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Toxins & Cats

There are various foods that are toxic to cats. Unfortunately, there are many we are not often aware of that are just as dangerous. Below is a list of common foods that are harmful to cats.

Toxic Foods:

Onions, Garlic, & Related Root Vegetables: Onions contain a substance (N-propyl disulphide) which destroys red blood cells in the cat, causing a form of anemia called Heinz body anemia. Garlic contains a similar substance in a lesser amount. Tomatoes, Green (raw Potatoes) These foods are members of the Solanaceae family of plants, which includes the Deadly Nightshade, and contain a bitter, poisonous alkaloid called Glycoalkaloid Solanine, which can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms.

Chocolate/Caffeine: It's becoming more widely known that chocolate is very toxic to both cats and dogs. Theobromine is the offending substance here. Caffeine and other stimulants, including theobromine (found in chocolate), can poison cats. Do not feed your cat these "people foods" or leave them out where the cat could reach them. It is wise to just feed cats a commercially prepared cat food and never feed them foods meant for humans, especially "sweets."

Grapes and Raisins: These foods' toxicity has only recently been discovered, and although the only studies have been with dogs, it is also believed that these fruits may also affect cats adversely.

Milk: Although milk is not toxic to cats, it may have adverse effects. Simply put, adult cats fed a nutritious diet don't need milk, and many cats are lactose-intolerant, which means that the lactose in milk and milk products produces stomach upset, cramps, and gassiness. If your cat loves milk, and begs for it, a small amount of cream may be okay, two or three times a week. (The more fat in the milk, the less lactose.)

Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources: These bones can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.

Dog Food: If accidental ingestion, will not cause a problem; if fed repeatedly, may result in malnutrition and diseases affecting the heart.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.

Raw Eggs: Raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.

Raw Fish: Eating raw fish can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.

Toxic Plants:

As we let our cats roam freely in and out of the house, we need to be aware of what we are exposing our pets to. There are various plants that are poisonous to cats both inside and outside of our homes. Below is a chart of some of the more common plants our cats may come in contact with.

Holiday Plants:

Pet owners need to take extra care with holiday plants. When the holidays roll around, we often get caught up in the festivities and don't realize that we may be bringing something very dangerous into your home for your pets. be aware of what holiday decorations may be toxic and avoid turning a happy occasion into a tragic one.

Poinsettias: These plants are probably the most popular holiday plant and are easily recognizable by their large red, white, pink, or mottled leaves. These plants also contain a thick, milky irritant sap. In general, it would take ingestion of a large amount of this plant to see possible clinical signs in your pet. Signs could include vomiting, anorexia and depression. The symptoms are generally self-limiting and treatment is rarely needed. Your Vet may recommend limiting food and water intake for 1 or 2 hours if your pet is suspected of becoming sick after ingestion of poinsettias.

Easter Lilies: Some members of the Lilly family of plants can result in serious illness in cats. Specifically, Easter Lilies, tiger lilies, Japanese show lilies, rubrum lilies, many lily hybrids and day lilies have been known to cause kidney failure in cats.

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