This is a sponsored post by veterinarian Elizabeth Arguelles, owner of Just Cats Clinic at Lake Anne Plaza. She writes weekly on Reston Now.
Human food is generally not meant for feline consumption. As a general rule, the food we eat lacks the specific nutrients in premium cat food that cats need for a healthy life. But human food tastes good to our kitties, and they can quickly develop a liking for it and lose their appetite for cat food.
For that reason, once you feed them the first time, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a cat who acts cute and begs for scraps the minute you go into the kitchen. Just in case that happens, it pays to know ahead of time which foods are ok for your kitty to eat.
The following foods are generally considered safe for cats:
Beef, chicken, turkey:
Given that cats are carnivores, cooked scraps of meat are generally pretty safe for your cat to eat. And if your cat steals an uncooked piece, that is not a big problem either. The feline digestive system is designed to process meat, so salmonella is usually not an issue.
The biggest threat to cats is choking on small bones, so make sure that any meat you feed your cat is boneless. Also ensure that the meat doesn’t have any seasonings that are dangerous to cats, such as garlic, onion, or salt.
As with meats, cats generally like fish, and an occasional small piece of tuna as a snack is fine. But be careful about giving your kitty too much. Some species, such as tuna, swordfish and salmon, may contain higher levels of mercury that can deplete the cat’s vitamin E supply. Cod, halibut and flounder are generally safer.
Regardless of which type of fish you give your cat, always make sure that it is cooked, smoked or grilled. Uncooked, oily fish can break down thiamine in your cat’s body, and uncooked fresh water fish might carry a tapeworm.
Cats can safely eat eggs, as long as they are well-cooked and unseasoned.
Even though cats are carnivorous, they do sometimes consume vegetables to help their digestion. Be careful, though, as onions, garlic or peppers can be dangerous. Vegetables that cats can safely enjoy include baked carrots, steamed asparagus or broccoli, green beans, winter squash, corn and chopped greens. Wash the vegetables well and avoid feeding your feline something that it cannot digest, such as raw carrots.
Some cats like milk, cheese or yogurt, and they are a good source of protein. But many of our furry friends become lactose-intolerant as they mature into adulthood. For those cats, dairy products can cause diarrhea.
But if your cat likes and tolerates dairy, it is perfectly safe to give your kitty some milk, cheese or yogurt as a snack.
For more information about human foods that are toxic to cats please visit this fact sheet on the ASPCA website.