What Do Cats Eat Apart From Cat Food?

Are you tired of your cat turning their nose up at their usual food? Or perhaps you’re just looking for some variety in your feline’s diet. Whatever the reason, it’s important to know what other foods are safe and nutritious for cats to eat besides cat food.

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of cat cuisine and explore all the different foods that cats can enjoy. We’ll cover everything from fresh meats and fish to fruits and vegetables, so you can rest assured that your furry friend is getting a well-balanced diet.

As we delve into the nutritional requirements of cats, we’ll also provide tips on how to meet those needs through alternative food sources. And if you’re feeling adventurous, we’ll even show you how to create DIY cat treats that are both tasty and healthy.

Whether you’re an experienced cat owner or just starting out, this post is packed with valuable insights and knowledge on what cats can eat apart from cat food. So sit back, relax, and get ready to discover new ways to indulge your kitty’s culinary desires.

Cats as Obligate Carnivores

Cats are fascinating creatures that have been around for thousands of years. They are obligate carnivores, which means that they require nutrients found only in animal products to survive. This is because their digestive system is adapted to process a high protein diet. In the wild, cats hunt for small prey such as birds, mice, and rabbits, and consume not only the muscle meat but also the internal organs, bones, and cartilage.

As a cat owner, it is important to understand that your feline friend’s nutritional requirements have not changed despite being domesticated. Therefore, it is crucial to provide them with a diet that is high in animal-derived protein and fat. Feeding your cat with a vegetarian or vegan diet can lead to serious health problems, such as malnourishment, anemia, and digestive issues.

To ensure your cat receives a balanced diet, choose commercial cat food that contains high-quality protein sources such as chicken, beef, or fish. Always read the label to ensure that the food meets the nutritional guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Alternatively, some owners may choose to feed their cats a raw food diet consisting of uncooked meat and organs. However, this type of diet requires careful preparation to ensure that it is safe and nutritionally balanced. It is essential to consult your veterinarian before introducing any significant changes to your cat’s diet.

While cats are obligate carnivores, they may also consume small amounts of other foods as treats. Some cats enjoy cooked meat or fish as an occasional treat. Still, it is crucial to note that human foods should not make up a significant portion of their diet. Certain human foods such as onions, garlic, and chocolate can be toxic to cats and should be avoided altogether.

In addition to animal-derived protein and fat, some fruits and vegetables can also be included in a cat’s diet. However, cats are not natural herbivores and may have difficulty digesting plant-based foods. Some safe options include cooked sweet potatoes, green beans, and pumpkin.

Meat: What to Feed and What to Avoid

Feeding your feline friend meat can be a great way to ensure they are getting the essential nutrients they need. However, not all types of meat are safe for cats. Here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to feeding your cat meat.

Safe Meats for Cats

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When it comes to feeding your cat meat, there are a few options that are safe and healthy. Chicken and turkey are both great choices, but make sure the meat is boneless and skinless. Beef can also be fed to cats, but it should be lean cuts without any added fat. Fish can also be included in a cat’s diet, but it should be cooked thoroughly and deboned to avoid any potential choking hazards.

Avoid Raw Meat

Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella or E. coli, which can make your cat sick. Always cook meat thoroughly before feeding it to your cat. It is also important to avoid giving your cat any raw fish as it can contain an enzyme that destroys thiamine, an essential B vitamin.

Choose High-Quality Meats

Choosing high-quality meats that are free from antibiotics and hormones is important when feeding your cat. Organic meats are a great option as they are not exposed to synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. By choosing high-quality meats, you can ensure that your cat is getting the best possible nutrition.

Avoid Processed Meats

Processed meats like deli meats or bacon should be avoided as they contain high levels of sodium and preservatives, which can be harmful to your cat’s health. These types of meats have been linked to health problems in cats such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Avoid Seasoned Meats

Avoid feeding your cat any meats that are seasoned with spices or herbs, as these can upset their stomachs. Cats have a sensitive digestive system and may not tolerate certain seasonings well. It is best to stick to plain, cooked meats when feeding your cat.

Consult with Your Veterinarian

Before making any significant changes to your cat’s diet, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. They can provide guidance on the best types of meat to feed your cat and how much to give them. A balanced and nutritionally complete diet is essential for maintaining your cat’s health and well-being.

Fish: Benefits and Risks

When it comes to their diet, fish can be a fantastic option – but it’s essential to understand the benefits and risks associated with feeding fish to your cat.

Firstly, let’s delve into the benefits of fish. Fish is packed with essential nutrients, including protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can promote healthy skin and coat, boost brain function, and support overall health. Plus, its delicious taste makes it a popular choice among cats.

However, there are also risks to consider. Some types of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can be toxic if consumed in excess. Additionally, overfeeding your cat with fish can lead to an imbalance in their diet and cause potential health issues like thiamine deficiency.

To provide your cat with the best possible diet, it’s crucial to choose high-quality sources of fish that have been appropriately cooked or prepared. Raw fish can contain harmful parasites and bacteria that can make your cat sick. It’s also important to feed fish in moderation and as part of a balanced diet that includes other protein sources such as chicken or turkey.

So which fish are safe for cats? Generally speaking, most types of fish are safe for cats in moderation. However, some types are better than others. For example, salmon is an excellent choice because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids and low in mercury. Other good options include cod, haddock, and tilapia. On the other hand, high-mercury fish such as tuna or swordfish should be avoided.

