|Avocados contain a toxic substance known as persin. Any part of the avocado plant including the leaves,
stems, fruits and pits may contain persin and damage the muscle of the heart and even your cat's mammary
glands. Symptoms of avocado toxicity include congestion, vomiting, diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress,
respiratory distress, possible fluid accumulation around the heart, and death.
Baking soda and Baking Powder are both leavening agents, a common ingredient in baked goods that
produces a gas causing batter and dough to rise. Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate. Baking powder
actually consists of baking soda and an acid, usually cream of tartar, calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum
sulfate or a mixture of the three. Ingestion of large amounts of baking soda or baking powder can lead to
electrolyte abnormalities (low potassium, low calcium and/or high sodium), congestive heart failure or muscle
Broccoli contains isothiocyanate (mustard oils), and in large amounts can cause severe gastrointestinal upset.
In extremely large amounts (25% of the diet) it can be fatal.
Carrageenan - Used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in foods, carrageenans are highly flexible molucules
produced by different types of seaweed. The thickness of the agent depends on which seaweed is used to make
the finished product. Scientific studies have shown that carrageenan can induce inflammatory bowel disease
(IBD) in both humans and animals. Unfortunately carrageenan is used in just about every commercial pet food
Chocolate/Caffeine: Theobromine and caffeine are the ingredients in chocolate that contribute to the side
effect in pets. The combination of these two ingredients can cause problems like vomiting and diarrhea, or
severe and potentially fatal effects like heart arrhythmias or cardiac and respiratory arrest. It's advised that the
darker the chocolate is, the more harmful it is to pets. Cocoa powder and baker’s chocolate are the most
dangerous, milk and white chocolate have the least amount of theobromine, and dark chocolate and semi-sweet
chocolate lie somewhere in the middle. As a safety measure, it should not be given to your cat or any pet under
any circumstances. Caffeine in coffee & coffee grounds, tea & tea leaves soda or any product that contains
Caffeine stimulates an animal's central nervous and cardiac systems. Depending on how much the animal
consumes, it can lead to restlessness, heart palpitations and death.
Cooked Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive
system if the pieces are too large. For cats, a chicken neck or wing bone fed raw is safe and even encouraged
by some raw food advocates. Cooking bones greatly reduces their benefits and poses many dangers rendering
the natural calcium almost unavailable for absorption. Cooked bones are much tougher and more brittle than raw
bones, and will actually blunt an animals teeth after regular chewing. They also break into large chunks more
easily, and your pet may swallow a piece too large to digest. Cooked bones are very slow to breakdown in the
animals gut and can cause severe gut pain (colic), scarring of the gut lining and bleeding, which can lead to
Dog Food if a cat eats dog food accidentally once or twice it shouldn't be a problem, but if fed repeatedly it can
result in malnutrition and diseases affecting the heart.
Essential Oils - Beware of using ANY product marketed for cats with essential oils and especially tea tree oils.
They are toxic and not at all safe! Tea tree oil (melaleuca, melaleuca alternifolia) is a phenol-containing essential
oil. Its active ingredients are cyclic terpenes which have a similar structure and action to turpentine (paint
thinner). Cats are uniquely sensitive to phenolics and other benzene-based compounds. Benzyl alcohol (a
preservative) is toxic to cats. Products being marketed with Tea Tree Oil such as shampoos, flea treatments,
soaps, etc. are not safe to use, regardless of the company's claim that it is. Essential oils which contain phenols
are particularly toxic to cats and cause liver damage. These include oregano, thyme, eucalyptus, clove,
cinnamon, bay leaf, parsley and savory. Essential oils which contain ketones can cause neurological symptoms.
These include: cedar leaf*, sage*, hyssop*, cyprus*, lavender, eucalyptus, mint, caraway*, citronella, clove*,
ginger*, camphor, chamomile, thyme and rosemary (those marked * give particular cause for concern). Please
read further to see how tea tree oil is toxic.
For more information on the dangers of essential oils please go to the following websites:
Essential Oil Safety Information
Essential Oil Safety & Cats - Be Wary of Aromatherapy Claims for Cats
Citrus fruits and oils of any kind can cause severe vomiting and GI distress. d-Limonene and linalool are citrus
oils with insecticidal properties. These are metabolized in the liver resulting in liver damage or failure. If ingested,
citrus oils and any essential oils in full strength form, can cause liver or kidney failure. If they're inhaled they can
even cause neurological disorders and brain damage. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. If the product also
contains piperonyl butoxide, the toxic effects of citrus oil extracts may be increased. Never treat your cats with
dog products, the result may be fatal.
