What Human Treats Can Cats Enjoy? (Creates curiosity and contains relevant keywords)

Introduction

Many cat owners wonder if it’s okay to share some of their own food with their feline companions. While certain human foods are perfectly fine for cats, others can be extremely dangerous. Knowing which foods are safe and which to avoid is important for any cat owner. Feeding cats inappropriate human foods can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies, intestinal issues, and even be life-threatening in some cases. However, sharing small amounts of safe human foods can be a way for owners to bond with their cats and show affection. With proper precautions, cat owners can feel comfortable safely sharing meals and giving treats to their furry friends.

Meat and Fish

Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and beef provide cats with essential nutrients and are a good source of protein. According to the benefits of fish-first food article from Simply Naked Pet Food, when choosing fish for your cat opt for low mercury options like salmon, cod, tuna, herring, and sardines. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids which benefits skin, coat, immune system, heart health, brain development, and mobility (source).

When serving fish or meat, make sure it is cooked thoroughly and any bones or fat are removed. Fish like tuna or salmon should be flaked before serving. Fish and meat can be given to cats plain or mixed into their regular food in moderation. Most experts recommend limiting fish and meat to 10% of your cat’s diet at most.

Dairy

Cats are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the enzyme needed to properly digest the sugar in milk and other dairy products (https://www.pawlicy.com/blog/can-cats-drink-milk/). Feeding milk to cats can cause diarrhea, gas, and stomach upset. It’s best to avoid giving cats cow’s milk or other dairy-based milk (https://tippvet.com/dairy-products-milk-cats/).

Small amounts of plain, unsweetened yogurt are usually safe for cats and easier to digest due to the live cultures it contains. Limit yogurt treats to a teaspoon or two, and opt for low-fat or non-fat varieties (https://www.pawlicy.com/blog/can-cats-eat-cheese/). Other dairy products like cheese, cream, sour cream, and ice cream are high in fat and sugars and should be avoided.

Eggs

Eggs can be a healthy treat for cats in moderation, as long as they are cooked properly. According to AustralianEggs.org.au, eggs are an excellent source of protein, amino acids, minerals and vitamins for cats, similar to humans.

It’s best to feed cats cooked eggs without any added butter or oil. Hard boiled or scrambled eggs are the safest options. Raw eggs should be avoided due to the risk of salmonella poisoning. According to PetMD, raw egg whites can even lead to a biotin deficiency in cats over time.

When preparing eggs for your cat, make sure to use minimal salt and no seasonings. Plain, cooked egg can be served on its own or mixed into their regular cat food. Only feed your cat a small amount of egg at a time, such as a spoonful or two. Too much can lead to an upset stomach.

Grains

Grains can be a nutritious part of a cat’s diet in small amounts. The 7 Best Cat Food With Grains In 2024: Unbiased Review notes that cats can consume limited quantities of cooked grains like rice, pasta, and oatmeal. These whole grains provide carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. However, cats’ bodies are not well equipped to digest large amounts of plant material, so grains should comprise only a small portion of their diet.

It’s important to only feed cats cooked grains, as their stomachs cannot handle raw dough or batter. Uncooked dough made with yeast can expand in a cat’s stomach and cause bloating. Can Cats Eat Grains? warns that raw dough can be toxic and cause alcohol poisoning in cats if ingested. To be safe, foods like raw bread or pizza dough should be avoided.

In moderation, grains like oatmeal, rice, and pasta can provide nutrients. But they should be cooked thoroughly and limited to less than 10% of a cat’s daily calories.

Fruits and Vegetables

Cats can eat some fruits and vegetables, but only certain ones are safe for them. Fruits and veggies should always be fed to cats cooked, puréed, or mashed, as their digestive systems are not designed to process raw plant matter.

Some fruits and vegetables that are safe for cats in moderation include:[1]

  • Cooked carrots
  • Cooked peas
  • Cooked sweet potatoes

On the other hand, cats should avoid fruits and vegetables such as:[2]

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Raisins

These foods can be toxic to cats. It’s important to research which fruits and veggies are feline-friendly before sharing any with your cat.


