18 Human Foods you Should Avoid Giving Your Cat

Every good pet owner considers their pet as a part of their family and as a result, tends to feed them like family too. Some owners may think that feeding a home-cooked meal to their cat cannot be dangerous, but that is not true.

Cats have vastly different digestive systems, nutrient requirements, and metabolism from ours. Some foods that we can digest easily are not digestible by cats and can cause toxicity.

We may believe cats can eat a few things but are actually harmful to them if eaten in high quantities. In this article, we will be listing all the different common foods that we eat as Humans but should keep far away from cats.

The most important thing for you as a pet owner to know is that all of these foods if ingested, require immediate medical care. If you believe that your cat has consumed any of these foods and is showing symptoms, then you should immediately take it to the vet.

Cats also don’t express discomfort very often; they can hide their pain quite well so it may be possible that your cat has been ill for some time and the problem got really bad before the symptoms started to show. So, you should always keep an eye on what your cat does throughout the house, especially in the kitchen.

1. Bread Dough

Bread dough can be harmful to cats because of the yeast that is used to ferment it. The yeast produces carbon dioxide and ethanol which, in turn, can cause alcohol poisoning in cats.

Cats that eat too much bread can suffer from seizures and respiratory failure, symptoms of alcohol poisoning in cats are drooling, nausea, abdominal pain, lethargy, tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea.

2. Grapes and Raisins

Grapes and raisins are extremely harmful to cats and dogs, if ingested, they cause kidney failure which inevitably leads to death.

It is unsure exactly why grapes and raisins cause kidney failure in cats, but it has been proven that ingesting grapes will cause kidney failure or severely damage your cat’s kidneys.

Symptoms of grape poisoning in cats include loss of appetite, dehydration, increased thirst and abdominal pain.

3. Avocado

Avocados contain a toxin called persin, humans don’t have any issue with breaking down this toxin, but our cats are not as resistant to its effects.

If a cat eats Avocados, it can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, one other thing to look out for as well is the high-fat content which can cause pancreatitis in cats.

Symptoms of Avocado poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea.

4. Citrus Fruits 

Citrus fruits are also toxic to cats, a cat that has ingested citrus fruits will show signs like vomiting, weakness, and diarrhea. Citrus fruits are things like oranges, lemons or limes. 

The reason citrus fruits cause problems in cats is because of essential oil extracts like limonene and linalool. Luckily, citrus fruits aren’t fatal to cats. So, even if your cat ingests a little bit of citrus, you should take it to the vet where it can get treatment and get better.

Symptoms of citrus poisoning in cats include drooling, weakness, vomiting, trembling, diarrhea, and lack of balance.

5. Apple Seeds

While you may not intentionally feed apple seeds to your cat, it is still possible that you may leave some out in the open which get consumed by your cat. 

Apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide, humans would have to consume an absurd amount of apple seeds to suffer from cyanide poisoning but because cats are smaller animals, a much smaller quantity of apple seeds can prove harmful to them.

Symptoms of cyanide poisoning in cats include respiratory issues, heavy panting and dilated pupils. If you notice any of these symptoms after your cat has ingested some apple seeds, you should immediately take it to the vet.

6. Chocolate

We humans love chocolate and consume it in all kinds of ways. To us, the negative things that we associate with chocolate are weight gain and high sugar content. The same chocolate for cats, however, can prove to be deadly.

This is all because of a toxic compound called theobromine, our bodies can process a large amount of this compound before we start to feel its effects. Just to give you an idea, the average person would have to eat almost 40 kilograms of chocolate before they get ill.

For cats, however, just a few grams can be deadly. The symptoms of this poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and excessive urination.

7. Fat trimmings

Cats are carnivorous creatures so the meat is a staple of their diet, you may think that feeding your cat some excess fat that you trimmed off from meat won’t be damaging but that’s not true. 

Fatty food can cause issues within a cat’s digestive tract and lead to illness. Symptoms of excess fat consumption include vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive complications.

8. Liver

The liver contains vitamin A in excessive amounts which is an important vitamin in a cat’s diet, but it is also possible for a cat to have too much vitamin A. Eating just a little bit of liver can be okay for cats but too much can cause overdosing.

When cats get too much vitamin A, they suffer from symptoms like osteoporosis, excessive bone growth on the elbows and spine, and deformed bones.

9. Tuna

Tuna does not cause any digestive issues in cats, so it is safe for them to eat occasionally. The issue is that tuna itself does not contain the right amount of nutrients that a cat needs to stay healthy.

If a cat eats tuna way too often, it can lead to malnutrition, and too much tuna consumption can also cause mercury poisoning in cats.

10. Bubblegum

Bubblegum is dangerous to cats because of a sweetener called Xylitol. The reason for this is because Xylitol can cause a sudden release of insulin in cats, this causes the blood sugar to plummet which is really bad for your cat.

