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What human foods can cats eat?

Fluffy striped cat with green eyes licking chops

Many sweet kitties are mischievous scavengers at heart. If they can get into the pantry, they'll take what they want - and if you aren’t looking, they might steal food right off your plate! If your cat loves swiping your food, you should know which human foods are good - and bad - for your fur baby to eat.

Why is food so important?

What we eat, for us and our cats, is the pathway to health or illness. By knowing what food will benefit or harm our beloved felines we can promote their longevity, happiness, and overall quality of life. Most cats are much pickier than dogs, and that makes it much easier to keep them safe from ingesting dangerous foods. However, it is tricky to know what food is nutritiously good, what is okay as an occasional treat, and what are downright dangerous human foods for cats. Let's prioritize their well-being by providing a diet tailored to a feline's unique nutritional requirements.

Cat eating a burrito out of someone

1. Which human foods for cats are best?

Cats are carnivores by nature, and they rely on many vitamins and nutrients found solely in animal and meat products. Their bodies are designed to thrive on animal proteins, medium amounts of fats, and minimal amounts of carbs. Cats also have unique vitamin needs which, if not met, may have disastrous impacts on their health and well being.  That is why it is important to choose high quality commercial cat food which is formulated with these needs in mind. In addition, there are many human foods for cats that can also be nourishing, beneficial, and especially tasty, making them a great addition to your cat’s kibble.



Have you ever seen your furry friend in stalking mode? Cats are born hunters, and adding meats can be a delightful treat or a special addition to their meals.

From cooked chicken and turkey to beef, these protein-packed options are delicious and provide essential nutrients for your kitty's balanced diet.


Remove the bones and leave out the seasoning for a safe dining experience, as most seasonings contain garlic and onion, which are toxic to cats. Bones are a choking hazard and may splinter which can cause internal damage.




Fish can be a tasty and nourishing part of your cat's diet. Introducing fish to your cat's diet, whether it's salmon, tuna, or another type of fish, has many health benefits. 

Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids that help with brain development, maintaining a healthy fur coat, and improving mobility and reducing pain for cats with joint problems such as arthritis. Fatty foods are especially good for underweight cats or cats with kidney disease, as it will help them maintain a healthy weight.

Outdoor cat eating a fresh fish


Eggs can provide a fantastic source of protein for your cat. Whether scrambled, boiled, or poached, eggs offer a nutrient-rich option to add variety to your cat's diet. Eggs are a terrific way to keep your cat healthy and active since they are a great source of protein necessary for muscle growth and overall wellness. They also contain Vitamin A, which helps to keep a cat's fur sleek and shiny. Eggs have a unique power pack of many important nutrients, as one egg has everything needed to grow a chick.

Vegetables & Fruits

Time to get veggie-curious and add a touch of sweetness to kitty's diet! Carrots, green beans, and other cat-friendly veggies offer color and nutrients. Fruits like apples and blueberries (not grapes!) can be offered to your feline friend in small quantities as a delightful and nutritious treat.

When introducing fruits or vegetables to your cat's diet, start small. Cats are carnivores, so their digestive systems may not be accustomed to veggies or fruits. Begin by offering a small portion of vegetables or fruit as a treat or mixed into their regular food. Observe your cat's reaction and digestive tolerance. Remember, every cat is unique, so it's essential to monitor their response to new foods and adjust accordingly. Veggie or fruits should only be a small part of their diet, with the majority of kitty's food still consisting of protein-rich animal foods. Plus, make sure to remove any seeds or pits, which may be toxic or hard on their digestive tract.

2. Which human Foods are toxic to cats?

As good and nutritious as some human foods are for cats, there are many which can pose various health problems - anything from mild ones such as an upset stomach, to cat constipation, and all the way to being toxic and deadly for cats. 


Dairy Products

We have all seen the adorable photos of cats gathered around a saucer of milk, but that's not the whole story. Many adult cats are lactose intolerant and can get a tummy ache and diarrhea from ingesting dairy, so it should be avoided. Never give your cat blue cheese or other moldy cheeses, as they cannot digest it like we can.


Onions and Garlic

These ingredients can damage a cat's red blood cells and cause anemia and kidney disease. Be aware of any disguised onion or garlic in cooked foods or sauces, and avoid them as much as possible. If your cat ingests garlic or onions, seek treatment immediately, as the ill effects are usually reversible when caught early.

