Have you ever given leftover foods for cats? For some reason, human foods are often given to cats beside packaged cat foods. But, do you know what do cats eat affects its health?
Well, giving human foods is not a bad choice. But, you should pay attention to the nutrition of your lovely cats as well. Not all human foods are safe for cats as they require different nutrition than human. Although cats might love eating everything that the owner eats, some human foods might damage their digestive system.
According to a feline nutrition specialist, Dr Elizabeth Colleran, cats should not eat any food containing garlic, sugar, onion, raisin, chocolate, and alcohol or caffeinated beverages. So, for your cat’s health, it is better to know what kinds of human foods can be eaten by cats.
What Do Cats Eat ?
Although cat is a carnivore, they need vegetables as a fiber source in their diet. Maybe you have seen your cat chewing grass or houseplant? That is a sign that they also need fiber. To substitute leaves of your lovely houseplants, you can give small portion of steamed or boiled vegetable such as:
- Cabbage. Cabbage in small pieces can improve the coat and skin also help digestion.
- Spinach. The vegetable is full of vitamins A, C, K, iron, and calcium. Some packaged cat foods also contain spinach.
- Broccoli. Cat can eat broccoli, vegetable which is packed with vitamin C and fiber.
- Cauliflower. Cauliflower has antioxidants and vitamins which are good for the digestive system.
- Carrots. Cooked carrots are safe for cat and they have a lot of vitamin A.
- Cucumbers. Cucumbers contain lots of vitamins C, K, and magnesium. They are safe for cats in a small portion.
- Lettuce. Lettuce provides fiber and water to keep your cats hydrated.
- Pumpkin. Pumpkin can help cat’s digestion. It also has high fiber and low calories.
- Potatoes. Potatoes are safe for cats as long as they are cooked and mixed with some cat foods.
Grains consist of vitamins, fiber, and minerals that can give cats much nutrition. You can share your oatmeal with water, brown rice, or maize with your cats. They also may be given barley and millet. But, make sure you cook and mash the grain into soft textured before let them eat to ensure they can digest completely. Sometimes you can feed them bread as treats to complete their protein and fiber needs.
Eggs contain vitamin B, minerals and protein that good for your mouser’s diet. Yet, do not ever provide raw eggs because they carry the risk for E. coli and salmonella infection. So, be sure to scramble the eggs thoroughly before sharing with your cats.
4. Dairy Products
Cat is one of the cute animal in the world. Like humans, kittens enjoy dairy products such as milk and cheese. But, too often giving small amounts of cheese or milk can make cats intolerant to lactose. It is OK to give them cheese as long as not hard cheeses like Swiss or cheddar and only very small amount.
Another dairy product safer than cheese and milk is yoghurt. It has more calcium, protein, and probiotics which are good for kittens’ health. Choose plain yoghurt without sweeteners in small doses to avoid the problem in their stomach.
Some fruits also can be eaten by cats. Cats cannot taste sweetness, so they may do not care for fruits. But, you can give these fruits for them in limited amounts:
- Avocados. This fruit has vitamins A, B6, C, and E which are vital for your cat’s skin and coat. On the contrary, too much consumption of avocados is not good because of fat content inside.
- Apples. Apples contain vitamin C and high fiber. Make sure you peel the apples and remove its seeds before giving to cats.
- Bananas. The food is safe for a cat to eat. Bananas are rich in potassium and soluble fiber which are good for kittens’ health.
- Cantaloupe. Cantaloupe is a cat-friendly fruit which contains beta-carotene and antioxidants. Its nutrition can help caring eye and skin health.
- Blueberries. In limited amounts, blueberries are safe. Vitamin A and C inside the fruit make it good for your lovely feline. Some frozen blueberries are good choice for their treats.
- Strawberries. Either fresh or frozen, strawberries in small amounts are good for cats. Nutrients in strawberries can boost the immune system of cats.
- Tomatoes. Tomatoes are fine for cats. Make sure they are pesticide-free, ripe, washed, and cooked. Give limited amounts of tomato for your cats.
- Watermelon. It has potassium, vitamins A, B, C and water which can keep your cat hydrated.
As cats are carnivores, they eat meat. It means that meat cannot be removed from their diet. Keep your cat healthy and happy by giving meat like chicken, duck, and turkey.
Chicken is a good source of protein as long as you cook and remove its skin. Turkey is also safe for cats especially its breast and sliced deli meat.
Either cats or dogs need the omega-3 to maintain their healthy and fatty acids balance. Your feline needs the right proportions of nutrients in human foods for cats like fish. Fishes are generally fine for cats, but make sure they are cooked. Avoid canned fish with oil in the package because it has high sodium.
Salmon contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids. You can pick salmon, it can be found in packed cat food, so it is proven safe. Give cooked salmon or freeze-dried salmon to keep your cats healthy. Besides salmon, tuna is also good for cats in a limited portion. A fresh cooked tuna is better than canned tuna with oils and salt.
Beans are often called superfood; it means that beans have lots of nutritional value. The average beans contain vitamins, protein, and minerals. At the same time, beans are low calorie and gluten-free. But, for cats, as they are a carnivore, beans can cause harm in the digestive system in some conditions.
For example, raw and unwashed beans can contain toxic called lectins. The best way to feed them with beans is only give fresh organic beans or the frozen one. Beans like green beans are safe to be given as fresh or frozen and it have protein and iron which good for health.
Human often consumes fish oil for supplements. For helping improve cats’ coat and skin, you can also give them the fish oils form cod liver or salmon.
In dry condition, fish oil can keep your cats’ skin healthy. But, be careful to give other supplements to cats.
Rice is safe for your cat to eat when it is prepared properly. Rice is easy to digest and can ease cats upset stomach. Before giving rice to the cats, cook first. Prepare 25 per cent ratio or around 1/4 cup of cooked rice. Avoid seasoning or sauces in the rice because they can be harmful to felines.
Prevent Cats Eating Unsafe Human Foods
As your cats live together with you, generally, they like to eat whatever you eat. After recognizing what human foods that you can share with them, you should know what human foods might be dangerous for cats. Some human foods can affect cats’ digestive system, causing diarrhea or vomiting.
The first food that is often consumed by human that you should not give to cats are chocolate. It contains theobromine that can cause heart problems, tremors, or seizure in cats. Chocolate also contains caffeine, can cause cats restless, muscle tremors, and heart palpitations. The second poisonous foods are onions and garlic. A little bit of onion or garlic is no problem. However, the consumption of onion and garlic regularly could cause anemia.
A fact of cat says that cat cannot choose which foods are good for themselves from the kitchen or dining table. So, to prevent cat eats harmful foods, you should keep your food away from them. Do not let cats enter the kitchen and eat anything there.
In some ways, cats are curious about foods and spoiled. They will join your family during mealtime and beg for a meal. To prevent they are given not proper food by other family members of yours, give them special food in a special place while you are eating with family.
Do not let cats always eat human food. They might be addicted to human foods and refuse eating the foods that are prepared for them. Give human foods for cats only for treats. Forbid your cat jumping on the dining table or kitchen counter. Tell no when they begging for human foods because once you give, they will ask for more.
For the last, keep lids of trash bins closed and do not leave any food unattended. Opened trash bins and unattended food are games to cats, so keep them securely closed.
What do cats eat can affect its health, so make sure you control any food which is given to your cat, prepare the foods thoroughly, and mind the portion. Do not take risk to let them eat everything if you love and care about their health.