Cat’s must always get the bulk of their nutrition from commercial pet food as they have very particular requirements; protein deficiency, in particular, can cause severe problems in cats.
Cats can also get bored at mealtimes and tend to like variety in their meals. There is a range of human foods that cats can and can’t eat, so we have created a helpful guide for cat owners to keep you informed on what is suitable as part of a healthy balanced diet.
Can cats drink milk?
Cats are naturally lactose intolerant, which means that dairy upsets their digestive system. Cats should avoid drinking cows milk, as it contains lactose. Once kittens are weaned from drinking their mother’s milk, their ability to produce lactase, an enzyme which helps to digest lactose, is reduced.
If your cat has been fed milk, they may experience the following signs:
- Abdominal pain
On a daily basis, cats should be provided with fresh, clean water to drink. Although alternative milk products like soy do not contain lactose, soy contains anti-nutritional elements which can make it difficult for a cat to digest.
Can cats eat chocolate?
Cat’s cannot eat chocolate as it contains milk and theobromine, an ingredient which is found in cocoa. Theobromine is highly toxic to cats and can cause liver failure. If your cat has digested chocolate, they may show the following signs:
- Increased rate of breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Heightened temperature
- Muscle rigidity
Contact your vet immediately if your pet is showing any of the above symptoms.
Can cats eat cheese?
In addition to containing milk, dairy foods like cheese is high in fat and salt, which is not nutritionally beneficial for a cat and if overfed it can cause obesity.
Can cats eat eggs?
As part of a balanced diet, cats can eat a small portion of cooked egg: scrambled or boiled. Eggs contain nutrient-rich amino acids and protein which can be fed to cats as part of a nutritious treat. If cats eat raw eggs, similar to humans, they are also at risk of contracting bacteria like salmonella, which can make them unwell.
What meat can cats eat?
Cats can be fed fresh meat as part of a balanced diet, which is thoroughly cooked through and with all bones removed to prevent obstruction of the digestive system or from damaging their teeth.
Can cats eat raw chicken?
As with any type of raw meat: chicken, fish (and raw eggs), cats are at risk of contracting salmonella poisoning or e coli from eating something that is uncooked.
Can cats eat pork?
As an alternative to chicken, beef or lamb, cats can eat a small portion of pork or ham as long as it’s cooked through and any bones are removed.
Can cats eat raw fish?
Cats should always be provided with cooked fish to minimise the risk of salmonella poisoning. Cooked fish is a great source of protein for cats, as it contains a vital source of amino acids which helps to maintain a healthy coat.
Cats can also eat other variants of seafood, such as cooked prawns. As with all pets, they require a balanced diet. It’s best to give your pet a range of foods to prevent them from becoming nutrient deficient, as different types of foods offer a variety of nutrients that other food groups don’t contain.
Can cats eat tuna?
Cats can eat tinned tuna in water as long as it’s fed as part of a balanced diet. In particular, cats can also eat tuna if they’re feeling unwell, for example, if they have tongue ulcers. Tuna in sunflower oil helps to soothe the tongue and encourage your cat’s appetite, which can lower if they’re poorly.
Can cats eat fruit?
Cut into small, easily digestible pieces, cat’s can eat a range of fruit as an occasional addition to their diet, which if chilled in the fridge, can help them cool down on a hot day. Feline friendly fruits include:
- Seedless watermelon
Can cats eat grapes?
Cats should not be fed grapes or raisins as they can lead to kidney failure. Citrus fruits are also toxic to pets and can cause a stomach upset.
Can cats eat onions?
Cats should not eat onions or any vegetables from the onion family, such as garlic, as they can lead to digestive problems. If eaten in large quantities, onions can damage your pet’s red blood cells, causing anaemia.
Can cats eat dog food?
Feeding cats dog food long term can be dangerous as it doesn’t contain the right balance of nutrients and proteins for cats, therefore you must not substitute their diet with dog food.
Cats can eat dog food in an emergency (if you run out of cat food), but this should be limited to just one or two days. Cats require more protein than dogs and essential nutrients like taurine and arginine are found only in meat. Feeding your cat dog food for one day won’t hurt, however over time this could result in a nutrient deficiency.
How many of these foods did you know where safe for cats to eat? If you would like to discuss your cat’s diet, please get in touch with your local Animal Trust clinic.
All our consultations are free, so even if you’re not sure about a pet query, but would like some expert advice to put your mind at ease, we’re here to help – it won’t cost you a penny to speak to our vets, no matter how many times you book an appointment.
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