There are many things that you should not give your animal companion. They are
dangerous and can cause death in some cases.
As I found out the hard way on a Sunday night in Stamford Connecticut when my dog
Aulf got into my purse and ate some sugar-free chewing gum it can be a very scary thing
when they get at something they shouldn’t have. In the US I was lucky that there was a
pet poison hotline that got me through the first stages of getting Aulf out of trouble. My
dogs will eat just about anything, and I’ve now formulated a lifestyle that keeps all harm
out of their way.
A friend of mine ended up in a very expensive situation when her pug ate part of a cork.
Sachmo’s symptoms included extreme vomiting, but when brought to the vet, the x-
rays showed nothing. Unfortunately, cork is a somewhat living organism so it did not
show up during any of the variety of scans that were done. The veterinarian decided to do
exploratory surgery and finally discovered the issue! All was well for about a month until
this Pug decided to get into a box of chocolates at her mom’s place. Another expensive
trip to the Doctor!
In saying that, cats can eat a variety of odd stuff too. One of my current cats Ferris came
into my home around Christmas 5 years ago through my animal rescue. His former
owners had handed him over to Animal Care and Control in NYC just before the holidays.
He was a large, nervous, Siamese mix. Upon arrival he started vomiting. After a rushed
trip to the vet, his x-rays showed something wiggly in his stomach. When surgery was
performed they found loads of wrapping ribbons in his stomach. Considering I didn’t
have any of these in my place, I figure he ate them at his former home and was dumped
at the shelter sick.
There was also a case at one of the hospitals I worked at where a young kitten had eaten
nylon stitching from a dress, which ended up in his stomach and intestines. It was a
delicate surgery to remove that!
These are the obvious things not to feed your pets:
There are many foods that dogs should not get including: avocados, alcohol, baking soda
and powder, caffeine, chives, chocolate, corn cobs, fruit pits and seeds, garlic, grapes,
macadamia nuts and walnuts (see “Nuts”), milk and milk-based products, mushrooms,
nutmeg (and other spices), onions, raisins, rhubarb leaves, tomatoes (especially stems and
leaves), xylitol (found in many candies and gums), and yeast dough.
This is a listing of things that you should keep away from for your feline friends.
Alcohol. Yes, cats too can get drunk, but it can also easily cause severe liver and
brain damage. As little as a tablespoon can put an adult cat in a coma; a little more
can kill her.
Chocolate. The compound in chocolate that is of major concern is theobromine. It is
in all forms of chocolate, and most concentrated in dark chocolate and unsweetened
baking chocolate. Consumption can cause heart arrhythmias, muscle tremors,
or seizures. Chocolate also contains caffeine.
Coffee, Tea, Energy Drinks. These and other caffeinated drinks and foods can cause
your cat to become restless, have rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors.
Dairy Products. Cats can become lactose intolerant when they become adults. If
ingested by these cats, dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Fat Trimmings, Raw Meat, Eggs, Fish. Please consult your veterinarian or a
veterinary nutritionist first before adding these foods to your cat’s diet, as there is a
risk vomiting, diarrhea, Salmonella or E. coli associated with these foods for some
animals, especially when given improperly.
• Grapes and Raisins. Cats are not likely to eat these, and there are no reports of
cats becoming ill from these foods. However, dogs can suffer acute kidney failure
from eating grapes or raisins, so it is best to not to risk your cat’s health and not let
him eat these foods.
• Onions and Garlic. All members of the onion family can cause problems if eaten
in sufficient quantity. A little bit of onion or garlic in some sauce is not likely to
cause any problems. However, eating a clove of garlic or a green onion may cause
digestive upset. Eating some type of onion on a regular basis could cause anemia.
Baby food made from meat is often seasoned with onion or garlic, so read the labels
carefully if you feed these to your cat.
• Tuna. Tuna when made into cat food is perfectly fine for cats. On the other
hand, tuna sold for human consumption may cause digestive upset when given as
an occasional treat in small amounts. It can even cause a painful condition called
steatitis, or inflammation of the body’s fat, when fed to cats on a regular basis.
• Xylitol. This is a sweetener used in a lot of sugar-free foods, especially chewing
gum. There are no records of cats becoming ill from this product, but in dogs it can
cause a severe drop in blood sugar followed by liver failure. Therefore it is better to
be safe and not let your cat eat foods that contain this ingredient.