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14 Human Foods that are Safe for Cats to Eat

Nicole Cosgrove

July 6, 2021

Do you ever wonder what cats can eat besides cat food? What happens if you run out of cat food in your house…what will you feed Fluffy then? We’re here to answer all your questions and give you a quick list of human foods that cats can eat safely, so your little feline can spend as little time hungry as possible.

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What Cats Eat in the Wild

Cats in the wild are predators. They chase and hunt small animals like mice, rabbits, shrews, and birds. Occasionally they also catch fish to eat. Sometimes, they also catch and eat small lizards, snakes, and insects.

Knowing all this, meat is obviously an important part of a cat’s diet. They need protein to stay active and thrive, just like most mammals do. Fat is also essential. A wild cat will not eat a diet high in carbs, though, which is something you need to avoid too much of in a housecat’s diet. Otherwise, obesity can happen, because too many carbs and too little exercise mean fat cats.

cat catching fish

Can Cats Eat Human Food?

You may be in crisis mode when you discover that you’re out of cat food in your house. You have a few human food items, but you don’t want anything to harm your kitty.

Cats can also sometimes beg for the food that you’re eating. It’s okay to sometimes share with them. You just have to be aware of what they can’t eat before you think about sharing. Here are the things cats absolutely cannot eat.

What Human Foods are Bad for Cats?

  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Green tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Milk
  • Xylitol

As long as you know for sure your food doesn’t have any of these ingredients, it should be okay to give your cat a little, emphasis on a little!

If time allows, try to experiment with foods. You may not have time to do this if your kitty is hungry right meow and you must feed the queen. However, experimenting over time is the best way to see if your cat will tolerate a certain human food. You can do this by just giving your kitty a little bit of the food, then wait a few days before introducing something new. That way, if it doesn’t agree with your cat, you will know exactly what caused the upset.

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14 Human Foods Cats Can Eat

1. Chicken

fried chicken

Cooked chicken might be the most perfect human food for cats. They love the smell of freshly cooked chicken, and the lean protein is great for them. The nutrients in chicken maintain healthy eyesight, heart functioning, and a healthy reproductive system. If your cat is on the heavier side, take the skin off first, as your cat probably doesn’t need the extra fat.


2. Turkey

turkey

Turkey is another great option in the category of human foods that are safe for cats. You could feed your cat rotisserie turkey breast or deli slices.


3. Fish

salmon

Fish, like tuna and salmon, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are great for eyesight and for easing arthritis symptoms. The nutrients in fish also stave off heart disorders and kidney disease. Only feed your cat cooked fish and canned fish, but not raw fish.


4.Whole Grains

brown rice

Whole grains work well because they contain some essential protein and fiber, and they are usually easy to make. You most likely already have some in your pantry, too. Corn, cornmeal, polenta, brown rice, barley, wheat berries, millet, and couscous will all feed your cat in a pinch. Depending on the grain, you might need to mash it up before serving it.


5. Cheese

grated cheese

Hard cheeses can be fed to your cat if they are interested. Cheese is high in protein and calcium. It can be given to your cat in small amounts. Make sure your cat can handle dairy first.


6. Eggs

boiled eggs

A great source of B vitamins and protein, eggs can be served to your cat, and they are also found in many cat foods. Just make sure you cook them to avoid food-borne diseases.


7. Spinach

spinach

Your cat may not like them, but you can try serving your cat vegetables. Spinach is a good place to start. It’s rich in vitamins, iron, and calcium. It’s found in many high-quality cat foods. Don’t serve your cat spinach if they have a history of bladder stones, though.

Related Read: Can Cats Eat Dandelion Greens? What You Need To Know!


8. Bananas

bananas

Bananas are a cat-safe fruit. They are mild, so even though it’s a fruit, your cat may take to it (they don’t normally like sweet things). Bananas provide your cat with potassium and soluble fiber, but they should not be fed to your cat too much.


9. Berries

blueberries

Surprisingly enough, some berries, like blueberries, are found in some commercial cat foods. Your cat may enjoy a berry snack, especially if they are frozen. They provide your cat with essential nutrients like vitamins C and A and antioxidants. Just limit intake to no more than 25 berries a day.


10. Melon

cantaloupes

Cantaloupe is a cat favorite in the fruit category, something they normally don’t love. The beta-carotene helps keep skin and eyes healthy, and it’s safe for cats to eat.

Related Read: Can Cats Eat Pomegranates? Are Pomegranates Safe For Cats?


11. Oatmeal

oatmeal

Oatmeal is safe for cats to eat, and it can even be found in some manufactured cat foods. You can find some heart-healthy carbohydrates, protein, and B vitamins in oatmeal. Cook it as plainly as possible first, as your cat may not like oatmeal that’s too sweet.


12. Apples

apples

Your cat may like to try some apples if you can get them interested. Apples are high in vitamin C and fiber. Cut them up small and take the skin off before feeding them to your cat.


13. Pumpkin

pumpkin soup

Cooked pumpkin could give your cat the fiber he needs without the added calories. If your cat likes pumpkin and has digestive issues, eating it could help regulate things. Some cat foods have pumpkin in them.

Related Read: Can Cats Eat Sweet Potato? What You Need to Know


14. Bread

bread

Bread can be fed to your cat in a pinch. Whole grain or multigrain is the best and the most nutritious option, but in dire straits, you can feed your cat any kind of bread that you happen to have.

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Wrapping Up

Although commercial cat food is specially formulated to fit your housecat’s diet, you sometimes need to or want to feed your cat human food. With our list, you will be able to determine which foods you want to feed your cat. It’s somewhat normal to expect some stomach upset after feeding them human food for the first time, but pay attention if the distress lasts longer than a day. You may want to check in with your vet if you notice persisting diarrhea or any other sort of stomach problem means.


Featured Image Credit: Guajillo studio, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.


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