What people food can cats eat?

I've had some cats over the years that tried to eat my food every chance they got, and others that couldn't care less what I was eating. They would rather eat their cat food and treats. It seems to me like interest in people food really depends on the cat, but if the cat does seem interested in my food...what is safe to give them?

Cat with people foods they can eat

While we love giving our feline friends the occasional treat, it's important that we make sure the food we're feeding them is safe. When it comes to people food, there are a few things you should never feed your cat. Fortunately the vast majority of foods that are good for humans, are ok for cats too.

People food cats can eat

When it comes to people food cats can eat, keep in mind that most of your cat's diet should be a cat food that is nutritionally complete. Speak to your veterinarian about what food will be best for your cat depending on their age and weight.

It's perfectly fine to give your cat a little treat every now and then. But, most of their diet needs to be food that is specifically made with cats in mind. They should get no more than 10% treats in addition to their regular dry or wet food.

What human foods can cats eat?

When it comes to people food cats can eat, remember that cats are obligate carnivores or meat-eaters. The protein that comes from eating meat is vital to the healthy heart, vision, and reproductive systems in cats. They don't actually need starches and sugars in their diet and are capable of getting everything they need nutritionally from meat alone.

It is perfectly alright to offer them cooked chicken, turkey, beef, and very small amounts of lean deli meats. Be careful not to overdo it with meats that are salty. 

Cats may also enjoy sardines, lox, and chicken or turkey gizzards as a treat. We always cook the turkey gizzards at thanksgiving for the cats and they love it!

However, you should not feed them older or spoiled meat. Eating this can make your cat very sick.

If you want to feed your cats a raw meat as part of a raw food diet, there are very strict requirements to make sure they get everything they need nutritionally from their diet. You can't just cut off a piece of raw meat for them as you're preparing dinner. Pet MD has a good explanation of the requirements of the raw food diet for cats

What vegetables can cats eat?

It may surprise you to learn that when it comes to people food cats can eat, the list includes vegetables. Of course, every cat is different. So, your cat may not enjoy all of these, but they are safe for your cat to eat.

Steamed broccoli
Steamed green beans
Cooked winter squash

Pumpkin, cooked or canned pumpkin puree
Peas, cooked
Steamed or baked carrots
Steamed asparagus

Wheatgrass, fresh

Wheatgrass is not only an ingredient many people grow for their fresh juices, but it's often the plant that people buy in stores labeled Cat Grass. Cat's love it and it's a great idea to grow your own cat grass for indoor cats.

Wheatgrass for cats

Fruits cats can eat:

Some cats do not like fruit or anything sweet at all. The taste receptors in a cats mouth are not very reactive to sweet tastes, so they hold little appeal to most cats. Other cats seem to really like fruit, so it doesn't hurt to offer it to your cat and see if she likes it.



Can cats eat rice?

Grains should make up a very small portion of your cat's diet. But, there are safe whole grains your cat can enjoy. Coarsely ground cornmeal, mashed barley, wheat berries, and brown rice are all possibilities. Cats often prefer smaller grains like couscous and millet as well. It's very important that these grains are fully cooked so your cat can digest them properly.

Can cats eat tuna?

Most commercially caught fish has a high level of mercury and should not be a large part of your cat's diet. Canned tuna is nutritionally lacking in the nutrients your cat needs. So, if you do give them canned tuna, it should be very rarely. A better choice would be plain unseasoned sardines or some cooked salmon.

Is milk bad for cats?

Milk is one of the foods that is commonly given to cats that really isn't good for them. Most cats are lactose intolerant. So, they should not be drinking cow's milk. The milk that kittens drink is nutritionally complete because it comes from the mother cat. It is not the same as milk that comes from a cow.

Milk doesn't provide any nutrition that your cat needs and giving it to them can cause digestive problems including upset stomachs and diarrhea. If you feel that your cat needs some sort of milk treat, they do sell cat milk at most grocery stores in the pet food area. This can be given as a treat but should not make up a large part of your cat's diet.

What foods should you not give cats?

So, now that you know the types of people food cats can eat, what should they not eat? You should never feed your cats these foods. They can make your cat very sick or even kill them.

Garlic and onions
Raw eggs, raw meat or bones
Caffeinated beverages
Dog food
Raisins or grapes
Dairy products

Can cats live on dry food only?

Yes, provided it's nutritionally complete cat food, your cat needs no other types of treats or foods with their cat food. Dry cat food along with fresh water is all your pet needs to be healthy.

As pet parents, we enjoy showing our cats how much we love them by giving them treats and special food. But, while this is nice to do, it's not necessary. 

Now that you know the people food cats can eat, make sure that you only allow them to have these special treats occasionally. Even if they're like my Thatcher and beg constantly! lol


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