What Cats Can and Can’t Eat (Some will shock you)

When we eat at home, we tend to offer human food to cats and let them eat alongside us. Before doing so we need to know what is okay for cats. So what can cats eat?

What Do Cats Eat

Cats are obligate (natural) carnivores, so they eat only prey animals.This does not only mean meat (or muscles), but also other parts, like intestines and organs.

What Can Cats Eat

Can cats eat chocolate?

what can cats eatNo! Chocolates contain theobromine which is present in all forms of chocolate. Alongside with caffeine, it can cause arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, increased heart rate and can cause seizures, coma, and potential death. So is chocolate bad for cats? Yes, it is potentially harmful.

Besides, this is a trivia – if you are wondering which taste can’t cats experience – well cats can taste sweets. The sweet taste buds near the back of the tongue actually do not function.

Dairy Products

Can cats eat cheese?

While some cats will be able to eat cheese without any problem, cats, as they grow into adults, become lactose intolerant. Hence giving cheese will cause diarrhea or vomiting.

Is milk bad for cats?

You think this is a no-brainer right? Well, surprise surprise! While we have grown used to seeing cats being fed with a bowl of milk, when cats become adults they become lactose intolerant and can cause diarrhea and vomiting. There are milk products available that are specifically for kittens.

Can cats eat ice cream?

Since Ice cream contains cow’s milk which cats cannot digest, it might also have the same effect to let your cat have ice cream, since adult cats develop the tendency to be lactose intolerant.

Can cats eat eggs?

Not raw eggs can be a source of harmful bacteria, most specifically, Salmonella or E.coli. Cooked eggs yes.

Can cats eat dog food?

While it will not harm your cat if it happens to eat dog food, long-term feeding on dog food can. Cats need taurine, an amino acid, which is not present in dog food since dogs can make their own taurine. When a cat has taurine deficiency, it can cause severe heart disease and other health issues.

Can cats eat raw fish?

No. Raw fish contains thiaminase or an enzyme that breaks down thiamine, a member of the Vit B complex. Without thiamine, it can cause neurological problems in cats, and lead to seizures, head tilt, stupor, coma, or even death in worse case scenarios. So cat sushi is a no.

How about raw tuna?

Tuna prepared especially for cat food is fine, but tuna for human consumption might be too fatty for cats. This can lead to “yellow fat disease” wherein fat cells become swollen. Tuna can also cause mercury poisoning in cats, just like in humans.

Fruits and Veggies

Can cats eat strawberries?

Strawberries are safe and not toxic for cats, although they really offer little nutritional value.

Can cats eat apples?

While a cat can eat a few apple pieces without any harm, apple seeds are NOT safe for cats. Apple seeds contain cyanide, which is poisonous to cats, other animals, and even humans.

Can cats eat bananas?

Yes, cats can eat bananas. Bananas are rich in potassium and other nutrients, and thus, good for cats, though in moderation.

Can cats eat grapes?

No. Grapes (or raisins too) can cause kidney failure in cats and should not be given. So if you like grapes, eat without feeling guilty for not sharing with your cat.

Can cats eat blueberries?

Yes, cats can eat blueberries. They are low in fat and calories but high in fiber. So go ahead and share blueberries with your cat, although still in moderation as with anything.

Can cats eat raspberries?

Yes. You can give your cats a few raspberries occasionally, not too often. Raspberries are safe for cats to eat.

Can cats eat oranges? what about other citrus fruits?

No. Oranges contain essential oils and psoralens which are toxic to cats, so it will most likely cause digestive upset, like diarrhea and vomiting. Oranges can also cause sensitivity to light or even cat depression.

Can cats eat melon?

Yes. Melon is safe for cats but in moderation because of high sugar content.

Can cats eat avocado?

While the toxin in avocado, persin, doesn’t seem to affect cats nor dogs, there are some species that may experience vomiting and diarrhea. It is best to keep your furbaby away from avocado.

Can cats eat onion or garlic?

