Pet Loss: Dealing with the Loss of a Cat

Dealing with the Loss of a Cat

The loss of any close friend can be devastating, and a cat can be among our closest companions. A cat frequently provides unconditional love, emotional security, and loyalty. Routine activities with an animal companion often provide structure, fun, relaxation, and social contact in our daily lives. The death of a cherished cat can mean the loss of an entire lifestyle as well as a devoted companion. Lack of understanding and support from people around us can make this period even more difficult.

Be Prepared

In some instances the death of a cat can be anticipated; the animal may be very old or suffering from an extended illness. Other cat owners may face a sudden loss – the result of an accident or short-term illness. Things that will need to be considered with a gravely ill or seriously injured animal include the cat’s quality of life, emotional and financial cost, and when or if euthanasia should be considered. It is best to have contemplated these difficult matters beforehand.

Accept and Express Your Feelings

It is important to understand that grief is a personal experience and there are no right or wrong ways to feel it. The most important part of healing is to acknowledge what you are feeling and somehow release it. Try writing your thoughts down in a journal. A good long cry can help, too. Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to your friends or a counselor.

You’re Not Alone: Pet Loss Support

Seek out support. Well-meaning friends who don’t understand the bond between you and your cat may say, “He was only a cat.” Others may encourage you to “get another one,” as if your lifelong companion could be easily replaced. This can make expression of your pain even harder. It is important to realize that you are not alone. A support group can act as a wonderful resource for consolation and affirmation.

Do What You Can to Ease the Pain of the Loss of a Cat

Share your thoughts and feelings with others. Talk. Write. Many people find comfort in rituals, like paying their final respects with a brief service or setting up a small memorial with photos and objects that had significance in the cat’s life, such as a collar, bowl, or toy. It’s important to set aside time to think about the good times and remember to pay extra attention to surviving pets. They may need consolation during this difficult period too.

Special Friendships, Special Concerns

The death of a long-time companion can be particularly painful for those who shared a unique relationship with their cat. This includes anyone whose cat was the sole or primary companion, or who was either physically or emotionally dependent upon their cat. Children, the elderly, and handicapped cat owners often have unique bonds with companion animals and may need special attention and support when a cat dies.

Recognizing the tasks of grief can give you landmarks on the path to resolution, and help you recognize that your feelings are normal. The term “task” is used rather than “stage” to avoid giving the impression that grief is something marked by well-defined milestones. The mourner should not feel that he or she must follow some pre-set list, each lasting a determined period of time.

Remember that the grieving process for each individual is as unique as each lost relationship. There is no set pattern or time period for recovery, but there are some general patterns.

  • Denial. Most people will experience a period of denial, refusing to believe the cat is dying or has died. Denial is usually strongest when there is little time for acceptance, such as with an accident or short-term illness.
  • Bargaining. For cats facing imminent death, many people will try to make a deal with God, themselves, or even the cat, in a desperate attempt to deter fate.
  • Anger. In frustration, anger may be directed at anyone involved with the cat, including friends, family, veterinarians, and even the cat owner himself.
  • Guilt. Guilt is probably the most common emotion resulting from the death of a companion animal. As the cat’s primary caretaker, all decisions regarding care are the owner’s responsibility. When a cat dies, the owner often feels guilty about actions taken or not taken, even about things that happened before the cat became ill. The most attentive caretaker may feel he or she should have somehow done more. But we all do our best with the information, knowledge, and resources available to us. It is important to try not to second-guess the decisions you made along the way, and to remember that you tried to act in your cat’s best interest.
  • Depression. Depression can indicate the start of acceptance. It is normal to withdraw and contemplate the meaning of the relationship in solitude. Deep and lasting despondency, however, requires professional help.
  • Acceptance. Now is the time to remember the good times. The daily reminders become a little less painful. You find you can now start to think about the future.

When Is It Time to Consider Another Cat?

A new cat is just that – a new cat. He or she can never replace the cat you lost. If you decide to get another cat, you will be entering into an entirely new and different relationship. Be sure that you are psychologically, physically, and financially ready and willing to commit the time and energy needed to care for a new companion, without resentment or unrealistic expectations.

