Everyone likes a little treat every now and then - and especially now that Christmas is coming. But although it's tempting to give your cat scraps from the table, many popular yuletide treats can actually be dangerous for her health. Whilst just one leftover slice of turkey may not seem excessive, for a cat this could actually be equivalent to a human eating seven slices!
Treat or not to treat?
Some cats are very good at begging for food and acting like they've not been fed for days! But all they often want is just your attention, not a portion of your festive dish. So try to groom and play with her instead of sharing your meal. Feeding your cat table scraps not only encourages bad habits - and having your cat on the table, especially when you've got visitors can be very off-putting, but feeding human foods in general can have an adverse effect on your cat's health. So don't be afraid to ask well-meaning guests not to feed from the table or to give your cat the wrong kind of treats.
Some table scraps are even toxic to cats
Allowing your cat eat too much rich food or some human treats can upset her digestive system. For example, onions, garlic and certain root vegetables contain substances that can be toxic for cats and may cause a form of anaemia. And remember, it's not just the raw form of these vegetables you should avoid feeding your cat, because the gravy or sauces that cover a meal may also contain these ingredients.
Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine that is poisonous for cats. It is in the same class of drugs as caffeine and can have an effect on the nervous system, blood pressure and digestion. In addition, grapes and raisins have been found to be toxic to pets, so again should be avoided.
Although milk is not toxic to cats in general, many cats are lactose-intolerant so can suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach upsets as a result of drinking it.
The right nutrition in the right amount
Although we are often guilty of over-indulging on rich foods throughout the festive period, our pets should not follow. Overfeeding your cat or treating her with unhealthy snacks over Christmas will make her pile on extra pounds which can result in developing an increased risk of a serious health condition like diabetes, arthritis or heart problems.
Plus, with so many people around the house, Christmas can actually be quite stressful for cats. To minimize disruption, stick to her routines as well her precisely balanced nutrition like Hill's™ Science Plan™ . A Hill's Science Plan kibble is just as much of a treat, and much better for her. You can also reward your cat by varying the food you feed, combining wet and dry food and changing the flavour from time to time. However, do keep to the recommended daily amounts. The Hill's Science Plan range has delicious tasting varieties that are specifically tailored to the individual needs of your cat. And if she doesn't love it, then we'll give you your money back - guaranteed!
So, if any of your family members or friends will be tempted to get your cat a small festive treat, show them this chart below that shows some of the frequent cat treats in human equivalents! For example, for a 5kg cat, a cup of milk is equivalent in calories to a human adult eating 4½ burgers or 5 chocolate bars and 30g of cheddar cheese equates to 3½ burgers or 4 chocolate bars!
So think before you treat!