Many cat parents give their cats a treat as a sign of affection. Some of the treats come from our (the human’s) plate. Sometimes that can end in tragedy, leading some people to shame cat parents who feed their kitties people food. Luckily, there are many human foods that are “safe” for cats to eat.
What human foods can cats eat? It is safe to feed cats non-processed meats such as boiled chicken, eggs, certain fish such as salmon, spinach, bananas, oatmeal, cantaloupe, pumpkin, and a variety of other fruits and vegetables. Some cats can also safely enjoy a small taste of certain cheeses.
That’s good news for cats and cat parents alike. But before you start feeding your cat from your own plate, it’s important to understand which foods are safe and which are dangerous.
It’s also important to make sure any human food treats you give your cat add to a balanced diet rather than adding empty calories.
Understanding Your Cat’s Nutrition
Before I get into the details of which human foods are safe for cats to eat, I want to discuss the basics of cat nutrition.
Don’t worry, I won’t spend too much time on this.
But it is important to know what cats need to stay healthy before you start adding in extra treats.
Cats are carnivores.
In the wild, cats need to eat meat to survive.
It is what their bodies were designed to process, and without it, they’ll quickly die of malnutrition.
That is not to say that cats in the wild don’t enjoy the occasional wild herb, fruit, or vegetable.
- cats in the wild will eat grass
- tender shoots
- other young vegetation to add a little extra fiber to their diets
Domestic cats aren’t that different from their wild counterparts when it comes to nutritional needs.
As such, their diet should consist mainly of meat and other animal products.
That also means that they will enjoy the occasional fruit, vegetable, or other type of vegetation.
It’s also worth noting that many commercial cat foods contain plant matter of some sort, so it’s not as if most cats are eating a 100% carnivorous diet to begin with.
Are carbs bad for cats?
Since we’re dissecting cat nutrition, I want to make it perfectly clear (purrfectly?) that carbs are not bad for cats.
There seems to be a trend on the internet right now shouting down cat parents who feed their cats commercial foods that contain carbohydrates.
The rumors claim that carbs are toxic to cats, but this just is not true.
While cats are natural obligate carnivores, that doesn’t mean they can’t digest and process carbohydrates at all. Cats can and do eat carbohydrates, and they do so without poisoning themselves or causing cancer.
That said, cats don’t need a ton of carbohydrates.
As with anything for any living creature, moderation is key when it comes to carb intake for cats. But you don’t need to take my word for it. This article from a veterinarian covers this topic in great detail.
Human Foods Safe For Cats: Be Careful
So, let’s get back on track now that you have a better understanding of basic cat nutrition.
Below, I’ve listed some of the safe human foods that your cat might enjoy.
Since we all know how finicky cats can be about their food, yours may not appreciate all of the things listed here.
Read more: Best Canned Cat Food
For example, one of my cats hates scrambled eggs while another can’t seem to get enough of them.
Experiment with your feline friend to see what she prefers.
I’d like to add that I don’t feed my cats any food that we eat, except for the occasional tiny piece of bacon. Even then, they will throw it back up!
Many cats love eggs.
Scrambled is usually the best bet as this ensures they are cooked properly, which reduces the chances of bacteria passing to your cat.
Some like hard boiled eggs, too, though my cats have trouble eating them for some reason.
I don’t think they like the texture.
Eggs are high in protein and have a nice boost of B vitamins. Did you know that a lot of commercial cat foods also include eggs?
This is one of my cats’ favorite treats.
In fact, we also feed chicken when they’re not feeling well since it’s easy to digest and gentle on upset kitty tummies.
Chicken is an excellent source of protein and is fun for cats to eat.
I think my cats get a little kick out of feeling like they just hunted (and boiled) that chicken all on their own.
Always remove the bones and skin, however.
Bones can cause damage to the throat, stomach, and intestines for indoor cats.
Skin is high in fat and not something you should give to you kitty in any large quantities.
This favorite feline seafood is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of protein.
I’ve never met a cat who didn’t love salmon.
