If you’re a pet parent, you naturally want to share everything with your dog or cat. From your favorite activities like watching movies, hiking, or going to the park, to your favorite snacks, there’s nothing better than sharing what you love with the furry companions you love.
When it comes to sharing snacks with your pets, it’s important to know what’s safe and what isn’t. There are plenty of foods to avoid feeding your cat, but there are also many types of food you can share with them, and you might be surprised to know a lot of these are being included in premium commercial cat food recipes.
Let’s take a look at some surprising foods cats can eat, their nutritional benefits, and a few tips to make sharing your snacks that much sweeter.
8 Surprising Foods Cats Can Eat
When it comes to foods cats can eat, there’s a variety of different options to suit every cat’s taste. This guide breaks down nine foods your cat can eat, as well as their nutritional benefits. Read on below to learn more.
Yes, it’s not just a cartoon cliche — cats actually can eat tons of varieties of fish, and some cats even eat fish raw if they’re hunting in the wild.
Fish are a rich source of fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and protein that your cat can enjoy. Oily types of fish are especially beneficial for your feline, as they contain omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and other nutrients that help support eyesight, cardiovascular health, joint health, and immune health.
While fish can be a nutritious snack for your cat, it’s important to avoid raw fish. This means keeping your aquarium or fish bowl far out of your cat’s reach. If your cat does consume a pet fish or an outdoor fish from a koi pond, it’s best to let your veterinarian know and to keep a close eye on them for the next few days.
If you don’t have the time to cook tuna, salmon, or sardines for your kitten, don’t worry. There are plenty of cat food options that include fish as the main source of protein.
Take a look at Optimeal’s Adult Cat Salmon & Brown Rice Recipe or our Adult Shrimp and Salmon Meal. Designed specifically for skin and digestive support, you can easily nourish your feline friend. You can also consider fish oil supplements for your cat to support their health and wellness.
One excellent cat snack that may come as a surprise is cheese. If you love to eat sliced Swiss cheese, shredded cheese, or add some gouda or cheddar to your favorite sourdough toast, get ready to share this tasty treat with your cat, too.
Be sure to only give your cat a small amount of cheese as too much can lead to digestive issues, stomach upset, or even constipation. And, if your cat has issues tolerating lactose in dairy products, it may be best to avoid this particular snack.
While whole fruits, vegetables, and grains are excellent ingredients for cats, furry felines are obligate carnivores. One of the best snacks to share with your cat is meat. Lean protein like chicken breast, turkey breast, and lamb are excellent sources of nutrition for your furry friend.
What kind of meat can you share with your cat? It’s best to avoid any store-bought meats that come pre-packaged in cans. These tend to have higher levels of sodium, sugar, and preservatives to extend their shelf life.
In addition to canned meats, avoid deli meats or cold cuts. These can also have a higher content of sodium, which can be harmful to your feline’s health. Instead, stick to plain, natural meats free of any added seasonings or preservatives.
4. Bananas, Berries, and Other Fruits
Next time you eat a banana, cut up some small pieces to share with your cat. Bananas are a great source of potassium for your kitty to enjoy. Potassium is a type of electrolyte that supports the proper functioning of the nerves and muscles.
This mineral is essential for your feline. If they don’t have enough potassium in their diet, they can suffer from a condition known as hypokalemia. In short, this condition results in severe weakness, depression, and lack of appetite, and can be fatal in some cases.
Berries are a low-sugar, low-calorie snack that is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and natural soluble fiber. These tasty treats make the perfect snack for your cat, especially if you’re looking to support immune health and overall wellness. Other fruits like apples, pears, cantaloupe, blueberries, and strawberries are also great for your cat.
Carrots are packed with beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin E, manganese, and other vitamins. Carrots are especially beneficial for immune health. They’re rich in carotenoids and antioxidants which help support immune system function. Cook carrots without any seasonings or butter, or cut them into safely-sized pieces raw as a crunchy snack.
7. Rice & Oatmeal
Rice and oatmeal are both safe snacks to share with your cats and are a great alternative to grains with gluten. These whole grains are full of fiber, iron, protein, and other vitamins and minerals that help support your cat’s health and wellness.
Pumpkin isn’t just for the autumn and winter seasons. You can also share this tasty treat with your cat as it’s rich in fiber and nutrients that can help with hairballs and digestion. Canned pumpkin is okay in moderation, but try to find the varieties with no salt added, as regular pumpkin can include high sodium and sugar levels that can be harmful to your cat.
9. Green Beans and Other Veggies
Adding green beans to tonight's dinner? Save some for your cat! This snack is packed with iron, protein, and nutrients in a low-calorie option that makes the perfect crunchy snack. Make sure to cut this snack up into small pieces and avoid seasonings or butter.
Similarly, broccoli, celery, asparagus, and many other vegetables are also safe and nutritious for your cat to enjoy.
Tips For Sharing With Your Cat
There are many healthy snacks you can share with your cat. If you do decide to share your snacks, be sure to follow these simple safety guidelines below.
Skip the Seasonings
When sharing snacks with your cat, it’s important to avoid adding any seasonings. For instance, if you’re getting ready to cook salmon and want to share some with your furry feline, set a small piece aside that doesn’t have any salt, garlic, onions, or butter on it.
In the same way, if you’d like to share green beans, celery, carrots, or another fruit or vegetable, make sure the piece you share with your cat is bland. These foods have enough flavor on their own for your feline friend to enjoy, so there’s no need to add any extra ingredients that may upset your cat’s digestion or harm their health.
Seasonings can do more harm than good when it comes to our pets, so even though there are plenty of safe snacks to share with your kitten, it’s best to keep them spice-free.
Balance & Moderation
While sharing snacks with your cat can be fun, it’s also critical to keep balance and moderation in mind. If you feed your cat too many snacks, this could lead to an imbalance in nutrition. Make snack sharing an occasional treat for both of you to enjoy.
When Snacks Aren’t Enough
Snacks like berries, green beans, oatmeal, pumpkin, and fish are great for your cat, and as a pet parent, sharing these nutritious snacks can be an excellent way to bond with your feline. However, snacks alone aren’t an adequate way to supplement your cat’s nutrition.
Your cat’s food matters. That’s why here at Optimeal, we include a wide variety of all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your cat needs to thrive. With our versatile cat food options, you’ll be able to find the perfect food option to cherish time with your feline friend for many years to come.