What Can Cats Not Eat? 20 Toxic & Dangerous Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat!

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Cats love human foods, especially meats with high proteins. But, Several types of human foods, such as Raw meats, Some vegetables and fruits, Chocolate, Alcohol, and some others, are highly toxic for cats. They can cause extreme health issues and can even be potentially deadly.

“What can cats not eat?” This is one of the most common questions I receive in my veterinary clinical practice.

Throughout my clinic visits, I’ve come across these 20 types of human foods that cause complications among cats and 5 human foods that should be fed with caution. If you have some spare time, You might also want to read my list of human foods that are safe for cats.

While it is a great fun to introduce your cat to new flavors and foods, You have to be cautious at all times. Read details for all foods to prevent a terrifying and potentially fatal experience by making sure you know exactly what can cats not eat.

Click To Scroll & Read Details For Each of The 20 Foods!

As we know, Low quality commerical cat food can also be harmful for your cat’s health. However, This is a list of human foods that you should never feed your cat to prevent their digestive system and general health depriciation.

Raw Protein Sources

When it comes to what can cats not eat, You should know this on top of your head. Any raw protein source fed to your cat imposes a risk on its life. This is because raw foods contain a high amount of active microorganisms. Those of which are usually eliminated during the cooking process.

1) Raw Red Meat

The most common microorganisms in raw red meat include Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus. Don’t get scared by the names. Let me explain: Raw meat can cause vomiting and diarrhea, followed by muscle stiffness and convulsions. Such situations, when not treated urgently, can be fatal. Also, Listeria is not common among cats but can cause severe complications in your cat’s body.

2) Raw Chicken and Raw Eggs

Raw eggs and chicken contain microorganisms like Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E.coli. All these microbes induce gastrointestinal inflammation, also known as gastroenteritis. Thus showing several clinical signs that include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and lethargy.


3) Onions

Onions contain an oxidant substance known as an n-propyl disulfide. This substance can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells in your cat’s bloodstream. Eventually, onion ingestion could cause a severe form of anemia.

4) Garlic

Just like onions, they contain disulfides and thiosulphates. These might alter the ability of RBC to carry oxygen due to complications such as methemoglobinemia. This condition occurs when methemoglobin increases in blood and alters normal oxygen transfer.

5) Chives

Also imposes a risk on red blood cell health and might be a factor causing hemolytic anemia.

6) Wild Mushrooms

These can be highly toxic for cats. Ingestion of toxic mushrooms can cause agitation, vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors.

7) Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a substance which is known as solanine. Cats that ingest solanine will experience symptoms similar to that of poisoning. These can vary from vomiting and diarrhea to death, depending on the amount ingested.

8) Potatoes

Potatoes hold the substance solanine and thus show similar symptoms if ingested by cats.


9) Grapes and Raisins

These foods can cause serious complications among cats if ingested. It is known to be linked to kidney failure. Complications vary depending on the ingested amount.

10) Oranges

Oranges contain citric acid and essential oils. Each of these is harmful to cats in a different way. Citric acids will irritate the stomach lining. Additionally, essential oils were related to nervous system damage. Therefore, ingestion of oranges will probably lead to symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

11) Cherries and Plums

While these fruits are not toxic, their pits are dangerous if consumed by cats. Cherry and plum pits contain fair amounts of cyanide, which is poisonous for cats. Therefore any slight consumption of cherry pits will cause complications. If consumed in large amounts, it will most likely cause death.

Dairy Products

Cats are known to be lactose intolerant. Meaning that they lack the enzyme lactase that digests lactose. Thus, dairy products might cause gastrointestinal complications such as an upset stomach.

12) Milk

As mentioned before, ingestion of any lactose-containing substance will cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Additionally, adding milk to your cat’s diet will build on some fats your cat’s body does not need.

13) Cheese

Again, cats cannot break down dairy products. For this reason, cheese is an unfavorable food to add to your cat’s meal.

