Food, drink and household items that are harmful to cats

Food, drink and household items that are harmful to cats

We’ve noticed that we’ve been talking a lot about dogs on the blog lately (since our chief blog writer got a new puppy ) and whilst most of our pet grooming products are popular with dog owners, we also sell lots of items to people that own cats and other small furry animals too – in fact any pets that need a good wash, a brush or a blow dry. So this week we’re going to have a closer look at taking care of your cat...

A while ago we wrote about the types of food that dogs need to avoid in order to stay healthy and nowadays most of these things – like raisins and chocolate are widely known about. However there are quite a few things that you may have at home which can be harmful to your cats. And although a cat is less likely than a dog to eat first and ask questions later, they still might come into contact with some of the things in this list, so have a read through and be aware of the sort of stuff need to keep your eye on when your cat is around.

Fluffy cat Photo by Kristin Lopez on UnsplashFluffy cat Photo by Kristin Lopez on Unsplash

Food and drink that your cat should not have

Here are some of the regular food and drink items that you may have at home which can be harmful for your cat.


Although most cats are unlikely to just start munching on an onion, if it is cooked in a sauce on some meat and your cat jumps onto the worktop and eats a bit then it can make them pretty poorly. Whether raw or cooked, a few mouthfuls of onion can upset your cat’s digestion. So take care not to leave any onions unattended.


Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which is the same substance that makes it toxic to dogs. A small amount of theobromine can cause kidney failure, heart problems and seizures in cats, so make sure you keep the chocolate stashed away where your cat can’t find it.

Cup cat Photo by fotografierende on UnsplashCup cat Photo by fotografierende on Unsplash


Just like people, if your cat drinks alcohol they can become drunk - and they only need a tiny amount to become intoxicated. However - unlike humans – if a cat drinks just one teaspoonful (5ml) of alcohol they may become seriously ill and may suffer lasting damage to their liver or brain. If you cat is the type to stick their head in your glass when you’re not looking (water always seems to taste better to cat when drunk from anywhere other than their own bowl!) then make sure if you are having a little glass of wine or a beer that your glass is covered up or out of reach.


Although we have been giving cats saucers of milk for centuries it’s not actually that good for them at all. Likewise branded ‘cat milk’ designed for cats tends to have little nutritional value so it’s better to put down a bowl of fresh water for them every day instead and keep it topped up – although you’ll find most cats prefer to drink from your glass, or a vase of flowers or even the toilet if they can. If you’ve just cleaned the toilet or have a toilet block, keep the lid down!

Cat that got the cream Photo by Laura Chouette on UnsplashCat that got the cream Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash

Other household items which can be harmful to your cat 


Both ibuprofen and paracetamol are highly toxic for cats and should never be given as pain relief. If you think your cat may have accidentally taken some paracetamol, check to see if they are panting or have difficulty breathing. They may also have brown teeth and gums. Paracetamol can be extremely damaging to your cat’s liver, so take them to the vet immediately if you think they may have ingested some.


Unlike some of the other things on our list, cats actually like the taste of antifreeze because it is sweet, so it is very important to make sure you don’t leave any of it lying around. Most types of antifreeze contain the harmful chemical Ethylene Glycol which can cause kidney damage. If antifreeze is dripping under your car your cat may lick it or walk through it and lick their paws - and even a small amount like this can cause irreversible, even fatal damage. If you think your cat has swallowed some antifreeze, they may be drooling, vomiting, exhibiting loss of appetite, peeing excessively or unable to pee. Get them to a vet straight away. 


Many of us like to have fresh cut flowers or pot plants in our homes and these can be irresistible to cats – especially kittens - who enjoying playing with or chewing on the leaves. However not all houseplants are safe.

The orange pollen in some lilies can cause fatal kidney failure in cats. Even if your cat doesn’t like to chew plants, they may brush against a lily, get pollen stuck to their fur and lick it off. It is best to avoid bringing lilies into your home if you think your pet might be at risk – or make sure they are placed beyond your cat's reach.

Grey cat Photo by Raychan on UnsplashGrey cat Photo by Raychan on Unsplash

When to go to the vet

If you’re not sure if your cat has eaten, drunk or come into contact with any of the items on our list it is always better to be safe than sorry. Even if they aren’t exhibiting any symptoms; if you have any doubts, take them to the vet for a check-up as it’s always better to be safe than sorry and your vet will understand.

Has your cat ever eaten something it shouldn’t have? Perhaps you’ve got some tips for keeping them safe. Let us know in the comments section below.

Main Photo by Andrea Caramello on Unsplash

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