Just stay away from highly-processed salmon such as canned or smoked.
They tend to have a lot of added sodium which can be harmful to cats in large quantities.
Read more: Can Cats Eat Shrimp?
Rice is safe for cats to eat as long as it is cooked.
It’s often found in commercial cat foods.
Our vet recommends a bland diet of rice and boiled chicken breast when our cats aren’t feeling well, too.
This one surprised me, actually.
I wasn’t aware that cats could eat spinach until I was researching this article.
Then I doubted that any cat would want to eat it. Boy, was I wrong.
Every one of my cats was happy to chomp down on a leaf of baby spinach.
Apparently, cats love the crunch and the taste.
It felt good knowing they were getting a nice boost of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
There is also a lot of iron and calcium in spinach, so I’ll keep the treats to a minimum, just in case.
Cats with calcium oxalate bladder stones should not be given spinach at all.
Since I don’t eat cantaloupe myself, this is another one I had no idea about.
Apparently, though, cats dig cantaloupe and it’s pretty good for them, too.
With a boost of beta-carotene and antioxidants, this fruit is great for skin and eye health.
One of my cats loved bananas so much, he used to climb my leg trying to get my banana right from my mouth each morning.
I had to peel it fast and scarf it down because he’d hear me get one off the bunch and come running.
I’m happy to report that bananas are safe for cats with all that healthy potassium and soluble fiber.
Read more: Does Your Cat Eat Too Fast?
I always knew this one was safe for cats because it’s in a lot of commercial cat foods.
But who knew that lumpy, goopy oatmeal would not only be good for cats, but actually attract them?
My cats can’t seem to get enough of this stuff.
I do keep tabs on how much they eat, just to be safe.
Just a small taste by licking my bowl once or twice a week seems to keep them happy and I know they’re getting a lot of B vitamins.
Apples are a household favorite for the people and the pets.
Our cats and dogs all love apples, and they are good for them, too.
Just be sure to peel the tough skins and never give your cat apple seeds.
My Coo Coos actually loves eating nectarines!
Yup, cats can eat pumpkin! But put your pumpkin spice latte out of reach, please.
Cats don’t need the extra sugar and calories that come with spiced pumpkin drinks and foods.
Just plain, boiled or baked, pureed pumpkin for your little fluff ball.
Some cats love bread while others look at you like you’re insane if you offer them a bite.
While bread is okay in very small tastes, you don’t want to go overboard with commercial bread.
It can be loaded with extra sugar and preservatives that don’t always agree with cats.
We all know that giving a cat a saucer of milk is a bad idea, but what about a small bite of cheese?
This is actually okay to do, but stick with hard cheeses.
Some favorites include cheddar, gouda, and Swiss.
You can give a little nibble of cheese or bake it into treats.
There is nothing cuter than watching my cats chase blueberries around the kitchen floor.
Ok, I might be biased there, but you get the point.
Blueberries are safe for cats and can also be a fun way to entertain them.
My dogs love raw carrots as a treat, which made my cats jealous.
While I’ve never met a cat that can crunch down on a piece of raw carrot, I’ve seen many who love boiled and mashed carrots.
This is actually an ingredient in their food we give them now:
It’s a good way to increase fiber for kitties having some bathroom trouble, too.
Can cats eat vegetables? Cats don’t really benefit from a vegetarian type diet. You could, instead, give very small portions of vegetables to your cat.
Some recommended vegetables include:
- baked carrots
- steamed asparagus
- steamed broccoli
- green beans
- winter squash
- chopped greens
Some favorites include cooked carrots, pumpkin, and spinach.
Can cats eat scrambled eggs? Cat’s can get a biotin deficiency if they overeat Avidin (egg whites). Cooking it will denature it. So cat’s should only eat cooked eggs. But to be honest and realistic… A cat would have to eat a LOT of raw egg, probably over a period of months or years, for such a deficiency to develop.
Can cats eat rice? Cats can eat rice as it’s rich in protein, iron, and other minerals.
Read more: What Kind Of Food Can Cats Eat?