Which Table Foods Can Cats Eat?

Plate of food

If your cat begs for food while you eat, you may wonder which table foods you can safely let her share. You may find it difficult to say no when your cat is looking so sweet, but you do need to be careful about what you feed her. A food that tastes good to you might actually be harmful to your cat.

Look at What Your Cat  Currently Eats

Reading the label of your cat’s food will give you a good idea of the types of foods she can safely eat. For example, if you read the label on a can of Evo’s Turkey & Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food, you will find turkey, chicken, peas, eggs and other common people foods listed in the ingredients.

As long as your pet doesn’t have allergies to any of these ingredients, these may be a safe food choices for your cat even if you feed them to her individually from your own plate. It's important to understand that food allergies do occur in cats. If your cat has never been exposed to a particular type of food, you should exercise caution when trying anything new. Common allergens include:

  • Beef
  • Dairy products
  • Fish
  • Turkey
  • Shellfish

If your cat is allergic, she may develop itchy skin or lick herself excessively. If you notice any unusual symptoms, discontinue feeding table foods and consult your veterinarian.

Making Safe Choices

One thing to note is the way foods are presented. If your cat typically eats turkey, that is not the same thing as feeding her your scalloped potatoes and turkey recipe. The other ingredients in a dish may cause problems. If you have cooked anything with garlic or onions, it is off limits for your cat.

Safe Table Foods

If you want to feed table foods to your cat, first start with the foods she is already accustomed to. If your feline's food is chicken based, you can offer her boiled or plain baked chicken safely. You can also offer beef, tuna (occasionally) or salmon if the cat hasn’t had any issues in the past.

Cats, of course, are primarily meat eaters. You will notice, however, that some cat food also contains fruits and vegetables. It is not unusual to find ingredients such as cranberries, carrots or even pumpkin in cat foods. These extras are necessary in order to provide a complete diet.

You can try offering your cat some of these foods either raw or cooked. Don’t be surprised if the cat only plays with them but doesn’t eat them. They simply might not smell or taste familiar, which can put off a picky eater.

Preparation Methods

Bland foods offer the least possibility of upsetting your cat's digestive system. You can safely offer your cat boiled or baked poultry or turkey. Boiled rice flavored with chicken broth can also provide a tasty meal. Another option is to offer your pet a raw diet.

A raw diet will replicate a cat's diet in the wild and provide the moisture she needs. Raw diets typically include common protein sources like chicken. However, you will also find more exotic-sounding foods like rabbit, chicken liver and heart. The latter are necessary in order to provide all of the essential amino acids a cat needs for good health.

Foods to Definitely Avoid

According to Doctors Foster and Smith, there are some foods that you should never attempt to feed your cat. These include:

  • Onions and Garlic - These foods contain N-propyl disulphide, a substance that causes anemia.
  • Chocolate - This contains theobromine, which can cause heart problems.
  • Raw eggs - These contain avidin, an enzyme that prevents absorption of biotin.
  • Raw Potatoes - The problem here is glycoalkaloid solanine which can cause severe gastrointestinal disturbances. Avoid green tomatoes for the same reason.
  • Salty foods - Salt can upset the balance of electrolytes.
  • Sugary foods - These can cause weight gain and even lead to diabetes.
  • Grapes and raisins - These can cause kidney damage.
  • Bones - These pose a choking hazard

Feed Table Foods with Caution

A long-term diet of people food may lead to malnutrition in your cat. If you do feed table scraps, make sure that they are only an occasional treat and not a major portion of your cat’s diet. Cat nutrition, after all, differs from human nutritional needs. Play it safe with ingredients you know her body can handle. The important thing to remember is that people food and safe cat food are not necessarily the same thing. Just because you can eat a particular food does not mean it is a good option for your cat.

Which Table Foods Can Cats Eat?