Read other articles Related to Loss of a Cat

Revolution® PLUS (Selamectin and Sarolaner Topical Solution) for Cats

Overview of Revolution® PLUS for Cats

  • Revolution® PLUS, is a drug released in 2019 that is a combination of two drugs, Selamectin and Sarolaner. Selamectin, is the ingredient in the traditionally used Revolution® in dogs and cats.
  • Selamectin is a semi synthetic avermectin antiparasitic agent primarily used to kill adult fleas on cats. It also kills ear mites, feline hookworms, feline roundworms, sarcoptic mange, and has some tick repellent properties. It also prevents heartworm infection. It works by interfering with the nervous system of insects and some worms, resulting in death. Selamectin belongs to the macrocyclic lactone class of parasiticides.
  • Sarolaner, an active ingredient in Simperica®, kills adult fleas and ticks. Sarolaner belongs to the isoxazoline of parasiticides.
  • Selamectin and Sarolaner is a topical solution that collects in the oils of the skin and in the hair follicles. It is absorbed into the body and circulates through the bloodstream.
  • Together, Selamectin and Sarolaner is known as Revolution® PLUS, providing an effective comprehensive parasite prevention solution for cats.
  • The effects of Selamectin and Sarolaner last about 30 days.
  • Selamectin and Sarolaner is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

Brand Names and Other Names of Selamectin and Sarolaner

  • This drug is registered for use in animals only.
  • Human formulations: None
  • Veterinary formulations: Revolution® PLUS (Zoetis)

Uses of Selamectin and Sarolaner for Cats

  • In cats, Selamectin and Sarolaner (Revolution® PLUS) is used to treat and control fleas, ear mites, hookworms (Ancylostoma tubaeforme) and roundworms (Toxocara cati), ticks and prevent heartworm disease in cats.
  • Control of tick infestation includes Ixodes scapularis (black legged tick), Ambylomma maculatum (Gulf Coast tick), and Dermacentor variabilis (American Dog Tick).
  • It has also been used to treat Cheyletiellosis (Walking Dandruff Mite) in cats.

Precautions and Side Effects with Revolution® PLUS for Cats

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, Selamectin and Sarolaner can cause side effects in some cats.
    Selamectin and Sarolaner should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug. Revolution® PLUS should be used with caution in cats with neurologic disease.
  • This product is not recommended for use in debilitated or underweight animals.
  • Revolution® PLUS is not recommended for use in kittens less than 8 weeks of age.
  • Selamectin and Sarolaner (Revolution® PLUS) is a clear to slightly yellow topical agent. Temporary irritation and hair loss at the site of application is possible.
  • The safety of Revolution® PLUS has not been determined in pregnant, breeding, or lactating cats.
  • Side effects are rare. Side effects associated with Selamectin may include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, drooling, lethargy, or muscle tremors. Side effects of Sarolaner may include neurologic reactions such as trouble walking (ataxia), muscle tremors, and seizures.

How Selamectin and Sarolaner Is Supplied

Selamectin is available in the following single dose sized tubes based on the cat’s weight:

  • Weight 2.8 to 5.5 pounds – 0.25 mL total solution (15 mg Selamectin, 2.5 mg Sarolaner per tube)
  • Weight 5.6 to 11 pounds – 0.5 mL total solution (30 mg Selamectin, 5 mg Sarolaner per tube)
  • Weight 11.1 to 22 pounds – 1 mL total solution (60 mg Selamectin, 10 mg Sarolaner per tube)

Revolution® PLUS is recommended for cats 8 weeks and older. Cats over 22 pounds should be treated with the appropriate combination of tubes.

Dosing Information of Selamectin and Sarolaner for Cats

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • The dose of Revolution® PLUS dose is based on the weight of the cat and pipettes are available as 0.25 mL for cats up to 5.5 pounds, 0.50 mL for cats 5.6 to 11 pounds, 1 mL for cats 11.1 to 22 pounds. The milligram strength is listed above.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. The recommended treatment is monthly topical year-round. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian.

