Dec 26, 2008

5 Things You Shouldn't Feed To Your Cat

Foods that cats really shouldn't have but you may not have known...

Guiding Principles:
  1. Cats have very short digestive tracts, which helps them avoid food poisoning but also means that they have a much higher need for protein than other animals. Therefore, most non-meat items are just tasty filler for them - but they fail to provide proper nutrition. A cat trying to live on table scraps, for instance, may die of malnutrition unless their owners are big meat eaters!
  2. Cats are SMALL compared to humans or most dogs so a tiny bit of a harmful chemical in a food can be harmless to people and larger pets but fatal to a cat. Therefore, you need to be careful with anything containing chemicals.

With these principles in mind, you should avoid:

  •  5. Canned Tuna - it's actually just fine in small quantities but a cat cannot live on it, and not just because tuna contains so much mercury. Actually, the makeup of tuna can lead to a vitamin deficiency if a cat eats too much of it. This rule applies to raw fish in general. Fish-flavored cat foods contain organ meat and other components so this is not a problem. I DO worry about mercury, though.
  • 4. Spoiled foods - Cats are somewhat resistant to food poisoning; their short digestive tracts mean that food often passes through too quickly to result in contamination. But some of the toxins in spoiled food act more quickly and can be dangerous. And besides, there is no point in tempting fate.
  • 3. Chocolate, coffee - or anything else that contains caffeine or caffeine-like chemicals. A teaspoon full, for a cat, is like a gallon of coffee consumed in one sitting for humans. It can be fatal.
  • 2. Milk - This is a caution rather than a 100 percent no-no: most adult cats are at least somewhat lactose intolerant. If you have been giving your cat milk (because they all love it) and it hasn't been vomiting and/or having diarrhea then you probably don't have to worry. But it is better to be safe than sorry. There are lactose free milk products for cats, too, such as Cat-Sip Milk Substitute.
  • 1. Dog Food - NO! Bad cat owner! I am saddened by the number of well-meaning but ignorant pet owners who think that their cat can just eat the dog food, because "it's good enough for the dog." As mentioned above, cats have a higher need for protein than dogs so the formula for cat food is different. Dog food also often contains nutrients that are good for dogs but are hard on a cat's kidneys. Making your cat live on dog food will lead to malnutrition, heart and kidney problems - and ultimately DEATH. Don't do it!

There you go! Five basic things you should avoid giving to your cat but may not have known about. If you are interested in the far more paranoid list that made me mention all of this, visit: foods not to give your cat - but please take this list with a grain of salt. Some things on this list are only a problem in large quantities and/or their inclusion in such a list is dubious.

Take good care of your cat, it's a living soul just like you!