Can Cats Eat Human Food? Fruits, Vegetables, Dairy, Fish, Grains…

human food cats can eat

What kind of food is safe for a cat to eat? Good quality cat food is the best thing your cat can eat. However, if you want to give your cat a treat as a reward for good behavior or to kill the nasty taste of medicine a little bit of “people food” may be just the thing you need.

You have no doubt seen mile long lists of foods cat's shouldn't eat. Let's look at a nice, long list of people foods that cats can eat.

Human food cats can eat that are rich in protein 

It bears repeating. Cats are obligate carnivores. They need meat to live. Not only is it safe for your cat to eat the following foods but the ingredient list on her cat food should name one of these as a primary ingredient. Just remember to cook everything thoroughly (including the raw fish) and trim off the fat so it doesn’t give Kitty a tummy ache.

  1. Chicken Skinless chicken is the best. It must be well cooked (no raw meat) with no bones. There are thirty-eight grams of protein in a cup of diced chicken which makes it a great source of protein.
  2. Turkey As with chicken it must be skinless, well cooked and boneless. An ounce of roast turkey has eight grams of protein.
  3. Ham This tends to be a bit high in sodium so use caution. However, it is rich in taurine, a necessary nutrient for cats.
  4. Lean Beef  There must be emphasis on lean. Too much fat isn’t good for cats. A bit of tri tip is tender and flavorful as well as lean.
  5. Lean Deli Meats A little caution here. They tend to be fatty and full of salt and preservatives. Use lean deli meat. It’s effective in getting your feline friend to take pills.
  6. Lamb Kitty had a little lamb. It has seven protein grams an ounce. And anywhere that lamb was served the cat was sure to pounce.
  7. Liver The old Meow Mix jingle had cats singing “I want chicken! I want liver!” Liver is rich in protein, iron and Vitamin A.
  8. Cooked Eggs Remember that a little goes a long way here and the eggs must be cooked. The biotic in cooked eggs is good for Kitty’s coat and claws.

What vegetables can cats eat?

As cats are carnivorous in nature they may not all like vegetables. However, many vegetables contain fibers and vitamins.  They may be beneficial for health when feeding your cat in small doses.

  1. Pumpkin/Squash This means pureed pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling that may have too much sugar or spices. Pumpkins have lots of beta-carotene and potassium. Squash is high in protein and Vitamin A.
  2. Peas Peas are often an ingredient in quality pet foods as a means of adding antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Green peas are packed with Vitamin A and four grams of protein in a half cup serving.
  3. Cucumber If your cat is not afraid of them, she could eat them. Cucumbers are moist and a good way to get Kitty hydrated if she doesn’t drink enough. This vegetable (technically a fruit) is very high in Vitamin K.
  4. Avocados It must be only the edible flesh and not the skin, pit, leaves or bark. A cup of sliced avocado has not only plenty of vitamins but almost three grams of protein. High source of protein for a fruit.
  5. Lettuce If your cat will eat it, remember that it can act as a laxative. It may be what Kitty needs if she’s been spending too much time in the litter box. Lettuce has folate, B Vitamins and Vitamin K.

human food cats can eat

The following vegetables should be thoroughly cooked or steamed before cats can eat them;