Additional Information that May be of Interest

Plasma Cell Pododermatitis in Cats

Plasma cell pododermatitis, commonly referred to by the names Pillow Foot or Pillow Paw, is a disease of the footpads that can occur in some cats. The medical term “pododermatitis” literally means inflammation of the skin on the foot. It is known for its surprising appearance of spongy, doughy, and large footpads. The disease can involve only one pad or both front (metacarpal) pads and rear (metatarsal) pads with the center pad being most frequently involved. In some light colored cats, a little purple-violet color to the pads may be noted with small striations.

The cause of feline plasma cell pododermatitis is largely unknown. A common theory involves an immune-mediated mechanism that activates lymphocytes and plasma cells. The paw pad is infiltrated with these cells, causing swelling and a soft doughy and almost “pillowy” appearance.

Plasma cell pododermatitis can affect any sex, age, or breed of cat. Some affected cats may be infected with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). The exact connection between cats with plasma cell pododermatitis and those with FIV is unclear. Some studies estimate that 50% of cats with plasma cell pododermatitis are positive for FIV.

What to Watch For

Many cats have the classic appearance of pillow paws but it does not cause problems. These cats will generally have swollen puffy but non-painful pads. On the other hand, some cats will have the following signs:

  • Some pads will ulcerate which appears as red, inflamed, painful lesions
  • Some pads will split open leading to infection and discharge
  • Bleeding from paw pads
  • Excessive licking of feet pads
  • Lameness
  • Decreased appetite or anorexia
  • Regional lymph node enlargement in come cases

Diagnosis of Plasma Cell Pododermatitis in Cats

The diagnosis of feline plasma cell pododermatitis is largely based on the physical examination and characteristic puffy pad swelling. Additional tests may include:

Routine blood work may reveal an increase in gamma globulins (hypergammaglobulinemia)
Fine needle aspirates (FNA) or biopsy of the pads may reveal an increased number of plasma cells
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are recommended to determine if concurrent disease is present.

Treatment of Plasma Cell Pododermatitis in Cats

Treatment options vary depending on the individual cats clinical signs or symptoms. Many cats are not symptomatic and do not require treatment.

Treatment for cats that are symptomatic may include:

  • Keep cats indoors out of environmental extremes of hot and cold that may cause damage to the pads.
  • Oral glucocorticoids (such as prednisolone or dexamethasone) may be recommended. Steroids may be given daily then tapered to the lowest effective dose. The goal of the steroids is to decrease the core immune response.
  • Immunosuppressive drugs such as Cyclosporine (Atopica) may be use in some cats that do not respond to steroid therapy.
  • Antibiotics such as doxycycline may be used to treat ulcerations and infections. Treatment may be recommended for 1 to 2 months or longer. Doxycycline is thought to have properties as being both effective as an antibiotic and containing immunomodulating properties.
  • Surgical removal of severely infected, ulcerated or painful pads may be a recommended treatment options in some cats.
  • Use unscented litter and paper-based cat litter may be helpful to minimize litter debris being stuck to painful pads.
  • Gentle cleaning of the paw pads may be helpful to remove litter debris.

Most symptomatic cats will respond to medical therapy within one to two months. Some cats with pododermatitis may have concurrent kidney disease (amyloidosis) or an oral infection (plasma cell stomatitis). The prognosis is worse in cats with concurrent disease or those that are also positive for feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency virus.

Prognosis for Cats with Plasma Cell Pododermatitis

The prognosis for cats with Plasma Cell Pododermatitis will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the cat’s individual response to treatment. Please follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for treatment.

Resources & References:

  • Current Veterinary Therapy XV, Bonagura and Twedt.
  • Plumb’s Veterinary Handbook by Donald C. Plumb, 9th Edition.
  • Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Ettinger & Felman.
  • Handbook of Small Animal Practice, Rhea V. Morgan, 3rd Edition.