Another common side effect of Xylitol injection is liver failure, cats can also get seizures because of this sweetener. 

The symptoms of Xylitol poisoning are vomiting, weakness, lethargy, seizures, or trouble in balance.

11. Sugar

Sugar is not toxic for cats to eat but it is still harmful due to other reasons. Cats are also not very good at digesting sugar so they may suffer from digestive issues after consuming a lot of sugar.

The thing to watch out for, however, is tooth problems, diabetes, and weight gain. Just like in humans, sugar is also terrible for your cat’s dental health. Furthermore, it can cause diabetes and weight gain which also come with a host of their own problems.

12. Milk

This is perhaps the most surprising item on this list. In cartoons, we see that cats drink a lot of milk so we start to think that it may be a favorite food for them. But the reality is that cats are lactose intolerant.

This means that adult cats cannot digest milk properly. Kittens on the other hand have no issues with milk as they need to drink their mother’s milk to grow up.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance in cats include bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive gas, constipation, dehydration, and more. So, you should totally avoid giving your cat any milk.

13. Caffeine

Caffeine is a toxic chemical for cats, caffeine can be found in many different products like chocolate, chewing gum, coffee, tea, and much more. Just like in humans, caffeine works as a stimulant in cats.

For small animals like cats, however, the effects of caffeine are much stronger. Caffeine increases the heart rate of cats and they become hyperactive, this causes them to get really jittery, they may also make more sounds while under the effect of caffeine.

More severe effects include tremors or seizures, vomiting, diarrhea. In this case, however, vomiting may prove to be beneficial as the excessive caffeine in the cat’s system is let out.

14. Salt

Salt is an everyday ingredient in all households, we use it in almost every meal we make and we as humans can ingest quite a bit of salt before it becomes harmful to us.

For a cat, the same ingredient is poisonous, it can cause kidney issues in cats, which can lead to death. Symptoms of salt poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, or urination. 

More serious cases of salt poisoning can have symptoms like tremors or seizures.

15. Onions

Onions are also a common ingredient we use that is extremely dangerous to cats, onions cause the breakdown of red blood cells in cats. This causes the cat to have much fewer red blood cells in its body.

This makes it harder for the muscles of the cat to get oxygen and as a result, the cat gets weaker. If you notice that your cat has become weaker or is panting a lot after eating onions, you should immediately take it to the vet.

The common symptoms of onion toxicity include weakness, blood in urine, panting, vomiting, liver damage, and more.

16. Garlic

Garlic is also another common kitchen ingredient that is extremely harmful to cats. Like onions, this also causes the breakdown of red blood cells.

Some owners may try to give garlic to their cats because they heard that it has medical benefits, but it is, in fact, very harmful. Even an amount as small as a single clove can prove to be deadly.

Symptoms of garlic poisoning in cats include pale gums, fatigue, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and many more. Just like all serious cases, you should immediately take your cat to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms after your cat ingests garlic.

17. Rhubarb

This is another vegetable that is harmful to your cat. Rhubarb contains oxalates which can be absorbed into your cat’s body where they bind with the calcium that is present in the blood. 

When they bind with the calcium, they form a residue that then damages your cat’s kidney, which will eventually lead to kidney failure. It is not uncommon for oxalate absorption to cause death in cats.

Symptoms of oxalate poisoning include weakness, kidney failure, salivation, tremors, disorientation, vomiting, diarrhea, and more.

18. Raw Meat

You might be asking yourself how raw meat is bad for your cat, after all, cats are carnivores and only eat meat in the wild. And you would be right, cats in the wild grow up eating raw meat so they are accustomed to it.

A house cat can get food poisoning from raw meat if the meat contains salmonella or E. Coli. Your cat may not be able to properly fight off the bacteria if its immune system is not strong enough. It is not uncommon for house cats to have weaker immune systems as compared to wild cats.

Obviously, you should still let your cat eat meat, it’s just that you should take care to cook it properly. This also applies to other products that are known to contain the same bacteria, like eggs, fish, and other foods.

Symptoms of salmonella infection in cats may include minor issues like small changes in temperature and appetite loss. More severe cases will suffer from high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.


We know that you love your cat and consider it as a part of your family, but you should always remember that humans and cats digest food very differently.

Things that are good for us can prove to be deadly for cats even in very small amounts. Cats are quite sensitive creatures and taking care of their diet is your responsibility as the owner.

As we mentioned at the start, if you think your cat is showing any of the above-mentioned symptoms after eating a harmful object, you should immediately take it to the vet.

It is very unlikely that your cat will be able to overcome the side effects of any of these objects by itself; delaying treatment will only lead to the problem getting worse. 

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