What Human Foods Can Cats Eat?
Understanding your cat's nutritional needs is an essential part of pet ownership, and that includes what they can and can’t eat when it comes to human foods. While most cats might not be as bad for scrounging as most dogs, there may still be those that like to sneak food from counters when you’re not looking.
So, if you’re looking to ensure your cat hasn’t eaten something toxic, or you’re wondering if you can treat them to a taste of your food, then this is the guide for you.
What Human Food Can’t Cats Eat?
Let’s start with the most important food items concerning your cat. These are the things you should never give your cat, either because they’re unhealthy for them, because they’re intolerant, or because the food is outright toxic.
Can Cats Eat Chocolate?
Dogs aren’t the only ones that can’t eat chocolate. It’s also incredibly dangerous, if not more so, for cats due to their smaller size. This is because chocolate contains both caffeine, which is a stimulant, and methylxanthines, which can cause a number of problems, including vomiting or diarrhoea, heart palpitations, tremors and seizures.
The higher the cocoa concentration of the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Baking chocolate is the most dangerous, with as little as 5.7g causing signs of toxicity in cats.
Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken?
While cats can eat and digest raw chicken, it’s something of a controversial topic. Cats are obligate carnivores capable of digesting raw chicken and meat, but these foods can come with a number of risks, including harmful parasites or bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, which are a risk to your health as well as your cats. Keeping surfaces entirely disinfected with animals in the home is a challenge, and feeding your cat raw chicken alone can also cause a number of nutritional deficiencies.
If you are choosing to feed your pet a raw diet, it’s always recommended you buy your cat’s meat from a trusted and ethical supplier of raw cat foods and don’t feed them supermarket-bought meat. Alternatively, cooked chicken can make for a great treat for your cat with less of the associated risks from contamination!
Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is a food loved by humans and pets alike, but it’s not something recommended to feed your cat. While they might like the taste, peanut butter offers cats no nutritional value and also has a high fat content, as well as the potential for artificial sweeteners (like xylitol), which can be harmful or even toxic to cats.
If you want to feed your cat peanut butter, it’s recommended you choose an all-natural version with no artificial sweeteners or pick one specifically formulated for cats.
Can Cats Have Milk?
Despite the common link between cats and milk, cats are, in fact, lactose intolerant. This means they are unable to properly digest the sugars that occur in dairy products, leading to a number of digestive upsets, including vomiting, diarrhoea and gas.
While not life-threatening, this intolerance to lactose can be very uncomfortable for your cat and unpleasant for you as well. If you want to give your cat milk as a treat, then we recommend giving them a cat-safe milk or Milk-flavoured cat treats like these Whiskas Milky Treats for Kittens.
Can Cats Eat Cheese?
Cats should not be given cheese. While it is not toxic to them, as with other dairy products, they are highly likely to be intolerant to lactose, so eating cheese can lead to some unpleasant digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhoea. Plus, cheese also has a high-fat content, and if cats are fed cheese too frequently, it can easily lead to obesity, impacting your cat’s overall health.
If your cat is a cheese fiend, then why not try cheese-flavoured treats like these Dreamies Cheese Treats for cats?
Foods Toxic to Cats
There are some foods that are not just bad for your cat to be eating in terms of their nutrition and tolerance but also because some of the components found in them are toxic to cats and can lead to a number of health problems, including:
- Respiratory problems, such as panting or difficulty breathing.
- Liver or kidney failure
This is why it’s so important to be careful about what food is left out around your cat, especially if they’re prone to eating or even just chewing things they shouldn’t. Some of the most common foods that are toxic to cats include:
- Raw dough
- Grapes and Raisins
- Onions, Garlic and chives
If your cat eats any of the above-mentioned items, call your vet immediately or contact a pet poison hotline for advice.
While they may not have eaten much of a toxin, it’s important to remember that cats are far smaller than humans, and what might be a small morsel to us could be a lethal dose to your cat.
What Foods Can Cats Eat?
While a lot of things can be dangerous for your cat to eat, there are some human foods that are perfectly fine for your cat to eat or may even benefit from eating! The key to feeding human foods to cats is to remember moderation. While a portion may be small to us, cats are far smaller and, unfortunately, can easily have too much of a good thing.
Can Cats Eat Eggs?
Eggs are not only entirely safe for your cat to eat but could also be a beneficial addition to their diet. As well as being high in protein, eggs are also rich in multiple vitamins and minerals, including B2, B12 and water-soluble vitamin A, all of which are great for your cat’s diet.
If you are feeding eggs to your cats, always make sure you’ve cooked them, either by boiling or scrambling, but be sure not to add anything else like oil or flavouring.
Can Cats Eat Tuna?
Yes, cats can eat tuna, and many of them will happily do so. This food is very high in protein and other nutrients that cats need. However, tuna should not make up the bulk of your cat’s diet and instead be offered as a tasty treat occasionally.
When feeding tuna to your cats, always ensure you choose an option in water without any added oil or flavourings.
Can Cats Eat Chicken?
Cooked chicken is a great treat for a cat, and your vet may even recommend feeding your cat boiled chicken breast if they’re suffering from a sensitive stomach. This is, however, only intended to be short-term. Cook chicken should remain a treat for your cat and not make up the bulk of their diet as they may result in nutritional deficiencies.
Can Cats Eat Bananas
Bananas are not in any way toxic to your cat, but they are high in calories and should only be given as a treat. However, cats aren’t as drawn to sweet things as we are, so don’t be surprised if your cat turns their nose up at it.
Learning about what foods are and are not safe for your cat to eat can feel like a never-ending endeavour, but it’s still worth knowing, especially if your cat has a curious or particularly greedy temperament with food, so you can be sure to leave dangerous temptations well out of the way.
If you’re trying to find the best food for your cat, then take a look at our great range of cat foods, including recipes from top brands like Royal Canin, Hill’s and more! Plus, we also have a great range of veterinary cat foods available, as well as treats and supplements.
This post is an opinion and should only be used as a guide. You should discuss any change to your pet’s care or lifestyle thoroughly with your vet before starting any program or treatment.