No. While a little bit cannot pose a serious danger but a clove of garlic or green onion may cause some digestive upset and regular intake can cause anemia in cats.

Can cats eat pumpkin?

Yes. Cooked fresh pumpkin and canned organic pumpkin (the unsweetened type, not those for pie fillings) have health benefits for your cat. It helps in a cat’s digestive and urinary health as well. Adding a tablespoon (or two, depending on their size) will be sufficient.

Can cats eat mushrooms?

While store-bought mushrooms are free of toxins and will not harm your cat, cats are attracted to the smell of wild mushrooms and can be poisoned as a result.

Carbs and Grains

what can cats eatCan cats eat bread?

Cats can eat bread with no issues, though it hardly has any nutritional value for cats and should not be a significant part of their diet.

Can cats eat rice?

Rice is safe for cats although rice does not really offer them any nutritional value. It is also important to note that having rice for your cats decreases the amount of taurine in cats

Cat eating spaghetti- is it safe?

While there is nothing in the pasta that will hurt your cat, there is nothing much that the cat will benefit from it either!

Can cats eat potatoes?

Well, it depends on the type of potatoes, as well as how the potatoes are cooked. Sweet potato vine has been labeled by the ASPCA as nontoxic to felines as they do not contain solanine, a toxic chemical found in raw potatoes.

However, sweet potatoes can also cause health-related issues to cats. For one, cats have difficulty digesting potatoes, aside from the fact that it does not offer much nutritional value.

Boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes are perfectly safe for your pet cat because the cooking process destroys the toxins in raw potatoes. It should, however, be free of toppings, additives, or herbs and spices, as some of these potato add-ons can be dangerous to cats.

Fried potatoes aren’t as healthful because they contain fats and oils which might be unsafe for your cat. This goes the same for chips because of the many additives in a bag of chips.

Can cats eat corn?

Yes, it is safe for cats to eat corn in moderation but best to check with a small portion first as some cats may be allergic to it.

Can cats eat oatmeal?

Yes, oatmeal is safe for cats.

Can cats eat nuts?

No. Macadamia nuts are poisonous to cats, while other nuts which are not inherently dangerous, have high-fat content, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Eating raw meat – is that fine for cats?

Cats are carnivores so feeding bits of chicken, pork, beef, or turkey is okay. But no to preserved foods, cold cuts, and the like because they are high in sodium.

Can cats eat turkey?

Yes, they can though fatty things and fat trimmings can cause upset stomach or pancreatitis.

Can cats eat ham? or bacon?

what can cats eatWell ham is pork and yes cats can eat ham! It is a great source of protein for cats. It also has taurine which cats need for its heart and digestive system. But like everything, just do it in moderation. Too much of ham can cause health issues, like heart or digestive problems, aside from a heavy amount of unhealthy fat. Practically the same goes if you are wondering “can cats eat bacon?” Bacon has a lot of unhealthy fat and high sodium content.

When feeding raw meat, keep in mind that meat that has been exposed long can carry harmful bacteria.

Bones From Chicken, etc

No. Most of us grew up thinking it was okay to feed cats leftover bones. While cats have strong sharp teeth, feeding chicken or fish bones or anything similar to cats can lacerate or hurt the cat’s digestive tract.

Other Cat Diet Information


 No. We might think why this is even in the list. But when we get a bit too playful with cats when you have a house party, it helps to know that even playfully giving cats alcohol is a big NO. It can cause liver and brain damage. As little as 1 tablespoon can cause coma, and with more, can cause death.

Coffee, Tea or Energy Drinks

No.Coffee, tea, or energy drinks can cause restlessness and increased heart rate and should not be given.

Other Fruits and Vegetables

For others not mentioned above, most other vegetables are safe for cats but remember to make it all bite-sized and in moderation. These include

  • asparagus
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • celery
  • cucumber
  • green beans
  • lettuce
  • peas
  • spinach
  • zucchini
Rhubarb is poisonous to cats. Cherries are also a no-no.
Well here is how a cat can react when it does not like the food:

(video credit: Sarut Suengpaisankul)