Can Cats Eat Eggs?

Cat owners commonly consider the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded substantial press coverage. The most important toxic foods to cats are onions, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of dangerous foods have encouraged cat owners ask about other human foods such as can cats eat eggs. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Eggs?

When researching the safety and dangers of eggs for cats, it appears eggs are very safe to feed to most cats (see more below about the details).

Cats often love the flavor and soft texture of eggs, and enjoy this as a healthy snack. Eggs are a good source of riboflavin, selenium, and protein. Some veterinarians recommend cooked eggs for cats with gastrointestinal upset.

NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. What may not bother some cats may cause signs of illness in another cat. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others. Overfeeding can cause gastrointestinal upset and/or obesity.

The Dangers of Eggs to Cats

Ingestion of raw eggs, eggshells, or large amount of egg can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. Raw eggs can contain a dangerous bacterium such as Salmonella or Ecoli which can cause life-threatening infections with symptoms that include anorexia, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cooking eggs minimizes this risk. Learn more at Salmonellosis in Cats.

Consistent ingestion of egg whites has been shown to cause biotin deficiency in rare cases. Biotin is a B complex vitamin that is important for many body functions including normal digestive function and skin health.

Although uncommon, there is a small risk of choking when cats are exposed to raw whole, cooked hard-boiled eggs or shells.

Do Cats Like Eggs?

Some cats love cats and other cats don’t. This really varies cat to cat.

Do Cats Need Eggs?

There is nothing in eggs that cats require. What cats do need is a high quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Eggs to Cats

The safest way to give egg to your cat is to give small amounts of cooked egg cut into pieces. The egg can be scrambled (without butter) or hard-boiled. Do not give raw egg or egg shells.

If you decide to supplement your cat’s diet with eggs, the recommended amount is not more than 1/18 to ¼ of an egg per serving.

It’s easy to overfeed a cat and the calories can add up. Cats generally require about 15 to 20 calories per pound of body weight per day. A 10-pound cat would require 150 to 200 calories per day. An egg is about 80 calories. If you fed your cat an entire egg, that would be half of his daily caloric intake. Any treat should make up less than 5% of your cat’s dietary intake.

Can Cats be Allergic to Eggs?

Although uncommon, cats can be allergic to eggs. Both cats and dogs can be allergic to eggs and other dairy products. Other common food allergies are to chicken and beef. Food allergies in cats can cause skin infections and/or gastrointestinal problems.

Additional Articles About Whether Cats Can Eat Eggs

Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat chocolate. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

Chocolate, in addition to having a high fat content, contains caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic when ingested in sufficient amounts. The levels of caffeine and theobromine vary between different types of chocolate. For example, white chocolate has the lowest concentration of stimulants and baking chocolate or cacao beans have the highest concentration.

When researching the safety and danger of chocolate for cats, there are a couple different considerations. Cats are much more discriminating in their eating patterns than dogs making chocolate toxicity uncommon. However, every cat is different and some may ingest toxic amounts. Chocolate toxicity is most common in curious kittens over adult cats. Ingestion of enough chocolate with the toxic agent can cause severe illness in cats such as tremors, seizures, abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) or even death.

Toxic Amounts of Chocolate to Cats

The toxic level for chocolate in dogs is similar to those for cats. The toxic dose of
theobromine and caffeine for cats is approximately 100 to 200 milligrams per kilogram (45 to 90 milligrams per pound) of body weight. A 10-pound cat can be toxic with ingestion of 450 milligrams.

The toxicity of the different types of chocolate is as follows:

  • White Chocolate. Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 45 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested. Severe toxicity occurs when 90 ounces per pound of body weight in ingested. This means that a 10-pound cat would need to ingest at least nearly 27 pounds of white chocolate to cause nervous system signs, which is impossible. Be aware that a much smaller amount of white chocolate may result in gastrointestinal problems.
  • Milk Chocolate. Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight is ingested. Severe signs occur when two ounces per pound of body weight is ingested. This means that a little less than 8 ounces milk chocolate can be toxic to the nervous system of a 10-pound cat.
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate. Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 1/3 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested. Severe signs occur when one ounce per pound of body weight is ingested. This means that as little as three ounces of semi-sweet chocolate can be toxic to the nervous system of a 10-pound cat.
  • Baking Chocolate. Mild signs of toxicity can occur when 0.1 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested. Severe signs occur when 0.15 ounce per pound of body weight is ingested. One small one-ounce square of baking chocolate can be toxic to a 10-pound cat. This type of chocolate has the highest concentration of caffeine and theobromine and very little needs to be ingested before signs of illness become apparent.

