Toxic Foods for Cats

Toxic Foods for Cats

Cats are sturdy and agile creatures who like to run around and follow their owners. Yet, they are also quite sensitive towards certain human foods.

In general, a healthy and balanced diet is the key to good health for cats. Many people like to feed cats several human foods which they tend to enjoy themselves. These human foods such as grapes, caffeine products, onions, garlic, chocolate, etc are very toxic for cats and can cause them serious harm.

As a cat parent, it is important to know which foods are toxic to your cat. We are here to guide you! In partnership with our small animal veterinarian, we have put together a non-comprehensive list of the most toxic human foods for cats along with their signs, so read on.

Foods That Are Toxic to Cats


Humans tend to enjoy chocolate a lot and it is one of the most common ingredients in deserts. However, it is harmful to cats, and they should not consume it. Chocolate is made from cacao seeds, and these contain different chemical compounds such as theobromine, methylxanthines, and caffeine which are toxic to cats.

All types of chocolates are toxic to cats; however, some people may think that white chocolate is safe for cats but that is not the case. Although white chocolate contains less quantity of toxic chemicals compared to dark chocolate it is still risky to feed it to cats.

Some signs of chocolate toxicity in cats include digestive upset (diarrhea and vomiting), tremors, increased body temperature, increased respiration, convulsions, and in severe cases death.


Onions are one of the most toxic foods for cats. Onions belong to the Allium family and other members of this family including chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic are equally toxic to cats.

Onions and other members of the Allium family contain chemical compounds known as sulfoxides, which are toxic to cats. Cats should not consume onions in any form either cooked or raw. Consumption of onions or any other Allium member can cause gastrointestinal problems in cats such as diarrhea and vomiting.

In severe cases, cats can also get anemic (loss of red blood cells). Foods such as onion soup, garlic bread, and others should also be avoided. 


Alcohol and alcohol-containing beverages should be totally forbidden for cats. Offering your cat bear, whisky, wine, and any other drink containing alcohol can cause serious health issues.

Some signs of alcohol toxicity in cats include diarrhea, loss of consciousness, tremors, and even death. Data from studies suggest that 2 tablespoons of whisky is enough to send a five-pound cat into a coma.

Raisins and grapes

Loved by humans for their sweet taste, grapes and their dried form known as raisins are not something you should be feeding to your cats. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) states that grapes and raisins both contain unknown toxic chemicals that cause kidney failure in cats.

Raw liver

If your cat is not used to raw meat and organs, it is best to avoid feeding raw liver to your cat. Raw uncooked liver could contain microorganisms that might upset the stomach of your kitty. If you want to introduce organ meat to your cat’s diet, start introducing small quantities to your cat’s diet and avoid pure raw liver or boil it well before feeding it to your cat.

Raw fish

Raw fish is another thing that is not toxic to cats but can be unsafe if your cat is not used to eating it. Fish caught from the ocean, rivers, or lakes such as tuna, salmon, and others can contain parasites in their flesh. If your cat consumes raw fish meat the parasites could cause health issues. Moreover, some fish that are caught in waters near industrial areas may contain toxic substances such as lead in their meat which is dangerous to cats.

Caffeinated products

Caffeine and caffeinated products such as tea and coffee are a big part of the human diet and many individuals consume them on a daily basis.

Small quantities of caffeine can be harmful to cats because it can increase their heart rate, respiratory rate, and body temperature resulting in seizures and other health issues. Coffee also contains methylxanthine, the same toxic compound found in chocolate.


Lemons, oranges, limes, and other citrus varieties are all great for human health because they provide us with plenty of vitamins. All kinds of citrus contain essential oils and citric acid which if consumed by cats can irritate their digestive tract.

Peels, leaves, stems, and the fruit itself are all toxic to cats. Consumption in large amounts can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and central nervous system depression.

Human medications

One of the most toxic and life-threatening things that you can feed to a cat is human drugs. A drug that is meant to be consumed by a human will give no benefit to a cat.

Also, the drug dose is different for cats and humans, and feeding a high dose of human drug can have life-threatening consequences for your kitty.

Signs of Toxicity in Cats

Below are some common signs of toxicity in cats: 

  • Excessive salivation;
  • Lack of appetite or appetite loss;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Vomiting, retching;
  • Watery eyes and redness;
  • Facial swelling (may or may not be present);
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Profuse sweating;
  • Increased respiratory rate;
  • Lethargy.

Human Foods that are Safe for Cats

One thing to keep in mind as a cat parent is that cats are primarily carnivores, so just because some human foods are suitable for them does not mean you should feed them in excess. The following are some human foods that are safe for cats to eat in moderation:

  • Cheese
  • Cooked eggs (unseasoned)
  • Cooked fish without bones (unseasoned)
  • Cooked organs and meat (unseasoned)
  • Bananas
  • Boiled carrots
  • Boiled peas
  • Rice
  • Melon


  1. Colgate. (2022, September 20). Foods that are Dangerous or Toxic to Cats. Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
  2. Dowdy, S. M. (2020, August 24). 15 toxic human foods you should never feed your cat. Daily Paws.
  3. Foods your cat should never eat. (n.d.). WebMD.
  4. Scott, J. (2023, August 24). 11 human foods that are poisonous to cats. RAWZ.
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