Fruit pits and cores contain trace amounts of cyanide that are naturally derived from nature. They aren't toxic
to humans in these small amounts but they are toxic to pets.
Liver fed in large amounts can cause vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones.
Milk: Cats are unable to produce the enzyme lactase and can't break down the lactose, or milk sugar in dairy
products. They're usually lactose-intolerant and the lactose in milk and milk products can cause stomach upset,
cramps, gassiness, leading to diarrhea or vomiting.
Mineral Oil: An oil manufactured from crude oil, it's a mixture of liquid hydrocarbons separated from petroleum.
When administered orally, a cat may aspirate (breathe in) the oil. Mineral oil binds the fat soluble vitamins A, D
and E and carries them unabsorbed out of the body.
Mushrooms of any kind can contain toxins, can affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock and result in
Nuts of any kind are harmful but Walnuts and their hulls and Macadamia Nuts are especially toxic. Effects
can be anything from vomiting and paralysis to death. Pets can start to develop symptoms such as an inability to
stand or walk, vomiting, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), weakness, and an elevated heart rate within
12 hours of eating nuts. Nuts of any kind are high in fat and can cause inflammation of the pancreas
(pancreatitis) and their high phosphorous levels can possibly lead to bladder stones.
Onions, Garlic, Chives & Related Root Vegetables (raw, cooked or powdered): Onions contain a
substance known as N-propyl disulphide, that deform red blood cells in many species of animals and can cause
the cells to burst. These changes in red cells can lead to jaundice, anemia, weakness or collapse, as well as
kidney and liver dysfunction.
Pork as a whole is fine but avoid any Pork products, especially bacon, which contain the hazardous
preservative, sodium nitrate.
Raisins and Grapes can cause kidney failure in some dogs and cats but not all dogs are susceptible to the toxic
effects of these foods. Some dogs have died after eating a few grapes while it doesn't seem to bother others.
There have only been occasional reports of cats developing problems after eating raisins and it's not yet known
why the fruits may be toxic. It's unknown if it is a mycotoxin (produced by a fungus), pesticide, heavy metal, or a
Raw Eggs whites contain an enzyme called avidin, that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin) and
can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain salmonella. Cooking the egg whites
neutralizes the avidin, therefore raw egg yolks are safe to feed when feeding a raw diet, whereas raw egg whites
Feeding Raw Fish can result in a thiamine (B1 vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in
severe cases, death. Raw fish contains an enzyme called thiaminase, which can destroy vitamin B1. This
enzyme can be destroyed by cooking the food.
Rhubarb leaves contain oxalates. Eating rhubarb leaves leads to oxalic acid poisoning which can cause kidney
failure. The cooked rhubarb stem is safe to eat, but is very high fibre and may cause indigestion, intestinal
discomfort and diarrhea.
If Salt is eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.
Soy is found in various forms in many products. It contains compounds called phytoestrogens that may
negatively affect cats by interfering with nutrient absorption, normal growth, thyroid function, and hormonal
development. Hyperthyroidism is extremely common in cats so soy should not be in cat food even in small
amounts. Unfortunately, soy is a common ingredient used by pet food manufacturers.
Spices: Italian and curly parsley and coriander are considered to be non-toxic and edible, but can cause
stomach irritation. But spices like mace, nutmeg, paprika and turmeric can be toxic, even fatal in high doses.
Signs of toxicity include tremors, seizures, nervous system abnormalities or death. In some animal studies, high
doses of turmeric have caused liver problems. Even though certain spices like turmeric can be used as
homeopathic remedies for diseases such as cancer, using turmeric on an IBD kitty is not recommended as it can
burn the stomach lining and entire GI tract. And just as with food, any rosemary, clove or sage used in
naturopathic products can also cause distress.
Spinach does not belong in pet food! Spinach has one of the highest calcium oxalate levels of any food.
Cooking does NOT diminish the oxalates much at all, very minimally. The oxalates in spinach are very sturdy,
binding and are around 600-750 content milligrams per 100 gram serving. You’d have to boil or blanch it to
reduce it even 5-15% and then you’ve lost all the nutrients in it. 1/2 a cup of cooked spinach contains 755 mgs of
oxalates and 1 cup of raw spinach contains 656 mgs. Because spinach is now being added in a lot of pet food
brands, you may want to make sure to feed other foods and rotate that food so it's not fed everyday. Or if your
cat suffers from kidney, gallbladder or thyroid issues, you should forgo feeding it to them altogether! They should
not be eating any foods with those levels as it can do severe damage. Spinach can cause crystal formation in
the urinary tract and kidneys in cats. Calcium oxalate stones are EXTREMELY painful and once formed in the
kidneys, cannot be removed. Whether cooked or raw, spinach should be completely avoided in cats and has
been shown to cause such major damage it can result in hospitalization and in some circumstances, death. I
personally know someone who's cat died from being fed raw spinach. I recommend writing to the pet food
companies that do include spinach and request that they remove it completely from their products. NEVER feed
raw spinach to your pet, whether they are ill or healthy!