The answer to the question, “Can cats eat chocolate” – the answer is no. While a lick or two of milk chocolate is unlikely to cause a problem in a normal healthy cat, ingestion of small amounts of dark or baking chocolate can cause severe signs of toxicity.

Symptoms of Chocolate Toxicity in Cats

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity in cats will vary with amount and ingested and may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy or restlessness
  • Anorexia or decreased appetite
  • Increased respiratory (breathing) rate
  • Increase heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Difficulty breathing

Depending on the type of chocolate ingested and the amount eaten, various problems can occur. The high fat content in chocolate may result in vomiting and possibly diarrhea. Once toxic levels are eaten, the stimulant effect becomes apparent. You may notice restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, tremors, increased urination and possibly increased respiratory rates. Heart rate and blood pressure levels may also be increased. Seizure activity may occur in severe cases.

These symptoms will vary based on the amount and type of chocolate that is ingested and can influence the severity of the condition. Varieties of chocolate that can be especially poisonous to cats are dark chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and baking chocolate.

What to Do if You Believe Your Cat Ate Chocolate

If you suspect your cat ingested chocolate, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately. If your cat is symptomatic, see your vet as soon as possible. While on your way to the vet, keep your cat calm.

Can Cats Eat Cheese?

Cat owners commonly contemplate about the toxicity of human foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods in cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish. In dogs, Grapes and Raisins, and Peanut Butter are commonly discussed dangerous foods.

Exposure to the dangers of dangerous foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other human foods such as can cats eat cheese. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Cheese?

Cheese is a food product made from milk. It is formed by the coagulation of the milk protein casein. Cheese can be made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats, and buffalo. Cheese can be created into a large variety of textures and flavors.

When researching the safety and dangers of cheese for cats, while cheese is not considered toxic or dangerous, it is not necessarily good for your cat. It can be fed to some cats in very small amounts.

Why is cheese not good for cats? The answer is that most cats are considered to be lactose-intolerant. This is contrary to popular belief. After all, many children’s books contain iconic photos of adorable kittens lapping up saucers of milk.

Lactose intolerance is a normal part of being an adult cat. Kittens produce an enzyme called lactase to break down lactose which is the milk sugar. As kittens age and are weaned, they produce less and less lactase and therefore are unable to digest most dairy products.

When lactose is ingested and not broken down by the lactase, the lactose continues through the intestinal system and is not digested. Water is drawn into the intestine and bacteria ferment the undigested milk sugars. This results in symptoms that may include gas, discomfort, and diarrhea in 8 to 12 hours.

NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. What may not bother some cats may cause signs of illness in another cat. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others. Overfeeding can cause gastrointestinal upset and/or obesity.

The Dangers of Cheese to Cats

As discussed above, cats naturally have an inability to digest lactose. This can affect some cats more than others. Ingestion of any type of cheese or dairy product can produce severe symptoms in some cats.

Flavored cheese such as with garlic, onion, or garlic/onion powders can cause severe problems in cats. Cats lack the enzyme to appropriately digest onions that can cause flatulence (gas), vomiting, diarrhea, or severe gastrointestinal distress. Regular ingestion of onion or garlic products can cause life-threatening red blood cell damage.

However, some cats appear to be more lactose intolerant than others. I’ve seen cats on dairy farms seem to tolerate milk ingestion. I personally have a cat that begs for cheese and loves it. I only feed a small amount the size of a pea and he seems to consistently tolerate this without any signs of problems. In general, dairy products are not recommended for most cats.

How Can You Tell if Your Cat is Lactose Intolerant?

