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Monday, June 24, 2024

Human food your cats can eat (and what to avoid)

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As loving pet owners, we often find ourselves tempted to share our food with our furry companions. While it is a natural inclination to want to give them a treat, it is important to understand that not all human food are safe for cats. In fact, many common food can be harmful or even toxic to our feline friends.

“To ensure the well-being of our beloved pets, we need to be aware of what foods are safe for cats and which ones should be avoided at all cost,” said Dr. Stephen Seger in “What Human Food Can Cats Eat?” in the Pets United website.

“First, it is important to recognize that cats have specific dietary requirements that differ from humans. While we may enjoy a wide variety of foods, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning their diet should primarily consist of meat,” added Seger.

Their digestive system is not designed to process certain food that are common in the human diet, such as carbohydrates and dairy products.

When considering whether a particular human food is safe for your cat, always consult with your veterinarian first. They can provide valuable guidance based on your cat’s individual needs and health status. However, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to sharing food with your feline friend.

Zachi, a rescue of Save Animals of Love and Light-Save ALL, is on a kibble diet and is occasionally given fish as part of her meals. Fish and cats are often a natural pairing, and many felines enjoy incorporating fresh fish into their meals. The majority of fish types are safe to include in your cat’s diet, provided they are cooked thoroughly and the skin and bones are removed beforehand.  

What human food are safe for cats?

1. Meat

One food that is safe for cats is cooked meat. Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and beef can be a healthy addition to your cat’s diet, providing essential protein and nutrients. However, give meat in moderation and ensure that it is fully cooked and free from any seasoning, sauces, or marinades that could be harmful to your cat.

2. Fish

This is another food that many cats enjoy, but it should be given sparingly. While small amounts of cooked fish can be a healthy treat, too much can lead to nutritional imbalances and other health issues. Another thing to note is that certain types of fish, such as tuna, can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to cats if consumed in large quantities.

3. Eggs

These are a good source of protein for cats and can be fed either cooked or raw. Remember to fully cook the eggs to reduce the risk of salmonella poisoning. Raw eggs should be avoided, as they can contain harmful bacteria that could make your cat sick.

4. Vegetables

Veggies can also be incorporated into your cat’s diet, although they are not essential for their nutrition. Some cats may enjoy small amounts of cooked vegetables such as carrots, peas, or green beans as an occasional treat. Always introduce new food gradually and monitor your cat for any signs of digestive upset.

5. Fruits

When it comes to fruits, there are some options that are safe for cats to eat in small quantities. These include small amounts of bananas, blueberries, and watermelon. Fruits should not always be given as they are not a natural part of a cat’s diet and can cause digestive issues if consumed in large amounts.

Human food to avoid feeding your cats:

While it is tempting to share our meals with our cats, there are some food that should never be given to them under any circumstance. According to Seger, food to avoid include:

1. Onions and garlic: These can cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia.

2. Grapes and raisins: Even small amounts of these fruits can cause kidney failure in cats.

3. Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to cats and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures.

4. Alcohol: Even small amounts of alcohol can be deadly to cats, causing symptoms such as vomiting, disorientation, and difficulty in breathing.

5. Xylitol: This artificial sweetener, commonly found in sugar-free gum and candy, can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar levels and liver failure in cats.

While it can be tempting to share our food with our feline companions, it is important to exercise caution and ensure that any human food given to cats are safe and appropriate for their dietary needs. By consulting with your veterinarian and following these guidelines, you can help keep your cat healthy and happy for years to come.

About the Author: Niko Gabriel Salgado is a graduate of consular and diplomatic affairs from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, and worked at the House of Representatives. He is now an entrepreneur and a volunteer of the animal welfare group Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL.

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