Many cat lovers wonder if it’s okay to feed their feline companions “people” food.
The short answer is, yes, it’s fine to give your cat a few bit of human food, but only as an occasional treat.
And, the type of food you feed them matters; there are certain foods that are safe for people which would be harmful to cats.
“Occasional treats” for your cat should be kept to no more than 10% of his or her daily calorie limit.
Cats who are indoor cats typically need 20 calories per pound of body weight, while outdoor cats need 35 calories per pound of body weight.
For a 10-pound cat, that equates to 200-350 calories daily, depending on the amount of outdoor time the cat has.
If you want to give your pet human treats, which ones are the best? Well, cats are known as “obligate carnivores,” meaning that meat and fish are not only their favorite foods, but also that they contain nutrients (like taurine) that cats must have to survive.
Meat should form the majority of their diet, and that extends to any human treats they are given, too. Cats will especially appreciate a bite of chicken (or even steak).
Fish is also a popular choice, and felines love salmon, tuna, and even just the oil or water that the fish has been in.
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Just be certain to give your cat only cooked meat and fish (never raw), and limit tuna to once a week or less, as it can cause mercury poisoning in high doses.
Cats are often finicky eaters, but there are other foods your cat may also enjoy as treats. Eggs, spinach, milk, pumpkin, bread, oatmeal, cheese, and peas may all be pleasing to your feline friend, just try things out and see what he or she likes.
Though some cats are lactose-intolerant, others are not, so if you’re thinking of offering your cat cheese or milk, try it in very small doses first to make sure he or she can tolerate it and doesn’t get sick.
With all treats, moderation and variety will help ensure your cat doesn’t become too reliant on “people” food as his or her main diet.
While your cat can safely eat many human foods, there are some that you should never give your cat.
Onions, garlic, and chives can cause gastrointestinal issues and harm red blood cells.
Grapes and raisins could cause kidney failure, while even a small bite of chocolate could be fatal.
Nibbles of human food can be fine for your feline friend, but always check with a veterinarian if in doubt, especially if your cat is ill or has recently had surgery.
And, save small bites of “people” food for a treat, once a day at most.