Does your kitty reach out their curious paws for tantalizing powdered sugar donuts? Or fix their gaze on the glazed? While your cat physically can eat donuts, as they may have proven to you by now, that doesn’t mean they should. Even plain donuts are bad for cats due to the high amounts of carbohydrates, sugar, and fat. Flavored options are worse since they may contain toxic ingredients, such as chocolate. Worst of all, a raw donut—or raw dough of any kind—is extremely dangerous because the yeast can expand in their stomach and possibly kill them.
Can Cats Eat Donuts?
Donuts aren’t healthy food for humans or cats alike. The high sugar and fat content increases the risk of diabetes and obesity over time. Of course, it’s not likely that you’re thinking about feeding your cat donuts every day, so a little nibble every now and then probably won’t hurt them. As long as there aren’t any toxic ingredients, such as chocolate or xylitol, a tiny taste isn’t likely to cause any harm. Some cats are bread aficionados, and it’s hard to say no to that adorable face. However, more than a bite can cause digestive distress for your feline, so if you decide to give in, don’t give them more than a pinch.
Some donuts should be avoided entirely, including ones with nuts, chocolate, xylitol, and citrus ingredients. This isn’t an exhaustive list, so do investigate the ingredients if you’re questioning whether one in the dirty dozen is potentially toxic to your cat.
You should never let your cat eat raw dough because of the risk of gastric torsion. The ingested yeast rises in their tummies instead of the oven, causing painful bloating that can lead to potentially fatal gastric torsion. A cat who eats raw dough is also at risk of alcohol poisoning due to the alcohol produced during the fermenting process. If you suspect your cat ate raw dough, you should monitor your cat closely and call your vet or the ASPCA Poison Control to see what to do next.
What a Cat Wants, What a Cat Needs
Cats are obligate carnivores who, by definition, require meat to survive. Wild cats eat very little plant material and mostly hunt small prey for their food. Despite their refined manners, your domesticated house cat is no different.
Felines require a high protein, meat-based diet in order to receive taurine, an essential amino acid found in animal protein that their bodies can’t produce. Some fruits and vegetables are okay for your cat since they provide fiber and other nutrients, but they should never make up the bulk of their meals. Foods that meet AAFCO requirements are already balanced to meet your cat’s nutritional needs. They likely contain a mix of meat and vegetables with a small amount of fruit, but some may be 100% meat based. Since there are so many options on the market, you might want to talk to your vet about which diet is the best fit for your cat’s individual health needs.
Unfortunately, donuts don’t really fit in the meal plan, or any breads or sweets for that matter. Cats don’t tend to break down carbohydrates very well. After all, their bodies were built to process meat, and simple carbs like donuts don’t really give them any nutrients. Since donuts are mostly fat, carbs, and sugar, they are not only an unnecessary part of your cat’s diet, but their tummy may feel bad if they have too much since their digestive system doesn’t know how to process the ingredients.
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Despite their tongues licking their lips and their begging meows for a bite, cats don’t really need donuts. Some donuts are outright dangerous due to toxic ingredients. Raw dough is always a no-no because of the yeast. A tiny bite of a plain donut probably won’t hurt your cat as long as it’s not a regular part of their diet. While some cats may dream of Krispy Kreme, they should really stick to a balanced diet that meets AAFCO standards in order to make sure they receive the nutrients they need to live a healthy life.
Featured Image Credit: Jiri Hera, Shutterstock