Human Foods That Are Safe for Cats
So you want to give your kitty a little treat off your plate.
But you may be wondering, “Is this okay for her to have?”
Let’s look at some common foods and discuss if they are okay to give to your cat.
Human Foods You Can Give To Your Cat
Usually, but not in every case, properly prepared and cooked food that is okay for humans is generally safe for felines too.
Many fruits are okay as long as you take off the peel and remove any seeds.
Many vegetables are okay, too, but vegetables should be cooked. Many raw vegetables are just too hard and difficult for a cat to chew.
A little cooked beef, pork, fish, chicken, or turkey is fine. But you must take out any bones.
Surprisingly, some dairy items will upset a cat’s stomach. Many cats are lactose intolerant. Some cats can’t eat any dairy. Others enjoy a little yogurt, but can’t tolerate milk.
Why You Don’t Want to Give Your Cat Human Food
There are three reasons why you don’t want your cat to eat human food regularly.
- Your dry or wet cat food is scientifically designed to provide the minerals and vitamins your kitty needs to be nutritionally balanced and healthy. If she fills up on one item that you give her, she will not be getting everything she needs in her diet.
- If your cat starts eating human food, she may start to not like her regular dry or wet food anymore. And anyone who has to struggle with getting their feline to eat knows this can be a problem. Dealing with a finicky eater can be frustrating.
- While most prepared human foods are not dangerous to a cat, moderation is important. Too much of any one item can make a feline sick.
Human Foods Okay for Cats
If you want to give table scraps or share your meal with your cat, be careful.
The first time you give him a certain food, do so in just small amounts so you can monitor how he handles it.
Cats are small, they don’t need to eat much. Sometimes they just want a little taste. Sometimes a couple of licks is all they really want.
Think about each item before you give it. It needs to be a safe food. And it should be a soft food too.
Watch how your kitty behaves after eating. Look for loss of appetite, signs of discomfort, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Human Food Your Cat Can Eat
Fruits You Can Give to Your Cat
- Apples (in very small pieces)
- Mandarin Oranges
Vegetables You Can Give to Your Cat
- Asparagus (cooked)
- Broccoli (cooked)
- Carrots (cooked)
- Corn – including a little corn silk and cob
- Cucumber (small pieces)
- Green beans (cooked)
- Peas (cooked)
- Potatoes (cooked)
- Pumpkin (cooked)
- Spinach (small pieces)
Meat and Fish You Can Give to Your Cat
- Beef (cooked and no fat & small pieces – not raw)
- Chicken (cooked and skinless – not raw)
- Ham and Pork (cooked and no fat & small pieces – not raw)
- Deli Meats
- Turkey (cooked and skinless – not raw)
- Liver (cooked and small pieces – not raw)
- Salmon (no bones – should be cooked a little)
- Tuna (no bones and not every day)
Dairy Products You Can Give Your Cat
- Eggs (cooked not raw)
- Yogurt (some felines can tolerate it)
- Cheese (small pieces – some cats can tolerate it)
Bread and Pasta Your Cat Can Eat
- Bread (baked – no raw dough)
- Rice (cooked)
- Pasta (must be cooked – not uncooked)
- Couscous (cooked)
- Oatmeal (cooked)
- Tapioca (prepared)
Safe Human Foods for Cats
IMPORTANT NOTE: This list is by no means exhaustive.
While it’s impossible to list all the foods safe for cats, below is a list of things you should avoid. Some are either poisonous, unsafe, potentially unsafe, or simply ones to avoid.
Human foods can be dangerous to cats. A few are actually toxic.
Other items will often upset your cat’s digestive system and give them a bad night. So why give it to them?
If your kitty pesters you for a taste of something — such as dairy — maybe you can let her have a taste of it.
Watch her and monitor how she reacts. For example, many cats can’t handle milk, especially fatty milk, but you may give in and let her try a tiny bit. See what happens.
Common Foods That Are Bad and You Should Avoid
- Chocolate — Cats should never have chocolate. It is toxic to them
- Grapes or Raisins
- Onions or Garlic or Chives — Even cooked should be avoided
- Uncooked Grains or Pasta
- Raw Green Tomatoes or Raw Green Potatoes
- Milk and Dairy Products — Some cats can tolerate some dairy; others cannot
- Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners Like Xylitol
- Chewing Gum
- Raw Eggs — cooking kills Salmonella or other bacteria
- Raw Meat or Raw Chicken — cooking kills Salmonella or other bacteria
- Most Raw Seafood — cooking kills Salmonella or other bacteria
- Tuna — can contain mercury, so just occasionally
- Raw Bread Dough or Other Uncooked Dough
- Dog Food
- Any Other Non-Cat Pet Food
- Caffeine or Coffee or Energy Drinks
- Nuts and Especially Macadamia Nuts
- Avocado — some cats can handle the fruit, but not the pit or peel or seeds
- Baby Foods
- Human vitamins
- Other pet vitamins
- Rhubarb Leaves
Don’t give them anything you wouldn’t eat.
If it is raw or spoiled — don’t give it to them.
You wouldn’t eat the peels from fruits, don’t give it to them to eat either.
Common Questions About Human Foods and Cats
Can My Cat Eat Dog Food?
No. Don’t encourage your cat to eat dog food. It doesn’t have the nutrients a feline needs. It has the nutrients dogs need. And they are not the same thing.
