What Human Foods Can Cats Eat?
All cat owners have dealt with this scenario: You’re sitting down to have a snack and your kitty comes up to you curiously smelling what you’re about to snack on. They stare at you, they might meow or paw at you, it’s apparent that they want a bite too.
“Can cats eat this?” you wonder to yourself. You want to spoil your kitty but you also want what’s best for their health. It’s also really hard to tell them no without feeling guilty about it.
We’re going to break down some common and not-so-common food that your cat should and should not eat. If you’re looking for information on a specific food, use the table of contents below to jump to that section.
We’re going to start the list off with some great healthy foods for cats. That’s right, not only are these foods safe for cats to eat, but it’s also healthy and beneficial for them.
Keep in mind that cats are built to eat high-protein diets that is rich with fats and oils. Cats do not need high-carb diets, nor do they need food that are rich with sugars.
Please do not use this list below to try and create a diet from scratch for your cat. Cats need a very specific ratio of protein:carbs:fats and that ratio changes based on their age, weight, and breed.
Can Cats Eat Fish?
Yes, cats can eat fish. Fish is one of the healthiest human foods that cats can eat. I hesitate to call fish “human food” seeing as fish are wild animals, but it’s not like your cute little cat sitting in your lap is about to hop up and go fishing. So to your cat, yes, fish is human food!
Fish is rich with Omega-3 fats. These fats are extremely healthy for your cat. It helps their vision, their coat, and their eyesight. Fat-rich fish also helps your cat avoid any heart-related issues. Salmon and Tuna are wonderful for cats!
Make sure to never feed your cat raw fish, only feed them cooked or canned fish!
Can Cats Eat Poultry?
Yes, cats can eat poultry. Chicken and Turkey are two great options for cats. The lean cuts of meat provide for a protein-rich meal that your cat will love. Poultry is also healthy for cats and is beneficial to their overall wellbeing.
Never feed your cats raw poultry. Make sure to only feed your cats cooked poultry. Cats also love cold cuts from the deli and rotisserie chickens as well. Make sure to remove the skin so your cat doesn’t have too much fat to ingest. (A little skin is okay though!)
Can Cats Eat Spinach?
Yes, cats can eat spinach as long as they don’t have a history of bladder stones. Spinach is rich with iron, vitamins, and calcium. Many high-quality cat foods incorporate spinach into their ingredients.
Just like us humans, cats may be picky about spinach. Some cats enjoy chomping on it just like they would a blade of grass, while other cats will refuse to touch it. Either way though, it’s certainly a healthy addition to your cats diet.
Can Cats Eat Eggs?
Yes, cats can eat eggs. Eggs provide a wonderful protein-rich addition to your cat’s diet and are found in many cat foods. In addition to the protein, eggs are also a great source of B-vitamins.
Can Cats Eat Cheese?
Yes, cats can eat cheese as long as they do not have any dairy restrictions. Hard cheeses are preferable for cats. Cheese has a good amount of protein and is rich with calcium. You should only give your cat cheese in small amounts.
Can Cats Eat Bananas or Banana Chips?
Yes, cats can eat bananas and banana chips but only in small amounts because of their sugar content. Cats typically do not like sweet things but the mild flavor of bananas is sometimes appealing to cats. Bananas are rich with potassium and fiber.
You should never try to give your cat a whole banana. Even a half of a banana is too much because of how much sugar is in them. A tiny slice or a little nibble is perfectly safe for them though! Some cats also love crunch banana chips!
Can Cats Eat Oatmeal?
Yes, cats can eat oatmeal that does not have much flavoring or sweeteners added to it. Oatmeal has some great B-vitamins, protein, and a fair amount of heart-healthy carbohydrates. A lot of cat food manufacturers will use oatmeal in their recipes as well.
The only issue that many cat owners face is whether or not their cat will actually eat oatmeal. It seems to be an acquired taste for most cats, but if your cat wants a taste of yours then there’s no harm in letting them try a little nibble here and there!
What Human Foods Are Harmful To Cats?
Before feeding your cat any human food, make sure it does not contain any of the ingredients below. The list below contains foods that can be very harmful to cats for a variety of reasons.
As we mentioned above, do not try and create a diet for your cat simply by using the list of above foods and avoiding the list of foods below. Trying to create a diet for your cat without special training can result in suffering, serious injury, or death.
If your cat has ingested anything below, or if they show signs of possible distress such as drooling, please call your vet for guidance.
Is Xylitol Safe For Cats?
Cats should NEVER ingest the artificial sweetener Xylitol as it is extremely toxic to pets. Small amounts of Xylitol can cause your cat’s blood-sugar levels to drop suddenly due to an unexpected release of insulin. This is known as hypoglycemia.
Even if your cat is able to survive Xylitol poisoning they will still likely suffer from liver failure later on in their lives.
Is Chocolate Safe For Cats?
All forms of chocolate contain theobromine which can be fatal to cats when ingested. Most cats won’t try to eat chocolate on their own, but sadly some owners will still try to get their cat to take a bite of chocolate as if they’re getting some kind of treat or reward.
Chocolate also contains caffeine which can further complicate your cat’s health should any chocolate be ingested.
