Can Cats Eat Human Food? (Solved & Explained!)

Your furry feline friend definitely takes notice whenever you’ve got a delicious meal or a snack. The resulting stare can put a lot of pressure on you and it’s frankly, almost impossible not to share. Can cats eat human food?

Most human foods will be okay, provided that they have as little spice as possible, and that you have considered their calories. You need to research the foods whenever you are in doubt, however, as human favorites like chocolate and grapes could actually KILL your cat.

Today we’re going to talk about some human foods which your cat can and CANNOT safely eat. We’ll go over the subject of calories and how much your cat needs every day, as well as give you some food examples to better understand what your kitty may consume. Read on for important information about human food and your kitty!

Cat looking at human food to eat

Consider the calories

The first point that we need to touch on when it comes to feeding human food to your cat is the calories. This is very important if you want to avoid your beloved kitty turning into a bit of a butterball because, all kidding aside, feline obesity is very dangerous territory health-wise and you want to avoid it.

So, to give you a good idea of a calorie target, we’ll give you some basic guidelines. A healthy, 10 pound adult cat needs around 260 calories every day to maintain their current weight. If they are going outside daily and thus very active, then this could be adjusted to up to 330 per day.

By comparison, cats best described as ‘aggressively inactive’ might need as little as 200. This is very important to understand, as going over your cat’s daily calories is very easy with human food, for instance scrambled eggs. A large egg might have anywhere from 76 to 90 calories, which is about 1/3rd of your cat’s ‘allowed-calories’ for an entire day.

Worse, 2/3 of that is fat, so even with the high protein count eggs aren’t really great for cats. This is an example of a calorie and fat-heavy human food that cats can have, but which really need regulation for their health. With that in mind, we’re ready to discuss human foods that are good for your kitty!

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Siamese cat smelling bowl of cereal

Human foods that are safe for kitties

Lots of human foods are a good fit for your cat, with meats such as oily tuna, chicken, pork, and beef being the fare that most will prefer. These need to be served without spices, especially salt, for best results and try to stick to lean meats and small portions to help ensure that the meat is heart-healthy.

Cats also like different fruits and vegetables and some of them you might not expect. Here are some examples:

  • Bananas
  • De-seeded watermelon
  • Carrots
  • Apple (leave out the core)
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Couscous (you hear us right… some cat’s LOVE it)

Aside from these options, another kitty favorite is cheese, you just need to keep the portions very tiny, as cats have a harder time digesting dairy (no matter what the cartoon cats with their enormous bowls of milk seem to indicate).

Bread is a huge favorite for kitties, but like the scrambled eggs we mentioned before, they are pretty high in calories and because of the yeast, you want to avoid yeast-heavy breads such as sourdough. With standard sandwich bread, your kitty can have a cube about the size of a fingernail 2 or 3  times in a week.

Cat looking at muffin and chocolate next to coffee grinder

Human foods that are very toxic for cats

While a lot of your favorite foods are ‘cat friendly’, some of them are definitely going to be off of the menu. Chocolate is the first example and you probably know about that one already. It’s toxic because of a chemical called Theobromine and could put your cat in a coma – so hide your chocolate when the cat’s around.

Next up we have the innocent-looking, but deadly grape. While mostly water, you’d think it wouldn’t be harmful at all, but grapes have been poisoning dogs and cats for years and we couldn’t figure out why. Thankfully, it was finally isolated, all thanks to a batch of homemade playdoh.

The makeshift modeling clay proved to be toxic when ingested by pets and the effects were recognized to be exactly the same as seen with grape ingestion, leading scientists to isolate the chemical involved as ‘tartaric acid’.

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So, the science definitely confirms it – your cat can’t have grapes of any kind, which includes currants, raisins, and even grape juice! A final ingredient that humans love but which is toxic for your kitty is going to be any of the allium plant varieties, such as onions, leeks, garlic, and chives. Keep all of these away from your kitty!

How do I know if what my cat ate is Toxic?

If you aren’t sure, you can always Google something that your cat has gotten into, but if they are showing signs that they’ve eaten something toxic and you cannot reach the vet, then consider calling the ASPCA poison control line.

Write this number down on a post-it note and keep it on the fridge for emergencies. The ASPCA Poison control number is toll free at (888)426-4435 and having it readily available is not only a good idea, but it could save your kitty’s life!

Some closing words on Cats and human foods

Cats are like family and it’s only natural to want to share your lunch or dinner with them when they come to you and ask for some. The good news is that many of these foods will be okay, but you’ll really need to regulate the amounts.

Most adult cats around 10 pounds in weight need approximately 260 calories daily to maintain their current weight, so if you want to give them some high-calorie human food then you will need to adjust their diet accordingly.

You also need to be careful, as chocolate, grapes, and onions are fine for us but can be deadly for your kitty. Provided that you do your homework and watch those kitty-calories, however, then you can certainly share your meals with your furry best friend!