Follow by Email

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Is coffee addictive for cats? Is it safe?

Dear George,
Last time I wrote you (if you recall) my female human tried to match her hair color to my eyes color. It didn’t work very well since she …naturally has blue eyes and having her hair in shades of blue…it wasn’t the best choice. So, this time she did her hair to match my …! Aha! That’s right; her hair is beige with darker/brownish points! She really impressed me! To show my appreciation I start keeping her company while she was having her morning coffee!
Soon enough I was very much interested in WHAT was in her cup and she let me inspect! That’s how we started sharing a cup of coffee in the morning as you can see in the picture! I start drinking her coffee and I can tell she was worried but…I LOVE COFFEE! George, coffee has the same effect on me as catnip has on other cats – see the second picture! The other day I knocked-off the coffee maker trying to
get to some coffee. George, I CAN KILL for an ESPRESSO! Do you think I’m coffee addict?
Is this serious? Should I check in a rehab? What do you think? Should I stop?

Dear Tom
Please retrain your owner! Coffee isn't good for cats. The caffeine in it can make them hyperactive. A very useful article on dangers to cats from human food is available from Sarah Hartwell, an expert veterinarian, on There's another article about home poisons (without mentioning coffee) on
We cats are attracted to milk but even on its own that isn't good for many of us. We get diarrhoea from it. Pusskin, the fat cat who wrote in earlier this year, had a really dirty bottom due not just being too fat to reach it but, we think, probably from being given milk. Milk and fish diets were only given to cats because in the nineteenth century they were cheap. A diet of either on its own is not good for cats. But a century ago most cats went out mousing and supplemented the food given by humans anyway.
We cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that our whole digestive system is geared towards not meat, but the flesh, bone, skin and gut contents in the full carcases of mice, rats, small birds and a few insects such as locusts. (Not many of those here in Oxfordshire, alas, even in a good summer. Just a few tiny grasshoppers. I rather fancy trying the crunch of a locust - like pork crackling without the salt.) Unlike dogs, who are designed to be scavengers and eat decaying meat, or humans who are omnibores designed for meat and veg, we cats are designed for whole mice/birds only. We lack one of the liver enzymes which helps dogs and humans cope with getting rid of difficult substances from the body. We can be poisoned by aspirin, for instance, or other drugs that are safe for humans.
Recreational drugs? Yes, do catnip. Cats enjoy it and (with more sense than humans) are moderate users who know when to stop. So do catnip all you like. But don't do coffee. And stop your human enabling you by offfering it.
Tell her to buy some nice cat milk, specially formulated without the ingredient which causes tummy upsets, and give you some of that at breakfast. Of course, it's nice for humans to share breakfast with a cat. Humans have some sort of need to share, a need that we cats don't have. If she wants to share, she can drink some of the cat milk. Why not?
Love George.
PS. Tell her with purrs rather than claws. Any owner who dyes her hair to match her cat is a gem. And thank her for allowing me to use this letter. It is so helpful to get the message out there.


  1. SebastianMay 15, 2010

    Hey kiddo, check in to a rehab (take you human with you)! Kill for a mouse and switch to catnip!
    Switch your human to catnip too.
    Catnip tea is very good for humans!
    Been there.....done that!

  2. Tom, your are lucky! You share such a nice "love story" with your human. I'm sure she'll have no problem switching to catnip!
    Give her my purrs!

  3. That's not fair Tom! Your human is willing to share everything with you and mine got grossed out when I tried to share a mouse with her for breakfast!

    PS. I'm a redhead! and she...dyed her hair black!
    See the difference?

  4. Hey guys! Human love can (sometimes) go to the extreme! I read yesterday about a guy in Germany who married his cat in a staged ceremony.
    They were declared "Man & Cat" :-)
    Apparently the cat is sick and he wanted to do something to show how much he loves her (which is really heartbreaking)

    PS. My humans are sharing shrimps and meat with me. I can kill for a shrimp!

  5. Thanks George for posting the link to Sarah's website. I'll make sure I'll send it to all my friends!
    We all sin way or another :-)

  6. I bet your human is selfish! It looks like she left you just a tiny bitty something at the bottom of that cup!
    But....I like the way she's matching colors!
    Now she's into matching her pijama's pants to your mat :-)

  7. Oh my, I'm with you George, coffee is not good for cats. My last three cats didn't even like milk/cream, which is a good thing because that's not good for a cat either. My beloved Oscar Snuggles loved baby rabbits. I sure missed him, we are overrun with rabbits now and yesterday I almost stepped on a big black snake in my side yard. I have a feeling all our cats have kept snakes away from us in the past. Oh how I miss Oscar!

  8. Oh Tom! Coffee, such a no-no. Let the apes guzzle stimulants, cats need to stay cool and relaxed. If cat nip isn't to your taste, then ask your ape to purchase some valerian root herb. It's a wonderful, safe hit. It does stink a bit though and apes often gag and wretch when they smell it (pathetic fuss huh) A bit of valerian for sniffing and chewing, followed by a long guzzle of cat milk and a sit down on the papers is perfect for a Sunday morning

    Apes can make valerian tea too, it helps them sleep.

    Whicky Wuudler

  9. Tom's momMay 16, 2010

    Dear George, thank you and all other cats for your advice. Tom is such a naughty boy!
    He wants everything to be his way; all or nothing!
    Of course he doesn't drink coffee. What you see in the picture is an empty cup and his head is in there because he's looking for whipping cream!
    He licked twice the whipping cream of top of my coffee and probably he liked it and now...he's asking for more! But he is smart; he's a trickster! He associates the smell of coffee with whipping cream (he doesn't get that either). It is true thou that he knocked off a coffee maker :-)
    He IS ON CATNIP (may be too much?) :-)))
    Love to you all

  10. Sir WinstonMay 16, 2010

    The truth is normal times...I had enjoyed a cigar & a shot of single malt with my coffee (ain't I famous for this?) :-)
    Sir Winston

  11. Wow! Coffee is not good for us! I knew about chocolate - big no-no for cats!
    Hm! I like to stick my head in my mom's cup for a lick of coffee & cream.
    May be I can train mom to switch to catnip tea!


Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online