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Our pets often think they know what's best for them when it comes to food. Cats, especially, are notoriously picky, and it can be tempting to give them what they will eat rather than what they should eat. Some breeds of dog, too, (such as Labradors) are famous for being "doggy dustbins", who will eat anything if you turn your back (including your keys).
But what, apart from keys, should your pets never eat?
Even a small amount of alcohol can cause liver and brain damage in a cat. A teaspoon could land your feline friend in a coma.
Never give your feline friend the bones of fish, poultry or meat. They are difficult to digest and could cause a dangerous obstruction, or even a laceration, in her digestive system.
All forms of chocolate (from milk to cooking chocolate) contain theobromine, which can cause arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) and seizures in cats. It can even kill a cat.
Coffee, and other caffeinated drinks
Tea, coffee, energy drinks, and Cola drinks cause muscle tremors and heart palpitations in cats. Trust me, your cat wants you to stick to giving them water.
On that subject, many cat-lovers still offer Tiddles a saucer of milk. However, they are probably doing them more harm than good. Most cats are lactose intolerant. While they enjoy the taste of milk, it later gives them vomiting and diarrhoea. Recently, lactose-free "cat milks" have come onto the market. These are suitable for an occasional treat (but don't give your cat human lactose-free milk).
Dog food is not suitable for cats. It leads to malnutrition and heart problems.
Fat trimmings from meat can lead to painful pancreatitis.
Grapes and Raisins
Grapes and raisins are a terrible treat idea for a pet cat. They are both linked to kidney failure and it takes a very small amount to make a cat ill. What's worse is that, while some cats exhibit signs such as vomiting, other cats show no signs of damage at all until it's too late.
It's unknown why, but these nuts affect a cat's nervous system, digestive system, and musculoskeletal system. It's thought an unknown toxin is to blame.
May contain toxins that affect many of the body's systems and lead to shock and death.
Onions, Chives and Garlic
All forms of onion (even the powdered onion in baby food) breaks down red blood cells in a cat, which causes anaemia. Eating even small amounts on a regular basis will cause onion poisoning. Chives and garlic, too, cause stomach problems in cats.
Raw meat, fish or eggs
Not only are raw meat, fish and eggs an E. coli and Salmonella risk for cats, they also upset the vitamins and minerals in a cats body. Raw fish depletes your cat's thiamine, an essential B-vitamin which is needed to support the nervous system. As that's depleted, it can lead to anorexia (loss of appetite), seizures, coma, and death.
Raw eggs interfere with your cat's biotin. As this B-Vitamin cannot be absorbed, your cat may start having skin problems.
This one seems counter-intuitive. We all know how cats gravitate to tuna. Leave a tin open on the side, and you'll come back to find Tiddles helping herself. This is one example of cats not knowing what's good for them. Canned tuna (for human consumption) is not suitable for cats to eat every day (although the occasional treat is alright). Canned tuna can lead to malnutrition as it lacks the correct minerals and vitamins found in a specially-made cat-food. The high amount of unsaturated fat is also harmful to cats, causing Vitamin E deficiency and a painful inflammatory condition called steatitis ("yellow fat disease")
Watch your feline friend constantly if you bake bread, because rising dough may be a constant, dangerous temptation. If they eat any dough before it's risen, it will continue to rise in their stomach, causing severe pain and potentially leading to rupture of the stomach or intestine. Another problem is that yeast produces an alcohol as it makes the bread rise, which could also poison your cat.