Cats may be pickier eaters than dogs, but sometimes they do not know what is best for them to eat. They may turn up their noses at bad food but they would stop to lap at a saucer of milk.
And, contrary to popular belief, milk is actually not so good for cats. Here is what should be kept away from a cat and why:
1. Dairy products
While the image of a cat happily lapping at a saucer of milk is firmly embedded in popular culture, cats should not be fed dairy products at all.
In reality, most cats are lactose-intolerant and are likely to get an upset stomach if fed dairy products. While kittens are capable of digesting milk due to the presence of lactase in their gut, the enzyme disappears as they grow older.
Hence, when an adult cat drinks milk, it will ferment in the stomach and produce volatile fatty acids, upsetting the digestive system.
If a cat manages to get its paws on dairy products, expect diarrhoea and vomiting in the next few hours.
2. Grapes and raisins
It may seem cute to give grapes and raisins to your cat as little healthy treats, but it is actually a really bad idea.
Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure, even if a cat eats a small amount.
It is not known what causes this, but the more grapes or raisins a cat consumes, the likelier it is they will be affected.
Symptoms of grape poisoning appear within a half or full day and include lethargy, diarrhoea, poor appetite and abdominal pain.
It should be noted that not all cats who eat grapes or raisins will suffer adverse effects, but it is better to err on the side of caution.
Interestingly, while it is widely known that chocolate is poison to dogs, cats too are at risk of chocolate poisoning.
Generally, cats would not eat chocolate on their own, however a well-meaning but misguided owner might give it as a treat.
Theobromine is an alkaloid compound found in chocolate and it is toxic to cats and dogs alike. It is found in all types of chocolate — milk, white and dark — but it is particularly concentrated in dark and baking chocolate.
Should an unfortunate kitty gobble some chocolate, it can cause an abnormal heart rhythm, dehydration, seizures and, if left untreated, death.
Malaysians use a lot of onions for cooking, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that a curious cat could jump onto the kitchen counter for a nibble. Onions are highly toxic to cats and can easily kill them.
The disulphide and thiosulphate compounds in onions, as well as garlic and chives, are responsible for this toxicity and can damage the red blood cells.
Cats are more vulnerable to onion poisoning than dogs, and even a small bit of raw or cooked onion can have devastating consequences.
Rush the cat to a vet if it shows symptoms of onion poisoning, which include breathlessness, fatigue, abdominal pain and discoloured urine.
5. Dog food
While dog food is not poisonous or lethal to cats, it should never be used to replace cat food. Dogs and cats have different dietary requirements and dog food lacks the nutrients a cat needs to be strong and healthy.
Cat food contains a lot of vitamin A, taurine, arachidonic acid and protein, which dog food has less of.
Taurine is particularly important to cats and can only be obtained from food, as it helps them maintain a healthy heart, eyes and teeth.
Dog food can also be high in carbohydrates, and eating too much of it can cause your cat to grow a little too tubby for their own good.