Top 10 Household Items Most Toxic to Cats

You do the best to ensure your cat’s good health by buying the healthiest food and making sure she’s up-to-date on vet checkups – but did you know that there are many items that can be harmful (even fatal) to your kitty right within your own home? As there are thousands of items that are toxic to pets, these are simply a list of the most common. Please feel free to share any others you think of with us!


1. Fruits and Vegetables
Onions, garlic, grapes, green tomatoes, mushrooms and many root vegetables are just a handful of human foods that are toxic to kitties. In addition, beware of products that contain these foods – for example, most baby food contains onion powder.

2. Caffeine
Consider the effect caffeine has on your nervous system, then consider the effect it will have on a small cat. Even small doses of caffeine will cause felines to shake, vomit and experience diarrhea.

3. Chocolate
Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical which cats are unable to digest. Typically speaking, the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains – thus the more fatal it becomes to kitty. Regular milk chocolate can cause diarrhea, vomiting, seizure, coma and possibly death.

4. Flowers and Plants
Cats are naturally attracted to foliage – there’s nothing they love better than brushing up against plants and nipping at leaves. Unfortunately, there are a surprising number of plants that are very harmful to kitties. Lilies, aloe and carnations are just a few of the plants to keep away from your cat. The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of plants that are harmful to kitty.

 5. Alcohol
Calling all frat boys: although it may seem cute to feed your cat a beer, it may prove to be fatal. Alcohol and alcohol-based products can cause kitty to experience serious intoxication, leading to coma or death.

6. Permethrin
Permethrin is the active ingredient found in OTC flea and lice products geared towards use on humans and dogs. Unfortunately, this ingredient can prove to be highly toxic – even deadly – to cats. If your kitty happens to get fleas, only use products that are labeled for use on cats, such as Advantage Flea Treatment for Cats or Frontline Plus Flea Treatment for Cats. Likewise, if you’ve recently treated your dog (or child), be sure to keep your kitty far away – permethrin can be harmful even upon contact with someone who has been treated.

7. Ethalyne Glycol
Commonly found in anti-freeze, solvents and rust removers, Ethylene Glycol  is extremely deadly to cats. Unfortunately, the sweet smell of this toxin is also very appealing to kitties, thus it’s best to keep your garage closed off to your pets. offers tips on what to do if you suspect your cat (or dog) has ingested Ethylene Glycol.

8. Bone-In Chicken or Fish
It seems like the healthiest, most logical thing to feed your kitty – unfortunately, many people don’t realize that bone-in chicken and fish can be extremely harmful to cats. The small bones in these foods can be easily ingested and can obstruct or lacerate your kitty’s stomach. If you choose to serve your cat one of these items, your best bet is to remove the meat off of the bones prior to feeding to ensure safety.

9. Milk
Yes – kitties love milk. Unfortunately just like humans, cats don’t always love what’s good for them. Surprisingly, the majority of cats are lactose-intolerant, and feeding them milk can lead to cramping, gas and diarrhea. If your kitty simply can’t live without milk, check out CatSip, a milk formulated with an added enzyme that helps cats digest lactose. 

10. Household Cleaning Products
There is a laundry-list of household cleaning products that don’t bode well with kitty, including bleach, furniture polish, wood preservatives, air fresheners, deodorizers and many aromatherapy products. The good news is you don’t have to stop cleaning – just be sure to keep kitty quarantined until you’re finished and all of the products have dried.

What to Do if Your Pet Has Ingested a Toxin

Gather Information
Be sure to have all information ready for your veterinarian, including the type of toxin (it’s helpful to bring the toxin’s container along) and your pet’s basic information (breed, weight, etc.). It is also helpful to collect anything that your pet may have chewed or vomited in a sealable plastic bag.

Contact Your Veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center
Be prepared – always keep your veterinarian’s phone number as well as the phone number of the closest 24 hour emergency vet clinic close at hand. If your pet is not exhibiting any symptoms just yet or there is not a 24-hour vet hospital nearby, you may want to call the poison control center. Note that a $65 consultation fee may apply.

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