Can Cats Eat Banana?
Yes. If she wants a piece of banana, it is fine. But no peel.
Can My Cat Eat Eggs?
Raw eggs are not allowed. Cooked eggs are okay.
Can Cats Eat Yogurt?
Maybe. There are a variety of different yogurts these days. Some cats can tolerate some of them.
Can Cats Have Milk?
No, they shouldn’t. Milk upsets most cats’ stomachs. If your kitty is committed to getting some, you can give him a little and see how it affects him.
Can My Cat Eat Cheese?
It’s possible. Even though it is a dairy product, some cats can handle a little bit of cheese.
Can Cats Eat Chocolate?
Can My Cat Eat Catnip?
They can eat some. You usually can’t stop them. If they eat too much, they will throw it up.
Can Cats Eat Grass?
Many cats want to eat grass. Since they can’t digest it, they will usually throw it up shortly after swallowing it.
Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?
Yes. A little bit is usually fine.
Can My Cat Eat Popcorn?
Yes. Most cats find popcorn to be a fun food to either taste, eat or play with. Give them just the fluffiest, fully cooked pieces. Don’t give them unpopped kernels. Don’t let them eat from your bowl.
Can Cats Eat Apple?
Yes. But don’t give them any peel or seeds. And make sure the pieces are small and manageable.
Can My Cat Eat Raw Chicken?
Nope. It has to be cooked. Never raw.
Can Cats Eat Avocado?
They can, but not any peel or pit, just the fruit and in moderation. It upsets some cat stomachs.
Can My Cat Eat Bread?
As long as it’s cooked, they can have a little.
Can Cats Eat Blueberries? How About Strawberries or Raspberries?
Soft fruits such as these are fine. No stems or leaves though.
Can My Cat Eat Tuna?
Most cats love tuna. I mean, they really love tuna. Tuna has mercury in it, and in a small animal, that mercury can build up quickly. Only give tuna occasionally. Some cats like it so much, they may turn up their nose at their regular food, so be careful.
Can Cats Eat Ham?
Yes, as long as it is cooked and in small pieces with no unnecessary fat.
Can a Cat Eat Spinach?
Yes, a little is fine as long as she hasn’t had any calcium-related issues before. Steamed or cooked spinach is easier to digest.
What About Rice
Yes, as long as it is fully cooked. Brown or white rice are both fine.
Can a Cat Eat Peas?
Steamed or cooked peas are fine for felines. They have protein and are actually in some prepared cat foods.
What About Melons?
Some cats like various melons such as cantaloupe or honeydew or sometimes even watermelon. They contain nutrients and water so they are fine.
Should a Cat Eat Oatmeal?
As long as it is fully cooked, oatmeal is fine.
What About Broccoli?
Steamed or boiled broccoli is good for kitty. Raw broccoli is a little tough. Felines can use the nutrients just like humans can.
Should a Cat Eat Carrots?
If your cat wants to play with a long raw carrot, that is fine. If they want to eat it, it needs to be cooked and softened up first.
What About Pumpkin?
Yes, pumpkin is just fine for a cat who wants some.
What About Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes?
Potatoes and sweet potatoes need to be ripe and fully cooked. Unripe potatoes can be unhealthy for your kitty. And any stems or leaves need to be taken off first too.
Human Food Cats Can Eat
In conclusion, although there are plenty of foods in your kitchen your cat can eat, some of those foods may cause digestive upset.
If you can’t remember if a food is harmful to felines, just don’t give it to her. Only give treats you know are totally safe.
Why risk it? As long as you’re giving your kitty good quality cat foods, he doesn’t need discards from your plate.
And if you do give out scraps, just remember to do it in moderation and don’t do it so often it becomes a habit or upsets your cat’s regular eating.
What To Do If Your Cat Eats Something Bad
There are foods that can be toxic to cats.
There are foods that one cat can eat with no problem, but that same food will make other cats sick.
Small quantities of some food will not affect some cats, but a larger amount of that food will make some cats ill. Sometimes gravely ill.
A small taste of something will almost never require taking your pet to the veterinarian. Consuming a small amount of something may lead to an uncomfortable night for your pet, but it won’t be an emergency.
That said, if your cat eats human food that he has never had before, you should monitor his condition.
Symptoms you don’t want to see include diarrhea, sustained vomiting, increased drinking, muscle tremors, heavy breathing, disorientation, or a seizure.
If you see anything unusual, don’t wait — call your veterinarian or your closest animal hospital and discuss what is going on.
They will want to know what your pet ate and how much of it he ate.
Good luck and enjoy your kitty.
DISCLAIMER: Foods and how they may affect your cat may vary. The food recommendations and advice presented above are not to be taken as feeding, safety, or health advice for your pet. You should ask your veterinarian who knows your cat for advice before giving any human food to your cat. This article was not written to be taken as medical or pet health advice. Do not consider the information in this article to be professional or veterinarian advice. The author of this article is not a doctor. The author is not a veterinarian. The author is not a food expert. The article on this page is to be read and considered as general knowledge only. The only pet health advice you should put your trust in is the guidance and advice you receive from your own veterinarians and their staff once they have seen your pet. Please contact a local veterinarian or an animal hospital professional as soon as you can if you need assistance.