What Can’t Cats Eat? Foods to Avoid for Your Feline Friend

Are you a cat owner wondering what foods are safe to feed your feline friend? While cats are known for their picky appetites, it’s important to know that not all human foods are safe for them to eat. In fact, some foods can be toxic and even life-threatening to cats.

To ensure your cat’s health and safety, it’s essential to know what foods to avoid. Some common foods that are not allowed for cats include chocolate, onions, garlic, and grapes. These foods can cause digestive issues, anemia, and even kidney failure in cats.

While it may be tempting to share your food with your pet, it’s important to stick to a balanced diet of high-quality cat food. If you’re unsure about what foods are safe for your cat, consult with your veterinarian. By being mindful of what your cat eats, you can help ensure a long and healthy life for your feline companion.

Foods that are toxic to cats

As a cat owner, it is important to know which foods are toxic to your pet. Some foods that are safe for humans can cause serious health problems for cats. Here are some of the common foods that you should avoid feeding your cat:

Chocolate is definitely out

Chocolate is definitely toxic to both cats and dogs. It contains caffeine, which is bad enough for pets, but the real danger is chocolate is a chemical called theobromine. Theobromine in small amounts can cause diarrhea and vomiting, but this can also work up to seizures and even a coma if enough is ingested.

by way of example, here are the amounts which would be dangerously toxic for an 8-pound cat:

  • Baking chocolate – .2 oz/less than ¼ of an ounce
  • Dark chocolate – .5 oz/half an ounce
  • Semi-sweet chocolate – .5oz/half an ounce

White chocolate has the lowest amount of theobromine, but while your cat might safely eat it, we don’t’ really recommend it. Cats can’t metabolize theobromine very efficiently, so it will be in their system from 24 to 72 hours, and they could still get sick if they manage to eat enough.

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If your cat has ingested ANY chocolate, it is recommended that you contact your vet immediately to determine your next steps.

Grapes and raisins can be lethal

While they are harmless to humans, grapes are highly toxic to both cats and dogs, and even in small amounts they can damage the kidneys and even kill your cat. It extends to all forms of grape, included the dried varieties such as raisins and currants.

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How toxic is it? Well, potentially as few as 12 raisins may prove lethal for a 10 pound cat. While we didn’t know for years what the chemical was in grapes that was so toxic, recent studies have indicated that it may be the presence of tartaric acid in the sweet fruits that make it so dangerous for many animals.

As such, you will need to make sure that your cat never has access to grapes or raisins, not even for batting around in innocent play – the chances of ingestion are simply too high and it could be fatal for your feline friend.  

Bread dough can rise in your cat’s belly

While your cat might want a bit of that sweet and yummy dough when you are baking something up, it’s best not to let them have it. The problem with dough is the same thing that makes it rise into bread – the yeast.

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When your cat eats a little dough, the process of fermentation is still going to take place with the yeast, but it will be inside your cat’s belly. Aside from the bloated feeling your cat will get when the dough rises, the fermentation also produces alcohol in the form of ethanol, making it even more dangerous for your cat.

Stay away from alliums (onion and garlic)

Alliums are highly toxic for your cat and should definitely be avoided. While this species of plant encompasses a wide range, the chief concern is going to be members of the Allium family such as leeks, garlic, chives, and onions.

Even cooked, they aren’t good for your cat, and the ingestion of 5 grams per every 2.2 pounds of your kitty’s weight can be quite dangerous.

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 Garlic is the worst of the lot, being about 5 times more toxic than onions where cats and dogs are concerned, so you’ll want to keep these items off the menu when it comes to your cat.

Coconut milk is off the menu

Coconut milk looks like milk and it’s great for humans, but not so much for your cat. For one thing, it has way too much potassium in it, but the biggest problem with coconut milk is going to be the oils present in the flesh and the milk itself.

Thankfully, this toxicity is not likely to be fatal, but it can cause severe stomach distress and diarrhea if your cat ingests it.

Citrus fruits

While most cats can’t stand the smell of it, some cats actually like playing with orange or lemon peels and might even take a bite of them or even some small pieces of citrus fruit that you’ve left on the table. They’re curious creatures, after all, and when they see you eating it then they often can’t help themselves.