You can test your cat’s ability to digest lactose by offering a small amount of milk such as a tablespoon of milk and look for abnormal symptoms.

There are differing amounts of lactose in the various dairy products. For examples, goat milk commonly contain less lactose than cow milk. Therefore, some cats may digest cheese made with goat milk better than cheese made with cow milk. Milk, cream, butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream all have different amounts. Some dairy products may agree with your cat more than another.

With that being said, there is nothing in cheese that your cat requires. It is safest to choose a different treat that is without risk.

Do Cats Like Cheese?

Some cats love cheese and other cats don’t. This really varies cat to cat. Some cats often love the flavor of cheese, soft texture, and enjoy this as a healthy snack. Cheese is a good source of protein, calcium, and Vitamin B12. In fact, I personally have two cats that love cheese and beg for it at every occasion.

Do Cats Need Cheese?

There is nothing in cheese that cats require. What cats do need is a high quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

There are healthier snacks for cats other than cheese.

The Safest Way to Give Cheese to Cats

The safest way to give cheese to your cat is to give a very small piece of sliced soft cheese free of flavors such as onion. Some cat lovers hide medication such as pills in cheese, although this is a more common technique used in dogs.

Can Cats be Allergic to Cheese?

Although uncommon, cats can be allergic to cheese. Both cats and dogs can be allergic to cheese and other dairy products. Other common food allergies are to chicken and beef. Food allergies in cats can cause skin infections and/or gastrointestinal problems.

Additional Articles About Whether Cats Can Eat Cheese

Can Cats Eat Bananas?

Cat owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage.

The most important toxic foods are onions, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish. Exposure to the dangers of dangerous foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other human foods such as can cats eat bananas. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Bananas?

A banana is a long curved fruit with a soft pulpy flesh covered by a green skin (when not ripe) or yellow skin (when ripe). They grow in clusters on a banana tree. The banana tree has very large palm type leaves that grow in subtropical and tropical climates. There are over 1000 types of bananas with the most common type that we eat is the Cavendish banana.

The answer to the question, “can cats eat Bananas”… is yes. Cats continue to amaze me. While some cats would not consider even looking at a banana, some cats love them. Cats can eat bananas but in moderation. Cats often love the soft texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack. Bananas are high in potassium and a good source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, fiber, protein, biotin, manganese, and copper.
However, any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. What may not bother one cat may cause problems in a different cat. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother one person but not another.

The Dangers of Bananas to Cats

Ingestion of large amounts of bananas can cause gastrointestinal upset and ingestion of excessive amounts of bananas can cause constipation. Ingestion of banana peels can cause gastrointestinal obstruction. The peels are very difficult to ingest. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.
The other danger of bananas to cats is the danger of choking – especially when eating the peel. Some cats are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.

Please be careful if your cat eats anything banana flavored that contains the sweetener xylitol. This is primarily a problem in dogs but it is recommended not to feed cats any foods made with xylitol. Xylitol is an ingredient in diet or low calorie pastries, especially those created for people with diabetes.

Do Cats Need Bananas?

There is nothing in bananas that cats require on a regular basis. What cats do need is a high quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Bananas to Cats

The safest way to give banana to your cat is go give small pieces of sliced peeled fresh banana. Cats should never be fed the banana peel. One small slide is plenty to give a cat that likes and tolerates it.

Any treat should make up less than 5% of your cat dietary intake.

Additional Articles About Whether Cats Can Eat Bananas

Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic that led to a lot of press coverage.

The most important toxic foods are Chocolate, Grapes and Raisins, and Peanut Butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners to ask about other human foods such as can dogs eat strawberries. Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Strawberries?

A strawberry is a a round, oblong, spherical, or heart shaped sweet soft red fruit with a seed-studded surface grown from a strawberry plant. The world production of strawberries is estimated to be nearly 10 million ton/year.
The strawberry plant is a low growing green plant that produces white flowers that yield the strawberry fruit. They are grown worldwide. Strawberries are commonly eaten by themselves or prepared in foods such as pies, ice cream, milk shakes, energy drinks, salad dressings, preserves, fruit smoothies, fruit bars, candy, or enjoyed covered in chocolate. The flavor and aromas are common in candy, perfume, cosmetics, candles, and many more products.

