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Cats are curious creatures. If they see you eating something they will often come over to investigate. What is it? What does it smell like? After smelling it most cats will turn their noses up at human food (depending on what your snack of choice is), however, some will sufficiently be intrigued to take a bite. If your pet is the type of cat that enjoys sharing your food it is important that you are careful not to feed your cat anything that could be potentially harmful to them. As a general rule, you should avoid giving your cat any human food. Below are three foods which you should definitely not feed to a cat. Ever!
Never feed chocolate to your cat
Chocolate can be lethal to cats. It contains a chemical known as Theobromine. If your cat consumes too much chocolate this can create a toxic build-up of Theobromine which can lead to liver failure and ultimately death. If your cat has recently eaten some chocolate no need to immediately panic. Chocolate toxicity will vary depending on what type of chocolate it was, how much they ate and how big your cat is. If your cat has eaten chocolate call your vet and watch out for any of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased body heat
- Stiff limbs
If your cat displays any of these signs get them to the vets immediately. Cats will rarely eat chocolate as their tongues don’t allow them to taste sweet flavors however they may be attracted to the fat content of chocolate. If your cat has a taste for chocolate make sure you keep your snack supplies carefully locked away at all times!
Your cat can’t eat foods with lactose
Yes, it’s true – you shouldn’t feed your cat milk or anything containing lactose such as cheese. This may sound like nonsense given that kittens drink milk exclusively. However, as cats mature they commonly develop lactose intolerance. This is caused by a drop in the production of the lactase enzyme (required to breakdown lactose) with age. Overconsumption of lactose can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, much like food poisoning. Other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Excessive gas
- Increased thirst
- Increased heart rate
- Dry gums
If you notice your cat is displaying any of these symptoms after consuming lactose then consult your vet as your cat may require intravenous fluids to treat the dehydration. Avoid feeding your cat lactose at all costs for their own well-being as much as the well-being of your carpet!
Never feed your cat dog food
If you own a dog and a cat you have no doubt caught them both in the act of checking out each other’s food. Their food looks similar and probably smells similar so it must be more or less the same thing right? Wrong! Cats need a much higher percentage of protein in their diets than dogs. So while dogs can survive on cat food (watch out for the incredibly stinky gas this will produce!) a cat can’t survive for long on dog food. Cats also need their food to contain high levels of taurine. Unlike dogs, they cannot produce this themselves. A lack of taurine in a cat’s diet can lead to heart problems, dental problems, and failing vision. Taurine is also vital for fetal development in pregnancy. If your cat is pregnant feeding her dog food could lead to a miscarriage.
Taurine is also vital for ensuring that your cat’s immune system stays in top condition. Feeding your cat dog food will quickly weaken their immune system and make them vulnerable to all kinds of sicknesses.
Remember a cat’s digestion system works very differently to the digestion system of both humans and dogs. Ensure that they are eating a protein and taurine-rich diet at all times and avoid giving them human food no matter how much they insist that they want it!
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