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

The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat

There are human foods that are completely safe for cats and also foods that are dangerous and even potentially fatal. Many pet owners learn about toxic foods only after their cat has ingested something and started having abnormal symptoms.

Cats are naturally curious and have an amazing sense of smell. This combination can lead cats to get up and steal food off counters, take food from grills, get into trash cans, and sneak food from plates. Other times well-intentioned cat lovers offer tables scraps or human foods without understanding that they are toxic.

Below, we will review what can’t cats eat as well as list what is safe. It is important to have healthy alternatives once you know what is not safe.

Safe Food for Cats

There are many human foods that are “safe” for cats. However, there are no human foods that cats need. What cats need is a good quality food formulated for the age, activity, underlying health problems, and individual metabolism of your cat. Learn more about Nutrition for Cats.

Safe Treats for Cat

The ideal cat treat is one made of good quality ingredients, moderate to low in calories, consistent in ingredients (thus unlikely to cause stomach upset from bag to bag), very appealing to your cat, and safe. Higher-quality treats tend to be more consistently produced, so it is best to avoid discount and supermarket brands if possible.

There are many human foods you can feed your cat safely. By safely, I mean these foods below are not toxic to cats. However, large quantities of any food or food given to cats with sensitive gastrointestinal tracts can lead to problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Any of the foods listed below as “safe” should be given only in small amounts in moderation.

Safe Human Foods and Treats for Cats

Below are foods that can be safe to feed cats in some capacity. Please consider that these foods should be shelled, peeled, washed, in some cases cooked, and without seeds. They should also be fed in small pieces to prevent choking hazards.

  • Apples – small amounts without the seeds
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli – cooked or raw clean/washed
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots – cooked or raw clean/washed
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery – cooked or raw clean/washed
  • Cheese
  • Chicken – cooked
  • Cottage cheese
  • Crackers
  • Cranberries
  • Eggs – cooked
  • Fish such as salmon (cooked)
  • Green beans – cooked
  • Ground beef or steak- cooked
  • Kiwis
  • Lettuce
  • Lunch meat
  • Oatmeal
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Pasta
  • Peanuts
  • Popcorn
  • Pork
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin – cooked
  • Rice
  • Shrimp – cooked and deveined
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Turkey – cooked
  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt

Tips for Giving Treats to Your Cat

  • Treats are never a replacement for a good quality core cat food.
  • Treats should make up less than 5% of your cat’s daily caloric intake.
  • Consider low-calorie treats for cats with weight control problems.
  • Give only fresh foods. Moldy or rotten food can cause gastrointestinal upset.

What Cats Can’t Eat: Foods Not Safe for Cats

Cats are pretty discriminate and not as likely to eat many of the foods listed below as compared to dogs. Foods NOT recommended to give cats include the following:

  • Alcoholic Beverages. Ethanol is the component in alcoholic beverages that can be toxic when an excessive amount is ingested. Cats are much smaller than us and can be highly affected by small amounts of alcohol. Exercise caution when drinks and cats are together.
  • Toxicity can cause a wide variety of signs, and may even cause death. Signs can include odor of alcohol on the cat’s breath, staggering, behavioral changes, excitement, depression, increased urination, slowed respiratory rate or cardiac arrest and death.
  • Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums. Although uncommon for cats to eat, ingestion of large amounts of stems, seeds and leaves of these fruits can be toxic. They contain a cyanide type compound and signs of toxicity include apprehension, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, hyperventilation and shock.
  • Avocados. The leaves, fruit, bark and seeds of avocados have all been reported to be toxic. However, the small pieces of fresh avocado will not harm a cat. The toxic component in the avocado is “persin,” which is a fatty acid derivative. Symptoms of toxicity include difficulty breathing, abdominal enlargement, abnormal fluid accumulations in the chest, abdomen and sac around the heart. The amount that needs to be ingested to cause signs is unknown.
  • Baked Goods. Toxicity has not been established in cats however, it is recommended to not give cats products made with xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener used in place of sugar primarily because it is lower in calories. Xylitol is also an ingredient in many different gums and even baked goods. It is in many products designed for people with Diabetes due to its low glycemic index. Cats are generally more “choosy” (than dogs) about what they eat therefore accidental ingestion may be much less common in cats even if they are sensitive.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Baking soda and baking powder are both leavening agents that can be toxic to cats. A leavening agent is a common ingredient in baked goods that produces a gas causing batter and dough to rise. Baking soda is simply sodium bicarbonate.
  • Baking powder actually consists of baking soda and an acid, usually cream of tartar, calcium acid phosphate, sodium aluminum sulfate or a mixture of the three. Ingestion of large amounts of baking soda or baking powder can lead to electrolyte abnormalities (low potassium, low calcium and/or high sodium), congestive heart failure or muscle spasms.
  • Bones. Bones aren’t safe for cats. This can be due to the danger of them getting stuck or caught in the mouth, sharp splinters injuring the intestines, risk of constipation when passing relatively indigestible bone fragments, as well as possible bacterial contamination on the bone that can lead to illness. Most cats aren’t attracted to bones like dogs are. Fish and chicken bones can cause problems in cats.
  • Bread Dough. Dough containing yeast which rises in the moist, warm environments such as in the stomach. After ingestion, the rising dough can expand the stomach and decrease blood flow. Fermentation of the yeast can be reduced to alcohol causing signs of intoxication.
  • Chewing Gum. The toxicity to cats is unknown and therefore is not recommended for cats.
  • 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 to your cat in high 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. A lick of chocolate is not a problem but ingestion of dark or baking chocolate can cause problems in cats.
  • Coffee (grounds and beans). Although uncommon in cats, some may eat coffee grounds or beans can get “caffeine” toxicity. The symptoms are very similar to those of chocolate toxicity and can be just as or even more serious.
  • Dairy Products. Human dairy products are not highly dangerous but can pose problems for two reasons. One is their high-fat content and like other foods with high-fat content, there is a risk of pancreatitis. The second reason is that cats poorly digest dairy products since they lack the enzyme required to digest lactose. This affects some cats more than others and can cause anything from mild gas to severe diarrhea. Small amounts of plain yogurt or cheese are tolerated by most cats but it is probably safest to avoid dairy products altogether.
  • Diet Foods. Foods made for weight loss or diabetes may have the ingredient xylitol and are not recommended for cats.
  • Fatty Foods. Rich and fatty foods are favorites of cats. They often get them as treats, leftovers or from getting into the trash. These fatty foods can cause pancreatitis. Signs of pancreatitis in cats can include vomiting, sometimes diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Abdominal pain is often evidenced by hunched posture or “splinting” of the abdomen when picked up. Some cats may show nonspecific signs such as lethargy, decreased appetite or anorexia, and weight loss. Some cats can become sick quickly and may need veterinary care consisting of fluid and antibiotic therapy.
  • Grapes and Raisins. Ingestion of grapes and/or raisins can cause kidney failure in some dogs. This has not been documented in cats, however it is probably safest not to feed your cat grapes or raisins.
  • Milk or Cream. There is a lot of false information about cats and milk. Most cats are considered lactose intolerant so ingestion of milk can cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Moldy or Spoiled Food. Some cats love to get into the trash and ingest moldy or spoiled food. This can cause gastrointestinal upset.
  • Nutmeg. You may not realize this but high levels of nutmeg can be toxic, even fatal. The toxic principle is not well understood. Signs of toxicity include tremors, seizures, nervous system abnormalities or death.
  • Onions and Garlic. All forms of onion and garlic are a problem. Cats lack the enzyme necessary to properly digest onions and this could result in gas, vomiting, diarrhea, or severe gastrointestinal distress. If large amounts of onion or garlic are ingested, or onions are a daily part of your cat’s diet, the red blood cells may become fragile and break apart. This is due to the toxic ingredient in onions and garlic, thiosulphate. The most common source of onions for cats is in human baby food. Some baby foods have onion powder added for taste.
  • When consistently fed baby food with added onion powder, signs of toxicity can develop. This includes raw, dehydrated, cooked, powders or those in foods. Many people use garlic pills as ‘natural’ flea control. The amount of garlic is low but if large amounts of the pills are ingested at one time, toxicity may occur.
  • Peanut Butter. Some peanut butter manufacturers add xylitol to peanut butter. As mentioned above, although xylitol has not been found to be a problem in cats yet, it is recommended that we not give xylitol to cats.
  • Raw Eggs. Ingestion of raw eggs in cats can cause food poisoning such as from salmonella. Symptoms may include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or anorexia. Learn more at Salmonellosis in Cats.
  • Raw Fish. Ingestion of excessive amounts of raw fish can cause Thiamine (Vitamin B1) Deficiency in Cats. This is most common in cats fed raw fish diets, homemade cat foods, and some canned food deficient in thiamine. Symptoms of thiamine deficiency include neurological abnormalities.
  • Table Scraps. Scraps, especially those that are fatty, can cause gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis in cats. Some cats tolerate table scraps well but others can become very ill.
  • Tuna. Excessive dietary consumption of tuna can cause mercury poisoning in cats. Small amounts of canned or cooked tuna is acceptable.

