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.