The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Your Cat Safe: What NOT to Feed Your Cat

Imagine this! You are sitting on the couch and kitty is looking sideways at you eating chocolate. Can cats eat chocolate? What about a chocolate bar? Do you know, what not to feed your cat?

We love our cats and want to share and give them a treat to make them happy, but it is not always such a good idea. In fact, it can be a very bad idea.

How do you know that those things that you find yummy are okay for a cat to eat? Their digestive system is nothing like ours. Well thank goodness for that.  

Kitty was crunching on a cockroach last night and well, I know it’s protein but I wouldn’t want to eat a cockroach so why would my food be okay for kitty?

what not to feed your cat - a cat looking at a spider

These human foods and other cat treats may not be so special, in fact they could be potentially poisonous or harmful to your pet. You may already know about the dangers of salt toxicity in cats.

Cats are pretty fussy about what they will eat as I’m sure you may have discovered when trying to add a crushed tablet to your cat’s food. It can be very well disguised but they still know it is there.

This could be a good thing from kitty’s point of view because he won’t necessarily want what you are having.

A list of what not to feed your cat


We have grown up thinking that milk is good for cats but actually most cats are lactose intolerant. 

Feeding cats milk and cream can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.


Cats should not eat chocolate as it can be toxic to them.

Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which cats cannot metabolize as effectively as humans and dogs.

If cats eat chocolate, it can lead to chocolate poisoning or chocolate toxicity. The severity of the symptoms depends on how much chocolate the cat ate, the type of chocolate, and the cat’s size and weight.

Milk chocolate and chocolate ice cream contain less theobromine than dark or unsweetened baking chocolate, but it is still best to avoid giving any type of chocolate to cats.

If you suspect that your cat has eaten chocolate, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity or chocolate poisoning in cats can include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness, panting, and muscle tremors.

In severe cases, it can lead to seizures, coma, and even death. If you suspect that your cat ate chocolate, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

Your veterinarian may induce vomiting, administer activated charcoal, or provide other supportive care to help your cat recover from food poisoning.

More dark chocolate for you but definitely none for kitty. Can cats eat chocolate? is a NO.

Dog Food

Don’t feed cats, dog food just as you wouldn’t feed a dog, cat food.

It can cause nutritional deficiencies as it lacks the essential nutrients that cats need to maintain good health.

For example, cats require taurine and arachidonic acid in their diet, which are often not present in dog food.

Feeding a cat dog food in the long term can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can cause a range of health problems, including heart disease, skin and coat problems, and digestive issues.

don't feed your cats grapes and raisins
Don’t feed your cat grapes and raisins!

Grapes and Raisins

Eating grapes and raisins can cause sudden kidney failure.

The signs of toxicity are usually apparent in 24 hours and can include lethargy, loss of appetite, weakness and abdominal pain.

It is usually associated more with dogs than cats however cats can also be affected.

Cooked Bones

Cooked bones can splinter and and cause choking and perforations of the gastrointestinal tract. It is okay for cats to eat raw bones but make sure they are fresh.

cats should not eat too much raw fish
Can cats eat raw fish?

Raw Fish

Yes, cats do love uncooked fish, but make sure the diet is not just uncooked fish.

Uncooked fish is okay once or twice a week.

That is because predominantly raw fish diets are often deficient in thiamine (an essential B vitamin) due to the presence of enzymes that break down the thiamine.

Cook the fish first.


Liver is generally considered to be good for cats as it is a great source of protein and contains essential nutrients such as vitamins A, B12, and C, as well as amino acids.

However, it is important to feed liver to cats in moderation as it is high in vitamin A, and too much liver can lead to vitamin A toxicity. Excessive vitamin A intake can lead to problems with cat’s bones.

It is recommended that liver should only make up a small percentage of the diet of a cat, generally no more than 5% per week.

Chicken liver is preferred over lamb’s liver for cats.

cats should not eat onions
No onions with your burger kitty!


When cats eat onions, it can lead to onion toxicity, which is a serious condition.

Onions contain compounds that can damage a cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. Symptoms of onion toxicity in cats can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, pale gums, and increased heart and respiratory rates.

