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Cat Health News


Holidays increase food risks for cats

By Dr. Debra Rowell
Cat Care Hospital, Marietta  GA


The holiday season is a fun time for family and friends to celebrate, but it is also a time when cat owners should be aware of holiday dangers for their beloved cat.


Foods create some of the biggest threats to cat health, and one of the most hazardous foods is a staple during the holidays: chocolate. Chocolate can cause seizures and possibly death in cats. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.



Chocolate contains the compound theobromine which is a diuretic as well as a cardiac stimulant. This can cause the cat's heart rate to increase or it may cause the heart to beat irregularly, both of which can be dangerous to the animal.

There are many problems that can result from feeding a cat chocolate. Chocolate is relatively high in calories so it can contribute to the development of obesity in your cat. A cat can lose its appetite for it's normal food if it eats chocolate. The largest problem is  though the fact that chocolate contains the chemical theobromine as mentioned above. If this chemical builds up in the cats system, it can be potentially lethal, and one reason for this is that cats
cannot clear theobromine from their bodies as quickly as people can.

Many cat owners would simply expect their pet to develop an upset stomach after eating a large amount of chocolate but few realize
its lethal potential.

Further problems which can arise from chocolate poisoning are Diuresis (increased urine production), diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, depression, and muscle tremors. Increased heart rate and respiration along with blue gums can be noticed within six hours of ingestion. These are signs which must be recognized by any cat owner so that the cat is not fed too much.


Keep holiday chocolates out of reach of curious cats. Be aware that many cats can get into boxes of chocolate under the tree or on the coffee table, even if the candies are wrapped.


Rich, fatty foods such as pork, turkey skin or gravy can overwhelm a cat?s digestive system and cause pancreatitis. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea and severe abdominal pain, resulting in an emergency trip to the veterinarian.


Bones may be the most tantalizing treat for cats, but they also are dangerous. Small bones or bone chips, particularly those from birds, can become lodged in an animal?s throat, stomach and intestinal tract. These bones also can splinter and form needle-like shards that can damage a cat?s stomach or intestines. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the bones.


Feeding undercooked food can result in bacterial disease in cats as well as humans. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning and other bacterial food-related conditions are similar to those for pancreatitis and sometimes include a high fever.  


Onions, commonly found in dressing or stuffing, can be toxic to your  cat. When ingested, they can destroy red blood cells and result in anemia.


To avoid many of these food hazards, consider feeding cats before the festivities begin to discourage cat interest during the party. Keep goodies out of cats? reach. Keep all leftover foods in tightly closed containers, and keep garbage cans secured.   


Remember, accidents happen. Cat Care Hospital number 770-424-6369 or Cobb Veterinary Emergency Clinic 770-424-9157..

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