  1. https://cats.com/safe-fruit-and-vegetables-for-cats
  2. https://www.petshield.ca/fruits-veggies-safe-for-pets/

Other Human Foods to Avoid

There are several human foods that should always be avoided when feeding cats. Some foods are toxic to cats and can cause serious health issues.

Chocolate

Chocolate contains ingredients called methylxanthines like theobromine and caffeine that are toxic to cats [1]. When ingested, chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting, excessive urination, lethargy, muscle tremors, seizures, and heart issues in cats. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be. Even small amounts can be toxic, so chocolate should never be fed to cats.

Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in products like gum, candy, toothpaste and baked goods. It can lead to a dangerous drop in blood sugar and liver damage in cats [2]. Xylitol toxicity can occur rapidly, so it’s critical to avoid giving cats anything containing this sweetener.

Coffee/Tea

Coffee and tea contain caffeine that’s toxic to cats. Drinking coffee or tea can cause vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate, hypertension and seizures [1]. Cats should never be allowed to lap up spilled drinks containing caffeine.

Alcohol

Alcohol has similar toxic effects in cats as in humans. However, it takes far less alcohol to cause issues like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, tremors, coma and death [2]. Even ingesting alcohol residue left in a glass can be dangerous for cats.

Raw Bread Dough

The raw yeast dough in products like bread and pizza dough can expand in a cat’s stomach and potentially cause life threatening bloating or alcohol poisoning from fermentation [1]. Only give cats baked bread products, never raw dough.

Treats

Cats love treats, but it’s important not to overdo it. Treats should make up no more than 10% of a cat’s daily calories. Too many treats can lead to obesity and other health problems.

Some human foods make excellent treats in moderation, as long as they are safe for cats. Look for treats made from meat, fish, eggs, and other proteins cats would eat in the wild. Good options include:

  • Small pieces of baked or broiled chicken or fish (remove bones and skin)
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Plain yogurt
  • Tuna (water-packed, no salt added)

You can also find many commercial cat treats made with healthy, natural ingredients. Try different treats to see which ones your cat likes best.

Always go slowly when introducing new treats to make sure they agree with your cat’s stomach. And resist the urge to give too many treats just because your cat begs for them!

According to redditors on r/CatAdvice, some of the best human food treats for cats include tuna, boiled chicken, turkey, cheese, and baby food with meat. But give high-fat treats like cheese only sparingly. See the discussion at https://www.reddit.com/r/CatAdvice/comments/18084b5/what_foods_do_your_cats_love_whats_your_best_cat/.

Serving Tips

When feeding human food to cats, it’s important to properly prepare and monitor the portions. Here are some tips for safe serving:

Mix with cat food – Combining a small amount of human food into your cat’s regular cat food can help avoid stomach upset from an abrupt diet change. Start with a ratio of 90% cat food to 10% human food.

Cut into bite-size pieces – Cut the human food into small, bite-sized pieces that are easy for your cat to chew and digest. Avoid feeding large chunks.

Monitor for signs of discomfort – Pay attention to your cat’s reaction after trying a new human food. Discontinue feeding anything that causes vomiting, diarrhea, or other signs of stomach distress.

Cats have sensitive digestive systems, so introduce human foods slowly and watch for any negative effects. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian for personalized feeding advice.

When to Avoid Human Food

There are certain situations when it’s best to avoid giving your cat any human foods at all:

Kittens

Kittens have very sensitive digestive systems and require a specialized diet to support their growth and development. Human food can upset their stomachs and cause diarrhea. It’s best to stick to kitten formula and wet or dry kitten food until they reach adulthood at around 12 months old.

Cats with food allergies/intolerances

If your cat has food allergies or intolerances, it’s important to avoid any human foods as you won’t know how they may react. Work with your vet to identify the allergen and feed them a hypoallergenic prescription diet instead.

Obese or diabetic cats

Obese or diabetic cats require strict portion and calorie control. Human foods like meat, cheese, and carbohydrates can easily throw off their special dietary needs. It’s best to avoid all human foods if your cat needs to lose weight or control its blood sugar.

Cats on prescription diet

Prescription diets are formulated to address specific health conditions in cats. Feeding any human foods may interfere with the nutritional balance. Always follow your vet’s recommendations if your cat is on a prescription food.

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