In severe cases, it can lead to collapse, seizures, and even death. If you suspect that your cat has ingested onions, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately.

This includes cooked and raw onions.

Moldy Food

If a cat eats moldy food, it can lead to a range of health problems.

Moldy food can contain mycotoxins, which are toxic substances produced by certain types of mold. When ingested, mycotoxins can cause a range of symptoms in cats, including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, muscle tremors, seizures, and even death in severe cases.

If you suspect that your cat has ingested moldy food, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately

Potato, Rhubarb and Tomato leaves and stems

Potato, rhubarb and tomato leaves and stems – contain poisonous alkaloid glycoalkaloid solanine, which cause can cause violent lower gastrointestinal problems. 

See more information in the FAQ’s regarding potato.

Raw Eggs

Uncookedeggs can contain parasites which could lead to pancreatitis.  Cooked eggs are fine but only in small amounts.

That is a list of what not to feed your cat but what about food that seems harmless, like some potato or banana.

 It pays to check first.  Call the pet poison helpline for advice regarding yourpets and poisons.

FAQ  What Cats Can Eat?

Can cats eat rice?

Cats can eat a small amount of cooked rice.  

It is not part of a balanced diet and shouldn’t be used long term but an occasional treat will be okay.

different types of lettuce

Can Cats Eat Lettuce?

Once again, lettuce is non toxic to cats but it is not something we would ordinarily think of feeding cats who are primarily meat eaters.

A small amount won’t hurt.

a bunch of tomatoes
Tomatoes for cats? Better to leave alone!

Can Cats Eat Tomato?

Definitely not the leaves or stems of tomato plants. The tomato plant contains solanine which is toxic if eaten in large amounts but would cause gastrointestinal upset.  

The actual fruit of the tomato is okay but I have yet to see a cat that likes tomato.

There’s always an exception and there’s probably some tomato loving cats out there.

Can Cats Eat Canned Tuna?

It’s okay sometimes, but tinned tuna is made for humans, not cats.

Tuna is high in unsaturated fats, which can cause obesity and other health problems in cats when consumed in excess.

Canned tuna is often high in sodium, which can be harmful to cats with certain health conditions such as kidney disease.

Canned tuna does not contain all the essential nutrients that cats need to maintain good health, and too much tuna can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Can cats eat pasta?

Cats can eat pasta on the odd occasion but pasta is carbohydrate and cats really don’t need much carbohydrate in their diets as their requirements are mainly protein.

A cat’s metabolism breaks down amino acids (protein) much faster than humans and so cats have much higher protein requirements.

Can cats eat honey?

Honey can be difficult to digest for some people, particularly raw honey.  

It is not suitable for cats as cats are obligate carnivores and honey would have no place in their diet in the wild, so no, avoid feeding your feline friend honey.

a banana
Save the bananas for yourself!

Can cats eat bananas?

Bananas are not toxic to cats however they are chock full of carbohydrates which are not good for cats.

Cats are primarily meat eaters. However, they have adapted over time to tolerate a small amount of carbohydrates in the diet but have very little need for carbohydrates.

If your kitty really wants some banana, an occasional bite will not hurt.  

Our cat turns his nose up at banana. It’s not on his menu at all.

Can cats eat yoghurt?

Although many adult cats are intolerant to lactose, a small amount of yoghurt such as Greek yoghurt is okay because it contains live cultures and natural bacteria.

The active cultures help to break down the lactose during the fermentation process. This is also the reason that some people who are intolerant to lactose can eat small amount of yoghurt.

red apples on a tree
Apples and cats? No!

Can cats eat apples?

As with bananas, cats can tolerate a small amount of apple but it is not something they need in the diet.

The apple seeds however are poisonous as they contain cyanide which makes the seeds poisonous to other animals and humans. Obviously larger quantities would be needed to be eaten to be poisonous for humans.

The same applies to pears. The seeds contain cyanide but a small amount of the fruit will be okay for a cat.

a lime cut in half
Not okay for cats!

Can cats eat oranges?

Any citrus fruit including oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and tangerines are not okay for your cat to eat.  

