“Keep in mind that human food for cats should be an occasional treat, not a typical occurrence. Pet obesity is a growing concern across the country. At most, allow your cat 20 calories per day from safe human food.”
You love your cat, and she’s an important part of the family, so it’s only natural to want to share the foods you love with her. While there are plenty of human foods that cats can eat, use these foods as treats and not a complete diet, to keep her healthy.
Your cat can eat most kinds of baby food, as long as it doesn’t contain anything that is toxic, but her favorite will probably be the meats. Cats enjoy plain meat, meat mixed with vegetables and the toddler meat sticks that look like tiny hot dogs. Baby foods are especially helpful if your cat is sick, since you may be able to entice her with some of these goodies when she won’t touch anything else. Check the label and make sure there’s no onion powder or minced onions in the food, since those can harm your cat.
Meat & Eggs
Cats are carnivores, so their diets must be largely made up of protein. A major misconception about human food for cats is that felines should be consuming raw meat. It’s true that some pet parents put their cats on a raw food diet, but this requires extremely cautious preparation work. Raw meat containing E. coli, salmonella, or listeria will sicken a cat, just as it will humans. So, only serve your kitty plain (seasoning such as garlic or onion powder could be toxic) and cooked meat—and talk to your veterinarian before putting your cat on a raw food diet.
Some veggies contain the added nutrients, fiber, and water that any cat could use, particularly for digestive issues. Cook or steam broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and green beans for easier consumption. Do not allow your cat anything from the allium family (including spices and powders), such as garlic or onions—these can cause damage to your cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia or even death.
Cats can’t taste sweet flavors. Yet there’s always the occasional oddball that enjoys a piece of fruit, which can also aid with digestive issues. For a creamy treat, blend the fruit with a tiny bit of plain, low-fat yogurt.
Many cats enjoy grains with a smaller texture, like couscous and millet. Make sure you don’t feed your cat raw dough of any kind, as it causes expansion or creates alcohol in the stomach. Finally, not all seeds or nuts are harmful to cats, but many are—and those that aren’t are likely high in salt and fat. It’s best just to avoid these altogether
Many people are either under the misconception that cats should have lots of dairy (think little saucers of milk), or have heard that cats are actually wildly lactose-intolerant. The truth lies somewhere in the middle: Every cat is different, but most can tolerate a small amount of low-lactose dairy.
Cats can hang out in the garden with you, or share the goodies you bring home from the farmer’s market every week. While not all cats will eat plain veggies, some will, and most will eat them when you mix the veggies in with other foods, especially meat. Try feeding her green beans, cucumbers, zucchini and carrots. Your cat may also enjoy bananas, apples and baked potatoes.
Small amounts of cooked pasta, bread and unsalted pretzels can be added to your cat’s diet if she will eat them. Some cats will eat these foods plain, but others like to have them mixed with meat or meat juice, to give them more flavor. Bland foods such as these can add some bulk to your cat’s other people-food treats, but don’t give her so much that she isn’t getting a balanced diet.
Other human foods that may be harmful to cats
Plant-based milk (high in fats and oils)
Sugar and spices in general
Candy and gum
Ice cream (contains propylene glycol)
Human medications/supplements (the exception might be fish oil, in small doses)
When it comes to human food for cats, err on the side of caution. Even if the food you serve your kitty isn’t known to be harmful, she could still have a small bout of upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. Pay attention to your cat’s litter box habits. If your cat does get sick, then she may be a little more sensitive to human food than the average kitty. Practice prudence in any case!