Owing a pet cat is a lot like having a child. They need you to care for them and yet they try to assert their independence. It can be frustrating. When taking care of your feline friend, be aware there are some foods that can be dangerous for them.

Pet owners around the country spend billions of dollars each year to feed our pets. But what do cats and dogs alike do? They sit nearby begging for what you’re eating; some will be even more aggressive by getting up into your face to share. There are some human foods, however, which are harmful to your cat and should never be given to them.

1. Fruits such as apricots, apples, cherries, plums, and peaches should not be given as the seeds, stems, and leaves contain cyanide. Humans aren’t affected by the small doses they ingest, but a cat would be. Cyanide poisoning would cause dilated pupils, nervousness, difficulty breathing, and shock.

2. Chocolate may be a wonderful treat for humans, but the high fat, caffeine, and theobromine could be dangerous for your cat. Not only can the high-fat content produce vomiting and diarrhea, but if eaten in large enough amounts the caffeine could increase blood pressure, increase urination, and result in hyperactivity. Your pet may also develop seizures.

3. Many people give their cats milk to drink as a treat. While cats love milk, it may not be the best treat for them. The high fat content in milk, and other foods, can cause an increased risk of developing pancreatitis. Cow milk also isn’t easily digested by cats and can cause diarrhea and gas.

4. Onions and garlic are dangerous for your pets because they don’t possess the enzyme needed to enable proper digestion. Cats that eat onions or garlic may experience gas, vomiting, diarrhea, or gastrointestinal pain.

5. Alcoholic beverages can be toxic to cats if ingested in large amounts. Since cats are so much smaller than humans, their bodies simply cannot handle the effects of alcohol. You may notice alcohol on your cat’s breath, and witness staggering, reduced breathing, or changes in behavior. In large enough amounts, alcohol can cause cardiac arrest and death.

6. Bones of any type can be dangerous. The bones can splinter when chewed which could result in cuts on the inside of your cat’s mouth or their throat, or it could get caught on its way down causing choking. Look for pale or blue gums, drooling, labored breathing, pawing at their face, and loss of consciousness. Try to remove the bone or take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

7. Raw fish contains a substance called thiaminase which destroys thiamin. This vitamin is essential for cats; if there is a lack of thiamin in their system it could cause neurological problems and possibly convulsions or a coma if left untreated.

8. Canned or cooked tuna in large amounts can result in mercury poisoning. It’s fine to give your cat small amounts of tuna (use tuna in spring water if you do), but too much could be deadly.

Let’s face it; if you’re a pet owner, it’s hard to feed your cat only cat food. There are times you’ll give in and share what you’re eating. Knowing the foods that can be dangerous for your cat will make you aware which ones to avoid in order to keep your cat healthy and happy for years to come.

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