Important Warning for What Cats Can’t Eat

One special caution to consider around cats is the danger of the wrappers and ties used to wrap meat. Some cats will get into the trash or on counters and find a fascination in the meat wrappers and string ties due to the smell, texture, and taste. It is not uncommon for a cat to eat a string that was used to tie chicken or turkey legs that requires surgery to remove it. This situation can be life-threatening. Learn more about Gastrointestinal Foreign Bodies in Cats.

Cat Head Pressing While Sleeping: What Does it Mean?

Cats love to sleep and do lots of it. They sleep in many locations in our homes and in just about every physical position. Let’s look at some common questions cat lovers have about their cat’s sleep patterns and we will review causes of cat head pressing while sleeping.

What is Normal Cat Sleep Behavior?

How much do cats sleep? Experts estimate that the average cat will sleep 13 to 15 hours per day with some cats sleeping as much as 20 hours a day.

When are cats awake vs. sleep? Cats are “crepuscular” which means their activity levels peak at twilight which is at both dawn and dusk. Why is this? Because twilight is the time when their prey is most active. So in-between, cats sleep. Although your cat may be indoors and domesticated, these instincts remain. Cat lovers recognize this as their cats run around the house in the wee hours of the morning, sometimes knocking things over, or pouncing on moving toes while they are trying to sleep. So during our waking hours, we see our cats sleep.

Where Do Cats Sleep? What is a normal location for cats to sleep? Cats love to sleep where they feel safe and comfortable. Cats love to sleep high on perches or beds where they can monitor their environments for threats from a safe height. Cats also love to sleep in boxes, cubbyholes, or hidden on dining room chairs. Small hiding spot spaces are often warm, cozy, and out of reach or sight of predators. Some cats also love to find a slice of sunshine and enjoy the warmth as they take their catnap.

Are Cats Deep or Light Sleepers? Cats are known to be light sleepers, always being on alert to attacks based on their nature of survival. Cats can go from a full sleep to fully alert and running in no time.

What Positions Do Normal Cats Sleep in? Every cat is a little different as far as what position they sleep in. Cats sleep curled up in balls, sprawled out on the back of the sofa, on their backs in the middle of the floor, or even to appear curled into a position that appears to be cat head pressing while sleeping. Some cats will cover their eyes with their paws while sleeping as if to block out the light.

The vast majority of cats sleep curled up in balls with their chin on their chest and their tail tucked gracefully besides them up the length of their body. This posture is to help them retain their body heat. Cats curl up with their face between paws or covering their faces as another way retain their body heat and minimize heat loss. Some of these positions will appear as head pressing while sleeping which can be a normal cat behavior and they do this because this is a comfortable position for them. During this time your cat’s body is relaxed.

Why a Cat Might Press Her Head Against Something While Sleeping

Some owners worry about their cat head pressing while sleeping. Is this normal behavior? Or is this a symptom of a serious neurologic problem? Learn more about What is Head Pressing in Cats?

