It seems like cats are always hungry. But never mind the cat food - sometimes, you want to share your delicious food with your kitty. But what human food can cats eat?
Yep, all it takes is a tiny shake of the cat biscuits or a quiet clink of a tin for your cat’s mouth to start watering. It seems like they’ll eat anything that’s going, which leaves your wondering:
Is human food okay for cats? What human foods do cats like?
Most of your cat’s diet should come from a high-quality, complete and balanced cat food - whether that's commercial or homemade. While giving your cat too many human food treats could lead to weight gain, a cheeky treat here and there is totally fine. In fact, certain human foods for cats will even give your kitty a health boost!
So, let’s take a look at what human food cats can eat - believe it or not, you’ve probably got most of them in your kitchen cupboard right now!
What human foods can cats eat?
When it comes to human foods for cats, meat is definitely the top choice!
“The feline has emerged through the stages of evolution as an obligate carnivore, which means that all cats - from the tiny pedigreed Singapura cat to the Bengal tiger - are creatures whose carnivorous nature is 100 per cent dependant on their species-specific diet,” explains The Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care.
“Everything about the cat, from its unique physiology to its behaviour, demonstrates that what it needs to achieve optimum health depends on fulfilling its strict carnivore dietary requirement.”
Yep, our little feline friends are carnivores, plain and simple! Meat benefits them in every way you could think of - helping to keep their heart, vision, coat, immune, reproductive and digestive systems (we could go on!) in tip-top condition.
Giving your cat an occasional treat of cooked meat will make them super happy - and it’ll also give them a health boost! Raw meats are an option, too - though you’ll have to make sure you handle and prepare them safely. The following meats are great options for cats:
- Skinless chicken (in our opinion, this is the best choice!)
- Ground beef
- Lamb and veal
Never, ever feed your cat processed meats such as ham, salami, bacon, sausages or burger. They’ll be chockablock full of sodium and additives which are too harsh for a little kitty’s system.
You probably already know just how much your cat loves the smell and taste of fish. With a cat in the house, it’s hard to prepare it without a lot of excitement on their behalf! But should you actually give them a cheeky portion?
Well, it turns out, you probably should! However, there’s a big but - fish should only be given in moderation, as too much could actually harm them.
Fish is chockablock full of omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fish oils, which have countless health benefits for cats. It can ward off arthritis and joint problems, as well as lowering their risk of dangerous conditions and diseases.
Too much fish, however, could actually deplete your cat’s supply of vitamin E. Therefore, an occasional fish treat for your kitty is a great idea - just don’t overdo it. You can feed them small amounts of:
- Cooked salmon, tuna or trout (remember to remove the bones!)
- Canned tuna in plain water
- Sardines or herring in plain water
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What human food can cats eat? Eggs, eggs and more eggs - they’re a super protein source for your kitty cat!
“Eggs are a complete protein and are a good source of preformed vitamin A. I recommend the no-hormone, no-drug, free-range eggs often sold in natural food shops. The slight extra cost is worth it,” explains Dr Pitcarin in Dr Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.
“Eggs are such a good protein source that the cost for the ‘natural’ variety is about the same per gram of protein as that of most factory-raised meat in supermarkets, and in some cases, even cheaper.”
Eggs are one of the best human foods for cats. They’re a great source of protein and B vitamins and your kitty will adore the taste, too. Make sure you cook the eggs well and don’t serve them piping hot!
The topic of grains and cats is still heavily debated. We’d say that while some cats are fine with grains, you should proceed with caution and only feed them small amounts. However, they are not an essential part of your cat’s diet.
For cats that are able to digest grains easily, whole grains are actually a great source of protein. However, they do tend to be rather carb-heavy, so they should only be fed as a small treat. You can try:
- Brown rice
- Ground cornmeal
Fruits and vegetables
Cats won’t necessarily like fruits and vegetables, but some are actually very beneficial for your kitty’s health! Cat-safe fruit and veg are a good source of vitamins and have plenty of fibre to help digestion run smoothly.
Not all fruits and vegetables are safe for cats, so choose carefully and do your research. We’d recommend trying out:
- Fresh cucumber
- Steamed brocolli
- Steamed aspargues
- Boiled peas
- Cooked green beans
- Cooked carrots
- Cooked spinach (not suitable for cats with urinary or kidney problems)
- Blended bananas
- Seedless watermelon
- Peeled apples
Although these fruits and vegetables are safe for cats, they should still be fed to them in moderation. A handful of peas or a couple of berries, for instance, can work as a great treat. You could also add a small amount to their food, especially if they’re experiencing digestive troubles.
But don’t overdo the human food for cats!
So, we’ve answered the “What human food can cats eat?” question, but there’s just one rule to spoil the fun: Human food for cats counts as calories - so whatever you’re sharing with your kitty, you need to take it out of their daily calorie allowance. Human foods should, ideally, only be a treat for your kitty - overindulging could easily lead to weight gain and health issues.