Cats’ culinary habits are puzzling. Many a kitty will boycott their bowl if you try a new brand of food; others just seem to eat anything they can get their paws on. A moment’s slip and the tiger clawed a portion off a plate, gnawed at a houseplant, or otherwise figured out how to get supplies meant for two-legged friends. Find out when to be concerned here.
The basic question: What food does the cat need?
If you were to make a list for the question “What can cats eat?”, meat would of course come first. A cat’s natural diet consists almost entirely of animal food, which it hunts for small mammals, birds, and fish, as well as small amphibians and reptiles (e.g. lizards) depending on availability. Incidentally, a cat that hunts its own food also consumes a little vegetable matter (via the stomach contents of the prey).
In order to care for a house cat, provide the animal with high-quality cat food in which the ingredients, including trace elements and supplements, are optimally tailored to the needs of the animal. Detailed information about wet food, dry food, and snacks await you when you read our guide.
Away from cat food: What can cats eat?
In addition to cat food, which in principle would be sufficient as a complete feed, there are a number of foods that cats are allowed to eat.
Tastes vary depending on cat personality:
- Fresh meat (except pork), boiled or seared without seasoning
- Fish (remove bones, freshwater fish never raw)
- Vegetables, boiled or steamed (see below for exceptions)
- Fruit such as melon, apple slices, or berries (see below for exceptions)
- Dairy products such as quark, yogurt (unsweetened), or hard cheese (no milk!)
- Egg, boiled or unseasoned scrambled (never raw!)
This list should not be taken as a feeding guide, but as an overview of what can be added to a cat’s diet – as long as it likes the taste at all. Apart from meat, the foods mentioned are not indispensable for a balanced diet. However, lactose-free dairy products such as a spoonful of natural quark can serve as a valuable source of protein.
There is also talk of mini-portions and unseasoned and unsweetened dishes. However, you don’t have to be overly concerned if the tiger nicks a small portion of prepared vegetables from your lunch one time off – what’s more important is that the cat doesn’t eat anything that will harm her.
“Unhealthy” from the human table: The cat doesn’t like that
Many foods that are part of a “can opener’s” normal diet are harmful to the cat. So what can cats not eat? The following is a list of foods cats should keep their paws off of.
The problem with these foods is that the fishy and meaty products are definitely desirable for cats and the danger of fruit and vegetable products – precisely because they are part of the healthy diet for humans – is underestimated.
However, the quantity makes the difference here too: If the cat has caught a tiny bite once when it has tried the “human food” out of curiosity, there is usually no immediate risk. However, if the animal has eaten more than one taboo food or has eaten questionable amounts, you should seek the advice of a veterinarian.
A Case for the Vet: What’s Toxic to Cats?
A frequently asked question is: Can cats eat chocolate? No, chocolate is highly indigestible for cats. The candy and related products such as cocoa contain the substance theobromine, which can trigger cardiac arrhythmias, muscle tremors, and cramps even in small doses. Since cats do not perceive the taste as “sweet” but are interested in fat, you should never leave chocolate products unattended.
A special danger continues to come from raisins and grapes or their ingredient oxalic acid. Even small doses can lead to kidney failure.
Human drinks such as alcohol (ethanol – leads to severe liver damage) and tea or coffee (caffeine, theine, theophylline – poisonous even in small amounts) are harmful to cats. Of course, no cat owner would put coffee or beer in their furry friend’s bowl; On the other hand, it is conceivable that a cat might bite through a brandy or espresso praline out of curiosity.
Finally, immediate veterinary help is necessary if the cat has ingested medication for any reason or, as an outdoor cat, has ingested pesticides such as slug pellets: Various variants of the product are also toxic to cats.
Whether it’s an outdoor cat or a lion on the sofa, it becomes risky when the cat chews on certain indoor or garden plants. It is therefore advisable to make your living room and garden cat-safe from a botanical point of view.