Is Milk Safe For Cats?
Contrary to popular belief, milk is not safe for most cats. Most cats do not have the enzyme that’s needed to digest milk, thus making them lactose intolerant. Because your cat’s body cannot properly digest sugars that are found in milk, it can cause them a lot of pain and discomfort should they drink too much.
Are Onions Safe For Cats?
Onions are not safe for cats as ingesting them can break down your cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia. This goes for onions of all forms.. raw, cooked, dehydrated, and even onion powder seasoning.
Eating a large quantity at once or eating small quantities over time can lead to onion poisoning.
Is Garlic Safe For Cats?
Garlic can be extremely toxic to cats. Even just one small clove of garlic can be harmful to your cat. Garlic toxicity in cats leads to organ failure or death. Your cat should never consume anything that was made with garlic or any seasoning that contains garlic.
Are Avocados Safe For Cats?
There seems to be some back and forth on whether or not avocados are safe for cats. Some experts say a tiny amount is okay, while others say that any amount can be dangerous. If I was ever unsure about something for my cat I would just avoid giving them any.
Numerous experts claim that avocados contain ingredients that can be toxic to cats, dogs, birds, and even horses. When in doubt, just avoid it!
Are Raisins and Grapes Safe For Cats?
Raisins and grapes are even more toxic to cats than chocolate. One bite of a grape or a raisin is exponentially worse than a bite of chocolate. Cats that eat grapes or raisins can get kidney damage and more severe cases can lead to kidney failure.
Can Cats Eat _________ | Questions from our readers
More and more of our blog readers, as well as our followers on tiktok, have been asking about what cats can and can’t eat. We’ve covered the basics of what’s good and what’s bad above, now let’s dive into some of the more obscure questions that we’ve recieved!
Can Cats Eat Beef Fat?
Cats should not ingest large amounts of beef fat, but tiny amounts are okay. Cats are carnivores who crave protein and fats. Thus, cats LOVE beef fat. A little nibble from your steak trimmings is okay for them to eat, but don’t take it any further than that.
Too much of any fatty foods can lead to painful intestinal issues, vomiting, and even pancreatitis. The exception to this rule is fish which are rich with Omega 3 fats.
Can Cats Eat Fish Eggs?
Fish eggs, caviar, and Roe can be fed to your cat for a rare treat and only in small amounts. Fish eggs can sometimes contain certain bacteria that can be harmful to cats if too much is ingested. Also, some of the cheaper forms of fish eggs and caviar use artificial colorings which can also be harmful to cats in large amounts.
Can Cats Eat Tuna Salad?
No, cats should not eat tuna salad. Tuna fish is okay for cats in certain proportions, but tuna salad often contains ingredients that can be harmful to cats. Too much mayo can be unhealthy for cats. Tuna salad also sometimes contains onions which are extremely toxic to pets.
Can Cats Eat Cucumbers?
A couple of thin slices of cucumber are okay for your cat in moderation. Cucumbers contain a healthy source of vitamins and fiber which can be good for your cat. Too much fiber can upset your cat’s stomach. If you’ve got one of the rare cats who loves cucumbers then a slice or two wouldn’t hurt.
Can Cats Eat Honeydew?
Honeyew and cantaloupe are packed with vitamins A and C. Although fruit isn’t considered part of a cat’s normal diet, they’re not harmful to cats. As with most “human foods” make sure your cat only gets melons as a treat on rare occasions. Too much can cause an upset stomach.
Can Cats Eat Cherries?
Cherries are toxic to cats and dogs and should never be fed to your pets. Cherries actually contain cyanide, albeit in amount too small to affect us humans. Eating cherries makes it hard for your cat’s cells to transport oxygen throughout the body which can result in severe organ damage or failure.
Can Cats Eat Apricots?
Cats can only eat the fleshy fruit of apricots and only in small amounts. Apricot flesh is full of potassium and beta-carotene which can help fight against and prevent cancer. Just make sure they don’t eat the leaves, pit, or stem of the apricot as those are all poisonous to cats.
Can Cats Eat Welch's Fruit Snacks?
No, cats should never eat fruit snacks regardless of which brand makes them. These snacks are often made from fruit juice concentrate where the fruit fiber has been removed. Additionally, some gummy snacks have more sugar than a piece of candy. This makes them extremely unhealthy for cats.
Can Cats Eat Popcorn?
Yes, cats can eat PLAIN popcorn. There is nothing harmful in a piece of freshly-popped popcorn that can be harmful to your cat. The caveat here is that it must be plain. Cat’s should not eat buttery popcorn, caramel popcorn, and definitely not chocolate covered popcorn. Popcorn seasonings often contain garlic and onion powders which can be toxic to cats. Plain popcorn only!
Can Cats Eat Chocolate Pudding?
Cats should never eat pudding of any flavor, and they should definitely NEVER eat anything with chocolate in it. Chocolate is extremely toxic to cats. Having said that, even vanilla pudding is harmful and unhealthy for cat. Pudding has a heavy concentration of sugar, butter, and other ingredients that are way too unhealthy for your cat to ingest.