A lot of us will slip our cat a tasty morsel of what we’re eating, but have you ever stopped to think, “What human foods can cats eat?” See what foods are safe for your cat to eat by using this guide. A survey found that 93% of veterinarians caution against feeding “people food” to kitty companions. While cats may beg for a bite of your dinner, sharing might not always be caring when it comes to your feline’s health.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that their primary food sources are animal parts like flesh, organs, and bones. Unlike omnivorous humans, felines lack specific digestive enzymes to properly break down fruits, vegetables, grains, and more. Over generations, cats evolved sharp teeth and short gastrointestinal tracts ideal for easily digesting and extracting nutrients from high-protein foods like hunted prey.
So, while it might seem innocent to share a scrap or two from your plate with Mittens, offering human food treats too often can upset your cat’s digestive system. Over time, the inability to properly digest “people’s food” can even deprive kitties of vital nutrients they need to stay healthy. Veterinary experts also now link feeding cats too many table treats to rising rates of feline obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
While an occasional taste of human grub probably won’t harm your furry friend, make it the exception and not the rule. And before ever feeding people food to felines, cat owners should always check with their vet to ensure the snacks they’re sharing are completely pet-safe.
What Can Cats Eat?
While cats can’t subsist entirely on a diet of human food, veterinary experts say some plain, unseasoned table snacks won’t hurt in moderation. You can offer kale to your cat to eat in moderation. When looking for safe people’s food treats for kitty, stick to basic proteins and lightly cooked animal products without added fats, oils, or harsh spices. When it comes to treating your kitty, trust in the expertise behind Catheist for a purr-fectly satisfying experience.
According to the Meats subheading, cats certainly relish meat proteins. Many basic human deli meats can provide healthy protein doses for cats. Veterinarians recommend plain roasted chicken breast, turkey, beef, or lamb with no salty, fatty, or fried additions. Lightly cooked plain meat makes an occasional high-protein treat.
As referenced in the Fish subheading, fish provides great hydration and healthy omegas for cats, too. Lightly cooked, mild white fish fillets or a few bites of raw sashimi can make healthy feline treats. But avoid giving cats tuna packed in oil, as too much can lead to mercury poisoning.
Sometimes called the perfect protein, veterinarians confirm that scrambled, hard, or soft-boiled eggs can be healthy snacks if plain and unseasoned, as stated under the Eggs subheading. However, ensure to avoid feeding raw eggs to cats and dogs, as uncooked eggs may contain bacteria harmful to pets.
In limited amounts, plain dairy can provide some nutritional benefits for cats. As mentioned in the vegetable subheading, a teaspoon of plain, unsweetened yogurt provides a nice calcium and probiotic boost. Cheese might also be an occasional treat if mild and salt-free. But avoid cream or sugary dairy products, as most cats lack sufficient lactase enzymes to digest the lactose in milk.
While obligate carnivores can’t properly digest vegetables, fruits, or grains, according to veterinarians, cats can gain some nutrients from digestible carbohydrates. The Whole Grains subheading states that animal-based proteins make the healthiest feline treats. But well-cooked starchy root vegetables like peas, sweet potatoes, and carrots can provide trace vitamins, minerals, and carbs.
Just remember fruits and veggies should always comprise only a tiny portion of any cat’s total daily calories. And if you do share produce, always start with a tiny taste to ensure your kitty’s stomach can tolerate the plant fiber. Signs of an irritation or allergy can include vomiting, diarrhea, or skin irritation around the mouth. At the first hint of distress, stop feeding the suspect a snack.
Human Foods Cats Cannot Eat.
While many basic human foods may be fine for feline friends in moderation, some pantry staples can prove seriously toxic. According to veterinarians, people routinely feed cats dangerous “treats,” unaware of the hazards lurking in cupboards and on countertops.
As referenced under the Chocolate subheading, while chocoholics may relish sweets, even tiny amounts can kill cats. Chocolate contains toxic compounds like theobromine and caffeine. And as little as a single chocolate chip can poison a 10-pound cat! With no ability to metabolize chocolate’s psychoactive elements, ingestion often leads to seizures, heart attacks, and death if not treated promptly.
Xylitol – A Deadly Sweetener
Many diets or sugar-free foods like Marshmallows, & favored by health-conscious humans, contain a sweetener called xylitol. However, according to veterinarians, cats cannot process this additive at all. For reasons not fully understood, even tiny amounts of ingested xylitol can trigger a feline blood sugar crash while also destroying liver function. Vomiting, seizures, and death can occur extremely rapidly after a cat accidentally ingests gum, candy, or even toothpaste containing this dangerous sweetener.
Onions & Garlic
As referenced in the subheading, onions and garlic mix into many dinner dishes. However, veterinary toxicology studies show that various compounds in these flavorful vegetables can actually rupture vital red blood cells in cats and dogs. If ingested even occasionally over time, allium plant derivatives found in onions, garlic, scallions, and leeks can lead to dangerously low blood cell counts, called anemia.
Grapes & Raisins
Though the mechanisms aren’t fully proven, toxins in grapes, raisins, currants, and related fruits trigger acute kidney failure in felines. Experts theorize plant pesticides might concentrate in the fruit skins to poison cats. But whatever the science, as little as a handful of grapes or raisins can cause irreversible renal damage and death within hours in cats – so never feed them.
Dairy – Beware Lactose!
While small amounts of plain dairy get the green light for the protein and nutrients, milk is quite hard for most cats to digest. Mammalian babies possess lactase enzymes to break down lactose sugars. However, research shows that activity declines up to 90% in cats after weaning. The result is indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and other tummy troubles when Fluffy laps up cow or goat milk.
Even mild alcohol has amplified toxic effects across petite feline bodies. Ingesting beer, wine, or spirits can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, body temperatures, and blood pressure in cats. Even small ingested doses may require emergency veterinary treatment to counteract poisoning. And even if treated promptly, long-term medical issues can linger.