What human foods can cats eat? Here are 18 foods that are safe to feed your cat.
I know it’s very hard resisting those big round eyes when they ask for food! After thinking through this guideline, you now decided you want to share your food with your feline companion. There are some “human” foods that can be great supplements to your cat when given moderately.
I took a few days to research common human foods that are safe to feed your cat. I find that it was hard to get all the information in one place and it can be confusing for cat owners. So, I set out to make a list that is more helpful for you. We will explore the question “What human foods can cats eat?”, not “What human foods should cats eat?”
18 Human Foods Safe for Cats
Meat, Fish & Seafood
You already know from above that cats are obligate carnivores. This should come as no surprise you can feed them meat, fish, and seafood. Debone and deshell all meats and seafood before feeding them to your cat. Baking, boiling, and steaming are the best ways to prepare meats and seafood for your cat (definitely not fried). If you are feeding canned meats and seafood, make sure they are packaged in water and unseasoned. Meats and seafood packaged in oil are too fatty for your furry friend.
Chicken Gizzards & Hearts
It may not be your cat’s favorite, but chicken gizzards and hearts are packed with nutrition. Chicken gizzards contain taurine, which is good for their eyes. It also contains niacin (Vitamin B3), which helps with high blood pressure. But, gizzards have high cholesterol content in them. If your cat is on a low sodium, phosphorus, and potassium diet, steer clear of gizzards. Make sure to remove any outer layers of the gizzards and heart. Cook them in moist heat and not at high temperatures. Don’t worry, they don’t lose their nutritional value from being cooked. Just make sure not to overcook them!
Bananas are safe for cats, but some cats cannot tolerate them. They experience vomiting or diarrhea after eating this starchy and sugary treat. Bananas have higher calories, so you should give your cat too many bananas. A good guideline is less than 1-inch square every few weeks. Cats generally don’t have a sweet tooth, so many cats are not too interested in bananas anyways. Obese and diabetic cats should not have any bananas.
Many berries are a good source of antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber, and vitamins A, C, K, and E. Make sure to remove all stems and leaves, and cut them into bite-size pieces. Keep in mind, Cherries are not a berry. It is a toxic food for cats.
Apple flesh is a good source of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and pectin. Apple skin is high in phytonutrients. Humans and cats can get the same health benefits from apples. Cut the apple into little bite-size pieces and remove all stems and seeds before feeding it to your cat.
Mangoes are not toxic for cats. They are a sweet treat and are high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin A. But, cats can’t taste sweet and they can make their own vitamin C in their bodies. So, mangoes don’t provide additional nutritional value and appeal to cats.
Pineapples contain vitamins A, B6, folate, and C and minerals, such as magnesium and potassium. It’s better to feed fresh pineapples than canned ones to your cat. Canned pineapples are too high in added sugars. Make sure to remove all seeds, skin, and leaves before feeding it to your cat.
Pears contain vitamins C, A, and fiber. But like mangoes, pears don’t provide additional nutritional value to cats. Cats can produce their own vitamin C and they can get vitamin A and fibers from their standard diet.
Melons & Cantaloupes
Melons like honeydew and watermelon are safe for cats. They provide fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A, B, and C. Cats seem to like cantaloupes. So, make sure they are not digging into your unsupervised cantaloupe. When feeding your cat melons and cantaloupe, remove all seeds, skin, and stems.
Carrots contain beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in our human bodies to help with vision in dim light. Unfortunately, cats lack the ability to convert beta-carotene to vitamin A. Carrots are not toxic to cats, but they don’t serve much purpose in their diet. Make sure to cook carrots thoroughly and cut them into bite-size before serving them to your cat.
Rice & Rice Bran
Rice bran is beneficial for cats with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. It is because eating rice bran lowers plasma and whole-blood taurine in cats. Your vet may sometimes recommend adding a little bit of rice to your cat’s food. But, be careful! Too much rice bran can cause taurine deficiency syndrome in cats. It can cause some health complications for them.
Pumpkins can have some benefits in treating gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea. At the same time, too much can cause constipation in cats. Pumpkins have a good source of potassium; phosphorous, calcium, vitamins A, C, and K, and lots of fiber. Don’t use pumpkin filling or any canned pumpkin that has other ingredients in them. Use natural pumpkins and serve them thoroughly cooked in bite-size or puree.
Oatmeal is a great source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and selenium. Compared to other grains, oats have higher and better quality protein and fat. Cats are able to digest and use the nutrients in oats easily. Make sure to cook the oatmeal thoroughly and cooled before serving it to your cat.
You can feed all parts of the egg to your cat, including the shell. Egg yolks have higher fat content, so you don’t want to give too much to your cat. Egg whites are a better source of protein because they contain almost no fats. Eggshells are filled with calcium and you can grind it up to feed your cat.
Quail eggs are considered neutral eggs. To compare, chicken eggs are acidic and duck eggs are alkaline. This means it is safer to incorporate quail eggs into your cat’s diet. Quail eggs also reduce your cat’s allergic reaction (kind of like a natural antihistamine). Some say it is safe to feed your cat raw quail eggs because there is also a low chance of having salmonella in them. Quails’ higher body temperature and the enzyme lysozyme present in the eggs make it difficult for salmonella to harbor. But, it is safer to feed your cat cooked quail eggs.
Spinach is considered a better leafy green for your cat to nibble on. Cats can eat raw spinach, but it is harder for their stomach to break it down. Cooking the spinach will make it easier for your cat to digest it. If your cat has urinary tract and kidney issues, do not feed your cat spinach.
OIlive oil has monounsaturated fatty acids. Compared to saturated fatty acids, these are easier for cats to digest. A proper amount of healthy fats in your cat’s diet is good for cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Make sure you are not overfeeding fats to your cats. As cats get older, their ability to digest fatty acids decreases.
Bread is not toxic for your cat, but this is another one of those that are not necessary for their diet. Cats do not need many carbohydrates in their diet and feeding them more may burden their system. If you want to feed a little to your cat, make sure it is fully baked because raw yeast is not good for your cat.
Some Things to Consider
That answered your question of “What human foods can cats eat?”. But, not all foods are created equally. Some foods can be more beneficial to your cat and some less. Although it is safe to feed your cat, it doesn’t mean you should. The bottom line is you should feed your cat something where the benefits outweigh the risks. There is no point in risking your cat’s health!
What to do next
Here is an article that 1) asks you and your vet whether you should feed your cat human food generally or specific human foods, and 2) provide guidelines to follow when you do feed your cat human food.
Always consult your vet before feeding something new to your cat!