Human Foods Cats Can and Can’t Eat
As a cat parent, you want to make your feline friend’s life as enjoyable as possible. But while it may seem like a good idea to offer your cat special treats off your plate or share your snacks with them, this isn’t always the case.
Before you offer your cat any human food, it’s best to check whether the food is safe for them to eat. Read on to learn a few common foods that are safe for your cat, as well as some that are toxic.
6 Human Foods That Are Safe for Your Cat
If you’re looking for a human snack that will be safe, or even beneficial, for your cat, there are lots to choose from. Here are 6 snacks that you can share with your kitty:
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need some form of meat to survive, and there are lots of protein options to choose from.
Salmon is one of the best, since it benefits joint and coat health due to an abundance of Omega-3 fatty acids. Chicken and turkey are other good protein options, as long as any bones, fat, and skin are removed.
Oatmeal and other whole grains can be great sources of energy for your cat. Oats have relatively high levels of quality protein, making it easier for your cat to digest them. They also contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins that can benefit your cat’s overall health.
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B
Boiled or scrambled eggs can be a delicious, healthy snack for your cat in moderation. They’re full of amino acids and protein that can be beneficial to your cat – but they’re also high in fat. Feed only a small amount of egg as a tasty special treat to avoid giving your cat too many calories.
Eggs should also always be cooked fully before you give them to your cat. Raw eggs can increase your cat’s chances of getting salmonella, and can also cause digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea.
Spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy treat for your cat. Spinach contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium, and many commercial cat foods include spinach as one of their main ingredients.
If your cat has a history of urinary issues like urinary tract stones, it’s best to avoid giving them spinach. The calcium oxalate can lead to harmful crystals in the urinary tract, as well as other bladder issues.
Bananas are a fun, cat-friendly snack if fed in moderation, providing the soluble fiber and potassium your feline needs in their diet.
Bananas are also high in sugar, so they’re best fed in very small amounts as a special treat.
Plain pumpkin puree can make a fantastic snack for your cat! Filled with fiber, water, potassium, and many other vitamins and minerals, pumpkin can help alleviate digestive upset and diarrhea. It can also soothe constipation in cats, so it’s a great food to keep in your pantry for kitty tummy troubles.
Pumpkin is also low in calories, so it’s less likely to lead to weight gain in your cat. Just make sure to always choose 100% pure pumpkin puree and never pumpkin pie filling, which is high in sugar.
6 Human Foods That Are Toxic for Your Cat
Many human foods are unsafe for your cat to consume, even in small amounts. Here are 6 foods to avoid feeding your cat:
Despite what pop culture will tell you, milk and other dairy products can be harmful to your cat.
Your furry friend likely loves to drink milk and begs for a piece of your cheese, but most adult cats are lactose intolerant. Even if they love the taste of dairy, it can wreak havoc on their digestive tract because cats can’t digest the main enzyme in milk properly.
Eating dairy or drinking milk can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and general digestive discomfort. That’s why it’s best to avoid giving your cat any dairy products, even in small amounts.
Caffeine is a stimulant, and cats can’t process stimulants in the same way that humans do.
Consuming coffee, energy drinks, or anything else that contains caffeine can lead to an increased heart rate, vomiting, or more severe symptoms like seizures or damage to your cat’s organs.
Too much liver in your cat’s diet can lead to vitamin A toxicity, damaging your cat’s bones and potentially causing osteoporosis or bone growths on their elbows and spine.
Common symptoms of vitamin A toxicity include:
- Rough or dry skin
- Dull coat
- Weight loss
- Limited mobility
4. Yeast Dough
Raw bread dough or any dough that contains yeast can be life-threatening for your cat. Yeast can ferment in your cat’s stomach, creating ethanol and carbon dioxide gas. The buildup of these gasses in the stomach can lead to gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV), also known as bloat.
Bloat causes your cat’s stomach to swell and twist, cutting off blood flow. It’s a serious condition that can be fatal if not treated immediately.
5. Onions and Garlic
Onions, garlic, scallions, and other members of the allium family are poisonous to cats if eaten in large enough quantities. Even powders or soup mixes can be toxic to your cat if consumed.
These plants attack your cat’s red blood cells, making it difficult to carry oxygen through the body, leading to anemia. If your cat shows signs of anemia, like pale gums, lethargy, or dark urine, take them to the vet immediately.
Chocolate contains caffeine, as mentioned before, which can be toxic to cats. But it also contains theobromine.
Theobromine is a compound that affects your cat’s metabolic process, leading to vomiting, seizures, and other painful symptoms. Because cats are small and absorb theobromine slower than humans, even a small amount can be toxic.
Are Your Snacks Safe for Your Cat?
Sharing your snacks with your cat can be a great way to bond, but before you offer them something from your plate, always check whether or not it’s cat-friendly. The wrong ingredient can lead to painful symptoms, and in some cases, can even be fatal. If in doubt, ask your veterinarian or choose a specially formulated treat made just for cats.