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What Foods Are Cats Not Allowed To Eat? 15 Foods Best To Avoid

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With over 20 hours of research by our in-house researchers and reviewed by our team vet Dr. Iulia Mihai who is qualified with a Master’s degree in Pet’s Pathology and PhD in Pets’ cancer, we help on finding out what foods are cats not allowed to eat and must be kept out of reach.

Information on the internet and social media is engulfing our thoughts and behaviors by storm and most of the time we fail to distinguish between right and wrong. Photoshopping and representing pets with foods in the same photos or videos makes us believe that they can go together which could be wrong! Sometimes, because we love our pets, we tend to feed our cats special snacks or leftovers from the dinner table. Ideally, these should be avoided or served with caution.

What can cats not eat are given below and are categorized into 3 categories:

  • Animal related foods
  • Vegetables, fruits and nuts
  • Other foods (which can include processed foods, human food or dog food)

Animal related foods

Cats have their origins from growing up in a wild environment. Therefore, it seems logical to feed them raw versions of meat, seafood, eggs, and bones. But they have evolved over time and feeding the raw versions of food can be toxic. Let’s look at them in detail.

Raw meat

Raw Meat is toxic for your kitty because it can have Salmonella or E. coli bacteria. Feeding it to your cat might lead to diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. Also, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and parasites might get into your cat’s body. [1,2,3]

Raw seafood

Raw tuna, sardines, mussels, clams are also harmful to your cat since they have the enzyme thiaminase. Your cats need thiamine and these enzymes can break this important B1 vitamin.

Raw eggs

Just like raw meat, raw eggs can have Salmonella. They can cause a lot of adverse effects on cats such as vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. Raw eggs have a protein called avidin which can block the absorption of biotin, if consumed on a regular basis. Biotin is an important B vitamin needed for your cat.


Bones of chicken, turkey

It is a bad idea to feed your cat with bones. Your cats have soft internal parts and bones that can damage your cat’s teeth, mouth, and also digestive tract. They can also make your pet choke.

Milk, dairy products

Remember in the introduction, that we discussed how photos can be misleading? This is an example.

Misrepresented photo of cat drinking milk

Never be tempted to feed your cat milk or related dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, or sour cream. Most cats are lactose intolerant and it can upset your kitty’s stomach and cause diarrhea. Cats feed mother’s milk only until they are fully weaned and not beyond that age.

Vegetables, fruits, and nuts

Cats are obligate carnivores and won’t thrive on vegetables, fruits, or nuts. Here is a list of plant-based foods that your cat should never consume.

Onion, garlic, chives

Thiosulphate is a compound that damages the red blood cells of cats and causes anemia. Onions, garlic, shallots, and chives contain Thiosulphate. Therefore, these vegetables are toxic for cats. They cause adverse reactions to cats such as weakness, lethargy, and pale gums including urinary and gastrointestinal problems. As pet owners, we have to be cautious with the foods that we want to feed our pets. The table scraps you want to feed might contain the above items. For example, supermarket chicken broth can have these ingredients in it. So, keep an eye out and be cautious. [1]

Grapes, raisins and currants

These foods can cause multiple symptoms and issues for your cat. You can notice kidney problems, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and other clinical signs.

Coconut products

Highly healthy foods for humans such as coconut water, milk, and flesh aren’t healthy for cats. Coconut water is too high in potassium. Also, all coconut products cause digestive issues in cats.


These foods are also very healthy for humans. Macadamia nuts, almonds, and walnuts are all toxic to cats.

Other foods

In addition to the above animal and plant-based foods, this list includes foods that are loved by humans such as chocolate, caffeinated beverages, and dog food.


Substances such as methylxanthines can cause intoxication in pets. The symptoms for chocolate intoxication can include diarrhea, breathing problems, muscle tremors, increased thirst, and even heart failure. Never feed your cat chocolate and keep it away from your cat’s reach.


Just like chocolate, caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee, and beverages like red bull have methylxanthines. Your cats can experience similar adverse effects as that of chocolate. So, share your coffee with your friends or partner but not with your pet! 😛


Symptoms that cats experience after having salt in large amounts include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizure, and death.


We like gum and candy and we sometimes even use it daily. But it is not recommended to share them with your pet as they can contain xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many sweet products. Ingestion of xylitol can cause vomiting and liver failure in cats.

Dog food

Your cat might want to nibble on Max’s food but it is not a complete and healthy food for your kitty. Your cat needs a lot of nutrients that your dog food lacks. Taurine, Vitamin A, protein, arachidonic acid are needed in higher levels for cats compared to dogs. Dog food contains all the nutrients that a dog needs. and their respective foods are prepared to suit their needs. Feeding your cat dog food can affect its vision and vital organs.

Preventive and Emergency Measures for your cat’s health

As prevention is always better than cure, always try to keep such toxic non-recommended foods out of your cat’s reach. Keep them in the fridge, lock them in cupboard or keep your cat away from the kitchen. 

What if your cat consumes toxic foods and experiences adverse reactions? Don’t hesitate to immediately report to your vet or call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Also, please seek their advice on what can cats not eat to keep your kitty’s health safe in the future!

If you are curious to know what human foods you can feed your cat, check out this list of human foods safe for your cats.

Dr. Iulia Mihai

Dr. Iulia Mihai

Dr. Iulia Mihai grew up with cats since she was little – basically all her life! Because she love and appreciate animals so much, especially cats, she became a vet!
She graduated the University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in 2012 in Romania and, since college she started to volunteer in various veterinary clinics. She first volunteered at the faculty’s clinic in her 3rd year of study and continued to pursue her career in small animal pathology and laboratory.
She currently has two cats, five rats, and two African clawed frogs!
She says that having pets comes with great responsibilities, but the satisfaction is commensurate!

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