  1. Carrots It’s easier for your cat to digest the fibers if the carrots are cooked. However, overcooking carrots kills the vitamins. Among those vitamins is Vitamin A, a vitamin cats need for healthy eyes.
  2. Cabbage It should be just a small amount to give her a boost of vitamin K. Too much can cause bloating. One leaf has thirty-nine milligrams of potassium and a good deal of Vitamin C.
  3. Cauliflower Older cats may find a bit of plain cauliflower helps with their arthritis. Feeding your cat too much can lead to a stomach ache. Cauliflower does have a good deal of protein and Vitamin B-6 plus more than enough Vitamin C.
  4. Broccoli This is a great source of fiber and Vitamin C. Large stems can cause irritation but the florets should be fine. The cheese sauce is not necessary. Other seasonings, especially if they contain onions or garlic should be avoided.
  5. Asparagus A small piece should be fine to give to a cat. It is full of vitamins, potassium and fiber. It has the Vitamins A, C and K. It is great for lowering blood pressure. However, too much can make the litter box smell weird.
  6. Green Beans This is a great source of protein and iron. It’s a good low carb treat for cats who are watching their weight. Green beans are often served with lemon and garlic, but skip this for your cat. She hates citrus smells and garlic is like poison.
  7. Potatoes Keep this in strict moderation. The carbs are not good for a cat. Never let a cat eat raw potato peels. Once again; no garlic. At all. Most cats don’t care for rosemary. Butter is not recommended for lactose intolerant cats.
  8. Spinach Do remember that spinach can cause crystals to form in the urinary tract. If your cat has had any problems with urinary tract or kidneys you shouldn’t be feeding your cat spinach. Otherwise, this iron rich leaf is great for your cat.

Can Cats Eat Bananas

Fruits that cats can eat

Some cats don’t like the sweet flavor of fruits. However, if your cat likes them, fruits can be helpful with digestive issues.

    1. Apricot This is a natural laxative. You can feed a tiny bit to your feline friend if she seems to be having trouble in the litter box. They are rich in Vitamin A and potassium.
    2. Bananas These can be frozen and blended to make a creamy textured smoothie for your cat. They’re rich in potassium. Some cats don’t like the smell of bananas, but it is safe to give a little to your feline friend if she likes it.
    3. Blueberries Whether they are raw or frozen, these berries have a lot of health benefits and are full of healthy antioxidants for your cat. They’re rather high in the carbs but they have plenty of fiber and moisture to make up for it.
    4. Cranberries They are full of fiber, Vitamin C and manganese. Keep in mind that juice and sauce might have too much sugar. A ripe cranberry has a skin so tight it can bounce, so Kitty might want to play with them first.
    5. Mango Remove the skin and pit first. Offer Kitty small pieces to help with her digestive issues. It is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and fiber.
    6. Watermelon/Cantaloupe/Honeydew Melons are fine to give cats if you remove the seeds and rind first. They’re full of vitamins and moisture.  They all have Vitamin C but Cantaloupe has the most.
    7. Peeled Apples These fruits are packed with vitamins and fiber. Remember to take away the seeds and core as well as they contain cyanide.
    8. Pear It’s the same with apples. They are a mostly healthy snack but the poisonous seeds must be removed.
    9. Pineapple It’s a sugary fruit, so keep it to a minimum. It does have plenty of folate and zinc, however. Remove the spiky skin and leaves so Kitty doesn’t choke.
    10. Raspberries These berries are high in vitamin C, fiber and anti-inflammatories. The xylitol isn’t good for cats so keep it to a minimum.
    11. Strawberries A bit of strawberry puree can strengthen your cat’s immune system. But too much can give her diarrhea. Keep it in moderation.
    12. Tomatoes Only ripe tomatoes are safe to feed your cat. Don’t let her eat the vines or the leaves either. They are a very moist food with plenty of antioxidants and Vitamin C. Cherry tomatoes have lots of beta-carotene.

Grains cats can eat

  1. Cooked Corn/Polenta Corn has no health benefits for your cat but should be safe if not mixed with too much salt or spices that are bad for cats.
  2. Couscous/Millet Some cats like the texture of these grains. It’s safe to feed them to cats in small doses, but not very beneficial.
  3. Carrots As stated in the vegetables section, they must be cooked well for the fibers to be digested.
  4. Bread/Breadcrumbs As an occasional snack, it is rich in protein and fiber. Do not overdo it as it can fatten Kitty up quickly.
  5. Oatmeal Plain oatmeal makes a great skin treatment for a cat who has been too itchy of late. If she takes a few laps of her own bath, she’ll be getting some protein as well.
  6. Rice It must be cooked, plain and in moderation. You can mix it up with some meat and feed it to a cat with an upset stomach.

