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.

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