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Although it can be irksome for owners, being branded finicky could ultimately be a boon for cats — especially when it comes to ingesting potentially dangerous foods.
“The main drivers of palatability for cats are protein and fat content, with moisture and texture being important too,” says Dr. Sally Perea, DVM, DACVN, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at P&G Pet Care in Ohio.
Some “people food” is safe for cats in small amounts, but certain items — like raw fish and eggs — are definitely hazardous. Dr. Perea lists the top seven no-no foods for kitties:
“Human-grade sushi is generally safe for people, but it can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats,” says Dr. Perea. “There is thiaminase in raw fish that could break down an essential B vitamin called thiamine in cats. Thiamine deficiency can cause neurological problems — and even lead to convulsions.”
Cats are considered two times more susceptible than dogs to the toxic allium components found in onions and chives, which can damage red blood cells even if a kitty only consumes a trace amount. “It doesn’t matter if the onion is cooked, raw or powdered,” says Dr. Perea. “Cats do not metabolize these compounds.”
For this reason, Dr. Perea cautions owners against offering human baby food to their cats to stimulate appetites, because it can contain onion powder, which could cause anemia in felines.
Cats benefit from protein, but raw eggs may expose them to salmonella and other parasites that could lead to an inflamed pancreas, known as pancreatitis. Dr. Perea adds that it's safe to serve your kitty cooked eggs — but only on occasion, and in small amounts.
Bones can splinter and cause a cat to choke, as well as block the intestinal tract, possibly even perforating the intestines. “Never give a bone to a cat,” says Dr. Perea. “And never give them anything that is as hard as their teeth, because it can cause dental fractures."
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