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What Not To Feed Your Cat – A detailed List

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Do you ever give your cat a special treat?

Picture this! You are sitting on the couch and kitty is looking longingly at your banana. Can cats eat bananas? Do you know, what not to feed your cat?

We love our kitties and want to share and give them a treat to make them happy but it is not always such a good 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

Those human 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 so feeding cats milk and cream can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.


Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine which can lead to heart problems and muscle tremors or seizures. That’s okay, more chocolate for you, definitely none for kitty.

Dog Food

Don’t feed cats, dog food just as you wouldn’t feed a dog, cat food. It can cause nutritional deficiencies.

Don't feed your cat grapes
Don’t feed your cat grapes

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.

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.

can cats eat raw fish
Can cats eat raw fish?

Raw Fish

Yes, cats do love raw fish, but make sure the diet is not just raw fish or mostly raw fish. Raw fish is okay once or twice a week, and that is because predominantly raw fish diets are often deficient in thiamine due to the presence of enzymes that break down the thiamine. Cook the fish first. Lucky cat.


Excessive amount of liver is not a good idea as liver is high in vitamin A which can be toxic at high levels. Just give kitty a small amount of liver.

can cats eat onions
No onions with your burger kitty


Onions can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. This includes cooked and raw onions.

Moldy Food

Moldy food including dairy products, bread, rice, fruits and nuts.  This can cause mycotoxins which cause tremors, vomiting, rapid heart rate and breathing and in severe cases, convulsions (more common in dogs).

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

Raw eggs 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.  The ASCA site outlines plants that are toxic or non toxic to cats.

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.

can cats eat lettuce
Is kitty really going to want to eat 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.

Can cats eat 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, so there will be nutritional deficiencies if it’s eaten too often.

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, don’t give your cat honey to eat.

Can cats eat bananas
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, a small piece 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 lactose intolerant, a small amount of yoghurt such as Greek yogurt 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 lactose intolerant can eat small amount of yoghurt.

can cats eat apples
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.

Can cats eat limes
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. 

can cats at 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 a big surprise to us to see how Tom fell in love with the leaves of celery and rolled around on them. 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 cat’s diet, 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.

Can cats eat pork?

Yes 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 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.

Can cats eat 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.

can cats eat 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?

You 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 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.

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

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