It is believed that the first strawberry was bred in France and came to North American in the mid 1700’s. The strawberry has received recent press discussing that it is not a classified as a traditional “berry” based on the biology of the plant and that it is technically an “accessory fruit”.

The answer to the question, “can dogs eat Strawberries”… the answer is yes. Dogs can eat strawberries but in moderation. Dogs often love the soft moist texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack. Strawberries are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C.

The Dangers of Strawberries to Dogs

Ingestion of large amounts of strawberries can cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea. Although uncommon, ingestion of strawberry stems and plants can cause gastrointestinal obstruction. The leaves and plant, while not toxic, are very difficult to digest. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

The other danger of strawberries to dogs is the danger of choking – especially when eating a large whole strawberry. Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur. This is more common in small dogs.

Please be careful if your dog eats anything strawberry flavored that contains the sweetener xylitol. This can be an ingredient in diet or low calorie pastries and drinks, especially those created for people with diabetes. Learn more about Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.

Do Dogs Need Strawberries?

There is nothing in strawberries that dogs require on a regular basis. What dogs do need is a high quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Strawberries to Dogs

The safest way to give some strawberry to your dog is to give small pieces of clean fresh strawberry. Dogs should never be feed the strawberry stem or leaves.

How Much Strawberry Can You Give a Dog?

One medium-sized strawberry cut up is plenty to give a small dog, two to three for a medium-sized dog, and three or four medium sized strawberries for a large sized dog.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Strawberries?

While it is possible for a dog to be allergic to anything, dog allergies to strawberries are uncommon.

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Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the safety of feeding human foods. The question of food safety increased after learning that specific human foods are toxic to dogs that led to a lot of press coverage. The most important foods toxic to dogs are Peanut Butter, Grapes and Raisins, and Chocolate. This encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of other foods such as shrimp.

Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Shrimp?

A shrimp, commonly referred to as a prawn, is an animal classified as decapod crustaceans that live in the water. There are thousands of species that serve as an important food source to various ocean animals including various species of fish. Shrimp have an elongated body, strong tails, and most commonly move by swimming. The tails of shrimp are a common delicacy for human consumption and the commercial shrimp industry is estimated to be over a 50 billion dollar a year business.

The answer to can dogs eat cooked shrimp is yes they can. Shrimp can be prepared plain, streamed, grilled, sautéed, baked, boiled, or broiled. Dogs love the soft firm texture, flavor and smell of the shrimp and can enjoy it as a healthy snack. Shrimp are a good source of protein, phosphorous, selenium, choline, copper, iodine and vitamin B12.

The Dangers of Shrimp to Dogs

When researching the safety of shrimp for dogs, there are five considerations that impact the danger.

  1. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset can occur in dogs that aren’t use to shrimp or after ingestion of shrimp cooked with seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
  2. There is a risk of choking or esophageal foreign bodies from the tails (shell). This is more common in small dogs but can occur in any dog.
  3. Ingestion of large amounts if fish tails can cause gastrointestinal upset and constipation.
  4. Raw shrimp can contain a bacterium that infects dogs (and you) such as E.Coli, salmonella and/or listeria which can cause symptoms of infection in dogs.
  5. Some dogs may be allergic to shrimp.

The answer to the question, “can dogs eat shrimp” …the answer is yes.

If your dog ingested shrimp and is showing symptoms such as trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or lethargy, please call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not cause illness in one dog may create sickness in another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods that bother some people may not affect others.

Do Dogs Need Shrimp?

There is nothing in shrimp that dogs require however shrimp is a very good source of protein and nutrients. Learn more about the nutritional needs of dogs. Go to Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Shrimp to Dogs

The safest way to give shrimp to your dog is to offer a small amount of unseasoned or lightly seasoned deveined cooked shrimp. If feeding shrimp, ½ of a shrimp is plenty for a small dog, 1 shrimp for a medium-sized dog, and 2 or 3 for a large sized dog.

