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Human Food for Cats: A Basic Guide

What Human Food Can Cats Eat, And What Not To Feed Cats

Thinking about giving your kitty some of the extras off your plate? Make sure you know what foods are okay for your cat, and which aren’t.

Check out this list we’ve compiled of foods that are and aren’t okay to feed your cat.

Remember, each cat is different and may need different food or diet requirements, so you should contact your veterinarian before changing their diet.

What Can Cats Eat?


Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need meat to live. Meat is a great source of protein for your cat. However, too much fat can give your cat a stomachache, so make sure to trim off any excess fatty portions beforehand and to cook all meat thoroughly before you feed it to your cat*.

Proteins That Are Safe for Cats

Proteins your cat can enjoy:

  • Skinless Chicken (The best!)
  • Lean Beef
  • Liver
  • Lamb
  • Lean Deli Meats
  • Cooked Eggs

* If you are considering a raw diet because of its health benefits, consult a veterinarian beforehand.

Vegetables That Are Safe for Cats

Like we said, cats are carnivorous, so you don’t want to feed them too many veggies – but they can make for good snacks, and can even help with digestive issues.

Vegetables That Are Safe for Cats

Veggies you can give your cat to snack on:

  • Pumpkin/Squash
  • Peas
  • Cucumber
  • Cooked or steamed
    • Carrots
    • Broccoli
    • Asparagus
    • Green Beans
  • Spinach**

** Don’t feed your kitty spinach if it has had any urinary or kidney problems because spinach can cause crystals to form in the urinary tract.

Grains That Are Safe for Cats

Cats are experiencing an obesity problem in the United States, so make sure not to give your furry friend too much of these high-carb foods! However, a little bit as a treat every once in a while is okay!

Some cats won’t like to eat certain grains or foods, so try giving them a sample before giving them a full snack.

Grains That Are Safe for Cats

Grains your cat can nibble on:

  • Cooked Corn/Polenta
  • Couscous/Millet (Many cats like the tiny texture of these grains)
  • Carrots
  • Bread/Breadcrumbs
  • Oatmeal (Plain oats are high in protein!)
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Fruit That Is Safe for Cats

Some cats don’t enjoy the “sweet” flavor, but if your cat does, you can make some fun treats with fruit! Fruit can also help if your kitty is having digestive issues.

Fruit That Are Safe for Cats

Fruit your cat can enjoy:

  • Bananas (Can be frozen and blended to make a creamy texture)
  • Blueberries (Raw or frozen)
  • Watermelon/Cantaloupe/Honeydew (No seeds!)
  • Peeled Apples

Dairy That Are Safe for Cats

As they age, cats may become lactose intolerant, so make sure to only give small amounts of dairy foods to your cat.

Dairy That Are Safe for Cats

Dairy items your cat can try:

  • Hard Cheeses (Cheddar, Gouda, etc.)
  • Low Lactose Cheeses (Cottage Cheese)
  • Yogurt (Plain, Low-Fat)

Fish That Are Safe for Cats

Your cat will flip for a fish treat, but make sure to only give it in small quantities. Too much fish can deplete your cat’s Vitamin E.

Fish That Are Safe for Cats

Types of fish your cat can enjoy:

  • Cooked Salmon/Tuna
  • Canned fish
  • Fish oil (In small quantities, fish oil can help your cat’s dry skin in the winter.)

What Can Cats Not Eat?

Here’s a list of some foods you should steer clear of when you’re feeding your cat:

  • Fat Trimmings
  • Garlic/Onions
  • Coconut Milk
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine/Coffee
  • Grapes/Raisins
  • Seeds
  • Raw Fish
  • Bread Dough
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Cooked Bones
  • Milk
  • Chives
  • Candy/Gum
  • Human Medications/Supplements
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener)

If you are using human food as a treat for your cat, make sure to only give your cat about 20 calories a day, so they won’t start to gain excess weight. We hope this guide helps you understand which human foods can be safe for your cat, and which definitely can’t!

35 responses to “Human Food for Cats: A Basic Guide”

  1. KBear108 says:

    Our vet has recommended that we serve our cats raw ground turkey, yet it is not on your list. We’d like elaboration and clarification. Thank you!

  2. obliviga says:

    This is a very informative post, thanks. I have read that cats may choke on blueberries and grapes, so please be careful.

  3. Zoey Puk says:

    It says cats can eat bread/breadcrumbs but then states bread also under what cats cannot eat! Which one is it ?

  4. becca says:

    it says the cat cannot have bread dough, not bread.

  5. Cleaner says:

    No grapes for cats! Cut blueberries in half!

  6. Cleaner says:

    Raw bread dough has yeast in it and can ferment in a kitty tummy!

  7. Cleaner says:

    If I knew the turkey had just been killed and I ground the turkey from that fresh turkey, I’d feed it to my cat raw, otherwise, not! That ground turkey on the grocery store shelf could be tainted with ecoli or salmonella and if cooked well, you’re probably safe, but raw? Nope! Many cats and dogs thrive on a raw diet but most raw is frozen immediately after grinding! You don’t want to take a risk making them ill!

  8. Liv Ia says:

    My cats have fleas

  9. Acacia R Kettrey says:

    Difference is bread dough, vs actual bread. There is a chemical change when the bread is cooked.

