These Human Foods Are Perfectly Safe for Cats (Surprising!)


Understanding what human foods are safe for cats to eat is important for any cat owner. While cats are obligate carnivores and derive most of their nutrition from meat, many enjoy and can safely consume small amounts of certain fruits, vegetables, and other people food. Feeding cats appropriate human foods can provide added nutrition, variety, and enrichment to their diet. However, some very common ingredients like onions, chocolate, and xylitol can be toxic and potentially fatal to cats, so it is critical to know what human foods to avoid giving cats. This article will provide an overview of human foods that are safe and unsafe for feline consumption, serving tips, and when to consult your veterinarian.

Meat and Fish

Lean meats like chicken and beef are excellent options for feeding cats. Meat is high in protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients that cat’s need in their diet. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they have an essential dietary requirement for animal tissue and meat protein. As such, it is recommended that cats consume meat in some form every day (source:

When preparing meat for cats at home, it’s best to cook it thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria. Lean cuts of cooked chicken, beef, lamb, and pork make excellent additions to a cat’s diet. The meat should be boneless and fat/skin should be trimmed off. Canned fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon that is packed in water is also a healthy option. Fish provides cats with omega-3 fatty acids that promote skin and coat health (source: However, fish should be limited to once or twice a week to avoid potential mercury exposure.


Eggs can be a great source of protein for cats in moderation. Both the whites and yolks contain high-quality complete proteins. According to Australian Eggs, eggs are a good source of amino acids like taurine which are essential for cats.

When preparing eggs for your cat, it’s important to cook them first. Raw egg whites contain an enzyme called avidin that can bind to the vitamin biotin and prevent proper absorption. Cooking helps deactivate this enzyme. Scrambled eggs or hard boiled eggs are the best options.

In moderation, cooked eggs can be a healthy treat. But don’t overdo it, as the high fat content may cause stomach upset if your cat eats too many eggs.


Cats can have small amounts of yogurt and cheese in moderation (About 1 tablespoon daily) Can Cats Eat Yogurt? Read Before You Feed. Yogurt should be plain and unsweetened, as the lactose and sugar can cause digestive upset. Cottage cheese is another good dairy option.

However, cats should avoid milk, as most adult cats are lactose intolerant. The exception is kitten milk replacement formula, which can be fed to orphaned kittens. Otherwise, milk can lead to diarrhea and upset stomach in grown cats.


While cats are obligate carnivores that do not eat grains in the wild, cooked grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and barley can be healthy additions to commercial cat food. In moderation, grains provide cats with fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and fatty acids like linoleic acid 1. However, some cats have difficulty digesting grains, so look for signs of intolerance like vomiting or diarrhea.

Grains should be well-cooked before being added to cat food to aid digestibility. Raw dough made from grains should always be avoided, as the raw flour may contain harmful bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella that can make cats sick 2.

Fruits and Vegetables

Cats can eat some fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet. Fruits and veggies provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, cats’ bodies aren’t designed to digest large amounts of plant matter, so these foods should only make up a small portion of their diet.

Fruits with soft textures like cantaloupe, pumpkin, and banana are easiest for cats to digest. The flesh can be mashed or blended with water to make a tasty treat. Avoid fruits with pits, stones, peels, or rinds, as these can pose choking hazards or contain toxic components.

For vegetables, cooked and softened varieties are safest. Good options include cooked peas, carrots, green beans, and sweet potatoes. Raw veggies are typically too tough for cats to chew and digest properly. Spinach and other leafy greens might cause stomach upset.

When introducing new fruits or vegetables, only offer a small amount at first to check for any signs of an upset stomach or allergic reaction. Overall, fruits and non-starchy veggies should represent less than 10% of your cat’s daily caloric intake.


Can My Pet Eat Fruits and Vegetables?


Many common herbs contain beneficial properties for cats and can be safely added in small quantities to your cat’s food. Some herbs, such as valerian, echinacea, dandelion root, and cat’s claw, can help soothe and strengthen a cat’s immune system (Source). Licorice root, parsley, and marshmallow root may aid digestion. Calendula has anti-inflammatory effects.

When using herbs, only add a small sprinkle or pinch to your cat’s meals. Good options include parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme. Always introduce new herbs gradually. Consult your veterinarian before giving any new herb or supplement to your cat, especially if they have any medical conditions (Source).

Foods to Avoid

There are certain human foods that can be extremely dangerous for cats. According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, some foods that should be avoided include:

Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage red blood cells in cats, leading to anemia. Even small amounts can be toxic. (source)

Chocolate contains both theobromine and caffeine, which cats cannot metabolize efficiently. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and even death. Darker chocolates contain more of these toxic compounds and are more dangerous. (source)

Alcohol can cause the same effects in cats as in humans – vomiting, disorientation, and liver damage. However, it takes far less alcohol to intoxicate a cat due to their smaller size. Even a few licks of beer or liquor can be toxic. (source)

Coffee and products containing caffeine should also be avoided. Caffeine is toxic to cats and there is no safe dosage. It can overstimulate their nervous system and heart. A few laps of coffee, tea or energy drinks could be fatal. (source)

Serving Tips

When feeding human food to cats, it’s important to serve small portions. A cat’s digestive system is not designed to handle large amounts of foods outside of their normal diet. Start by giving your cat just a teaspoon or two of any new human food. Monitor them for any reactions like vomiting, diarrhea, or skin irritation which could indicate an allergy or intolerance. If they tolerate a small amount with no issues, gradually increase the portion over a period of days or weeks. But even once you know your cat can handle a food, continue serving human foods sparingly as an occasional treat. They should not make up more than 10% of your cat’s overall caloric intake.

It’s also a good idea to introduce new foods individually instead of mixing multiple items. That makes it easier to identify the culprit if your cat does have a negative reaction. When introducing a variety of human foods, add them one at a time over a span of several weeks. And of course, stop feeding anything that causes vomiting, diarrhea, or other concerning symptoms in your cat.

In addition to small portions, be sure to cut foods into cat-sized bites. Don’t make your cat work too hard to chew or swallow their treats. Cutting up foods also allows flavors to better mix with your cat’s saliva so they can fully enjoy all the tastes and textures. Follow basic food safety practices too by washing produce, thoroughly cooking meats, and avoiding contamination.

While the occasional scrap from your plate is usually fine, consult your veterinarian before significantly changing your cat’s diet. Some human foods are toxic to cats, and their nutritional needs are different from ours. With some precautions and moderation though, treats from your table can be a fun way to bond with your feline friend.

Consult a Vet

It’s important to talk to your veterinarian before introducing any new foods into your cat’s diet, even human foods that are generally safe. Every cat is different and may have unique dietary needs or restrictions.

Cats can develop allergies or sensitivities to ingredients they’ve never been exposed to before. When introducing new foods, do so gradually and in small amounts. Watch for signs of an allergic reaction like itching, hives, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Your vet knows your cat’s health history best and can advise you on proper nutrition. They can let you know which human foods are appropriate and in what portions. Don’t make any major dietary changes without consulting your veterinarian first.

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