There are a few things on this world that are more adorable than your cat trying to steal food from your plate. But what human food can cats eat? Are there any natural cat food already laying in your fridge, or is it better to stick to the store-bought variety?
That’s what we’re here to find out!
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The truth is, the best cat food is one that helps keep your kitty happy and healthy!
Speaking of keeping your furry friend healthy, check out how long can cat go without food, as well.
Can My Cat Eat Vegetables And Fruit?
Every pet owner that’s ever had their kitty try and steal food from their plate was bound to wonder if there are any hidden dangers in sharing some of that deliciousness with their cat?
So, what fruits can cats eat? And are veggies as healthy for cats, as they are for us?
Let’s find out!
Grapes And Raisins
You can find both grapes and raisins on the ASPCA’s list of foods that are bad for cats, and for most pet parents, that’s a good enough reason never to give their cat anything grape-related.
Even a handful of grapes or raisins puts your dog at risk for acute kidney failure, so why risk it with your cat?
As long as they’re fully ripe, tomatoes are a safe choice for your cat, and can even be quite beneficial to their digestive system due to the high water and fiber content. A quick look at the label of canned cat food may reveal there are some tomatoes in there, too.
Get rid of all the leaves and stems, though – solanine makes them very toxic to cats.
Pumpkin is another "people food" that leaves many pet parents wondering what human food can cats eat, and technically speaking, pumpkin is safe – even beneficial – for cats, as long as follow a few essential rules.
It’s essential to remove the stem and skin because your kitty won’t be able to digest them. Also, don’t give them raw pumpkin or that gooey-textured pulp. Baked pumpkin, fresh pumpkin seeds, and canned, additive-free pumpkin are good choices, but in tiny amounts – one teaspoon of pumpkin a day, max!
Onion And Garlic
There are a few veggies that always make the list of human foods toxic to cats, and garlic and onions – make that the entire Allium species – are one of them.
When consumed in any form – whether it’s fresh, cooked, or dried – they cause breakdown of red blood cells, and yes, it’s scary as it sounds.
While bananas are known to have many health benefits for us, does the same hold true when it comes to our feline friends?
Well, no, not really – all that sugar can do more harm than good – but they’re not toxic to cats, so if your cat, for some reason, goes bananas over bananas, feel free to give her a slice now and then.
The good news is that watermelon is generally safe for your kitty to consume as an occasional treat, especially if she’s not that great at keeping up with her daily water intake requirements. So, if your cat seems interested in giving watermelon a try, by all means, let her.
Just make sure you remove all the seeds, as well as the rind!
You may be surprised to hear this – not only is seaweed safe, but it’s also packed with lots of beneficial nutrients for your feline friend, too!
From soothing an upset tummy, acting as an antacid, to keeping blood glucose levels low, seaweed seems to be a miracle human food cats can eat, as well.
You know what they say: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
I wouldn’t say that the same holds true for cats, although it’s safe for them to eat apples as a healthy treat. So, don’t hesitate to give your cat a slice or two, but make sure you remove the leaves, stems, and seeds, as they can be dangerous for your pet.
Nuts are not a very healthy snack option for your feline friend because of their high-fat content (often with sodium levels to match), but they're not dangerous to cats if that's what you're wondering.
Stay away from Macadamia nuts, though – they're toxic to dogs, and while there's no proof the same is true for cats, better safe than sorry, right?
By all means, yes, it’s perfectly safe to treat your cat to some cooked carrots!
They’re rich in vitamins and minerals – including beta-carotene – and they’re not toxic to cats in any shape or form, so feel free to add them to her regular meals as a health boost or let your kitty munch on some carrots now and then as a treat. Remember, though – moderation is key.
There seems to be a never-ending debate around cats and avocado. Persin, naturally found in the stem, leaves, peel, and the pit of an avocado is considered toxic for cats – or only "slightly toxic", as others would put it.
It doesn’t matter how nutritious and tasty avocado is, in the end, it’s not worth the risk.
As obligate carnivores, cats don’t crave – or need – many vegetables, but peas are an exception. Cats seem to like cooked peas, which makes them a healthy, low-calorie treat.
Of course, they shouldn’t be a replacement for a meat-based diet – they’re more like a side dish to your kitty’s regular meals.
It’s safe for your cat to eat plain, cooked rice, and since it’s so easy to digest, it’s a perfect grain to mix in with your cat’s food – it acts as a digestion regulator and helps sooth the kitty’s upset stomach.
