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Cats and dogs have very different digestive processes. They also break down toxins differently. So, it's important cat parents get the right information for their furry friends, and not confuse general pet diets with cat-specific needs. That being said, the question "what human foods CAN my cat eat?" is always asked, so we decided to answer it.
Fruits & Veggies that Cats Can Eat
Many fruits and vegetables are wonderful additions to your cat’s diet. Fruit can often provide beneficial vitamins and nutrients, however, make sure to keep your kitty away from seeds, pits, stems and leaves, as these may be toxic.
Apples provide vitamin C, calcium & fiber while blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all great sources of antioxidants, which can help fight aging and illness. These berries also provide flavonoids (which ward off toxins), fiber, and vitamins A, C, E and K. However, be sure to limit fruity treats, as sugar in large quantities could spike your cat’s glucose or eventually lead to diabetes.
Cooked carrot slices, broccoli and string beans, without salt and butter, are not only yummy for your kitty’s tummy but good for her too. Carrots and zucchini can also be enjoyed raw, but with any cat-safe veggie, chop it fine or even puree to improve digestibility.
Can Cats Eat Dairy?
Some of them. Did you know many cats are lactose intolerant and experience gas, bloating and stomach pain from drinking milk and eating cheese? Non-fat plain yogurt, with gut-friendly bacteria, might be a better choice for your furry friend. Just be sure to purchase brands without xylitol.
Eggs, often referred to as “the perfect food,” contain all 9 essential amino acids the human body needs! Cats, on the other paw, require 11. Still, your cat can eat eggs if they are cooked. Raw eggs, however, could contain salmonella or E. coli. A protein in raw egg white (avidin) can also interfere with your cat’s ability to absorb biotin needed for healthy skin and coat.
Meat, Fish & Poultry
Who hasn’t seen a cat stare longingly at a fishbowl, or gaze into a koi pond? Cold water fish are an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which protects the heart, skin, kidneys, joints and brain.
Cooked white meat chicken or turkey, (no bones, skin, or fatty dark portions,) are good proteins for some cats. As for lean red meat, such as beef and lamb, bring it on. Cats are less likely to gnaw on meaty bones than dogs, but still, be sure to keep them out of claws reach.
Foods Your Cat MIGHT Be Able to Eat
Every cat is unique, and so is their digestive system.
Therefore beans, cooked potatoes (no skins) and ripe tomatoes may or may not be right for your cat. A little tuna is fine for most kitties, however, it lacks taurine, an essential amino acid cats cannot produce on their own, so tuna should not be the only protein in your cat’s diet. Can cats eat peanut butter? Sure, but make sure it does not contain xylitol.
Foods Your Cat Can NOT Eat
The food in this section should be avoided at all costs, as even a little portion of them could send your cat to the vet.
Only a few spilled drops of an alcoholic beverage can result in vomiting, diarrhea, liver failure, or worse.
Chocolate and Caffeine
Coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks can over-stimulate your cat’s central nervous system, cause rapid heart rate, seizures, and death.
Grapes, Raisins, and Onions
Grapes, raisins, and onions can shut down kidney if ingested.
Nuts are difficult for cats to digest, and some are toxic!
Sauces and Gravy
Often sauces and gravy contain oils and salt, which can lead to tummy troubles.
Anything Containing Xylitol
Also labeled as sugar alcohol or birch sugar, xylitol can suddenly drop glucose levels and damage the liver of your pet.
If your cat shares her life with a canine companion, remember that cat's can not eat dog food. Cats need three times the amount of thiamine dogs do and without it, GI and neurological problems could arise.
Cat food contains arachidonic fatty acid as well as sufficient taurine. Dogs produce their own taurine, so if your cat seeks out your dog’s meaty dinner, it could be bad for their health.
Like people, certain foods disagree with some cats, while others have no problem. The important thing to remember is that just because it is good for you, that does not mean it is safe for your cat!
Consider Investing in Cat Insurance
Looking for more ways to protect your kitty? Consider investing in a cat insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1 Get your free quote today.
Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.
1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.
2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.