Human Foods Cats Can Eat + Foods Cats Should Avoid!
by Kyle Larson
Want to share some of your delicious food with your cat? Here’s a helpful list of human foods cats can eat! Also at the bottom is a list of foods that are bad for cats.
Think of most of these items as a treat, that comes after your cat’s normal blended cat food diet. Typically you won’t want to feed more than 10% of a cat’s diet from any of the non-typical cat foods.
Make sure to slowly introduce any new foods to cats. This way you won’t shock their system with a new food item that they aren’t used to. You will probably also find that they like & do well with some safe foods, but not others.
These general food rules will apply to most cats, but always keep an eye on them and check and see if there is any difference in their digestion. It also doesn’t hurt to check with your vet for any concerns!
Human Foods Cats Can Eat
Cats are meat eaters and in general cooked and deli meats are ok for your cat to eat in small amounts. Make sure not to feed them raw or spoiled meats. Canned or cooked fish is ok, but not raw or sushi. If you wouldn’t eat it, avoid giving it to your cat!
- Chicken – Chicken is safe for cats to eat and is a good source of lean protein as long as it’s cooked and the skin is removed. Many commercial cat foods include chicken.
- Eggs – Your cat can eat eggs, but be sure to cook them first. Eggs are a good source of protein and B vitamins and can be found in some cat foods.
- Fish Oils – Fish oil supplements are safe for cats and can help improve their coat and skin, especially in dry conditions. Options include salmon and cod liver oil.
- Fish – Fish is generally safe for cats, but you’ll want to make sure it’s cooked and generally avoid canned fish as it comes packed in oil and has a higher sodium. Try out specific cat foods that contain fish.
- Ham – Ham is ok for cats to eat as long as it’s limited. Generally you’ll only want to use cooked ham & in moderation as a treat. It’s not a meat that cats would normally eat in the wild.
- Salmon – Salmon is safe for cats to eat and can often be found in commercial cat food. Salmon is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a good idea to only give your cat cooked salmon and avoid salmon that comes in oil. You could also give them these freeze dried salmon treats.
- Tuna – Tuna is ok for cats in limited amounts. You’ll generally want to go for cooked fresh fish and not canned as canned tuna often contains extra oils and salt.
- Turkey – Turkey is a safe protein for cats. This includes both cooked turkey breast or sliced deli meat.
Vegetables That Cats Can Eat
Not all cats like vegetables but some will. Veggies contain fiber and vitamins. Here are some veggies that are safe for your cat to eat in small doses:
- Avocados – Avocados are tasty and safe for cats to eat. They are full of vitamins A, C, E and B6 which help your cat’s skin and coat. Don’t feed too much though as avocados have a higher fat content.
- Broccoli – Cats can eat broccoli if they like it. It’s packed with fiber and vitamin C.
- Cabbage – Cats can eat small pieces of cooked cabbage. It can improve the skin & coat as well as help digestion.
- Carrots – Carrots are safe for your cat to eat as long as they’re cooked.
- Cauliflower – Cats can eat small amounts of cooked cauliflower. It aids digestion and has various antioxidants and vitamins.
- Cucumbers – Cats can eat cucumbers. They contain lots of vitamins K, C and magnesium.
- Green Beans – Green beans are safe for cats to eat. They can be fresh or frozen. Green beans have protein and iron.
- Lettuce – Lettuce is ok for cats to eat. It provides fiber and water to keep them hydrated.
- Peas – Peas are a cat safe veggie that can be found in some cat foods. They contain fiber, vitamins C & A and can be fed raw or frozen.
- Potatoes – Potatoes are fine for cats to eat if they’re cooked and are in some cat foods. Make sure they’re ripe as well. Use in moderation.
- Pumpkin – Pumpkin is a safe food for cats and can help with their digestion. It’s low in calories and high in fiber. It can be incorporated into cat treats.
- Spinach – Spinach is safe for cats as long as they don’t have a history of bladder stones. It’s fully of vitamins & minerals such as A, C, K, iron and calcium. Various cat foods also include spinach.
Fruits That Cats Can Eat
There are also some fruits that are safe for cats to eat. You may find that many cats don’t care for fruit as they can’t taste the sweetness that we enjoy, but you can give these ones a shot in limited amounts:
- Apples – Apples are ok for cats to eat as long as they don’t have the skin or seeds. Apples are high in fiber and vitamin C.
- Bananas – Bananas are safe for a cat to eat. They’re a healthy treat filled with potassium and soluble fiber.
- Blueberries – Blueberries are safe for cats to eat in limited amounts. They include vitamins A & C and can even be found in some cat foods. You can also try frozen blueberries as a snack for your cat.
