Human Foods Your Cat Can and Cannot Eat
You love your cat like it’s one of your own children. It follows you around, sleeps at the foot of your bed, keeps you company when you're sad — and sticks its furry little face into everything you do, including your dinner plate if you’re not careful.
It’s hard to resist that adorable face, but you could be putting your beloved feline in danger if you share your snacks without knowing what you’re doing. Before passing the yogurt to Whiskers, read up on the foods you can and cannot give to your cat.
The image of a cat lapping up milk is something of a trope in popular media. Popular imagery or not, milk is actually not a great thing to give to a feline. Kittens reap nutritional benefits from their mother's milk as babies, but cow's milk doesn't provide anything helpful in a cat's diet and could do some real damage.
Wait, aren't cats lactose intolerant? Well, yes, but the good thing about yogurt is that it contains natural bacteria that helps break down the lactose. That means small amounts of yogurt probably won’t make your cat sick, especially while they're still growing into adulthood.
While humans seem to be addicted to it, coffee could prove fatal for a cat. In general, caffeine can cause heart problems for cats, so that means tea and soda go on the no-no list too. Eating a tea bag or getting into coffee grounds could lead to vomiting, seizures or even death.
You've probably heard how bad chocolate is for dogs, but it's just as bad for cats! Dogs tend to actively seek out chocolate when you have it, while your cat might seem uninterested. That’s because dogs can taste the sweet goodness of chocolate, and cats can't, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to eat it.
Not all cats will eat fruit, but blueberries are a good option for those that do. The antioxidants in this berry can improve digestive problems in cats, and the fiber and water content are also good for their health. Sure, it's not a cat superfood like it is for humans, as Purina explains, but it won't hurt.
Another fruit that is okay for your cat to eat is the wonderful yellow banana. Bananas have lots of potassium that is good for you and good for your feline if they happen to like the mushy texture. As with every human food, however, bananas should only be consumed by cats in small portions.
Although we just established that a little bit of fruit is okay for cats to eat, apricots should be crossed off that list. The fruit of the apricot isn't bad for kitties, but the apricot pit is toxic. It contains the chemical cyanide, which is a well-known poison that’s also dangerous for humans, but you’re smart enough to not eat or play with the pits.
Chicken is possibly the best "human food" you can give your cat. The protein provided by this poultry is great for kitty’s diet, and you will be hugely popular for sharing. It’s not surprising if your cat follows you into the kitchen to beg every time you go to make yourself a chicken sandwich. Meat sends their carnivore instincts into overdrive.
Another protein-rich food you can feed your cat is eggs. In fact, eggs are so popular that many at-home cat food recipes include eggs along with chicken. So, the next time you whip up a plate of scrambled eggs in the morning, you can feel good about accidentally "dropping" some on the ground for Whiskers.
Anything in the onion family, including garlic, should be avoided when it comes to feeding your cat. Onions contain toxins that cats are especially sensitive to, and even a small amount can cause serious problems. Raw or cooked, onions shouldn't be ingested by cats at all.
Toasting some bread in the morning? Cutting a slice for dinner? Bits of bread are okay to give your cat, and many cats are enthusiastic about eating the yummy treat. Just remember that breads containing garlic or onion are absolutely off limits for your pet.
Salt ranks as one of the top dangerous foods for cats. Small amounts that occur naturally in foods are okay, but you should never add more salt to anything you plan on giving your pet. Too much salt can lead to dehydration and sodium ion poisoning.
Do you have a cat that just won't stop chewing on your house plants? Try feeding it steamed broccoli. You just might find this healthy vegetable helps quell their green cravings. Just like blueberries, broccoli has beneficial antioxidants that can make your pet a healthier animal in general.
When you think of healthy vegetables, you probably think of spinach (alongside broccoli, of course). As Catological explains, spinach can be good for cats as well as humans. It's chock-full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, all with a low calorie count. Don't forget the Omega-3 fatty acids as well.
I know what you're thinking. Who would ever give their cat alcohol? Although you may have never considered feeding beer to your feline, Whiskers could still ingest alcohol in other ways. As previously mentioned, yeast — like in uncooked bread dough — is one of the key ways cats can ingest alcohol.
Cooked Fish: Yes
Most cats will lose their minds over a smelly can of tuna fish. They tend to love it. Similarly, if you've ever sauteed salmon or cooked up a trout you caught from the lake, you've probably had your furball meowing at your feet the entire time. The good news is that as a treat, fish is perfectly fine for your cat. In fact, it's good for them.