Coffee and Chocolate

We have all heard chocolate is a big no for dogs, and that is true for cats also. Caffeine is another thing that is unsafe for cats. This is because caffeine and chocolate contain theobromine, which can harm a cat's nervous system. Best to stay away from giving those to your cat altogether!

cat sniffing coffee cup on windowsill


Grapes, Raisins, and Currants

Although quite tasty to us, these fruits can cause cat kidney damage in cats. Avoid them in any form.


With the wide variety of foods that are harmful for our feline friends, it is wise to store food carefully, even while cooking and especially if you have a sneaky scavenger. If you are tempted to share, remember to read the label to ensure there are no hidden ingredients that may make your kitty sick.

3. What Cat Treats Can You Give to Your Cat?

When selecting cat treats, opt for those specifically formulated for cats. Look for reputable brands that prioritize quality ingredients and meet nutritional standards. This ensures that your cat receives treats tailored to their dietary needs.  

In addition to these treats that are made specifically for cats, some human foods such as apples, bananas, blueberries, and even cooked eggs can also make great snacks for cats.  However, even when giving human foods that are safe for cats to eat it is still important not to give cats too many snacks. Obesity is just as dangerous for cats as for people so to keep your cat's weight at the optimal level for their well-being don't feed too many cat treats.


Dairy Products

We have all seen the adorable photos of cats gathered around a saucer of milk, but that's not the whole story. Many adult cats are lactose intolerant and can get a tummy ache and diarrhea from ingesting dairy, so it should be avoided. Never give your cat blue cheese or other moldy cheeses, as they cannot digest it like we can.

4. The raw cat food diet: healthy lifestyle or dangerous fad?

If you do even a quick search on feeding your cat a raw food diet, you will typically find 2 opinions: it is either terrible and dangerous, or it is the only way to keep your cat healthy, vibrant, and living longer. 

Those who praise the raw food diet highlight the benefits: 

  • Shinier coat and healthier skin
  • Better teeth and gum health
  • Increased energy
  • Less litter box odor 

Humans and cats alike can certainly benefit from a less processed diet.  Most commercially prepared cat foods are very processed and far from what our domesticated friends ancestors were designed to eat. 

Professionals against the raw food diet have a major concern regarding the bacteria and parasites that are not being killed off as they usually are in cooked foods. This is definitely something to be aware of: cats can get Salmonella or E. coli infections from tainted meat just like humans can. However, cats have a shorter and much more acidic digestive tract than humans, which means that their bodies are designed to digest raw meats. Healthy cats should be well equipped to handle raw meat, however great care must be taken during preparation, serving, and cleanup (including disinfecting knives and cutting boards), as cross contamination is an issue for humans too. Plus, avoid letting your cat lick your face or hands right after they have eaten raw foods.

With the specific vitamin and nutritional needs of cats, a DIY raw food diet could also result in nutrient deficits that could permanently damage your cat's health. Make sure that your cat is getting the correct nutritional and vitamin requirements from their diet by following a vet-recommended recipe, or buy scheduled meals from a raw food company.  

Other perceived drawbacks are: 

  • Raw food is more expensive per serving
  • Less convenient than kibble or canned
  • Short “shelf” life - leftovers must be thrown out or quickly refrigerated

It's up to you whether the benefits of raw food for cats outweigh the costs. Whatever you choose, the most important thing is that your kitty stays safe and has a healthy, nutritious diet!

5. Are Human Foods ok for Cats with Health concerns?

If your cat has health concerns or a weakened immune system, take a bit more time to research and ask a vet about their unique needs before adding anything to their diet. If your cat is overweight or underweight, you may first need to stabilize their metabolism before trying anything new. BestLife4Pets' remedies for overweight cats or cats with hyperthyroidism (which can cause unexplained weight loss) may help to regulate their appetite and maintain an ideal weight. 

In general, cats with health concerns should be able to eat human foods like meats, fish, and eggs if your vet says it's ok. But take special care to avoid the foods listed above as bad for your cat - any further disruption to your cat's system may worsen their existing issues or have dangerous effects.

Please that palate!

As responsible pet parents, providing our feline friends with a balanced and appropriate diet is a must. Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need to get their nutrients from meat and animal sources. By understanding what foods are safe for cats and ensuring they receive a healthy diet, we can support their overall well-being.

At BestLife4Pets, we are dedicated to providing resources and information to help you provide the best care for your furry friends. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, and visit our blog for more articles and tips on cat health and well-being.

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