Fruits and Vegetables: Safe Options for Cats

While cats are obligate carnivores and require a meat-based diet, there are some safe options for adding variety to their meals.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that fruits and vegetables should never replace your cat’s regular diet of high-quality cat food. However, small amounts of cooked or pureed pumpkin or sweet potato can provide a source of fiber for your cat. Additionally, cooked green beans or carrots can offer some added nutrition.

But before you start feeding your cat any fruits or veggies, it’s crucial to avoid toxic options. Onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins can be harmful or even deadly to cats. Always do your research before introducing new foods to your cat’s diet.

When offering fruits as a treat, be sure to remove any seeds or pits beforehand as these can be choking hazards and contain toxins. Safe options for cats include small amounts of sliced bananas or seedless watermelon.

Remember that moderation is key when it comes to serving size. Cats are designed to process meat, not plant-based foods, so too much fruit or veggie intake could disrupt their digestive system.

Overall, while fruits and vegetables can provide some nutritional benefits for cats in small amounts, they should never replace a cat’s regular diet of high-quality cat food. It’s always important to consult with your veterinarian before making any significant changes to your cat’s diet.

In summary, here’s a list of safe options for incorporating fruits and vegetables into your cat’s diet:

Foods to Avoid at All Costs

There are certain foods that can be harmful to your cat’s health. It’s crucial to be aware of these foods and avoid them at all costs.

First on the list is chocolate. While it may be a mouth-watering treat for humans, chocolate contains theobromine – a compound that is toxic to cats. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures in cats. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are particularly dangerous, so keep them out of your cat’s reach.

Next up are onions and garlic. These ingredients can damage a cat’s red blood cells and lead to anemia. Even small amounts of onion or garlic powder can be harmful, so make sure to keep your cat away from the kitchen when cooking with these ingredients.

Grapes and raisins are another no-go for cats. They can cause kidney failure, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Keep any grape or raisin snacks out of your cat’s reach.

Contrary to popular belief, most cats are lactose intolerant and cannot digest milk or dairy products properly. This leads to digestive upset and diarrhea. So, if you’re thinking of giving your cat a little taste of ice cream or cheese, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Raw meat and fish are also on the “avoid” list as they can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can make your cat ill. Ensure that all meat is cooked thoroughly before feeding it to your cat.

Finally, cooked bones should never be given to cats as they can splinter and cause intestinal blockages or perforations. So, if you’re enjoying some chicken wings or ribs, ensure you dispose of the bones properly where your cat can’t access them.

Variety is Key for a Healthy Diet

And when it comes to their diet, variety is the key to a healthy and happy cat. Just like humans, cats can suffer from nutritional deficiencies and boredom if they eat the same thing every day. That’s why it’s essential to offer your cat a range of protein sources, fruits, and vegetables.

As obligate carnivores, cats require meat to survive. However, this doesn’t mean they should eat the same type of meat every day. Providing a variety of protein sources – such as chicken, beef, fish, and eggs – can give your cat different types of amino acids that are crucial for their health. It also helps to keep their taste buds excited and engaged.

But don’t stop at protein. Fruits and vegetables can also play an important role in your cat’s diet. For example, pumpkin is an excellent source of fiber that can help regulate digestion, while sweet potato provides beta-carotene, which supports eye health. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that can boost your cat’s immune system, and spinach is a great source of iron.

Of course, not all human foods are safe for cats. Chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes and raisins are all toxic to cats. Make sure you consult with your veterinarian or do proper research before feeding your cat any new food.

Consult with Your Veterinarian Before Making Changes

Before you start experimenting with new foods, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian first. Here’s why:

Firstly, every cat is unique, and their dietary requirements can vary based on factors such as age, weight, and overall health. Your veterinarian can provide you with tailored recommendations that will ensure your cat gets all the nutrients they need without risking any health issues.

Secondly, some human foods that might be healthy for us can be toxic to cats. For example, onions, garlic, grapes, and chocolate can cause serious health problems such as anemia, kidney failure, and seizures. By consulting with your veterinarian, you can avoid feeding your cat anything potentially harmful.

Thirdly, cats have specific dietary needs that differ from other animals or even humans. They require more protein and fat in their diet and cannot produce certain essential nutrients like taurine on their own. Feeding your cat with dog food or human food can lead to nutrient deficiencies and health problems.


In summary, it’s crucial to remember that cats are obligate carnivores and need a diet rich in animal-derived protein and fat. While commercial cat food is the best option for meeting their nutritional needs, there are safe alternatives to add variety to their meals. When feeding your feline friend meat, it’s essential to choose high-quality sources free from antibiotics and hormones. Raw meat should be avoided due to harmful bacteria, while processed meats like deli meats or bacon contain high sodium levels.

Fish can also be included in a cat’s diet but only in moderation and as part of a balanced meal that includes other protein sources such as chicken or turkey. However, high-mercury fish like tuna or swordfish should be avoided altogether.

Fruits and vegetables can provide some nutritional benefits for cats in small amounts, but they should never replace high-quality cat food. It’s vital to avoid toxic options such as onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins.

To keep your furry friend healthy and happy for years to come, providing them with a well-balanced diet is key. Consulting with your veterinarian before making any significant changes is crucial since every cat has unique dietary requirements.