Spoiled Food, Mold and Bacteria: Spoiled foods and molds that grow on food harbour harmful bacteria and
may also contain toxins. Unless starving, cats will generally avoid stale or spoiled foods. If they do ingest it, their
first line of defence is to vomit it back up again. If the food smells or looks bad to you, throw it out. Don't feed it to
your cat or yourself.
Sweeteners: Sorbitol falls within the same chemical category as the sweeteners xylitol and mannitol. Because
it's especially hard for them to digest, large amounts of sorbitol can affect pets in an adverse way. Sorbitol is
used in a multitude of pet foods for moisture retention, is less vulnerable to mold and may be bacteria resistant. It
is also used as a plastic making agent. Sorbitol and mannitol for a pet can lead to severe diarrhea, GI irritation
and malabsorption issues. Although not toxic like xylitol, sorbitol used in anything other than pet food may be
best avoided, especially with cats already experiencing GI upset like an IBD kitty, or one with a compromised
immune system. Other names for sweeteners and sweetening agents include dextrose, maltodextrin, fructose,
sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, etc. The list is lengthy and when buying any product for your kitty
including supplements, check the label for these products and stay away from them.
Tea Tree oil is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and skin. In addition, cats have relatively thin,
delicate skin and tea tree oil is highly lipophilic (attracted to fats, solvent). This means that the oil is absorbed
rapidly and enters the bloodstream. Cats are notoriously sensitive to toxins because their livers are not able to
metabolize many substances which may safely be used on dogs (cats have been poisoned through use of dog
flea preparations). For this reason, a substance shown to be beneficial and safe for humans may be unsuitable
for use on cats. Cats cannot efficiently metabolize substances present in certain essential oils (including tea tree
oil). This means that they are not efficiently excreted by the body and can accumulate in soft tissues and vital
organs. Over time, the substances can reach toxic levels and can cause symptoms of poisoning or even death.
An owner could use tea tree oil in what's supposed to be safe, low concentrations for some time with no
symptoms, though the cat is being slowly poisoned as the toxins accumulate. This is similar to the way that
heavy metals (e.g. lead, zinc) or poly-chlorinated bi-phenols (PCBs) accumulate in the soft tissues and organs.
Tomatoes are members of the solanaceae family of plants and are related to deadly nightshade. They contain a
bitter, poisonous alkaloid called glycoalkaloid solanine that can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms.
Cooking will destroy that toxin. Green tomatoes, the leaves and stems of the green and red tomatoes are all toxic.
Like tomatoes, Potatoes are members of the solanaceae family of plants and are also related to deadly
nightshade. They also contain glycoalkaloid solanine and any uncooked or green potatoes and potato peelings
are all toxic. Once cooked, the alkaloid is destroyed making the potato safe.
Tuna If fed in excess, can lead to steatitis (yellow fat disease, pansteatitis). This painful inflammatory condition
results from a diet high in unsaturated fatty acids, over-consumption of oily fish and a Vitamin E deficiency. Tuna
is very addictive to cats, but contains little vitamin E and the excessive unsaturated fatty acids further deplete
vitamin E in the body. Cats with steatitis develop flaky skin and a greasy, dull coat, show signs of severe pain
when touched and are reluctant to move. They also lose their appetites and develop fever. If untreated, it results
in death. Besides pansteatitis, feeding human grade tuna to your cat risks giving them mercury poisoning and
other harmful toxins. Cats' livers are especially sensitive and cannot process these metals like humans can.
Yeast/Bread Dough: Bread dough can quickly expand in a cat’s stomach, causing it to swell beyond its
capacity, cutting off its blood supply. The expanding dough can produce gas in the digestive system, causing
pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines. Also, ethanol produced by the fermenting yeast is
absorbed into the blood stream causing effects such as being uncoordinated and disorientation. Brewer's yeast
and dried yeast can cause a whole host of other problems such as allergies, skin conditions, GI irritation, etc.
Xylitol, a common sweetener found in some diet products, chewing gum, candy, etc., may cause a sudden drop
in an animal's blood sugar, loss of coordination and seizures. Xylitol has been linked to liver failure in dogs and
death within hours of ingestion.
Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List - Cats
Plants toxic to cats
Here is a great youtube video from the ASPCA that tells you about poisonous plants.
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