Can Dogs Be Allergic to Shrimp?

Dogs can have food allergies including to shrimp. The most common food allergens in dogs are beef, chicken, and dairy. Symptoms of allergies in dogs can include skin infections, ear infections, scaly dry skin, and persistent itching.

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Can Dogs Eat Oranges?

Can Dogs Eat Oranges?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic that led to a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are Grapes and Raisins, Chocolate, and Peanut Butter.

Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners to ask about other human foods such as can dogs eat oranges. Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.

Can Dogs Eat Oranges?

An orange is a round, oblong or spherical shaped fruit grown from an orange tree which is a kind of evergreen tree. It is not considered a wild fruit but a domesticated cross between a pomelo and a mandarin orange. The orange has a thick green skin (when not ripe) or orange skin (when ripe). The inner fruit has a white tissue that encapsulates inner segments called carpels. Each carpel is segmented by a membrane with each containing the sweet fruit and seeds.

There are many types of orange with the most common orange being the sweet orange, also known as Citrus sinensis. Oranges originated from China and are now grown in many tropical and subtropical climates with Brazil, China and India being the biggest orange producers.

The answer to the question, “can dogs eat Oranges”… the answer is yes. They can also eat tangerines and clementines. Dogs can eat oranges but in moderation. Dogs frequently love the soft moist texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack. Oranges are a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, thiamine, and folate.

Oranges are very high in sugar and as with any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs. What may not bother one dog may cause problems in a different dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother one person but not another.

The Dangers of Oranges to Dogs

Ingestion of large amounts of oranges can cause gastrointestinal upset. Ingestion of orange peels can cause gastrointestinal obstruction. The peels are very difficult to ingest. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

The other danger of oranges to dogs is the danger of choking – especially when a small dog eats a large section of orange or when any dog tries to eat the peel. Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.

SPECIAL ALERT: Please be careful if your dog eats anything orange flavored that contains the sweetener xylitol. This can be an ingredient in diet or low calorie pastries, especially those created for people with diabetes. Learn more about Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.

Do Dogs Need Oranges?

There is nothing in oranges that dogs require on a regular basis. What dogs do need is a high quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Oranges to Dogs

The safest way to give some orange to your dog is to give small pieces of peeled fresh orange without the seeds. Dogs should never be fed the orange peel.

How Much Orange Can You Give a Dog?

Approximately 1/3 of an orange is plenty to give a small dog, a half for a medium-sized dog and an entire orange for a large dog.

Can Dogs Have Orange Juice?

Dogs can have orange juice in small amounts but it can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs. The acidity can bother some dogs more than others.

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Can Dogs Eat Carrots?

Can Dogs Eat Carrots?

Dog owners commonly ponder about the toxicity of foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic and have received a lot of press coverage. The most important foods are chocolate, grapes and raisins, and peanut butter. Exposure to the dangers of these foods have encouraged pet owners ask about other foods such as carrots.

Learn more about what dogs can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Dogs Can’t Eat.
Dogs often love the crunchy texture of carrots and can enjoy this as a healthy snack. Carrots are low in calories and have approximately 85 to 95% water and is a good source of vitamin K, potassium, beta-carotene, fiber and antioxidants.

Carrots (Daucus carota) are root vegetables, most commonly orange in color, domesticated from a wild carrot native to Europe and southwestern Asia. There are multiple varieties that can vary in color from the classic orange to purple, red, white, yellow and even black.

The answer to the question, can dogs eat carrots …the answer is yes. Carrots make a very good low-calorie treat for overweight dogs.

Please note: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs. What may not bother one dog may bother another dog. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.

The Dangers of Carrots to Dogs

When researching the safety of carrots for dogs, there are two considerations that impact the danger.

Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset in dogs that aren’t used to carrots or carrots cooked with seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.

  1. Risk of choking from eating large prices of carrots. This is more common in small dogs but can occur in any dog. Some dogs are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.
  2. However, be aware that just because your dog can eat an occasional small piece of carrots, doesn’t suggest it is safe to give him your leftover salad. Salads often include additional ingredients, such as onions, garlic or even raisins, which can be toxic. However, it is generally okay to give your dog a piece of carrot.