  10. Carol Bowen says:

    Revolution Blue works good on my cats. It also kills several types of worms. Just empty the little tube on back of neck. It is a chemical so be careful with it. Some people prefer to use natural remedies.

  11. Carol Bowen says:

    One of my cats used to like eating McDonald’s Caesar salad. She ate the lettuce,carrots, tomato,cheese. I only gave her a small amount and then a little of the chicken. She loved it so much she learned to say EEEEE for eat, she couldn’t put the T on it. She would get so excited any time human food was available. She did not use that sound for any kind of cat food so she knew the difference.

  12. nonono says:

    Actually, some cats can drink milk perfectly fine. I give my cat it occasionally as treat, and she never has digestion issues or anything.

  13. axolotl nerd says:

    No! Cats can NOT digest milk properly, and in reality, you shouldn’t be giving them any. They may drink their mother’s milk when they’re kittens, but cow’s milk is very very different from what they fed on when they were kittens. Technically, they’re all lactose intolerant, and you shouldn’t even be giving them anything with diary in it.

    Here are some sources to check out:

    I hope this helps!

  14. axolotl nerd says:

    That’s awesome! As a bit of advice, though, you should really avoid giving cats tomato. It has a chemical called Solanine, which is toxic to cats. Ripe tomatoes have less of it, so it’s fine, but I thought it’d be good to let you know! One of my cats actually ate a bit of a tomato plant leaf, and he might as well have taken cat LSD – his pupils were sooo dilated, and he kept running around the house like crazy!

  15. axolotl nerd says:

    Raw bread has yeast in it, and just like in humans, the yeast in it can mess up your kitty’s stomach. After it’s cooked, the yeast dies, so it won’t be growing anymore (the stomach creates the perfect environment for yeast to expand and multiply, as it’s warm and wet). I’d also suggest not to feed your kitty too much bread, grain is the top contributor to cat obesity around the world.

    Hope this helps!

  16. axolotl nerd says:

    Grapes are actually toxic to cats! Never feed your kitty even one of those suckers, it can end really bad!!

  17. Teresa says:

    What happens when a cat eats chocolate?

  18. brenda brooks says:

    I’m a little confused. One section says cats Can eat bread then where it says what cats Should Not eat it says bread.
    So is it good for them or not??

  19. Kerry Trzebiatowski-Steinert says:

    They can have bread, not bread dough.

  20. Kathryn says:

    What happens if my cat likes popcorn should I give it to him or no?

  21. becky says:

    Hello in the cats can eat section it’s say that can have bread but in thay can’t it say bread help

  22. becky says:

    Can thay eat this all the time or is it a treat😐

  23. Karen says:

    They said can’t have “bread dough” but they can have limited whole grain bread 🙂

  24. Lavar Ball says:

    i do it all the time my cats is fine. i think your just tripping! ive been doing it since they were kittens! they are 7-9 years old now! not once have they had problems and healthy! you’re sources suck dick!

  25. Lavar Ball says:

    you’re honestly dumb asf you say lean lunch meats and then say this! plz make up your mind smh jesus crhist your a dumb ass!

  26. Navymommy says:

    Insults are the refuge of the intellectually lazy. Raw, farmed turkey must be handled properly and cooked thoroughly. My cats love roast turkey, roast beef, pork loin and it is fine for them. They also eat low-sodium, lean deli meats. One of my cats loves pasta, doritos, potato chips and cheezits, which are okay in moderation. They also get bacon on weekends. They lose their minds for a piece of bacon.

  27. Kathy Owens says:

    I know someone who feeds her cat bacon. Is it safe to give cats cooked bacon?

  28. Tosa Heather says:

    they die. so don’t feed cats chocolate.

  29. Gregory In Seattle says:

    American bacon is very high in fat, which can cause tummy problems. British or Canadian bacon is much leaner. Then there is the salt and sodium nitrate, which is a problem for any kind of cured meat. Cats are much smaller than humans, and what is a safe level of sodium for us can very easily overwhelm a cat’s system, leading to the runs, vomiting, and severe dehydration. So it is probably best to be selfish with the bacon (and ham, corned beef, salami, hot dogs, and the like) and instead give Kitty a bit of the roast beef or cod.

  30. Gregory In Seattle says:

    Generally, all mammals lose the ability to digest milk at roughly 2% of their life span. Only about 30% of humans have a genetic mutation that allow them to digest milk as adults, and another 20% or so can tolerate small amounts. Half the human population do not have these mutations and cannot drink milk after infancy.

    Because of their long association with humans, some cats have developed similar mutations, especially if its lineage comes from northern or western Europe. Most cats do NOT have this though. Because they can not produce lactase, the enzyme that allows them to digest lactose, the milk sugar passes through their gut where bacteria ferment it, leading to gas, bloating, discomfort, and the runs. Like humans, some cats may be able to tolerate a small amount, but not more.

  31. Ashlee Lewis says:

    Also no citrus fruit. It’s very toxic to kitten and cats.

  32. Bee says:

    Aww how cute!!! Yes cats do talk

  33. Drake Nightfire says:

    I would refrain from giving any over processed foods to a pet. The preservatives along are horrible for them.

  34. John Snow says:

    Lol, cats love milk, why you have put it in rejected items list?

  35. Yarii Benigno says:

    They’re lactose intolerant