When feeding your cat, there are actually certain food substances that are potentially hazardous to your cat. Many pet owners aren’t aware that certain human foods are actually toxic to animals, even though they can be consumed by humans. Cats are particularly sensitive to some substances, which can cause serious adverse health reactions. As a cat owner, it is very important to be familiar with all of the potentially hazardous ingredients that can cause health problems in a cat, since it is your responsibility as a pet owner to look out for your cat’s overall well-being. Though there are many different ingredients that may cause medical symptoms in a cat, and it is an important part of pet care to be familiar with them. Here are some of the most common.

Chocolate

Most pet owners are familiar with the fact that chocolate is bad for dogs, but it is actually fairly harmful for cats as well, although its effects on each cat vary in intensity. Chocolate can cause health symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, loss of fluids (due to chocolate being a diuretic), gastrointestinal problems (such as diarrhea, gas, and vomiting). In more severe cases, it can cause damage to the nervous system.  These symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of a caffeine overdose in humans. The active ingredient in chocolate harmful to cats is a methylxanthine called theobromine. Though consumption of chocolate is not always fatal to a cat, it can still be very harmful to a cat’s health. If you are aware that your cat has ingested chocolate or caffeine-containing substances, it’s very important to seek veterinary attention immediately. Failure to do so could be very dangerous to your cat’s health.

Garlic/Onions

The fact that garlic and onions contain substances that are potentially harmful to cats is not very well-known among pet owners. Onions are slightly more toxic than garlic, though both garlic and onions present a serious health hazard to cats. Although dogs are sometimes affected by consuming garlic or onions, cats are much more susceptible to experiencing serious health problems from these substances. It’s very important to keep your cat from consuming onions, which is all the more true if you are feeding your cat a raw-food diet. Some pet owners will use onions or garlic when preparing a raw food meal for their cat, which can have serious adverse health reactions. The toxic substance contained in both garlic and onions is called methylcysteine sulfoxide. Once ingested, this substance causes symptoms such as asthma attacks, vomiting, diarrhea, general weakness, and anemia.

Citrus Oils

Another cat food ingredient to avoid is citrus oils, commonly found in insecticidal treatments, shampoos, fragrances, and some food additives. It is particularly important that you never use dog products on cats with citrus oils, because there can be enough in the dosage to cause serious harm to your cat.  The active ingredients include Limonene and Linalool, and can cause trembling, drooling, depression, general weakness, and may be accompanied by a strong citrus smell. If your cat comes into contact with any citrus oils via the skin, bathe the pet immediately with liquid dish soap and warm water. Be sure to dry your cat well, and do not let them become cold. Afterwards, or in the event of an oral exposure, immediately take your cat to the veterinarian.

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