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Cats can be curious creatures. After all, the old saying about curiosity didn’t come out of the blue. If you’ve ever seen a hesitant paw come out and poke and something they know nothing about in order to investigate properly, you’ve seen it in action. Unfortunately, cats also have a way of chewing on things to get an idea on what the item is all about; chomp chomp here, chomp chomp there; gulp! Oops! And suddenly, the item finds its way into kitty’s gullet.
Linear Foreign Bodies
Cats and string go together like peanut butter and jelly. The ever-popular ball of yarn becomes just yarn once unrolled. You should never leave your cat unsupervised with string or a long thin object of any kind because it can become a snack for some kitties. Cats have a fondness for all lings linear, such as thread, yarn, holiday ribbon, twine; you get the point. You should also watch out for rubber bands because they can be just as dangerous when swallowed.
When a cat swallows a length of string, many things can happen. Most often, one end of the string will get caught up inside the cat’s digestive tract while the rest of it tries to pass through. Sometimes one end can be looped under the tongue. The ingestion of string or rubber bands can do horrible damage to the intestines of your kitty and cause illness or fatality. If you see a piece of string hanging out of kitties mouth or anus, do not pull it out as pulling can cause more damage. If you suspect your cat has swallowed a linear foreign body, get her to the vet ASAP.
Please Don’t Eat The Daisies
We’ve talked about different plants that are dangerous to your cat in the past, but it’s always a good idea to reiterate the situation. Many people like houseplants; many people like cats. The two do not go well together because of that curiosity factor we talked about earlier. Cats like to chew on greens, and we don’t necessarily mean broccoli. The poison in some plants can work quickly and even the best care might not be able to help. Putting your plant high up on a shelf won’t do because cats love to climb and shelves are no match for cats who are on a mission. The following plants are considered to be the most common house plants and the most dangerous for your cat:
- Autumn Crocus
- Azaleas and Rhododendrons
- English Ivy
- Sago Palm
- Spanish Thyme
If your cat has ingested one of these plants, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Everyone likes to have a treat now and again and your cat is no exception. When it comes to “people food,” this is one area where sharing might not be the best idea. Some foods that are perfectly harmless to you and your family can be dangerous for your cat to ingest, causing digestive upset, liver, kidney, or heart failure, and even brain damage. Watch out for the following foods that are particular concerning:
- Caffeinated drinks
- Dairy products
- Fat trimmings
- Raw meat, eggs, fish
- Grapes and raisins
- Onions and garlic
- Tuna fish (unless specified as cat food)
Again, if your cat has ingested any of these, seek medical help to avoid prolonged illness.
A Cat Food Analysis
Now that you are aware of the many things to keep your cat from ingesting, did you know that there are ingredients found in commercial cat food that you should be concerned about as well? You might think that since these foods are specifically tailored to cats that they should be safe for consumption. Most of them are safe, but many of them contain an ingredient or two that is questionable. It is very important that you read the labels on your cat’s food before you decide that it’s okay for your cat to eat.
Do your own cat food analysis and keep an eye out for the following ingredients.
From whole ground corn to corn gluten meal, this is one ingredient that you will find in many commercial cat food brands. Corn provides some protein in the meal, but it is mostly used as a cheap filler with minimal nutritional value. Unfortunately, corn is one of the most widely known food allergens for cats. If your cat does not have a pre-existing allergy to this ingredient, he or she should not experience any allergic reactions. However, corn can be difficult for many cats to digest, so keep an eye on your cat for any digestion problems or stomach upset.
Chemical Based Preservatives
Both BHA & BHT are preservatives that have been banned in human foods in many countries due to cancer risks, yet they remain approved for use in pet foods. BHA and BHT are extremely controversial ingredients in all forms of pet food and many pet owners are aware of the potential dangers and staying away from foods that contain this ingredient.
Artificial Flavors and Colors
Artificial flavor is usually derived from petroleum and contain many chemical ingredients that are volatile. Artificial colors such as Yellow 5 & 6, Blue 2, and Red 40 can lead to hyperactivity, aggression, insomnia, allergic reactions, and even tumors.
Though this ingredient provides a high amount of meat protein, which is great for your cat, it is considered to be the lowest form of meat and it isn’t even approved for human consumption. Animal by-products are carcasses and parts of carcasses from slaughterhouses, animal shelters, zoos and veterinarians; legally, this ingredient can even contain roadkill or euthanized animals. This ingredient may also contain what is called “4D meat” which is what the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) calls cattle that is dead, dying, disabled or diseased.
Your cat food analysis should settle your own curiosity about what is best for your cat to consume. Skip the plants and string and stick with what you know is good for your cat: real meat food and treats with high quality ingredients. And maybe a squeaky mouse thrown in just for fun.