I’ll talk about some delicious homemade cat food recipes later, so you’ll see rice plays a role in all of them.
I think you already know the answer to this one. I mean, what nutritional value could bread have to offer to your cat?
There’s no real need for your cat to consume all those carbohydrate-based calories, but a small piece of bread now and then as a treat won’t hurt your cat in any way.
Potatoes And Sweet Potatoes
Yes and no. Here’s the thing:
Cooked potatoes – either baked, mashed, or boiled – without any additives are perfectly safe for cats. Try to mix a tiny amount into your cat’s regular food, and see how it goes.
Sweet potatoes are a no-no when it comes to feline diets – to cats, they’re just a too-hard-to-digest vegetable. Sure, a small bite won’t hurt them, but anything more than that can upset their sensitive stomach.
Well, it depends on the type of mushrooms – if you wouldn’t eat them, they’re not safe for your cat, either.
I would suggest you avoid including mushrooms in your cat’s diet altogether, but if your cat insists on trying them, a tiny amount of plain, cooked store-bought mushrooms is your safest bet.
Broccoli And Cauliflower
Sure, cats can eat steamed or boiled broccoli and cauliflower – they’re not toxic to felines. The more important question here is whether your cat will be interested in giving it a try, because who likes to eat broccoli, anyway?
What Meat And Fish Can My Cat Eat?
As obligate carnivores, not only can cats eat meat – they have to eat it to stay healthy and thrive. The trick is to know which types of meat they would typically consume in the wild
Eat Raw Chicken
It’s true that, in their natural habitat, cats survived and thrived on raw flesh of their prey, so including raw chicken in a cat’s diet has to be a good thing, right? Yeah, but then there’s the issue of Salmonella and food poisoning.
As long as the meat is fresh and Salmonella-free, I’m sure your kitty won’t mind going back to her roots.
Tuna can be a treat your furry friend will love, but making it a regular part of your cat’s diet is a bad idea – it’s not nutritionally complete, and it contains high levels of mercury.
Cat’s love the smell and taste of tuna, though, so if you’re having trouble getting your kitty to eat her kibble, pour a tiny amount of tuna juice over it – that should do the trick.
As crazy as it sounds, cats can get addicted to the taste and smell of fish – be it canned tuna, cooked salmon, or something else. That’s why it’s vital to give canned fish only as a rare, special treat.
Cats can eat canned fish (they seem to go crazy over canned salmon and tuna), but it’s a less than ideal diet for them in the long run.
The opinions are somewhat mixed on this one, and here’s why:
The liver is a vital source of vitamin A, but at the same time, when consumed in excess amounts, it causes vitamin A toxicity, which can have a devastating effect on your cat’s bones.
So, portion control is vital here.
Eggs – Cooked And Raw
Yes, you can add cooked eggs to your cat’s diet. They’re delicious; they’re nutritious – egg whites alone are full of protein and amino acids – and, in reasonable amounts, they provide a much-needed health boost.
However, raw eggs might harbor Salmonella, while raw egg whites contain avidin, which, over time, can cause biotin deficiency. So, no fresh eggs for the kitty.
Fat Trimmings And Bones
Cats will gladly eat fat trimmings, but does that mean they should?
No, it doesn’t.
It’s way too much fat for your cat’s body to process, and it might lead to obesity or even pancreatitis.
When it comes to bones, the answer is it depends. Raw bones are perfectly fine, but cooked bones pose a danger to their digestive tract.
What About Popular "People Foods"?
Now, let’s talk about sharing your dinner with your furry friend - when is it okay to share? Keep on reading to find out!
Pizza isn’t the healthiest choice even for us, let alone our feline friends.
First off, it might contain garlic or onions. Furthermore, the topping is loaded with fats, the meat is beyond processed, and the sauce is too acidic for their tummies. The only part of the pizza that can pass as "safe" for cats is the crust, but it has no nutritional value for them, so why bother?
That one’s tricky – it’s not considered poisonous, but should it be a treat your cat gets on the daily?
No, not really.
Besides having zero nutritional value for them, it’s also packed with fat – and consuming too much fat leads to feline obesity and diabetes.
However, it works wonders when you need to trick your cat into taking medication!
If your cat seems to be a fan of cheese, you’re probably wondering if a tiny slice now and then is considered okay.
