Searching for a healthy snack for your cat? Fortunately, you don’t have to look much further than your own pantry for some cat-safe foods to feed your pet. Here are 15 expert-recommended, feline-friendly human foods to try feeding your cat.
A good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can be a delicious and tasty treat for cats and is often already found in commercial cat food, said Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. While some cat-friendly human foods can be fed to your cat raw, make sure to give her only cooked salmon, Wismer said.
Full of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, C and K, iron and calcium, spinach can be a healthy, cat-friendly treat, according to Wismer. However, if your cat has history of calcium oxalate bladder stones, you should avoid giving them spinach.
3. Fish Oils
According to Emmy-award winning veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber, while pet parents tend to get away with giving their dog people food more often than cats, fish oil is something that can help benefit both species. With a variety of options, including salmon and cod liver oil, the omega 3s in fish oil can help prevent dry skin in the winter and keep your cat’s coat healthy throughout the year.
Another good source of protein and B vitamins, eggs can be found in many cat foods and are safe for your feline to eat, Wismer said. In order to reduce the risk of food borne diseases, be sure to cook any eggs you feed your cat.
High in antioxidants and beta-carotene, which helps maintain healthy skin and eye health, cantaloupe is one of several cat-safe fruits, according to Wismer.
Because cats are obligate carnivores and require diets that contain mostly meat (unlike dogs that are omnivores and can live off of a variety of different foods), their bodies aren’t able to digest fibrous foods as easily as dogs and don’t always like the variety of people foods that dogs do, according to Werber. However, any type of meat, like chicken, is right up their alley.
A good source of lean protein, chicken can be a great choice for your cat, as long as it is cooked thoroughly and the skin, which can be fatty, is removed before feeding it to your cat, Werber said. Chicken is another ingredient often found in commercial cat foods.
High in potassium and soluble fiber, bananas are a cat-safe snack, according to Wismer. Although bananas are a healthy treat, they (like all items on this list) should make up no more than ten percent of your cat’s daily calorie intake, she added.
A source of energy and B vitamins for your pet, oatmeal is another human food that can be found in commercial cat foods. However, just because oatmeal may be cat-safe, not every feline will like it—or any type of human food—so you’ll want to introduce these foods slowly and make sure they like them before incorporating them into a regular part of your cat’s diet.
Finally, a reason to hang on to that canned pumpkin! Low in calories and high in fiber, incorporating pumpkin into cat treats is both safe and healthy.
If your cat shows an interest in this feline-friendly food, Wismer recommends feeding her a hard cheese, like cheddar, Swiss or Gouda. These cheeses are high in calcium and protein and can be easily baked into treats or fed to your cat raw in small amounts.
A good source of protein and fiber, Werber said some cats like to snack on bread, a feline-friendly human food.
High in fiber and vitamin C, apples are another food Werber says cats can eat, as long as they’re fed to your cat without the skin. Similarly to feeding dogs people food, you’ll want to avoid any type of seasonings when you give your cat human food, he added.
A good source of vitamins A and C, blueberries can be found in some cat foods and some felines may even like to snack on frozen blueberries, Wismer said. As mentioned, you’ll want to limit the amount of treats you give your cat each day, even if they’re healthy.
“Limit treats to 20 calories each day, [which] would be two teaspoons of cooked salmon or chicken or 25 blueberries, but you wouldn’t want to give them all of those berries,” Wismer said. “You can mix and match human food treats with cat treats to reach that number.”
If your cat seems to be gaining weight as a result of her human food treats, however, you’ll want to scale back on the amount of treats you’re feeding her, she added.
High in fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A, peas are another cat-safe human food that is often found in commercial cat foods but can be fed to your cat frozen or raw.
Another lean protein, turkey, including cooked turkey breast or sliced deli meat, is a cat-safe snack.
When introducing new foods to your cat, you should expect her to have a little bit of gastrointestinal upset, Werber says. If it’s a food they’ve never had before, their bodies may not be used to digesting it and they can be a little finicky about what they eat. Werber’s advice? Give them some variety to see what they like and make sure to do everything in moderation. And ensure your kitty is receiving proper daily nutrition by feeding their cat food in addition to any human food snacks.
Jessica is an editor by trade and spends her days trying not to helicopter parent her beloved shelter pup, Darwin.
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