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What Human Foods Can Cats Eat? Do’s & Don’ts To Know

By Bridget Reed


Everyone pet parent to a cat knows they’re just as capable of puppy eyes as any dog. It can be hard to resist your feline friend when they’re looking longingly at your lunch. 

However, it’s important to know what human foods cats can eat. Some seemingly inconspicuous and even healthy foods for humans can be poisonous to your furry friend. 

That’s why this article will look at the protein, produce, and grains you can safely give your cat and the foods you should always avoid. It will also dive into how you can safely give your cat human food as a snack.

What Meat and Fish Can Cats Eat?

Cats are obligate carnivores, so they require a diet mostly made up of meat. Although most nutritious cat food contains plenty of protein, you may want to think about giving your cat a healthy, meaty snack now and again. 

Regardless of the type of meat you decide to give your cat, ensure it is unseasoned and cooked to reduce fat content.

This section will look at all the meat you can safely give your cat.

  • Salmon: Giving your cat a small portion of salmon as a snack is a good way to incorporate protein and Omega-3 fatty acids into their diet. Make sure to take out all the bones before you serve your cat salmon or any type of fish.
  • Chicken: Chicken is a great snack for your feline friend because it is a lean protein. Make sure to cook chicken thoroughly and remove the fatty skin before giving it to your cat. Again, make sure that the chicken does not have seasonings or sauce.
  • Turkey: If you have extra turkey after the holidays or a pack of deli meat, you can give your cat a little bit as a snack. Much like chicken, turkey is another source of lean protein.
  • Bacon and Ham: Everyone with a cat knows they can’t resist the smell of bacon or ham. You can safely give your cat a little bit of pork as a special treat, but it’s important not to give them too much because both contain high amounts of salt and fat.

What Fruits and Vegetables Can Cats Eat?

Alongside meats, cats also enjoy several types of fruit and vegetables. Although cats can safely digest fruits, you should only give them fruit in small amounts because it contains high amounts of sugar. Some of the fruits and veggies cats can eat include:

  • Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe naturally contains antioxidants and beta-carotene, which can help your cat’s skin and eye health.
  • Bananas: Much like humans, your feline will benefit from the potassium and soluble fiber in bananas.
  • Pumpkin: Pumpkin is a fantastic treat for your four-legged friend because it is low-calorie and contains a lot of dietary fiber. Due to the high fiber content, pumpkin is especially beneficial for cats with digestive issues or constipation.
  • Apples: If you remove the skin, seeds, and stems, you can safely treat your cat to a little bit of apple. This is a nutritious snack for your cat because apples contain fiber and vitamin C.
  • Blueberries: Blueberries are a super easy snack to keep around for your cat. You can give your feline fresh or frozen blueberries to snack on alone or on top of their dry food. Blueberries are a great source of vitamins A and C.
  • Peas: Peas are another snack you can give your cat, frozen or fresh. Peas contain fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A, which are beneficial for your four-legged friend.
  • Raspberries: Raspberries contain high levels of dietary fiber and are relatively low in sugar, making them an ideal snack for your cat. Raspberries may be beneficial if your cat is older and struggles with inflammation issues because they have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Watermelon: If your cat struggles to consume enough water, they may benefit from the occasional piece of watermelon to snack on. Since watermelon is 90 percent water, it can help keep your feline hydrated while providing much-needed vitamins A, B, C, and potassium.
  • Carrots: Carrots are a healthy, nutritious snack for your cat because they contain beta-carotene, which will benefit your feline’s coat and eyes. The best way to feed your cat carrots is peeled and cooked to avoid any potential choking hazard.
  • Celery: Another great snack for cats who struggle with hydration issues is celery. Celery is rich in fiber and vitamins which will also aid your cat’s kidney functioning.

What Grains Can Cats Eat?

Another type of human food that can make a great snack for your cat is grains. You can occasionally give your cat the following grains to add variety to their diet:

  • Oatmeal: If your cat is struggling with digestive issues, you can give them some cooked oatmeal. Oatmeal is high in dietary fiber and iron, both of which your cat needs to stay healthy.
  • Rice: Cooked rice is another healthy option for your cat, especially if they have diarrhea or other stomach issues. Generally, brown rice is considered a healthier option compared to white rice.

What Human Foods To Avoid Giving to Your Cat

Now that you know all about what human foods your cat can snack on, let’s take a close look at the foods you should definitely keep away from your four-legged friend. 

  • Raw Meat, Fish, and Eggs: Although cats are obligate carnivores, raw meat, raw fish, and raw eggs from the grocery store can contain viruses such as E. Coli and Salmonella, which can be fatal for cats.
  • Milk: Technically, milk is not poisonous for adult cats; however, after they stop drinking their mother’s milk, they become lactose-intolerant. This means that they will likely experience vomiting, diarrhea, or liver damage if they frequently consume milk as an adult.
  • Onion and Garlic: All types of onion, garlic, chives, and leeks are poisonous to cats. Regardless of if they take a small bite or devour an entire meal with onion or garlic, your cat may experience some degree of food poisoning. Although all members of this family are dangerous for felines, garlic is the most toxic and can be fatal for cats.
  • Grapes and Raisins: There is ample research that shows how grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure and GI problems in dogs. There is no concrete evidence to show the same is true for cats, but many reports suggest that grapes and raisins have a similar effect on cats.
  • Oranges: Every part of the orange except the fruit, including the seeds, leaves, stem, and peel, has oils that are poisonous for felines. Additionally, the acid in citrus can upset your furry friend’s stomach. Cats likely sense this and usually stay away from citrus.
  • Cherries: Much like oranges, every part of the cherry except the ripe fruit is poisonous for felines, including the stems, leaves, and pits.
  • Plums: Plums are extremely toxic to cats because the seeds, stems, and leaves contain cyanide. As plums wilt, the cyanide levels increase, making them even more dangerous for your cat.
  • Chocolate: All chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can cause muscle tremors, seizures, and heart problems in cats.

How Can You Feed Your Cat Human Food?

You’re now an expert on all the human foods you can and cannot feed your cat. The only question remaining is how to determine the correct amount of human food to give them as a snack. In general, you should only give your cat a limited amount of snacks daily.

A good rule of thumb is to give them 20 calories worth of snacks each day. This equates to about two teaspoons of cooked salmon or 27 blueberries. Of course, you wouldn’t want to give them that many berries in a day. Instead, you can mix different human foods together as snacks or meal toppers to add variety to your cat’s diet.

Remember to always gradually introduce new human foods. Cats can have food intolerances and allergies just like humans, so it is important to test out a new food before you give your cat a large quantity of it. If your cat seems to be gaining weight because of the snacks, you’ll want to consider cutting back the amount you give them.


There are several safe options if you want to give your cat the occasional treat of human food. Anything from cooked meat to green beans can benefit your cat in small amounts. The most important thing to remember for your cat’s health is that snacks should always make up a small part of their diet. 

An excessive amount of treats may lead to obesity or other health concerns. Most high-quality, commercial cat foods have the necessary nutrients to keep your furry friend healthy. 


‘In the News’: Updates on Grape Toxicity | Tufts

Orange | ASPCA

Plum | ASPCA

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