Do Dogs Need Carrots

There is nothing in carrots that dogs require. What dogs do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved dog food. Learn more about what dogs require in their diet with this article: Nutrition in Dogs.

The Safest Way to Give Carrots to Dogs

The safest and healthiest way to give carrots to your dog is to give small pieces or amount of fresh cut carrot. Make sure the carrots are washed thoroughly to remove pesticides, fertilizers and potential contaminate such as E. coli or listeria. Cooked carrots are also a healthy option and best when unseasoned and steamed. Excess butter or seasoning can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs.

If your dog shows any sign of illness after eating carrots, please call your veterinarian or closest veterinary emergency clinic immediately.

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What Are Cat Colonies?

Feral cats prefer to live their lives without any direct interaction with humans. Feral cats will avoid direct human contact. They may live anywhere there is a supply of food, water and shelter. These free-roaming cats have reverted to their wild ways for survival. They take care of themselves in a world that is often hostile and dangerous for them, and their life expectancy is low. If a feral makes it past kittenhood but lives on his own, his life expectancy is about two years. If the feral cat lives in a cat colony with a regular caretaker, he may live to be as much as ten years old.

Some feral cats live in cat colonies that loosely resemble lion prides. A cat colony consists of a group of usually related female cats and their offspring. The size of the cat colonies depend upon the availability of food and other resources. Adult male cats do not live in cat colonies, but friendly behavior between females and males can occur, especially when familiarity exists.

Within cat colonies, female cats, known as queens, will share many activities together such as raising kittens and guarding the cat colony from intruders. The queen cats will nurse, groom and guard each other’s kittens, and they will teach the kittens appropriate behaviors. The queens in cat colonies will often band together to repel other animals, including lone cats and cats from other cat colonies that encroach on their territory. Sometimes a stray cat may eventually be allowed into the cat colony after a number of interactions.

The one activity cats do not share is hunting. Each cat will hunt on its own in its own territory. Territories may overlap, but there is no cooperation between cats in catching prey.

Members of cat colonies will groom each other and rub their bodies up against one another to reinforce their group identity by transferring scents. Inter-cat aggression is not common in cat colonies since the strong familiarity among females helps keep aggression to a minimum. In-group fighting can occur, but this is more likely to happen when resources are scarce.

What Is a Cat Colony?

The living arrangements of free-living domestic cats can be divided into those in which females form small groups or cat colonies, loosely resembling a pride of lions, and those that remain solitary with individual territories.

Since cats are a species of essentially solitary hunters, it is important for cats to establish a hunting territory and that it is defined in such a way as to generally avoid conflict with other cats. This is necessary for the survival of the species. So cats mark their territories using scent from facial glands, urine, feces and anal glands. This territorial marking, together with an extremely sensitive sense of smell, helps cats to communicate effectively and to minimize direct conflicts. In the wild, territories may overlap with neutral areas where cats may greet and interact with each other. If a strange cat encroaches into another cat’s territory, it will normally provoke an aggressive interaction to chase off the cat through staring, hissing and growling. If that is not effective, there will be a short, noisy, violent attack.

Feral cats can and will form small cat colonies based around available food resources. This does not inevitably happen and some will choose to live singly, but it is not uncommon for small groups of cooperating females and kittens to develop. While there may be a very loose dominance hierarchy in these groups, the relationships are complex. They do not form an interdependent hierarchy as would occur with dogs. Relationships in cat colonies are complex, with stronger affiliations between some cats and less affiliation with others. This may be influenced in part by how they are related, age, etc. But they do not develop a social survival strategy nor a pack mentality and they continue to be solitary hunters. So cats are not pack animals, but they have the ability to adapt to form social groups.

Cat colonies appear to only work well when the members of the colony are familiar and when there is no competition over food or other resources. Cats can form strong social relationships with familiar individuals. In feral cat colonies, kittens may often be nursed by more than one lactating queen. There may be a larger central cat colony of females associated with the major food source and smaller peripheral groups that develop around the central colony that have poorer access to the food source, poorer health and poorer reproductive performance.