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While it’s unlikely that will ingest enough to damage their central nervous system (which can happen!), even in small amounts your cat may experience stomach distress, diarrhea, or vomiting — which are bad enough on their own. As such, don’t let them play with seeds or peels and hide your citrus just in case your kitty gets curious.

Milk and Dairy Products

Cats can become lactose intolerant when they become adults. Their bodies no longer produce enough lactase to digest milk—especially cow’s milk. Feeding your cat milk or dairy products can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems.

Raw Eggs, Meat, and Fish

Raw eggs, meat, and fish can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can make your cat ill. Raw fish can also contain a parasite that can cause mercury poisoning.

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Bones can cause choking, blockages, and other digestive problems in cats. Cooked bones are especially dangerous because they can splinter and cause internal injuries.

Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine can cause serious health problems in cats. Even small amounts of alcohol or caffeine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures.

Fatty Foods

Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in cats. Symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Dog Food and Table Scraps

Dog food and table scraps are not nutritionally balanced for cats and can cause digestive problems. They can also contain ingredients that are toxic to cats.

Remember, if you suspect that your cat has eaten something toxic, contact your veterinarian immediately. Prompt treatment can save your cat’s life.

Other Foods to Avoid

When it comes to feeding your cat, it’s important to know what foods to avoid. Some foods can cause digestive upset, anemia, thiamine deficiency, coma, neurological problems, convulsions, weight loss, and other health problems. Here are some other foods to avoid:

Tuna and Other Fish

While cats may love the taste of tuna, too much can be harmful. Tuna lacks taurine, an essential nutrient for cats, and too much can lead to thiamine deficiency. Raw fish can also contain harmful bacteria and parasites.


Liver is high in vitamin A, which can be toxic in large amounts. Too much liver can cause vitamin A toxicity, which can lead to bone problems and even death.


Chives, along with onions and garlic, contain compounds that can cause anemia in cats. Even small amounts can be harmful, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

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Health Issues Related to Cat’s Diet

As a cat owner, it’s important to be aware of the potential health issues that can arise from your cat’s diet. Here are some of the most common health issues related to cat’s diet:


Obesity is a common problem among cats, and it can lead to a variety of health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. To prevent obesity, make sure your cat is eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise.


Cats can develop diabetes if they are overweight or if their diet is high in carbohydrates. If your cat is diagnosed with diabetes, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet and medication to help manage the condition.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Cats can experience a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. These issues can be caused by a variety of factors, including food allergies, dietary changes, and infections. If your cat is experiencing gastrointestinal issues, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Tartar and Dental Issues

Cats can develop tartar and dental issues if their diet is high in carbohydrates and lacks proper dental care. This can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental problems. To prevent tartar and dental issues, make sure your cat is eating a balanced diet and getting regular dental cleanings.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a common problem among cats, and it can be caused by a variety of factors, including a high-protein diet and dehydration. If your cat is diagnosed with kidney disease, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet and medication to help manage the condition.


Cats can develop cancer if their diet is high in processed foods and lacks proper nutrients. To reduce the risk of cancer, make sure your cat is eating a balanced diet and getting enough exercise.

Depression and Stress

Cats can experience depression and stress if their diet is lacking in proper nutrients and if they are not getting enough exercise. To prevent depression and stress, make sure your cat is eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.

Remember, your cat’s diet plays a crucial role in their overall health and well-being. By feeding your cat a balanced diet and consulting with your veterinarian when necessary, you can help ensure that your cat stays healthy and happy for years to come.

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Some final words on forbidden foods

Today we’ve endeavored to answer the question ‘what are cats not allowed to eat?’ and as you can see, there are definitely some foods which seem innocent that could definitely harm your kitty. Chocolate and raisins are the worst on the list, though even foods like bread dough, coconut milk, and especially garlic can be quite toxic.

If your cat has ingested any of the foods that we’ve listed today, then be sure to contact your vet or you can call the ASPCA poison line at (888)426-4435 in order to determine the next steps, unless it is chocolate or raisins, in which case you should bring your pet to the vet immediately.

When it comes to your pet, it’s always best to err on the safe side, so if you aren’t certain about something which your cat has ingested and they appear to be dizzy, in distress, or especially if you see drooling, then it’s best to get some help for them right away!