Human Foods Cats Can Eat

What Do Cats Eat?

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means the usual cat diet is composed entirely of meat or meat products. Their nutritional needs are very different from ours. For example, they require more complete proteins in their diets than we do.

In the wild, cats prey on birds and small mammals. They often consume either the majority, or the whole of the carcass, which provides optimal nutrition for cats. The most convenient and simple option to feed a balanced diet to cats is to use a high-quality commercial cat food. However, there may be times when you want to feed them different foods as a treat, or for reasons such as weight control. Read on to learn more about what foods cats can eat.



Human foods that cats can eat
Human foods that cats can eat
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NexGard SPECTRA and discussion human food for cats

Cat care conversations with Dr Keshuan Chow, Feline Medicine Specialist

Discover a variety of human foods you can add to your cat's diet.


The foods cats love tend to be meat or meat products, as they are obligate carnivores. But what are the best meats for cats?

Raw meat diets can be contaminated with organisms such as Salmonella and Campylobacter which can cause illness in cats and are a potential cause of illness in people too. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, it’s safest to avoid feeding raw meat diets to cats. Boiled chicken for cats, or indeed any plainly cooked chicken or turkey is safe.

It’s safest to avoid feeding bones, whether cooked or raw, as these can splinter and cause injuries or gut obstructions.


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While many cats do like the taste of fish, some cats are sensitive to it and can develop vomiting or signs of skin allergy following consumption. Additionally, fish for cats should be cooked, as feeding too much raw fish can also lead to vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. However, fish is a rich source of omega-3 for cats and so may be beneficial if your cat can tolerate it.

cat food meat cat food meat


Can cats eat eggs? Yes, they can definitely eat eggs – but they are not a complete source of nutrition. Eggs lack many of the amino acids cats need in their diets. However, as a supplementary food it’s safe to use both the egg white and egg yolk for cats. When serving eggs for cats you should cook them, as too much raw egg can interfere with the absorption of biotin, an essential nutrient that cats need.

Fruit and vegetables

Nutritionally, it’s not required to prepare vegetables for cats, and often they don’t like the taste. However, if they do like vegetables, you can feed small amounts to your cat.

Vegetables that are good for cats include cooked broccoli, cucumber, carrots, zucchini, cooked pumpkin and peas. Sometimes adding grated vegetables such as cucumber or zucchini can aid weight loss in cats that are overweight. However, it is important to speak to your veterinarian about this before altering your cat’s diet, as vegetables can cause gut upsets in some cats.

Much like vegetables, fruit for cats is not a requirement and some parts of certain fruits – like citrus peels – can be toxic. Fruits cats can eat include banana, cantaloupe and berries. You can also feed watermelon and peeled apples, as long as you remove the seeds first.


As much as cats (and humans!) may like cheese, there isn’t really a good reason to provide cheese for cats. When adult cats eat cheese they may get a gut upset as most adults lack the enzyme required to digest lactose, a sugar commonly found in dairy products.


Cats can eat grains such as oats and wheat. Also, cats can eat rice, as long as it accompanies meat products. There are some other cooked options that are safe, such as oatmeal for cats.

As cats’ bodies function best on a carnivorous diet, it is best to limit feeding these grains to your cat – or avoid feeding them altogether! Also, some cats have food sensitivities to certain grains, and the high fibre levels can cause gut upsets. So, while these grains are generally safe in cats, it’s also fine to avoid them.

What is your cat’s favourite food?

Cantaloupe and carrots are safe for cats. If feeding fish to cats it should be cooked, as feeding too much raw fish can also lead to vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency.

cat eating melon


  • Can cats eat dog food?

    A small amount of dog food isn’t harmful, but you should avoid feeding your cat large amounts. They should also not be exclusively fed dog food. This is because dog food lacks certain nutrients (such as the amino acid taurine) that cats need to function. Dogs can create taurine in their bodies, but cats can’t, which is why manufacturers specifically add it to commercial cat food during processing.

  • How often should I feed my cat?

    If you’re wondering how often to feed cats, then it depends on their age range. On average, adult cats can be fed twice daily, with kittens being fed more frequently – up to three to four times per day.

  • What to do if your cat isn’t eating?

    If your cat isn’t eating, then contact your veterinarian. Don’t assume it’s just the cat being fussy, as there may be a medical cause behind the reduced appetite.


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