Is it Safe to Incorporate Human Food into your Cat’s Diet?

Cats can like human food as much as they like their own food. But not all human foods make good cat treats.

When you’re sitting at the dinner table and your cat comes ambling up, eagerly eyeing your meal, it can be tempting to slip him some of your food. It’s important to know, though, that many human foods can be dangerous to in a cat’s diet. Furthermore, human foods don’t always contain the same nutrients as cat foods, and can contribute to weight gain or other dietary problems. It’s important to understand cat nutrition and where your own food fits into it.

Foods to Avoid:

Chocolate: Cats don’t have the same taste for sweets as dogs do, but it’s just as important to keep them away from any chocolate treats. Chocolate contains certain ingredients, such as caffeine and theobromine, which can be very dangerous to cats. If your cat ingests chocolate, especially darker chocolates and cocoa powder, he can suffer from a range of symptoms, including agitation, tremors, seizures, and in severe cases, death.

Alcohol: The effects that alcohol has on humans are multiplied many fold for cats, due to their small size. Even a tiny amount of alcohol can have disastrous effects for your cat, including vomiting, disorientation, seizures, and death. It’s important to keep any alcoholic drinks out of reach of your feline friend.

Onions: Any member of the onion family, which includes onions, garlic, chives, and scallions, among others, should not be a part of your cat’s diet. These foods contain compounds that are damaging to your cat’s red blood cells, and can cause anemia and other conditions. Concentrated forms, such as garlic powder, or onion soup mix, are more harmful, and should be kept away from your cat.

Bread Dough: Uncooked dough made with yeast can be very harmful to your pet if ingested. The yeast reacts with chemicals in your cat’s stomach, causing it to expand dangerously.

Fish or Chicken Bones: Bones from animals tend to splinter and can cause internal lacerations if ingested. Make sure you don’t give your cat any food with bones.

Human Treats for Cats

Some human foods are alright to give to your feline friend as a cat treat. Giving your pet table scraps is not a good habit to get into, but if you want to treat your cat from time to time with a little leftover salmon, turkey, or chicken, that’s fine. Just make sure you don’t give your cat a piece with bones or any other ingredients that could be harmful, like onions or garlic. Also, don’t treat your cat too often, or they may come to expect to be fed your food.

You can also make cat treats yourself, by mixing canned salmon or mackerel with fillers such as egg, bits of whole grain bread, milk, and other supplements for your cat’s nutrition. These can include ground vegetables, cod liver oil, bone meal, and olive oil. Make sure you use everything in moderation.