Some cats will perform a head pressing behavior as they curl up to go to sleep to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands on their checks and this head rubbing behavior allows them to mark their territory and take ownership.

How to Know the Difference Between Signs of Disease or Just Odd Behavior

When should you be concerned about if your cat’s head pressing is normal or abnormal, consider the following. If your cat is eating, drinking, playful or having otherwise normal behavior, then it is unlikely that that the symptoms are of concern.

When it comes to head pressing, if you will see your cat doing this against walls while sitting or while awake as though your cat doesn’t know what he or she is doing, that can be abnormal. It can be a medical problem if they press their head up against something with an unrelaxed posture. Learn more about the medical problems that can cause head pressing in this article: Cat Head Pressing: What You Need to Know

Additional signs of medical problems seen in cats that are also cat head pressing while sleeping may include:

  • Behavior changes or changes in learned behavior
  • Circling and walking in one direction
  • Decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Eye changes such as unequal pupil sizes or inability to blink
  • Head tilt
  • Incoordination or falling over when walking
  • Less engaged with family or with normal activities
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Restlessness and pacing
  • Seizures
  • Sleeping more
  • Stuporous behavior
  • Weakness

If your cat is showing any of the above signs and seems to be head pressing, please see your veterinarian immediately. There may be a serious underlying cause that requires urgent veterinary care.

When You Should Be Concerned About Cat Head Pressing While Sleeping

You should be concerned if your cat is head pressing and showing any of the clinical signs listed above. If you have any concern that your cat’s head pressing or sleeping behavior is not normal, the safest thing to do is to please see your veterinarian.

  • Your vet will likely perform a physical examination including a complete neurological examination. They will look at overall attitude, alertness, pupil size and responsiveness to light, ability to blink, head and neck movements, coordination, body posture, gait, and reflexes.
  • Any abnormality above may be cause for concern leading to the recommendation for diagnostic testing that may include:
  • Basic blood work and urinalysis are recommended to evaluate for systemic disease. Tests include a complete blood count (CBC) may be within normal limits, but an elevated white blood cell count may be present if there is also secondary infection. A biochemical profile and urinalysis may be unremarkable unless an underlying or concurrent disease is present.
  • Radiographs of the chest and abdomen are an important part of any baseline work-up. They may be within normal limits or can reveal signs of cancer or concurrent disease.
  • Abdominal ultrasound is recommended in most cases suspect of cancer or concurrent disease.
  • Computed tomography (CT scan or CAT scan) is a special X-ray technique that provides serial images of the brain using enhanced computer processing.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic test that uses powerful magnetic fields to generate detailed images of body organs.
  • If your cat is showing abnormal neurological signs in addition to cat head pressing while sleeping, your vet may refer you to a veterinary neurologist for a second opinion and additional advanced diagnostics such as the CT scan or MRI.

 

Reference Articles about Hypernatremia and Hyponatremia in Cats

What is Hyponatremia and Hypernatremia in Cats

Hyponatremia and hypernatremia in cats are disorders of blood sodium levels. The term hyponatremia is used to describe low concentrations of sodium in the blood and hypernatremia is used to describe high concentrations of sodium in the blood. These conditions have different causes and treatments.

Sodium is critical to all body functions including blood pressure maintenance, acid/base balance, and preservation of blood volume.

Below, we will provide information about the symptoms of, diagnostic tests for, causes and treatment of hyponatremia and hypernatremia in cats.

Hyponatremia in Cats

Sodium is an essential component of a fluid makeup and is extremely important in its relationship with fluid balance. A common line used to help veterinary students understand the interaction of sodium on body fluids is “Where sodium goes…water follows”. Normal sodium blood levels is critical to maintaining a normal body fluid balance.

Changes in sodium levels can occur slowly or quickly which can cause a variety of life-threatening symptoms. The faster the change in sodium levels the more severe the clinical signs because the body has not had time to adjust.

Hyponatremia is a symptom and many diseases can result in low sodium levels. Hyponatremia has various effects throughout the body. Hyponatremia can affect any age, breed or sex of cat.

