Almost three quarters of people (73%) are unaware they shouldn’t be feeding their cats cream or cheese, a poll has revealed. This is because a lot of cats are lactose intolerant, which means dairy products are hard to digest.
To coincide with International Cat Day (8 Aug), Lily’s Kitchen asked 2,000 cat owners about the foods they give their cats and found many were completely oblivious to the ones that could harm their health.
Seven in 10 people didn’t realise custard and raw chicken were harmful for cats, while others were unaware that milk, grapes, raisins, garlic and onions can be problematic.
Grapes and raisins have been found to cause acute (sudden) kidney failure in both dogs and cats, while onions contain a toxic ingredient called thiosulphate.
Staggeringly, almost half (49%) of those polled didn’t know coffee or tea was bad for cats’ health, while 39% didn’t think alcohol was a problem and 38% believed chocolate wasn’t harmful. The latter contains theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine, which can be toxic in both cats and dogs - even a small amount can cause agitation, tremors, convulsions and heart disturbances.
The poll also revealed one in five owners don’t know cats are carnivores, which would explain why one in 10 feed theirs raw vegetables and another one in 20 feed them salad leaves. According to the RSPCA, cats need a well-balanced, meat-based diet to stay fit and healthy - they cannot be vegetarian.
London-based vet Rodney Zasman said: “It’s alarming that many of the nation’s cat owners are oblivious to what constitutes a healthy diet for their pets. Particularly when healthy eating plays such a big part in modern day living for the owners themselves.”
He said one of the biggest dangers to feline health, however, is poor quality, mass-produced pet food.
“In some instances these foods contain as little as 4% meat and, as a result, cats aren’t getting the nutrition they need to keep them healthy,” Zasman continued.
“But many cat owners are largely unaware of this fact and only find out when they take their poorly or overweight moggy to the vet.”