14) Icecream

Besides the lactose intolerance issue, ice cream can cause complications in your cat’s body due to the presence of sugars. Similar to lactose, sugar can stimulate a gastrointestinal reaction. Thus showing symptoms like abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Other Common Foods Toxic To Cats

15) Coffee

Consumption of Caffeine is prohibited for cats. This is because it alters normal blood pressure and causes arrhythmias among cats. It is also known to cause gastrointestinal signs. These include an upset stomach and impaired digestion.

16) Chocolate

You have probably already heard this several times; Chocolate is highly dangerous for cats. Theobromine is one of the components found in Chocolate. This component handles a rapid increase in heart rate and promotes the loss of fluids. Both reactions can lead to fatality.

17) Nuts

While nuts contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, they are bad for your cat’s health. Apart from the choking hazards they might cause, nuts might cause cyanide poisoning. Nuts like almonds contain cyanide and might show signs similar to potato and tomato ingestion.

18) Alcohol

Wine, Beer, or any other alcoholic drink contains ethanol. Ethanol poisoning can be fatal among cats. It causes loss of consciousness, incoordination, and in extreme cases, respiratory failure.

19) Bones

Chicken or fish bones are one of the most dangerous feeding materials you can serve to your cat. While bone broth is beneficial and nourishes your cat, solid bones can cause many serious complications. Improper digestion and intestinal and gastric perforations are common consequences of bone consumption. And even though your cat might enjoy chewing on some chicken bones, they impose a huge risk on its health.

20) Xylitol

Xylitol induces the reaction of a false alarm in your cat’s body. Leading to a rapid increase in blood insulin that will deplete the sugar in your cat’s blood, causing hypoglycemia. Additionally, it may cause long-term damage to organs such as the liver.

Foods That Should Be Given With Caution To Cats:

Since now you know what can cats not eat, You should also know the foods that should be given with caution!

  • Avocado
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Peanut Butter
  • Corn

With What Can Cats Not Eat, You Should Know This Too:

Why Do Cats Like Human Foods?

Many human foods can seem very appealing to your cat. These mostly include foods that are high in protein and that are generally of animal origin. Their instinctive behavior as carnivores allows them to detect the smell of protein sources and look for them. Therefore, your cat will most likely try to eat your food, especially if it contains meat, fish, or chicken. Cats will less likely look for plant-originated foods but may enjoy some of them if ingested.

How to Prevent Cats from Eating Dangerous Foods?

Keep harmful foods out of your cat’s reach! Generally, cats are smart enough to know what’s good or bad for them. They instinctively know the foods that are virulent to them, and therefore they will pull away from them. In unfamiliar cases where you encounter a cat that wants to ingest harmful foods, always keep these foods out of its reach.

What Happens When Your Cat Eats Something Toxic?

Common symptoms include an upset gastrointestinal tract. Meaning that your cat will encounter vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and thirst. More dangerous symptoms occur when the toxic substance reaches the nervous system. Tremors and muscle cramps are indications of poisoning and usually lead to death.

FAQs – What Can Cats Not Eat…and More:

Can cats eat bread?

Yes, but it is not exactly beneficial for them.

Can cats eat tuna?

Canned tuna is usually harmless for cats if served in small amounts.

What can cats eat from the fridge?

Foods such as cooked meats, rice, veggies, and fruits are safe for feline consumption.

Can cats eat rice?

Yes! Rice is completely harmless for cats and can aid with their digestion process.

Can cats eat raw meat?

Raw meats are a definite no for cats. This is because they contain a high concentration of microorganisms that harbor your cat’s body and cause severe infections.

The Bottom Line

As a final note on what can cats not eat, You have to know this:

Human foods do not necessarily need to be included in cat meals. Many human foods can be toxic and even lethal if consumed by cats.

Some human foods might cause choking hazards. Others might contain malignant substances that threaten your cat’s life. Foods that contain toxic substances like cyanide such as Cherries and Nuts are an absolute NO for cats.

Always be aware of what can cats not eat and even other things with toxic substances that may impose any risk on your cat’s life. For example, look for certain common poisonous plants in cats, and avoid hosting them at your house.

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