Can the cat eat human food? Risks and benefits of some foods

If the cat asks us for a piece of food, we usually don’t think much about it. Instead, it’s important to know if the cat can safely eat human food.

When a pet (usually a dog or a cat) sees us eating, it is very likely that they will come and ask us for some of the food we are tasting. Except that not always everything that is good for humans is also good for them. Cats, especially compared to dogs, are not omnivores, and have specific needs in terms of nutrition. So, can a cat eat human food in some cases? Which foods are suitable for my cat and which are harmful?

Human food for cats?

Often in the most relaxing moments, when we have a snack or are having lunch, the cat impatiently asks us for a taste of what we are eating. But what is suitable for cats, and what can be dangerous, are important information for responsible owners.

Most of the main food groups that we humans use have some elements that your cat can safely enjoy, and at the same time they all contain types of food that we should totally avoid giving our cat, or letting him taste it. perhaps because it was left unattended.

First of all, we must always keep in mind that – once we understand which foods are good for the cat – our cat can only eat human food as an occasional treat, not a fixed habit that can replace its specific diet. Pet obesity is a growing concern, precisely because of the bad habit of many owners of giving food that is not suitable for animals. At most, we can give our cat 20 calories a day from human food, which is safe for them.

Meat and eggs

Cats are carnivores, so their diet must be largely made up of animal proteins. A big misconception regarding human cat food is that these felines should consume raw meat. It is true that some pet owners choose a diet of raw food only for their cats, but this requires extremely careful preparation work. 

Raw meat containing Escherichia coli, salmonella or listeria will make a cat sick, just like we humans do. Therefore, we must serve our furry friend only plain meat without spices (seasonings such as garlic or onion powder could be toxic) and that it is strictly cooked meat – in any case, it is best to speak to our vet, before putting the cat to a raw food diet.

Foods we can serve (sparingly):

  • Cooked salmon (omega-3 fatty acids help with vision, arthritis, kidney disease, and heart disease)
  • Canned fish
  • Skinless chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef
  • Lean cured meats (avoid fatty cured meats such as salami, bacon, etc.)
  • Lamb
  • Cooked eggs

Absolutely avoid:

  • Sushi / raw fish
  • Raw meat
  • Greasy seals
  • Raw or cooked bones
  • Raw eggs


Some vegetables contain the added nutrients, fiber and water that any cat could benefit from, particularly for digestive problems. The important thing is to cook (even steam) broccoli, asparagus, carrots and green beans for easier consumption. But even here we must be careful which foods are suitable and which are dangerous for our four-legged friend.

We must give absolutely nothing to the Allium family cat (including spices and powders), such as garlic or onions – these foods can cause damage to the cat’s red blood cells, leading to anemia or even death. We therefore avoid not only these vegetables, but also any sauces and condiments that contain them.

Foods we can serve (sparingly):

  • Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Spinach (let’s avoid them if our cat has had urinary or kidney problems)

Absolutely avoid:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Shallot
  • Chives
  • Green tomatoes
  • Mushrooms


Cats cannot smell sweet flavors. Yet there is always the occasional “weird” furball who loves to eat a fruit, which can also help with digestive problems. For a treatment that is more suitable for the cat, we can mix the fruit with a little white and low-fat yogurt.

Foods we can serve (sparingly):

  • Bananas
  • Peeled apples (without seeds)
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumber
  • Melon / watermelon (seedless)
  • Pumpkin / courgette (without seeds)
  • Avocado (without stone)

Absolutely avoid:

  • Grapes and raisins (even a small amount of these foods can cause kidney failure in cats)


Many cats like grains with a smaller texture, such as couscous and millet. Always make sure not to feed our cat raw dough of any kind, as it causes bloating, gas or produces alcohol in the stomach. Finally, while not all seeds or nuts are bad for cats, many of these foods are – and those that aren’t are likely high in salt and fat. It is therefore best to avoid them altogether.

Foods we can serve (sparingly):

  • Cooked corn / polenta
  • Couscous / mile
  • Bread / grated bread
  • Oats / oatmeal (high in protein)
  • Mashed brown rice, barley or wheat germ

Absolutely avoid:

  • Raw dough
  • Seeds and dried fruit

Dairy products

Many people have the misconception that cats must have a lot of dairy products (think small bowls of milk, now immediately associated with cats in the common imagination) or have heard that cats are actually very lactose intolerant. The truth lies somewhere in between: every cat is different, but most can tolerate a small amount of low-lactose dairy products.

Foods we can serve (sparingly):

  • Hard cheeses (such as cheddar, swiss, or gouda)
  • Low-lactose cheeses (cottage cheese)
  • Yogurt (plain, unsweetened, low-fat)

Absolutely avoid:

  • Cow milk
  • Soft cheeses
  • Any food high in lactose

Other harmful foods

Other human foods that can be harmful to cats:

  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Vegetable milk (rich in fats and oils)
  • Sugar and spices in general
  • Candy and chewing gum
  • Ice cream (contains propylene glycol)
  • Any food containing marijuana / THC infusion
  • Medicines / supplements for humans (an exception could be fish oil, in small doses)

If we ask ourselves if the cat can eat human food, apart from considering only a few foods, we must be very cautious. Even though the food we serve our kitten is not known to be harmful, it could still cause a small bout of stomach pain, diarrhea or vomiting. If so, our cat may be a little more sensitive to human food than other cats. Better to be very careful, and ask our veterinarian for advice.

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