The oils in citrus fruit will cause gastro upsets and the acidity in citrus fruits is too much for a cat’s digestive system.  As much as we love citrus scents, cats don’t like citrus scents at all.  

Some people use orange rind or peel to keep cats out of the garden.

Read my article about our cat attacking our new leather lounge and the lengths we had to go to stop this behavior. 

I am going to try using some orange peel along the top of the couch as I caught him up there again this morning. 

a stalk of celery
Some cats fall in love with celery!

Can cats eat celery?

Celery leaf is okay for cats to eat in small amounts.  

Some cats react to celery as though it were catnip, and our cat is one of those.

It was initially a big surprise to us to see how Tom fell in love with the leaves of celery and rolled around on the leaves It was just happiness personified.  

Can cats eat coconut oil?

Coconut oil is a hot topic right now regarding human health and there is positive and negative debate as to its effectiveness.  

Rather than interpret this information relating to cats , this is a link to a veterinarian’s advice regarding the use of coconut oil in caring for cats. If in doubt always consult your local vet.

Can cats eat bread?

Bread is one of those things that is of no nutritional value to cat.

Carbohydrates should play a small part in your the diet of your cat, so if he is licking some crumbs up from the floor, that is fine.

Or even a tiny piece of bread every now and then won’t hurt, but remember it won’t help either.

do you know what not to feed cat

Can cats eat pork?

es cats can eat fresh pork, not bacon or ham which may potentially have all sorts of added preservatives.  

Fresh pork is a good source of protein for a cat and can be added to a cat’s diet along with other sources of raw meat protein such as beef, chicken, and lamb.

Can cats eat cheese?

Cheese is a milk product, and as most cats are lactose intolerant it is best to avoid giving cheese to your cat.  

It’s likely to cause a tummy and digestive upset and diarrhoea for poor kitty.

Kittens drink milk but once they’re weaned their bodies stop producing lactase which is needed to properly digest milk products.

Some cats can tolerate lactose however it is still not advisable to give your kitty such a calorie laden food.

a handful of blueberries
Can cats eat blueberries?

Can cats eat blueberries?

Yes, along the same lines as can cats eat apples and pears and bananas.  Blueberries in moderation, just a couple at a time are okay.  

It’s pretty hard to overdose on blueberries but make sure kitty just has a couple, as it is protein that should form the majority of the cat’s diet.

Can cats eat raw chicken or raw mince?

Cats are carnivores and need animal protein to meet their nutritional requirements. Cats can eat fresh raw meat. Choose human grade meat because often pet meat has added preservatives.

When I am preparing a meal, I cut some meat for kitty and just put it aside until his dinner time.

different type of potatoes
No potato for cats!

Can cats eat potato?

Cats should definitely not eat raw potato or potato peelings. The plant and greens skin of a potato contains solanine which is poisonous. Sweet potatoes are not labelled as toxic by ASPCA. However they can cause other health problems and are best avoided.

Cooked potato on the other hand is okay. The toxins are removed when cooking. So a little cooked potato is okay.

Be mindful of the amount of milk, butter, salt etc that you may have added to the mashed potato.

This includes other spices or flavorings in the boiled or baked potato.

Can cats eat avocado?

ou wouldn’t want your cat to eat the avocado pit but then that would be pretty hard to do.

Avocados can be dangerous to some animals such as horses and cows plus birds and other animals however it seems that cats and dogs are exempt from this list.

That is unless the fruit and branches are ingested in large quantities. Then it can cause gastrointestinal problems.

Avocado is found in measured doses in some commercially available cat food.

Final Thoughts

Just because something is non toxic is not a reason to eat it.  Peanut butter cups baking chocolate, white chocolate and cinnamon buns are not toxic to humans. That doesn’t mean we can eat them as we please and not have any health related consequences.

It is the same for your cat.  We have to give our cats the best chance health wise by providing a good diet for them. If ever in doubt about whether or not your cat has eaten something poisonous contact the pet poison helpline.

Cats love fish based cat food. Which cat food will satisfy the cat’s desire for fish?

Does your cat have allergy problems. Sometimes we do have to feed our cats a special diet to take allergies into account, and sometimes a special diet is required.

Do we have any celery, dear? I’ll pass on the lettuce!

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