  Dairy products that are safe for cats?

Little kittens love milk. As they grow up, cats may become lactose intolerant. Make sure to give any dairy foods to your cat only in small amounts because they are lactose intolerant.

  1. Hard Cheeses Small bites of Gouda, cheddar and Swiss may give your cat a safe boost of calcium.
  2. Low Lactose Cheeses Cottage cheese is low in lactose and is safe for adult cats. It’s good for cats who crave the creamy taste they enjoyed as kittens.
  3. Yogurt A small dose of plain yogurt may be good for your cat as it is packed with protein, calcium and pro-biotics.

 What kind of fish is safe for cats

Cats love fish, particularly the aroma. However, you should make sure that you feed your cat only in small quantities because too much fish can result in a loss of vitamin E. Fish is also a great source of protein and fish oil.

  1. Cooked Salmon/Tuna These nutritious fishes should only be fed in moderation and if fully cooked. Never feed her raw fish.
  2. Canned fish Sardines are a good treat if your cat likes them. Canned mackerel is safer to eat than canned tuna.
  3. Fish oil In small doses, fish oil may help your cat with dry skin in the winter. Just mix a little in with her food.

Can Cats Eat Salmon

FAQs

Now for the lightning round! Here are some frequently asked questions about what cats can eat in one hundred and fifty words or less.

Is brown rice good for cats?

It’s the same as for white rice. It is not nutritious enough for a regular meal but it can encourage a sick cat to eat. It is moist enough, however, to give a cat a little extra hydration. The rice must always be cooked. In general, though, a cat can benefit greatly from a grain free diet. Cats get their needed nutrients from meat with grains doing little to nothing for them. Humans on low carb diets are often told “If the rice is brown, chow down.” Brown rice in small qualities may be healthier for your cat than white rice.

Can cats eat Spam?

Spam is a brand name belonging to Hormel Foods for their line of canned cooked pork. It has a lot of sodium and a high fat content. Some people like to keep it around as survivalist food due to its long shelf life but it really isn’t good for cats. Because Spam is already cooked, it’s safe for an adult cat but only very rarely as it is not very healthy. A kitten can’t handle that much sodium. While Spam does have a good deal of protein, it also has a good deal of sodium. It is not a healthy food choice for your cat so you should avoid feeding it to her.

Can cats eat crackers?

Do the crackers have salt on them? Too much sodium is not good at all for your cat. Even plain crackers may have more sodium than your cat really needs. There are absolutely no nutrients that would benefit a cat to be found in crackers. A nibble or two won’t hurt them but they are essentially junk food. They are mostly empty carbs that your cat does not need. Anything flavored with onions, garlic or chives must be kept away from cats. It is unlikely your cat will want them anyway. After all, she is a cat, not a parrot.

Can cats eat cottage cheese?

Cottage cheese is made by draining the cheese as opposed to pressing it. This is the curds and whey Little Miss Muffet ate in her famous rhyme. If your cat absolutely must have cheese, cottage cheese is the best choice. It is relatively low in lactose compared to some other cheeses. It is very high in calcium and protein while low in fat. However, your cat doesn’t really need it. Some adult cats are so sensitive to lactose even a small amount can upset them and in this case it is best to avoid feeding it to her. Your cat is better off getting her protein and calcium from a regular meat based diet.

Can cats eat quinoa?

While there is no poisoning risk, it should be done only in moderation and only if fully cooked. It is gluten free and rather high in fiber. It also contains a good deal of protein, magnesium, copper and manganese. It is an ingredient in some cat foods and cat treats. While quinoa does have a lot of things cats need including amino acids, a cat needs to get the bulk of this from meat. It is fine to mix a bit of quinoa in with her dinner if she likes it. Keep in mind that uncooked quinoa can lead to an upset stomach.

Can cats eat crab?