Causes of Hyponatremia in Cats

Causes of hyponatremia in cats may include:

  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels can cause increased blood sodium levels)
  • Dehydration
  • Medication administration such as from mannitol
  • Specific types of intravenous fluids administration such as hypotonic fluids
  • Fluid overload (too much fluid in the body)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Sodium losses from such vomiting, diarrhea, excessive urinations
  • Polydipsia which is a disease of excessive thirst
  • Liver failure

Symptoms of Hyponatremia in Cats

Signs of a low blood sodium levels in cats may include:

  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Dullness
  • Head pressing Cat Head Pressing: What You Need to Know
  • Head tremors
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Labored respirations (dyspnea)
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Severe neurological signs may occur when the serum sodium level falls below 110 to 115 mEq/L in cats.

Diagnostic Test for Hyponatremia in Cats

Blood tests will diagnose low blood sodium levels.

  • The biochemical profile reveals low blood sodium levels which confirms the diagnosis of hyponatremia.
  • Other abnormalities may also be detected such as kidney failure, diabetes or other diseases.
  • The complete blood count may be normal or reveal abnormalities from the primary problem.
  • The urinalysis may reveal dilute urine associated with kidney failure.

Once a low blood sodium is detected, it is critical to determine the underlying cause to provide the most effective treatment.

Treatment of Hyponatremia in Cats

Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the clinical signs, the degree of hyponatremia, and the underlying cause.

  • Cats dehydrated with low blood sodium may be treated with intravenous fluids therapy that contains sodium.
  • Cats with excessive fluid in the blood can be treated with diuretic medications and restriction of sodium (salt). Rapid intravenous administration can lead to severe electrolyte disturbances and may result in death.
  • Careful monitoring of hydration status and sodium concentrations is important to avoid overcorrection.
  • If the low sodium is severe, cats are hospitalized and given therapy over the source of hours to days. Cats often also require treatment for the underlying cause of the hyponatremia. Many cats respond favorably within 2 to 5 days but complete recovery may take several weeks.

Prevention of Hyponatremia in Cats

Cats with hyponatremia should be monitored for relapse or development of other signs. Many cats have underlying disease, such as kidney failure, and may need additional treatment.

Hypernatremia in Cats

Sodium is an essential component of a fluid makeup and is extremely important in its relationship with fluid balance. Changes in sodium levels can occur slowly or quickly which can cause a variety of life-threatening symptoms. Sodium is often associated with chloride and abnormalities in sodium levels often also causes abnormalities in chloride blood levels. Hypernatremia can affect any age, breed or sex of cat. Hypernatremia is defined by serum sodium concentrations over 165 mEq/L in cats.

Hypernatremia can be caused by loss of water through the kidneys or gastrointestinal tract or from low water intake.

Symptoms of Hypernatremia in Cats

Signs of high blood sodium levels may include:

Diagnostic Test for Hypernatremia in Cats

Blood tests will diagnose high blood sodium levels.

  • The biochemical profile reveals high blood sodium levels and confirms the diagnosis. Other
  • abnormalities may also be detected such as kidney failure, diabetes or other diseases.
  • The complete blood count may be normal or reveal abnormalities from the primary problem.
  • The urinalysis may reveal dilute urine associated with diabetes and a potential secondary infection.

Causes of Hypernatremia in Cats

Causes of high blood sodium may include:

  • Decreased water intake
  • High sodium intake
  • Increased urinations causing water loss (such as with diabetes)
  • Intravenous fluid therapy containing high levels of sodium
  • Losses of sodium through vomiting and/or diarrhea

Treatment of Hypernatremia in Cats

Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the clinical signs, the degree of hypernatremia, and the underlying cause. Once diagnosed, cats are treated with intravenous fluids therapy balanced to provide hydration but lower levels of sodium. The fluid chosen will depend on if the cat is also dehydrated. Fluid options may include Lactated Ringers Solution (LRS), Normal Saline (0.9% NS), or 5% dextrose (D5%W). Learn more about Fluid Therapy.