Knowing what not to feed a cat is crucial information for any cat guardian. Most pet parents know about the evils of garlic and onions, however they are unaware of other poisonous foods, like star fruit. Here's the skinny on foods that are toxic to cats:
Uncooked Bread Dough
As in raw bread dough. If a cat ingests this, it can quick expand in the stomach causing bloating, which can easily progress to a twisted stomach, a very serious condition. This happens because as the yeast in uncooked dough ferments, it produces carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide causes the bloat. As the same time, the alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream resulting in blood poisoning. As the cat's blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature drop, seizures and respiratory failure can occur. Symptoms present as vomiting, dry heaves, a visibly distended stomach, elevated heart rate, weakness and collapse.
Dark, unsweetened, and Baker's chocolate pose the biggest threat because the less sweet and darker the chocolate, the more methylxanthine there is. This is what makes chocolate toxic to cats. Methylxanthine is often known as theobromine, a cousin to caffeine. While most cats do not have a taste for chocolate or coffee, they might accidently ingest something like a No-Doz sleep aid, baked goods, chewable, flavored multi-vitamins or weight loss supplements. This can result in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, elevated heart rate or blood pressure, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures and even death.
All are members of the Allium family, which also happens to be part of the Lily family. All members of the lily family are extremely poisonous to cats.
Garlic is approximately five times more toxic to cats than onions, however both can cause oxidative damage to the red blood cells, making them more likely to rupture. This is also known as Heinz Body Anemia and is extremely dangerous.
Anemia symptom range from lethargy to pale gums to increased heart rate and weakness. Other symptoms of garlic/onion poisoning include nausea, mouth irritation, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. It can take several days for the signs of garlic and onion poisoning to become apparent.
A tiny bit of salt will not cause any harm, however if a cat ingests a good amount, it can result in poisoning. Most cats will not seek out table salt or sea salt, but other uses of salt can be found in many homes. For example, homemade play dough, rock salt for de-icing, paint balls and even enemas. Signs of salt poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, loss of appetite, an appearance of walking drunk, excessive thirst, tremors and seizures. Salt poisoning can also result in potential injury to the kidneys, coma, and even death when untreated.
This soluble oxalate fruit can be toxic to cats if a large amount is ingested. As with rhubarb and the shamrock plant, when the body absorbs the soluble oxalate salts, they bind with body’s calcium, resulting in a sudden drop in calcium. Although rare, it can result in acute renal failure. Signs of this kind of poisoning include loss of appetite, drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody urine and lethargy.
If you suspect your cat has ingested any of these toxic foods, contact a veterinarian immediately. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at 800.213.6680 or the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control center at 888.426.4435.
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