7 Human Foods That Are Poisonous to Cats

Jordan Steinberg
Mar 29, 2017
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In an image as old as time, imagine a family eating dinner together. The mother says that the child must eat his vegetables, but he doesn’t want to. While mom isn’t looking, the child scrapes them off his plate, onto the floor, where the family pet is waiting in anticipation. 

Sure, it seems like a great idea to give your pet human food. I mean, they’re like mini garbage disposals, right? Wrong. While certain foods, in augmentation with their proper intake, can be beneficial, it’s important to note that their systems do not function like that of humans. Some foods that we enjoy on a regular basis, for instance, can be poisonous for them. Honing in on cats, let’s take a look at what’s edible and what’s poisonous.

Which human foods are poisonous for my cat?

  • Dog food
  • Onions
  • Popcorn
  • Grapes
  • Tuna
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate

Can cats eat Dog food? 

No. Dog food and cat food are labelled as such for a reason. Since their body chemistries differ in several significant ways, their food is tailored commensurately. When a cat consumes dog food, they’re taking in too little protein and taurine. In the long run, this can result in tooth decay, heart disease and blindness. 

Can cats eat onions?

Absolutely not. Onions, as well as garlic, contain an element called thiosulphate, which is toxic to cats. When consumed, the cat suffer a form of anemia, which can lead to burst red blood cells. In essence, avoid giving you cat onions. 

Can cats eat popcorn? 

If you could guarantee that the popcorn given to your cat is all white flakes, then popcorn would be fine. Unfortunately, many popped kernels still contain bits of the kernel inside, which is where the problem arises. Not only can these kernels be tough for a cat to chew, which damages teeth, but they also do not digest well. All in all, popcorn would be best for your cat to avoid. 

Can cats eat grapes?

In this case, your cat should avoiding eating grapes. This is more a matter of caution than outright risk. While no concrete evidence has established their toxicity in cats, they have been linked to renal failure in dogs. In this instance, it may be best to err on the side of caution. 

Can cats eat tuna? 

In small cases, as with most things, a little bit won’t hurt. Similar to dog food, tuna for humans is nutritionally different than it is when prepared for cats. Excessive consumption of for-human tuna can lead to malnutrition in the long-term. Due to their size, cats are also at greater risk of mercury poisoning than humans. 

Can cats eat peanut butter? 

Generally, no. Small amounts, especially when used as a vessel for medication, can be alright for your cat to eat. In greater amounts, peanut butter contains high amounts of fat and carbohydrates, which can be detrimental for cats, especially due to their size.

Can cats eat chocolate? 

No. For cats, to an even greater extent than dogs, chocolate can be lethally toxic. Should a cat ingest some, however, the effects can range from abnormal heart rhythms to seizures to death. Luckily, your furry friend is unlikely to eat it without being coaxed, so you can put your heart at ease. 

Which human foods can my cat eat?

  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Bananas
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes

Can cats eat cheese? 

For many cats, eating cheese is not a problem. In fact, they love it. In the case of younger cats, cheese can be an excellent source of protein. As cats get older, however, like humans, they can become lactose intolerant. As such, be sure to be attentive your pet’s reaction as time goes on. 

Can cats eat eggs? 

In the case of cats eating eggs, it depends on whether they are raw of cooked. Even though cats love raw eggs, and they are not harmful in infrequent doses, they will result in a biotin deficiency over a long period of time. Cooked eggs, however will not have the same result, and can be eaten to your cat’s full delight.   

Can cats eat bananas? 

Bananas are totally safe for cats to eat. They can be healthy treat, as the nutrients therein can be highly beneficial. If needed, they can also act as a nutritional supplement. 

Can cats eat chicken? 

Unlike eggs, cats can eat both raw and cooked to their heart’s delight. In fact, chicken’s relative blandness can work as a positive, when trying to coax your pet to eat. Cats will find the meat tasty, but won’t upset their stomachs. Chicken meat can also be useful when in need of an incentive or treat. 

Can cats eat ham? 

In small amounts, ham works well as a cat treat. This is especially true if the ham is of high quality. In too large amounts, or in lesser quality, ham can have detrimental effects in your cat. These can range from minor, such as upset digestion, to more concerning, such as pancreatitis. As with cheese, the effects intensify with age, so remain vigilant. 

Can cats eat tomatoes? 

Yes. Ripe, red tomatoes can be eaten by your cat without any concern. You must be careful, however, as there is immense toxicity associated with the ‘green parts’. This means leaves, stems, and unripened fruit, which contain elements similar to nightshade. In essence, as long as you are careful with the tomatoes you give your cat, then there won’t be any problems.

Can cats eat potatoes? 

Cooked potatoes are totally fine for cats to eat. In fact, that they can be added as a complement to cat food. That said, issues arise when the potatoes are eaten raw. Any raw, uncooked or green potato ingested by your cat is toxic. 

What should I do if my cat eats poisonous food?

Sometimes, despite best efforts to the contrary, cats can get themselves into a food repository where they don’t belong. On such occasions, it’s entirely possible that they eat something that doesn’t agree with them. In those cases, it’s important to take your beloved fur ball to the vet immediately. 

Depending the size of your cat, the resulting medical costs can vary. That said, assume you’ll be looking at $200 to $700 expense. Should your cat be a frequent rummager, or your living situation be such that it’s difficult to keep your cat away from harmful intake, then pet insurance could be a wise investment. In that case, our top pet insurance providers would be happy to assist.