Well, there’s the obvious issue of lactose intolerance, but if your cat seems okay with digesting cheese, there’s no real danger there. As long as you make it a rare treat, not a regular thing, and stick to hard, aged cheeses, it should be fine.
Yes, cats can eat plain, unsweetened yogurt – and they might benefit from all the "good" bacteria cultures and nutrients found in yogurt. What’s more, if your cat has an upset tummy, even one teaspoon with every meal can make a huge difference.
Start with a small amount and see how it goes.
If your cat seems to handle dairy products well, and you stick to vanilla ice cream, a few licks won't do any harm.
Remember, your cat doesn’t care about the sweetness – it’s the high-fat content that attracts them, so give the homemade low-sugar ice cream a try.
Read more: Can cats eat ice cream?
Yes, popcorn is safe for cats.
Who doesn’t like to spend their nights with a bowl of popcorn and a cat in their lap? But what if you catch your cat stealing popcorn when she thinks you’re not looking?
As long as they’re homemade and free of additives, unlike those found in microwave popcorn, you and your cat can continue snacking and enjoying movie night together.
Nope, no, no way!
Let me repeat that: Cats should never eat chocolate!
Two substances found in chocolate – caffeine, and theobromine – make it lethal to cats. The darker the chocolate, the higher the toxicity. Cats aren’t likely to eat chocolate, though, because they don’t care about sweets, but if it happens, call your vet immediately.
Does anyone do this on purpose? By trying to get your cat drunk because you think it’s funny, you risk putting her into a coma – or worse. Their tiny bodies don’t stand a chance against alcohol.
Shame on you.
You know how you feel like after one cup of coffee too many? That’s how a few laps will feel for your cat. That’s why coffee, tea, soda – and everything else that contains caffeine, for that matter – is off limits!
When ingested, caffeine can cause an increased heart rate, hypertension, tremors, and sometimes it can damage your cat’s nervous system to a point where it causes seizures and, sadly, death.
Homemade Cooked Cat Food Recipes
You know how you love home-cooked meals more than those fancy restaurant ones? Well, why not surprise your kitty with a homemade dinner, as well?
Here are some homemade cooked cat food recipes that will fill their nutritional needs and satisfy even the fussiest of cats!
Chicken And Rice Cat Food
- Cooked chicken breast, chopped – ½ pound (make sure it’s boneless)
- One hard-boiled egg, chopped
- Cooked long-grain rice – 1/3 cup
- Four teaspoons of canola or olive oil
- One cup of plain chicken stock
This one is, by far, the easiest cat food recipe on the list to follow – all you need to do is mix the ingredients – make sure the chicken stock is not too hot, though – and serve them to your kitty.
Store any leftovers in the fridge (make sure you use proper food containers) for up to three days.
- Lean turkey, ground – ½ pound
- Boiled carrots, chopped – ¼ cup
- Cooked peas – ¼ cup
- Oats – ¼ cup
- Two hard-boiled eggs
- One raw egg
While you’re waiting for your oven to heat up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, take the time to mix the ground turkey, peas, and carrots in a large bowl, then add in the raw egg, and oats, and stir everything well.
Pour one half of the mixture in a loaf pan (make sure it’s only lightly greased), place the boiled eggs into it, then pour in the rest of the mixture over them.
Bake the meatloaf for about 45 minutes, then slice it, and serve to your ca one slice at a time.
Homemade Treats For A Kitty With A Sensitive Stomach
These bite-sized treats are the perfect cat food for sensitive stomach, and here’s how you can make them yourself!
- Two cups of rice flour
- Turkey meat, pureed – ½ cup
- Boiled peas, pureed – ½ cup
Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees and lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine the turkey, peas, and flour in a mixer, then knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. If you want to make something extraordinary for your cat, you can use cookie cutters to shape the treats, but a knife will work, too.
Bake the treats at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, then flip them, lower the temperature to 175, and bake for an additional 40 minutes.
As a cat owner, you probably think of your cat as more than just a pet – a family member sounds more like it, right? You want to do everything you can to keep your kitty away from anything that might harm her.
That means not only picking the best dry cat food and researching cat wet food options, but doing your best to gather info on what might be toxic, and what works as cat food for diarrhea, too. Ah, the things we do for love!
On that note, I hope this article answered any doubts you might have had about what human food can cats eat, but if you have additional questions, feel free to leave a comment below!
Last updated on February 20th, 2019