Did Fluffy catch a crab at the beach? Or, more likely, did a crab catch Fluffy? Crab has lots of meat based protein and Vitamin D. It’s also got those Omega 3 fatty acids that are very good for a healthy coat. The only carb in crab is in the anagram sense. It should be noted that crab is a seafood and has some natural sodium and some cats have a shellfish allergy. A bit of fresh crab meat is fine for your cat if she doesn’t have allergies. Just don’t give her so much she won’t eat anything else.

Can cats have applesauce?

While applesauce is safe as an occasional treat it is not the best thing for regular consumption. Because it has a very high fiber content and lots of moisture a little can help constipation. However, it is good to remember that a little bit of applesauce goes a long way. Also keep in mind that applesauce often has a good deal of added sugar which is not good for cats. Cinnamon is often added, which is not good for cats either. Sometimes applesauce has seeds blended in which contain cyanide. This trace amount may not harm a human but could hurt a cat.

What smells do cats hate?

Citrus tends to be a cat’s least favorite smell of all people foods. They also dislike peppermint, lavender and citronella. These odors all come from natural, non-toxic substances that many people find pleasant. If you want cats to stay away from certain areas oils and perfumes with these scents will repel cats without repelling you or hurting the cat.

What can I feed a stray cat?

Be warned, if you feed a stray cat, they’ll probably keep coming back. And they may bring friends. If this doesn’t bother you, here is the kind of food you should use. Ordinary cat food or a little fish should persude stray cats not to raid trash cans or kill the local wildlife for food. Provide, fresh, clean water as well so stray cats won’t be forced to lap from mud puddles or worse, antifreeze puddles. If you take in a stray kitten, she’ll need kitten chow and milk to help her put on weight and grow like she should.

Can you eat cat food?

Um…why would you want to? There is a popular stereotype of the person so broke they’ve been reduced to eating cat food. With Ramen being little more than ten cents a pack, this has replaced cat food as the typical poor people chow. As for cat food, if you get the good stuff with the real meat and sauce it might not taste too bad. However, the vitamin formulation in cat food is for cats, not people. It is rich in Vitamin A, nearly to the point of toxicity in a human. One bite as a prank, dare or fraternity hazing won’t hurt, but don’t make a habit of it.

human food cats can eat

Conclusion

Of course, the best possible food you can give your furry friend is best cat food. It should have a form of meat as one of the first ingredients. Ideally, it should be moist with plenty of taurine and Vitamin A. Omega fatty acids are also important.

Your cat should also have access to fresh, clean water. Be aware that if you let your cat have too much “people food” she may nag you for more. Don’t let your cat be so spoiled on people food that she refuses to eat nutritious cat food.

If you do let your cat have some of your food as the odd treat be sure to keep in mind that some foods are not good for her. Even the foods listed here as safe should only be in the strictest of moderation. When you feed your cat, keep not only her wants but needs in mind. As the pet parent you are responsible for your cat’s health.

Are bananas good for cats?

The short answer: Yes, cats can eat bananas. According to the ASPCA, bananas are not toxic to cats. So if your cat really wants a small piece of that banana you've been eating, it's fine. ... But if you find your cat does appreciate a bite of banana now and then, frozen pieces can make great cat treats!

What should a cat eat?

They must have meat to get the nutrients they require. While it's perfectly acceptable to feed your cat a commercial dry or wet food, you can offer variety in your feline's diet by feeding it cooked or raw, fresh meat. Many cat's love fish; however, it is not an acceptable food for daily feeding.

Can cats have yogurt?

It's no secret adult cats (and dogs) are largely lactose intolerant. This acidic fermentation of milk leaves little lactose remaining in the finished product. That means cats, dogs, and even lactose-intolerant humans can digest yogurt without messy side effects.

What foods are cats not allowed to eat?

onions and garlic, raw eggs, alcohol, yeast dough, raw fish, green tomatoes or potatoes, chocolates, milk products.

  • Updated November 18, 2020
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You're in! Take 30% Off your next purchase at Chewy.com.