What Foods Can Cats Not Eat?


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What foods can cats not eat?

Many foods are toxic to cats.

This includes common foods such as:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruit
  • Dog food

This is due to differences in a cat’s digestive system. A lot of humans foods contain small amounts of ingredients that aren’t good to feed cats.

In this article, I’ll guide you through all other foods cats can’t eat.

What Foods Can Cats Not Eat?

My name is Derrick, and I write for Simply Cat Care.

My goal with this website is to help cat owners learn more about taking care of their cats. I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions.

In this article, I’ll talk more about what foods cats are not able to eat.

Let’s get into the article.

What Foods Can Cats Not Eat?

What Human Foods Can Cats Not Eat?

Here is a list of foods that cats can not eat.

  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Chewing gum
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Apples
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Onions and garlic
  • Nuts
  • Yeast
  • Raw eggs
  • Citrus fruit

Many of these foods are not metabolized by a cat’s liver. This leads to toxicity.

In my previous article on poisonous foods, I discussed some common human foods cats are not able to eat.

Bottom Line: There are a wide variety of foods cats can’t eat. Don’t give your cat leftovers.

Why Are Human Food Toxic to Cats?

Cat’s have evolved to adapt to a carnivorous diet.

Consequently, they tend to have lower amounts of enzymes needed to detoxify a range of compounds found in food.

Many plants contain ingredients that can lead to toxicity in high amounts.

In small amounts, they don’t harm you (or your cat), but they do if the levels build up.

This means foods that are fine for humans can be dangerous for cats.

Bottom Line: Cats have fewer enzymes needed to detoxify plant-based chemicals. This leads to toxicity.

Can You Give Cats Table Scraps?

You cannot give your cat table scraps.

A lot of human food contains ingredients that are harmful to a cat.

That can include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Dairy
  • Yeast
  • Citrus
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts.

Humans love to eat onions, but cats experience toxicity symptoms at a small dose of 5g/kg.

All plants of the allium family (e.g. garlic and onions) contain organosulphurated compounds.

The metabolization of these foods leads to an increase in oxidative species that damage red blood cells. A small amount of onion or garlic is enough to cause serious harm to your cat’s health.

Since there are so many human foods that contain ingredients that may be harmful to your cat it is better to avoid human leftover foods.

The human diet is different from what a cat needs.

Check out my top 9 tips for feeding your cat to learn more.

Bottom Line: Don’t give your cat human food leftovers.

Are Raw Eggs Toxic to Cats?


Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin which binds to an essential nutrient called biotin.

Cats need biotin for a variety of body processes including:

  • Energy production
  • Skin health

Cats use gluconeogenesis to get energy from protein and fat which is important for energy production.

Raw eggs may be a source of food poisoning as well.

Bottom Line: Raw eggs block the absorption of biotin which leads to health problems with energy production. Don’t give your cat raw eggs.

Can Cats Drink Milk?

Only in small amounts.

Cats are lactose intolerant and too much milk causes digestive upset.

The lactose in milk is a sugar that requires the enzyme lactase to break down and digest.

A cat’s diet in evolution didn’t involve consuming milk for calcium, but rather edible portions of bones.

Consuming milk may lead to:

  • Vomitting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating

A small amount of milk may be tolerated.

Check out my article on tips for giving your cat milk to learn more.

Bottom Line: Cats may drink small amounts of milk, but too much may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate?


Chocolate contains theobromine (3,7-dimethlyxanthine), which blocks the central nervous system.

This can lead to muscle tremors or cause vomiting.

Bottom Line: Cat’s cannot eat chocolate.

Can Cats Eat Onions or Garlic?


All plants of the allium family (e.g. garlic and onions) contain organosulphurated compounds.

The metabolization of these foods leads to an increase in oxidative species that damage red blood cells.

Bottom Line: A small amount of onions or garlic is toxic to cats. Avoid feeding these foods to your cat.

Can my Cat Eat Raw Dough?


The raw dough contains yeast which ferments into ethanol. This can lead to bloating and cause digestive distress.

Ethanol can lead to alcohol poisoning.

If you suspect your cat has consumed raw dough and needs help call a poison helpline.

Bottom Line: Cat’s cannot eat raw dough because it ferments into alcohol and causes poisoning.

What Human Foods Can Cats Eat?

Cats can eat cooked meats without flavors, spices, herbs, and/or marinates.

Cats are obligate carnivores.

They thrive off a diet of whole animal-based foods and products.

This includes muscle meat, bones, and organs of various animals such as duck and turkey.

These foods are hence fine to feed your cat.


You cannot give a cat only cooked meat as this leads to nutritional deficiencies when not balanced with other food sources (e.g. bones and organs).

Bottom Line: Cats can eat cooked meats without flavors, spices, herbs, and/or marinates.

What Foods Are Not Appropriate for Use as Cat Food?

Most food is not appropriate for your cat.

Feeding your cat requires a lot of care. This is because a cat is an obligate carnivore and must eat meat to survive in the wild.

An improper diet may lead to many health issues. For example, giving a cat only plant-based foods results in painful urinary blockages.

Most homemade recipes and diets online are not suitable for your cat since they aren’t nutritionally balanced.

I wrote an article on finding good foods for your cat over here which can help with those issues.

Bottom Line: Most foods aren’t suitable for your cat. When in doubt, don’t feed it to your cat.

Can I Feed My Cat a Raw Diet?

The science is unclear on the benefits of raw diets.

Some benefits may include:

  • Improved digestion
  • Clearer skin and coat
  • More energy

However, aren’t enough well-controlled studies to confirm these benefits.

Some vets claim a cat’s digestive system may be better suited to digesting raw foods due to more stomach acid.

The downside of raw food is the potential for contamination with bacteria.

Raw eggs block the absorption of biotin, an essential nutrient needed for energy production.

I recommend avoiding raw diets.

Bottom Line: Raw food diets aren’t well researched and may involve bacterial contamination risk.

What if I Want to Change My Cat’s Diet?

Always transition your cat’s diet slowly.

Use the following process:

  1. Add 25% new food to 75% old food
  2. Increase the new food every day for 1-2 weeks

Following this approach gets around your cat’s aversion to new foods (neophobia).

Consult a vet for more help.

Bottom Line: Transition your cat’s diet slowly to avoid pushback.

Conclusion: What Foods Can Cats Not Eat

In this article, I have covered what foods cats can not eat.

Always exercise caution before you let your cat consume human foods. Many foods may be toxic to cats. This includes:

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus
  • Dog food
  • Leftovers
  • Raw dough
  • Raw eggs

If your cat eats any of these foods contact your vet or local pet helpline for help. I recommend making sure the helpline number is put into your phone for emergencies.

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