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8 Things You Probably Have at Home That Can Kill Your Cat

I used to give my cats string as a toy and tuna as a treat. I won't any more. (Okay, maybe a little tuna.)

 |  May 8th 2013  |   40 Contributions


I've always fed my cats canned tuna as a special treat, and without a second thought, I've given them rubber bands and bits of string to entertain them while I'm at work. I assumed I was keeping them well-fed and amused. But I have to rethink these plans, because these things are potentially hazardous to my kitties.

Here are eight common foods and household items that can kill your cats. If you think your cat has been poisoned, take her to the vet ASAP. You can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

When I tried to incorporate raw meat into my cats' diet, I used tuna juice to entice them to eat it.

1. Tuna

Giving your cat a little bit of tuna is fine -- and mixing it with new foods can even help your cat transition to a healthier or raw diet. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. A steady diet of canned tuna will not give your cat the nutrients she needs -- and it can cause mercury poisoning.

2. Grapes and raisins

Even small amounts of grapes or raisins can cause kidney failure in cats. Excessive vomiting and hyperactivity are early signs that your cat might have taken her luxurious lounging a bit too far by munching on the gods' fruit of choice.

3. Chocolate

Chocolate may be a sweet treat for you -- Ben & Jerry's Half Baked, anyone? But no matter how your cat may try to woo you with solicitation purring, do not give her a bite! Thebromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant found in chocolate, can be lethal to cats. And it's in all kinds of chocolate -- even white chocolate. Dark chocolate and unsweetened baking chocolate are most dangerous and can cause abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death.

Chocolate can be fatal to cats. Regular candy is not great for them either.Beautiful blonde girl with candy in hand and cat by Shutterstock.com

4. Lilies

Consider this when building your Mother's Day bouquets: Lilies are toxic to cats. For all of the details, check out resident Catster vet Dr. Eric Barchas' post on the subject. As little as two leaves can cause kidney failure and potentially kill a cat within days. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, and increased urination, followed by lack of urination after one to two days. The sooner your cat receives treatment after ingesting a lily, the better her chances for survival.

Maybe rethink your spring bouquets -- lilies can cause kidney failure in cats.Lily flower close-up by Shutterstock.com

5. Booze

Alcohol has exactly the same effect on your cat as it does on you -- except it takes far less to get your kitty wasted. Only a few sips of booze will have your cat slurring her meows and making out with strangers, and as little as two teaspoons of liquor can put her into a coma. If you want to show your kitty a good time, best stick to the catnip.

You might want a drink, kitty -- but stay away from beer! Cat looks at beer and fish by Shutterstock.

6. Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen can be found in many over-the-counter pain relievers and other medications, and cats are especially sensitive to toxicity. In other words, if you drop a Tylenol on your white tile floor, do not give up looking until you find it! Symptoms of toxicity can include brownish-gray colored gums, labored breathing, swollen face or neck or limbs, hypothermia, vomiting, jaundice, and coma.

7. Aloe

Its juicy innards may feel good on your sunburn, but the aloe plant is poisonous to cats. Symptoms include vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia, tremors, and change in urine color.

Cats love to play with thread and yarn -- it's even more dangerous if a needle is still attached. Hairless cat with yarn by Shutterstock.

8. Yarn

We've all seen those adorable posters of wide-eyed, fluffy kittens batting around a ball of yarn. But the damn cute factory needs to stop perpetrating these lies, because yarn -- and string, dental floss, and rubber bands -- can kill a cat. Once a cat starts swallowing a piece of yarn, she will keep swallowing, and swallowing, and swallowing. The resulting mass of yarn can cause intestinal blockage, which can result in death. So maybe stick to the feather toy and the catnip banana -- or just put the string away when playtime is over.

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