Cats are known for their discerning palates, and as responsible pet owners, providing them with a balanced diet is crucial. At the same time, some human foods may be tempting to your feline friend, but not all suit their needs. In this article, we'll explore what foods cats can eat and what they should avoid. We will also touch on your questions about cats and human food.
What Foods Can Cats Eat?
Cats, like all pets, require a well-balanced diet to thrive. Here are some cat-friendly human foods:
1) Cooked Lean Meat
Since pet cats are obligate carnivores, they like meat and will consume whatever you provide. Stick with lean, cooked meats such as chicken, turkey, liver, beef, and lamb. Never give your cats raw meat to avoid potential foodborne diseases from raw meat, such as salmonella, e. coli, or listeria. Remove all skin and bones before giving them to your cat.
Beef, in particular, is abundant in critical amino acids, which are lovely for your feline's wellness. Nonetheless, give your cat food without any seasonings or sauces, as these can upset your cat's stomach.
2) Cooked Fish
As with chicken, cats' love of fish is widely known, and most are safe for your feline to consume! Fish have omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit overall cat health. It is also beneficial for cats with joint inflammation and kidney diseases. Just like meats, ensure the fish is correctly prepared, and all the bones are eliminated. Prepare their meals without additives like salt or flavors. Never provide your cat with raw fish.
One caveat is that fish is not ideal for everyday feeding: professionals advise keeping fish intake to 10% or less of a cat's overall diet.
3) Whole grains
Whole grains such as corn, brown rice, oats, and even couscous are great sources of protein and are safe for your cat to eat.
- Rice - Some types of rice can be an excellent way to help digestion and give balanced nutrition. For example, white rice doesn't have as much dietary content, so if you're looking for a healthy rice alternative, adhere to brown rice, which has more minerals and vitamins.
- Oatmeal - Raw oatmeal is a popular ingredient in numerous feline foods as it is a whole grain high in protein, fat, and amino acids. It can give your cat energy without giving them a ton of carbohydrates. You can also feed your feline-cooked oatmeal in moderation. Just make sure you use water to cook it and not milk.
4) Cooked Eggs
It may come as a surprise that cats can eat eggs! Felines can enjoy a selection of cooked eggs (scrambled or steamed) which are rich sources of amino acids and protein. Having them as occasional healthy treats for your cat is a good idea. As a rule of thumb, never feed your feline raw eggs because of the threat of salmonella.
5) Cooked Vegetables
It's not uncommon for cats to dislike vegetables. But if your feline loves an odd vegetable snack, here are some you can prepare for them. They are a great source of vitamins, fiber, and water.
- Broccoli - Steamed or boiled broccoli is completely safe for cats if given in moderation. These veggies are a rich source of antioxidants, which can help eliminate free radicals in your cat's body. Broccoli also helps cats to have regular bowel movements.
- Peas - Peas are starchy and contain a lot of fiber; that's why many commercial cat foods include peas. They are a fantastic veggie for your feline if they have occasional bowel irregularity. Especially for snow and garden peas, remember to remove them from the pods first, as they're not easy to digest.
- Carrots and Pumpkins - Carrots and pumpkins are another ingredient that can be found in commercial cat foods. These veggies contain beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A. If you're giving these veggies to your cat, make sure they are cooked because raw ones might be a choking hazard.
- Spinach - Spinach is another safe veggie to feed your cat in moderation. Like the other vegetables mentioned above, Spinach has a lot of vitamins and antioxidants. However, avoid giving it to cats with a history of urinary system tract stones or other urinary concerns.
Like vegetables, fruits may be a hit-and-miss for your cat. If your cat likes fruits, some are safe for them to eat.
- Cucumbers - Cucumbers can be a great source of vitamins for your cat and provide hydration. Be sure to peel the cucumber because the skin may contain pesticides that can trigger stomach upset.
- Bananas - Bananas contain carbohydrates, fiber, and nutrients. Just make sure not to feed your feline too much banana as it has a high sugar content and can upset their stomach.
- Blueberries - Blueberries can be a fun treat for cats. Some cats even see them as a toy they can bat around. Blueberries have antioxidants, which are important in a cat's balanced diet. However, like with all foods, moderation is necessary when feeding blueberries to pet cats. Stick with two or three blueberries per serving.
- Watermelon - Watermelon is a favorite fruit among cats. It can be specifically attractive to felines during summer as the appearance is attractive and it keeps them hydrated. Nevertheless, be cautious of the amount of watermelon you feed your cat: watermelon is high in natural sugars, which can lead to indigestion and diabetes.
- Apples - Apples are a healthy snack you can give your cat as long as they are peeled. Like cucumbers, apple skin can lug pesticides that may harm your feline. This crispy treat is a great source of fiber and nutrients. Don't forget to feed them in moderation!
Human Foods to Avoid
Where there are great deals of human foods that are safe for cats to consume, there's additionally plenty available that must be avoided. Here are some toxic foods that you should avoid
- Dairy: including milk, cheese, and yogurts
- Chocolate: dark chocolate is particularly harmful
- Nuts: especially macadamia nuts as well as walnuts
- Grapes and raisins
- Coffee, tea, or anything with high levels of caffeine
- Foods of the allium family: onions, garlic, chives, leeks, shallots, and scallions
- Xylitol: typically found in sugary foods, particularly peanut butter and gum
- Coconut milk
- Alcohol or foods with alcohol
- Raw meats and fish
- Cooked bones
- Raw bread dough
Do Cats Eat Any Human Food?
While cats can tolerate some human foods, being selective and cautious is important. Always check with your feline friend's vet before introducing new foods. Some safe human foods for cats include cooked meats, eggs, and a few fruits and vegetables like cooked carrots or green beans. However, these should only be occasional treats and not a significant part of their diet.
In conclusion, understanding what foods cats can eat and what they should avoid is essential for ensuring your feline friend's health and well-being. Stick to a balanced commercial cat food diet and safe, cat-friendly human foods to keep your furry companion happy and healthy. Remember, when in doubt, ask your veterinarian for personalized dietary advice.