- Cantaloupe – Cantaloup is a cat-safe fruit which includes antioxidants and beta-carotene. This helps with eye health & healthy skin. Remove any seeds before feeding.
- Raspberries – Cats can eat a tiny amount of raspberries. They have some sugars that can be harmful in larger quantities though.
- Strawberries – Cats can eat strawberries fresh or frozen. Strawberries are full of nutrients and can boost your cats immune system.
- Tomatoes – Ripe tomatoes are fine for cats to eat. Generally they’re safer if they’re organic & washed, or cooked. They are fine in limited amounts and you’ll see it in some cat foods. Don’t let them eat the green parts.
- Watermelon – Cats can eat watermelon and it has potassium, vitamins A, C & B-6. It’s mostly made up of water so it’s helpful in keeping your cat hydrated as well.
Many cats like different forms of grains like corn, polenta, cornmeal, brown rice, barley, millet, couscous and wheat berries. Make sure to give them grains that have been cooked to ensure they can fully digest them. Some of these may also need to be mashed first to make them smaller.
- Bread – Bread is ok for cats to snack on and is a good source of protein and fiber.
- Corn – Corn is fine for cats to eat and is often used in cat food. You just don’t want to feed it as a main staple to your cat as it doesn’t have many health benefits. Avoid the chips though as they have other ingredients that aren’t healthy. Popcorn is ok in tiny amounts if it’s not overly seasoned.
- Oatmeal – Oatmeal is fine for cats to eat and can be found in some cat foods.
- Rice – Rice is safe for your cat and is easy digesting. It can be helpful for feeding in combination with meat to a cat with an upset stomach. Make sure the rice is cooked, plain and don’t feed too much.
Dairy foods can generally be eaten by cats, but as they age cats may become lactose intolerant. Make sure to give any dairy foods to cats in small amounts.
- Cheese – Cheese is fine for cats to eat, though it’s recommended to use a hard cheese like cheddar, Gouda, or Swiss. You can also try a low lactose cheese like cottage cheese. It’s possible that a cat can be lactose intolerant so introduce it slowly or baked into treats in small amounts.
- Yogurt – Yogurt is safe for cats to eat. Unlike other dairy products the lactose is broken down making it safer for more cats. Yogurt is full of protein, calcium and probiotics which are good for a cat’s health. Make sure to use a plain yogurt with whole milk, without vanilla or sweeteners. Give in small doses to avoid upset stomach.
Foods Cats Can’t Eat
We’ve covered human foods cats can eat, and now here’s a list of foods cats can’t eat. These foods are unsafe for cats or they just aren’t a good idea for maintaining their general health. Make sure to read this list closely as some of these foods can genuinely harm your cat!
- Alcohol – Has a larger impact on a small pet and can cause brain damage or liver failure.
- Bread Dough – Raw dough can cause pancreatitis in cats.
- Caffeine / Coffee – Can be fatal in large amounts, causing heart palpitations and rapid breathing.
- Candy / Gum – Have no benefit for cats and can contain Xylitol sweetener which is toxic.
- Chives – Chives aren’t save for cats to eat. They can produce stomach upset or worse cause anemia.
- Chocolate – contains theobromine which can cause muscle issues & heart problems in cats.
- Coconut Milk
- Cooked Bones – When bones are cooked they’re more likely to break and can get caught or become sharp.
- Dog Food – Cat & dog foods are specifically formatted for those animals and sharing food between them can put their nutrients out of whack.
- Fat Trimmings – These are high in calories and can cause pancreatitis.
- Garlic – Garlic isn’t save for cats to eat. It can produce stomach upset or worse cause anemia.
- Grapes / Raisins – These can be a risk for kidney failure with symptoms of vomiting and hyperactivity.
- Human Medications
- Milk – Many cats develop lactose intolerance and milk can trigger symptoms
- Mushrooms – Some varieties of mushrooms are toxic to cats and because of this it’s a good idea to just avoid them all.
- Nuts / Seeds – Nuts and seeds such as Peanuts or Peanut Butter are unhealthy for cats because of their high fat content. Macadamia nuts are also poisonous for cats.
- Onions – Onions aren’t save for cats to eat. They can produce stomach upset or worse cause anemia.
- Raw Meat – Raw meats are prone to food-borne pathogens like salmonella. It’s best to avoid feeding it to your cat.
- Xylitol – An artificial sweetener found in gum, candy or sweetened foods that is toxic for cats.
If you’re looking for some good kitten food or treats check out our new kitten checklist!