10 Foods you should never feed your cat

  • by DR Roxanne Jones
10 Foods you should never feed your cat

It can be tempting to feed your kitty table scraps or tasty human treats as you tuck in. But have you ever heard that curiosity killed the cat? Well, when it comes to certain human foods, this might not be too far from the truth!

Although you may think it’s cute when cats eat human food, it can actually be bad for them, or downright dangerous. In fact, the only things that cats need are good quality pellets, the occasional bit of soft food, and an unlimited supply of water at all times. Below are 10 foods you should never feed your cat.

Dangerous food for cats

  1. Paracetemol

    Panado or any other painkillers with paracetamol designed for humans can cause liver damage in your kitty. If you suspect your cat is in pain, consult a vet as soon as possible, and get medication that’s safe for cats to use. Cats are extremely sensitive to pain meds and should never be given human or dog painkillers.

  2. Xylitol

    This artificial sweetener has been around for years but it’s been gaining popularity lately, especially as more people adopt high-fat, low-carb diets like banting and Paleo. However, it can cause your cat’s sugar levels to plummet dangerously, and it can even lead to seizures and liver failure.

  3. Chocolate

    Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to your kitty. Sure, it’s unusual to find a cat eating these foods of their own accord, but some can be persuaded by unaware owners. The most dangerous is dark chocolate, but all chocolate can cause abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, comas and, in severe cases, death.

  4. Onion and garlic (raw or cooked)

    Super healthy for humans but incredibly dangerous for kitties, onions and garlic in all forms must be avoided. These veggies contain N-propyl disulphide which can damage your pet’s red blood cells and lead to anaemia. Even a few bites can be too much

  5. Raw potato

    This is another innocuous-seeming veggie than can cause diarrhoea and vomiting in your moggie.

  6. Grapes and raisins

    Strictly for humans only! When fed to your cat, they can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even kidney failure.

  7. Caffeine and alcohol

    We touched on caffeine above when we mentioned chocolate, and obviously alcohol is a huge no-no for your cat (or any pet for that matter). But kitties are sneaky creatures, and many enjoy lapping from their owners’ glasses! If your cat has a taste for strange flavours or simply likes to dunk her head into your glass, never leave any alcohol or caffeine-based drinks unattended. Even tiny amounts can be fatal.

  8. Raw yeast/bread dough

    Think about what happens to yeast when it’s activated: it starts to rise. No good can come from that happening inside your kitty’s belly. A bite of raw dough can lead to abdominal pain and bloating. Plus, as the sugar from the yeast metabolises, it produces alcohol as a by-product, which as you know can be extremely unpleasant and even dangerous for your cat.

  9. Raw eggs

    It’s not only humans who can get food poisoning – cats can too. Bacteria such as salmonella and e.coli, which may live in raw eggs, can affect your kitty in the same way. In rare cases, excessive consumption of raw egg can lead to skin and nail problems in your cat, due to a compound in eggs called avidin which may inhibit the absorption of vitamin B.

  10. Dog food

    It’s not going to harm your cat if she has the occasional nibble of dog food, but a cat should never be fed a diet consisting only of dog food. Cats and dogs have very different nutritional requirements; it’s as simple as that. Cats need higher levels of protein, as well as certain vitamins and amino acids, so they must be given food specifically formulated for cats. This is essential to keeping your kitty healthy.

Help! My cat ate something she shouldn’t have. What should I do?

Cats are cunning creatures and can easily get stuck into something they shouldn’t. If your cat seems to be displaying worrying symptoms, take her to the vet right away. It’s handy to have the contact details of a 24-hour vet listed in your phone or stuck on your fridge in the case of an emergency.


Here’s to healthier eating – not just for you, but your pet too! You can also check out more of our helpful articles about cat health and wellbeing.

Disclaimer: Always consult your vet for professional advice. The Zuki.co.za blog is provided as an educational tool and should not be used to diagnose illness or treat an animal.

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