed by more serious symptoms like weakness, lethargy, breathing difficulties, elevated heart rate, jaundice and even death.
Take your cat to the vet immediately if they have eaten these plants.
Oreos are bad for cats because they are full of sugar and fat along with chocolate, which is quite dangerous for cats.
Some of the oreo flavours also contain xylitol which is toxic to cats.
Cats absolutely love peanut butter but cat owners should avoid or give only a small amount to their cats as it provides no nutritional value to the cats and contains some harmful ingredients such as fat and artificial sweeteners.
Most commercial peanut butter also contains xylitol which is highly toxic to cats.
Poppy seeds are toxic to cats so keep your poppy muffin away from cats. Although a large amount of poppy seeds need to be ingested to cause serious health problems, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Some of the symptoms that your cat might exhibit if they have eaten poppy seeds include decreased appetite, vomiting, lethargy, upset stomach and loss of balance.
Talk to your vet if your cat has ingested poppy seeds.
This one can come as a surprise as cats love tuna but tuna does not provide balanced nutrition to cats. Feeding tuna on a regular basis can cause malnutrition and may lead to weight gain as it is high in fat.
Most tuna also have a high level of mercury and regular intake of tuna can lead to mercury poisoning.
It is safe to give your cat tuna now and then but don’t make it part of their regular diet.
Raw fish can contain bacteria that could give your cat food poisoning. It also destroys thiamine, an essential B vitamin for your cat.
If you want to give your cat, make sure it is cooked properly and doesn’t contain any seasoning.
ASPCA recommends not giving raw eggs to your cats as it contains bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Raw eggs can also cause coat and skin problems as it reduces the cats ability to absorb biotin.
If you do want to give your cat eggs, make sure they are boiled or cooked without any extra seasoning.
Although not toxic, raw meat can contain bacteria which can cause food poisoning in cats.
If you do want to feed raw meat to your cat make sure it is human grade meat.
Rhubarb is toxic to cats. Rhubarb can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and kidney problems.
Even cooking rhubarb can’t kill the dangerous toxins in rhubarb and cooked rhubarb is not safe for cats.
The main reason why you should avoid salami is that it is packed with fat, salt and toxic spices which can cause health issues in cats.
It is okay to give just a bit of salami to your cat now and then but don’t make it a regular part of their diet.
Salt or Salty Foods
Salt is essential for normal bodily function but too much salt can cause dehydration. Human foods have excessive amounts of salts and it is best you avoid giving food with too much salt in it to your cat.
Starfruit or Carambola
Starfruit is quite toxic to cats and must not be fed to cats.
Starfruit contains oxalates and caramboxin that can cause calcium deficiency in your cat.
Starfruit can lead to acute renal failure so get in touch with your vet if your cat has ingested starfruit.
Takis aren’t dangerous or toxic in small amounts but can cause diarrhoea at best and more severe health issues at worse.
Takis contain a few dangerous ingredients such as salt, citric acid, onion and garlic powder which are all toxic to cats.
But if your cat has had a nibble or two, they should be perfectly fine. Just don’t make it a regular habit.
THC commonly found in marijuana can be toxic to cats. Cats make up about 3% of marijuana toxicity cases in pets. Cats usually consume them through edibles.
Symptoms of THC toxicity can include, loss of coordination, dilated pupils, depression, lethargy, agitation, dribbling urine and seizures.It can take up to 5 days for THC to move out of the cat’s body.
It is advised to take your cat to the vet and be honest about what your pet has consumed and how much.
Cats should not be fed wasabi as it doesn’t provide any nutritional value to the cat and to be honest most cats don’t care for it.
But if your cat does want to have a taste, a tiny bit won’t be harmful to your cat.
Although not toxic to cats, waffles contain too much sugar and dairy for your cat. They can have a bit of waffle but not too much and not on a regular basis.
Many waffle toppings contain chocolate or xylitol which are quite dangerous to cats. So take extra caution when feeding your cat any waffles with toppings.
ASPCA recommends keeping cats away from tomatoes as it contains solanine which is harmful to cats. Tomato ingestion can cause stomach issues, lethargy and slower heart rate.
It is important to point out that the advisory is for unripe tomatoes and ripe tomatoes should be perfectly safe for cats.
The Bottom Line
We hope this list gives you a fair idea on what human foods are not safe for cats and it is recommended to do research and talk to your vet before giving any new food to your cat.