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Home > Cats > 6 Foods You Can Give a Stray Cat Safely (Vet Approved)

6 Foods You Can Give a Stray Cat Safely (Vet Approved)

Stray cat in an alley

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Animal shelters are constantly dealing with the problem of stray cats. People often leave their pets when they move or when they can no longer care for them. The problem is that most of these cats are not used to living on their own and they often end up starving or getting hit by a car. There are, however, things that you can do to help these animals. One of these things is to make sure that they are properly fed.

Feeding a stray cat may seem like a small act, but it can make a big difference in that cat’s life. Stray cats often go without food or water for long periods of time, and they can easily become sick or injured. By feeding a stray cat, you are helping to keep that cat safe and healthy. When you see a stray cat out and about, the natural inclination may be to want to help by feeding them. It is very important to be sure that the cat is actually a stray and that you are not feeding some-one else’s pet cat. Cats can be very good at soliciting meals from multiple homes. Not all foods are safe for cats, so it’s important to know what you can and can’t give them. Here are some foods that are safe for stray cats to eat.


Before You Begin

Observe where the cat is hanging out and relaxing before approaching it with food. Bring a dish of food to the same location and time each day if you see that a cat spends most of its time in one place. Make the cat feel comfortable by placing the bowl on the ground and walking away. It is common for street cats to be timid and suspicious of people, so do not try to pet or approach them. Avoid staring at or facing the cat directly. Distance yourself several feet from the cat and observe it from a distance.

The cat might need a few days to get used to you. However, highly social cats might show affection and seek your attention immediately.


Along with the food, you will need a way to transport and serve a meal to the stray cat. People usually feed the cats in plastic or steel bowls, and then take the containers home afterward. Since bowls are new objects, some cats may feel suspicious of them. It is possible to give meals on a piece of newspaper in this case. It is also a good idea to carry with you an airtight bag or container to store the food. Using a measuring spoon from the kitchen will help you place the same amount every time. Empty food bowls should be stored in a water-resistant bag or container and refrigerated after meals (if you are feeding them wet food).


The 6 Foods You Can Give a Stray Cat Safely

1. Cat Food

A cat’s diet should include meat, as cats are carnivores. Homemade meals can be prepared for cats, but buying the right ingredients to meet nutritional requirements can be challenging and expensive. If you do not properly cook meat, you could also spread unwanted bacteria and parasites in your home and potentially cause gastrointestinal infections in cats. The safest way to feed stray cats is to use ready-made cat food that is available in pet stores. Compared to wet food packets and cans, dry kibble is the cheapest and most convenient since it can be easily stored and distributed, and will last longer.

Commercial cat food is by far the best option, but if you don’t have cat food to hand straight away don’t worry. We have plenty of other options for human foods you can give to stray cats in the short term until you can get some cat food.

Cat eating his food_Ralph_Pexels
Image Credit: Ralph, Pexels

2. Cooked Meat

​​When feeding a stray cat, it is important to provide them with cooked meat in order to keep them safe from harmful bacteria. Cooked meat is free from harmful pathogens that can make cats sick, and it is also easier for them to digest. By providing cooked meat, you can help ensure that your stray cat stays healthy and happy. Cooked meat is also a good source of protein, fats, and other nutrients that cats need as obligate carnivores. Cooked turkey, chicken, or beef.

3. Canned Fish

Feeding a stray cat safely can be a challenge. One option for providing food for a stray cat is to give them canned fish. Canned fish is a healthy and balanced diet for cats and can be easily obtained from most grocery stores. Fish is a good source of protein and other nutrients that cats need. It is also relatively easy to digest, so it is a good choice for sick or malnourished cats. Canned fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for cats. Look for low-sodium options and know that it should not be fed every day as it can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Canned Fish
Image Credit: monicore, Pixabay

4. Eggs

When it comes to feeding a stray cat safely, eggs are a great option. Eggs are a good source of protein, and they are also relatively easy for a cat to digest. Plus, eggs are relatively cheap and easy to come by, so you can stock up on them when you’re filling your stray cat’s food bowl.

5. Oatmeal

Feeding a stray cat safely typically involves providing the animal with food that is non-toxic and will not cause harm if ingested. Oatmeal is a good choice for this, as it is not only safe but also filling. Oatmeal is a bland food that is easy for the cat to digest and won’t upset its stomach.

Some cats may not like oatmeal, so it’s important to be observant and try different foods if necessary. However, it is important to make sure that there are no ingredients in the oatmeal that could make the cat sick. Raisins, for example, are toxic to cats. You should note that a cat’s diet should be based on protein, so oatmeal is not an ideal base diet. However, it is safe for your cat to consume and it can be offered as a supplement.

Oatmeal in a black bowl
Image Credit: panchenko_karyna, Pixabay

6. Veggies

When feeding a stray cat, it is important to provide them with a safe and healthy diet. Some good options for veggies include broccoli, spinach, and carrots. It’s also important to feed the cat a balanced diet, so make sure to include some meat or fish in their diet as well.

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they require animal protein in their diet in order to survive. However, they can also benefit from consuming occasional fruits and vegetables, which provide them with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

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In conclusion, there are many safe foods that you can give a stray cat in the short term. These foods will help to keep the cat healthy and well-nourished. In the longer term feed only cat food.  If you are able to, please try to trap the cat and take it to a local shelter or veterinarian so it can be examined and receive necessary vaccinations and treatments. Our goal for every street cat is that they are spayed and neutered so they end the cycle of misery for stray felines and that they are adopted by a loving forever family. Thank you for caring for our furry friends out there on the streets.

Featured Image Credit: ACS-Aleister, Pixabay

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