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July 20, 2011 at 3:49 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Cats and Human Food

By Dr. Char Wilson, DVM More Blogs by This Author

Dr. Char Wilson explains what human foods are ok to give cats and which are not.
Host, Gerry Barnaby-  Hey, how’s it going? Barnaby here—another VETiONX Moment with Dr. Char, holistic veterinarian since 1987, so she knows whereof she speaks. We’ve been getting a lot of emails, Dr. Char, directed to you specifically. Ready for a little Q&A?
Health Coach, Dr. Char Wilson, VDM-  Of course.
Barnaby- Alrighty, here we go. You know, we were talking recently about dogs and the things that you shouldn’t feed dogs, and the cat owners of America, they were quick to email us saying, “Hey, what about cats?” Are they prone to being victims of the same sorts of things that we would give dogs off the table? So, let’s talk specifically about cats, and the things they should not eat.
Dr. Char-  Well, cats are a little bit more unique and they’re a little bit more finicky. So, sometimes, you know, a cat won’t eat dry food or they won’t eat wet food and so they have their own ideas of what is on their menu. But, there are certain things that I wouldn’t give a cat. I wouldn’t give them onions, and I—
Barnaby-  Why not?
Dr. Char-  Well, just because they’re a little bit more sensitive and I think it’s going to create more of a gastrointestinal upset. They are much more fragile than a dog, so you have to be more careful. I’m always very careful to give a cat herbs that I like to make sure there are documented studies that, you know, this amount is okay. Because a little bit of something, you know—like, cats cannot detoxify salicylates, which could be in white willow, which is kind of the active ingredient, which is similar to aspirin.
Barnaby-  Okay.
Dr. Char-  So, you just need to be very careful. I wouldn’t give a saucer of milk, because they’re probably going to get gastroenteritis and diarrhea.
Barnaby-  Little loose in the caboose?
Dr. Char-  Yes, and so, you know, that’s kind of a big mistake.
Barnaby-  Well, where did that stereotype come from? It’s long been thought that you put a little saucer of milk in front of a cat and it’s the best thing you could do for them.
Dr. Char-  Well, I think that was probably when it was out in the barn and the milk was raw. But, you know, the regular milk that we have now that’s cooked can cause diarrhea. So, you know, the people that want to do that—they either are better off diluting it a little bit or getting one of the commercial products that are made to entice cats, you know, kind of a little canned version of milk. A lot of times owners will purchase that in order to sneak in some type of medication.
Barnaby-  Yeah, but by and large, the prepared food that is sold commercially for cats would be good enough, and you probably, maybe, steer clear of giving them anything that is of human-grade consumption?
Dr. Char-  Well, if they wanted a little bit of meat or a little bit of tuna, you could do that. But you do need to be careful, because people forget that we’re looking at a ten-pound animal and they want to give a four-ounce piece of salmon. Four ounces versus ten pounds—that’s like, a little over the board. So, you know, you have to remember that if you are giving a little bit, you’re going to throw off the balance of the diet, and so the little bit has to be a little bit.
Barnaby-  Excellent! Portion control, kitty division. All good stuff, Dr. Char, as always. You can always get to Dr. Char through the “Ask the Vet” link on, because we are all about making sure you have a great relationship with your pets.

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