Ever wondered if your cat can eat a few of the slivered almonds you snack on after work? Well, wonder no more, because they can't. Nuts have high fat content, and cats' stomachs aren't equipped to handle that. Don’t leave nuts — peanuts, macadamias, almonds, etc. — out on the table, or you could come home to a vomiting, sick cat with diarrhea.
Grapes have been proven to cause catastrophic symptoms in dogs, to varying degrees. There are many cases of dogs succumbing to kidney failure after consuming only a few grapes as well as those who were only impacted by consuming a whole bag.
If your kid brings home the Halloween candy and starts feeding it to the cat, you better put a stop to it quickly. Most candies won't cause immediate damage in small quantities, but it's still not a good idea for felines to ingest processed, artificial, sugary human creations.
If you're looking to pamper your pet for a special occasion, go ahead and splurge on some lamb. As born carnivores, cats tend to love different meats, and this is one of the better options when it comes to human foods. Because fish and other meats are potentially allergy-inducing, lamb is the perfect choice for your high-maintenance kitty.
Remember those videos where owners placed cucumbers behind their cats, and when the cats turned around, they were so startled they shot 5 feet into the air? Well, it turns out cucumbers aren't only good for making viral videos with your cat. You can feed them to your kitty too.
Who doesn't love a warm batch of mashed potatoes? Scoop a tiny spoonful for your cat because this one is safe for them to eat. If fact, they're so safe that lots of cat foods have potatoes as an ingredient. However, the potatoes absolutely must be cooked.
Cheese: Not really
Here we are again with the dairy. Many cats love (love, love) cheese, so despite knowing that dairy is bad for them, you can’t help but hope cheese is okay. Unfortunately, cheese is generally not a good treat for your cat. It's hard for them to digest and has insignificant nutritional value for felines.
It's common practice to toss a bone to a dog, but should you ever toss one to a cat? No. Although it's true that raw bones are a good source of minerals — especially calcium — unless you're specifically treating a cat's mineral deficiency, it's safer to stay away from bones.
As noted previously, fish is good for your cat — cooked fish. Even though many people imagine cats as huge fish lovers — they do sit and stare at the fish tank, after all — eating a piece of raw fish is not what your cat should do. Not only can consuming raw fish lead to a thiamine deficiency, but it's a good way to give your cat parasites.
If your cat eats commercial cat food, it has probably already eaten corn. That's right, corn is a common ingredient in dry cat foods. That should tell you all you need to know, right? A few kernels of corn are perfectly fine for your pet.
Speaking of meat, ham is a treat option for your cat. It tastes a lot better to them than corn, and their bodies are more adept at digesting and getting nutrients from it. Just make sure the ham is fully cooked with (preferably) low sodium content.
This may seem like a strange one on the list. You may be wondering how oatmeal could ever be a feline food possibility. For starters, it’s a very healthy breakfast food for humans, and that healthiness translates to cats as well.
Baby Food: Sometimes
If you currently have an infant in your house, this one is probably exciting. Imagine making your life easier by buying or making the same food for your baby and your cat. The truth is baby food is possibly safe for your cat to eat, but there are a lot of rules that go along with it.
If you’re planning on making your cat a cake for its birthday, you better make it a meat cake. By now, you should know that cake isn't good for your feline friend, thanks to common ingredients like sugar and milk. Plus, the sweetness you probably love so dearly is completely lost on them.
Ice Cream: Nope
The sugar and milk in ice cream can lead to diarrhea and digestive problems. Ice cream is cold and soft, so how could cats resist? Cats may like ice cream, but they don't have the appropriate system to digest the lactose in milk.
Most people eat cereal for breakfast. Preparing cereal is very quick and easy, especially if you're in a hurry in the morning. But what if your cat gets its paws on your cereal? If your cat does munch on some cereal, there's no need to worry.
Apples: Not Really
Apples are sweet, delicious and healthy for humans. For cats, it's a different story. The apple's flesh is safe for cats to consume in moderation. However, the seeds are poisonous and can cause health problems for cats. The stems and leaves are also unsafe.
Rice: Not Recommended Except…
Before feeding your cat rice, it's best to ask your veterinarian first. Although many cats can eat cooked rice, it must be prepared properly. Some vets suggest feeding cats rice to ease their digestion problems. But it's not recommended to feed them rice often.
Avocado: Yes...in Moderation
Millennials aren't the only ones who get to enjoy avocados. In fact, the U.S. imported $2.6 billion worth of avocados from Mexico. It's not hard to see why people love the fruit. Avocados are tasty and full of beneficial vitamins and minerals.