Did you know that over 90% of cat owners unknowingly feed dangerous foods to their feline friends? As a pet parent, it’s crucial to understand what foods are safe and toxic for cats. This article reveals the do’s and don’ts of feeding cats – you might be surprised!

Can Cats Eat Human Food?

While our furry companions may beg for scraps from the dinner table, human food can be harmful for cats. Feline bodies are not designed to digest some components found in people food.

Here are some human foods cats should avoid:

  • Chocolate – Contains theobromine, extremely toxic to cats. Can cause vomiting, seizures, heart issues and even death.
  • Onions/Garlic – Damages red blood cells and causes anemia in cats. Also upsets the digestive system.
  • Xylitol – An artificial sweetener found in gum, candy, toothpaste. Can lead to liver failure and blood sugar crashes in cats.
  • Alcohol – Even small amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, coordination issues, breathing problems and coma.
  • Grapes/Raisins – Contain an unknown toxin, causing sudden kidney failure in cats.
  • Caffeine – An addictive stimulant, can cause increased heart rate, restlessness and seizures in cats.

As a general rule, avoid giving cats any spicy, salty, sugary or fatty “people foods”. These provide no nutrition and can seriously harm your cat’s health.

What Human Foods Can Cats Eat?

While cats should mainly eat cat food formulated for their nutritional needs, some human foods are safe and even healthy for cats in moderation.

Here are some people foods cats can eat:

  • Unsweetened yogurt – Provides probiotics for good digestion. Look for yogurt without artificial sweeteners.
  • Cooked meat (chicken, turkey, beef) – An excellent source of protein when unseasoned and cooked plain.
  • Fish (salmon, tuna)A great treat, provides omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid raw fish due to bacteria risks.
  • Eggs – Packed with protein and nutrients, scrambled eggs are perfectly fine for cats.
  • Cheese – High in protein and calcium, but avoid giving too much due to high fat content.
  • Vegetables (carrots, spinach, peas)Great source of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Cook before feeding.

When giving human food, moderation is key. Human foods should not exceed 10% of a cat’s diet. Avoid giving milk, raw meat, bones, fat trimmings, salt or other seasonings.

What Fruits Can Cats Eat?

Fruits can be a healthy occasional snack for cats since they provide key vitamins. However, cats should not eat all types of fruits.

Fruits cats can eat include:

  • Blackberries – Low in sugar, rich in antioxidants. Great for urinary health.
  • Banana – Provides potassium and magnesium. Serve mashed or frozen.
  • Mango – Full of vitamins A, C and E. A yummy treat!
  • Cantaloupe – Hydrating melon with fiber and beta-carotene.
  • Apples – A crunchy snack with fiber, vitamins C and A. Remove seeds first.
  • Strawberries – Packed with vitamin C and fiber. Serve occasionally in moderation.

Fruits to avoid giving cats:

  • Grapes/Raisins – Extremely toxic, causes sudden kidney failure.
  • Avocado – Contains persin, poisonous to cats. Causes stomach upset.
  • Citrus fruits – Too acidic for cats. Can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Cherries – Contains deadly cyanide toxicity for cats in the pit.

As with any human food, only give fruits occasionally and in very small quantities as a treat. Excessive fruit can lead to diarrhea and stomach upset in cats.

What Vegetables Can Cats Eat?

Vegetables make healthy, low-calorie snacks for cats. Green veggies provide vitamins, minerals and fiber. Here are some cat-safe options:

  • Broccoli – Loaded with vitamins C, K, A, B6, folate and manganese.
  • Brussels Sprouts – High in vitamin C, K, folate. Contains cancer-fighting antioxidants.
  • Carrots – Crunchy texture cats love. Packed with vitamin A.
  • Green Beans – Nutrient-dense and rich in vitamins C, K, iron, manganese.
  • Spinach – Provides folate, vitamins A, C, K, iron and calcium. Frozen spinach is easier to digest.

Some veggies to avoid giving cats include:

  • Onions/Garlic – Toxic to cats, damages red blood cells.
  • Raw potatoes – Contain solanine, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Corn – Indigestible for cats, may contain pesticides.

As with fruits, only feed veggies occasionally and in small amounts. Introduce new foods slowly and watch for signs of an upset stomach.

What About Dairy – Can Cats Have Milk?

Contrary to popular belief, milk is not an essential part of a cat’s diet. In fact, many cats are lactose intolerant.

Lactose in cow’s milk can cause digestive upset like diarrhea and vomiting. Refrain from giving your cat regular milk.

Some better dairy options include:

  • Small amounts of plain yogurt – Provides probiotics.
  • Goat’s milk – More digestible alternative due to lower lactose.
  • Cat milk/treats – Specialty products made for cats with added taurine.

Other high-lactose dairy like cheese, ice cream or butter provide no nutritional value and are best avoided. Monitor your cat for signs of lactose intolerance.

What Can Kittens Eat? Special Dietary Needs

Kittens require a high-protein, nutrient-rich diet to support growth and development. Here are some ideal foods for kittens:

  • Kitten formula – Kittens need formula until 4 weeks old.
  • Wet kitten food – Easy to digest, provides moisture.
  • Dry kitten kibble – Made for kittens with extra protein, calories.
  • Cook chicken, turkey, fish – Shredded plain meats for extra protein.
  • Kitten milk replacement – After weaning, provides calcium, vitamins.

Avoid feeding kittens:

  • Cow’s milk – Can cause diarrhea due to lactose.
  • Any human food – Too harsh on a kitten’s developing digestive system.
  • Adult cat food – Does not provide the right nutrition balance.
  • Chorizo – Highly dangerous, causes severe pancreatitis. Avoid at all costs. Thanks for the feedback, it’s important to clearly identify unsafe foods like chorizo that should be completely avoided when feeding cats. Let me know if you would like me to make any other updates!

Check with your vet for tailored advice on your kitten’s nutritional needs. Proper diet supports healthy growth in kittens.

Can Cats Eat Raw Food Diet? The Pros and Cons

Some cat owners choose to feed raw food diets, believing it is healthier than traditional processed cat food. Let’s look at some key considerations with raw diets for cats:

Potential Benefits

  • Mimics a more natural, evolutionary cat diet
  • May support dental health with raw bones/meat
  • Provides moisture and nutrients without processing

Potential Risks

  • Increased risk of foodborne illnesses like salmonella
  • Careful handling required to avoid bacterial contamination
  • No standard for nutritional completeness like commercial cat foods
  • Bones may splinter and pose choking hazard
  • Special prep and storage required to keep food fresh

Overall, there is no conclusive evidence that raw diets are healthier for cats long-term compared to high-quality commercial cat foods. As with any diet, it comes down to the individual cat. Consult your vet before attempting homemade or raw food diets.

The Bottom Line – Feed Cats a Balanced Feline Diet

While the occasional human treat is fine, cats should primarily eat cat food formulated specifically for their needs. Look for high-quality cat food with these features:

  • High in protein (30% or more)
  • Moderate fat and fiber
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements (taurine, etc.)
  • Contains omega fatty acids
  • Appropriate calories for your cat’s age and activity level

A balanced commercial cat diet will provide complete daily nutrition without the hazards of people food. Partner with your vet to choose the ideal food for your cat’s health and lifestyle.With some common sense precautions, you can safely feed cats human food as less than 10% of their diet. Avoid toxic foods, introduce new foods slowly, and monitor your cat’s reaction. Your furry friend will thank you for taking such good care of their nutritional needs!