How to Build a Winter Cat Shelter

Community cats or feral cats are well-suited to outdoor living, and they can survive winter on their own. But there are some things that you can do to make winter life more comfortable for them. One way that you can help is by building a winter cat shelter.

Building a winter cat shelter can be simple and inexpensive. The two preferred styles used for a winter cat shelter are styrofoam bins and Rubbermaid plastic storage bins with removable lids. (Make sure that the brand is Rubbermaid. Other brands may crack in the cold temperatures.)

When building your winter cat shelter, smaller is better. A smaller interior means that less heat is needed to keep the cat warm. A small shelter can be heated by one or two cats. A large shelter with only one or two cats inside will remain cold, so two smaller shelters are better than one large winter cat shelter.

The placement of your winter cat shelter is important to help keep cats safe from predators. If there are dogs in the area, place the winter cat shelter behind a fence where dogs can’t get in. Another good idea is to have the entrance face a wall so only the cat will be able to get in and out.

Be sure that the winter cat shelter is weighted down and hard to move. Cut only a small cat-size doorway to help keep larger predators from getting in and to keep more heat inside. Cats only need an opening of about five and a half or six inches in diameter. Cut the doorway several inches above the bottom of the bin to help keep the weather out.

Build Options for a Winter Cat Shelter You Can Put Near Your Home

A foam cooler has about two inches of thickness and makes the perfect winter cat shelter. It is waterproof and insulated and you can easily create a doorway with a knife or box cutter. Cut the doorway a few inches above the bottom of the bin to help keep winter elements outside. Use duct tape around the opening to keep the cats from scratching.

Don’t place the winter cat shelter directly on the cold ground. Use two 2x4s or other materials to lift it off the ground. Also, raising the rear of the winter cat shelter slightly higher than the front will help to keep rain from pooling inside and snow from piling up on the roof. You may want to drill a little hole into the side of the winter cat shelter to allow water to drain out should rain blow into the front door.

The winter cat shelter should be weighted down to help keep it secure from the wind. Try putting a couple of 5 or 10-pound barbell weights on the floor of the shelter underneath the bedding, or you may use bricks or flat, heavy rocks.

Insulate the winter cat shelter to increase the comfort and warmth of the cats. Use insulating materials in which the cats can burrow. Blankets, towels and newspaper should not be used as they will retain wetness. Straw is a very good insulating material to use because it can absorb more moisture and is less susceptible to rot or mold.

A Rubbermaid bin is another good option. (Make sure that the brand is Rubbermaid so that they will not crack in the cold.) These winter cat shelters should be double-insulated. You’ll also need an 8×2-foot sheet of one-inch thick hard styrofoam, a yardstick, a box cutter and straw for insulation.

Here are some instructions from Alley Cat Advocates on how to assemble your winter cat shelter from Rubbermaid containers:

  • Cut the doorway six inches by six inches in one of the long sides of the bin towards the corner. Cut the opening so that the bottom of the doorway is several inches above the ground to prevent flooding.
  • Line the floor of the bin with a piece of styrofoam, using the yardstick and box cutter to cut the piece. It doesn’t have to be an exact fit, but the closer the better.
  • In a similar fashion, line each of the four interior walls of the bin with a piece of the styrofoam. Leave a cap of three inches between the top of these styrofoam wall pieces and the upper lip of the bin.
  • Cut out a doorway in the styrofoam interior wall where the doorway has already been cut out in the storage bin.
  • Measure the length and width of the interior space and place a second smaller-size bin into the open interior. This bin should fit as snugly as possible against the styrofoam wall pieces. Cut a doorway into this bin where the doorways have been cut into the styrofoam and outer bin.
  • Stuff the bottom of the interior bin with straw to provide both insulation and a comfortable spot to lie down.
  • Cut out a styrofoam roof to rest on top of the styrofoam wall pieces.
  • Cover the bin with its lid.

What to Put In Your Winter Cat Shelter

You should line your winter cat shelter with straw to help keep the area warm and dry. Towels, blankets and newspaper should not be used as they will soak up wetness. Cats like materials like straw because they can burrow into them to stay warm.