What Do House Cats Eat?

As a devoted cat lover, you want to ensure that your feline friend is receiving the best possible nutrition. But with so many options on the market, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure about what to feed your house cat. That’s why we’re here to answer the question “What Do House Cats Eat?” – and trust us, it’s not as simple as you might think.

First things first: cats are obligate carnivores. This means they require meat in their diet to obtain essential nutrients such as protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. However, not all meats are created equal when it comes to your cat’s dietary needs.

While commercial cat foods (both wet and dry) are widely available and recommended by veterinarians, it’s crucial to read the ingredients carefully. Some products may contain fillers or artificial additives that can lead to health problems or simply fail to provide complete nutrition for your cat.

Alternatively, some pet owners prefer homemade diets tailored specifically to their cat’s needs. This option requires careful planning and consideration of your furry friend’s dietary requirements – but it can be a rewarding way to ensure optimal health for your beloved companion.

Whether you opt for commercial food or homemade meals, providing a balanced diet is essential for keeping your house cat healthy and happy. So keep reading – we’ll dive deeper into what exactly your feline friend should be eating for optimal well-being.

a. Overview of House Cats

House cats are fascinating creatures that have been domesticated for thousands of years. They come in various breeds, sizes, and colors, but they all share one thing in common – they are obligate carnivores. This means that they require a diet high in animal protein to survive and thrive.

As a responsible cat owner, it’s crucial to provide your furry companion with a healthy and balanced diet. Commercial cat food is the primary source of nutrition for house cats, but not all cat foods are created equal. Ensure that the food you choose meets your cat’s nutritional needs and is appropriate for their age, weight, and health status.

When selecting a cat food, read the label carefully. The first ingredient should be a high-quality source of animal protein such as chicken, beef, or fish. Avoid cat food that contains fillers like corn, wheat, or soy as these can cause digestive problems and contribute to obesity in cats.

In addition to commercial cat food, it’s safe to feed your cat small amounts of cooked meat, fish, or poultry as long as they are boneless and free from spices and seasonings. However, it’s important not to overfeed your cat with human food.

Cats have a low thirst drive compared to other animals, so it’s crucial to encourage them to drink water regularly. Provide multiple bowls of clean water throughout your home to keep your house cat hydrated.

While some cat owners choose to feed their cats raw or homemade diets, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian or animal nutritionist before starting your cat on this type of diet. A balanced and nutritious diet is vital for your feline friend’s longevity and happiness.

The Primary Diet of House Cats

When it comes to their diet, it’s important to understand that house cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require a diet high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates. After all, their wild ancestors primarily ate small prey like mice, birds, and insects to get the nutrients necessary for proper functioning.

So what does this mean for your cat’s meals? Quality is key. Many commercial cat foods are filled with corn, wheat, and soy that do not meet your cat’s nutritional needs. Instead, opt for high-quality cat foods that list meat as the first ingredient.

Choosing the right type of food is also important. Some cat owners prefer dry kibble, while others choose wet food or even a raw food diet. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to research which one is best for your cat’s individual needs.

High-Quality Commercial Cat Food

It’s convenient, readily available in pet stores and supermarkets, and most importantly, it meets all the nutritional needs of cats.

Whether your cat prefers dry, wet, or semi-moist food, you can find it in high-quality commercial cat food. These foods contain all the essential nutrients that cats need to maintain optimal health, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. So you can rest easy knowing your cat is getting everything they need to thrive.

When selecting commercial cat food, it’s crucial to read the label and check the ingredients list. The first ingredient should always be a source of high-quality protein like chicken, turkey, or fish. Avoid fillers or by-products like cornmeal or animal parts that are not fit for human consumption. Opt for formulas tailored to your cat’s age and health condition. There are special formulas for kittens, adult cats, senior cats, and even those with specific health issues like urinary tract problems or weight management.

An excellent way to ensure that your cat’s food meets nutritional requirements is to choose brands approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO sets standards for pet food manufacturers to guarantee their products are safe and have balanced nutrition. Be sure to look for the AAFCO statement on the label before making a purchase.

Aside from providing complete and balanced nutrition, high-quality commercial cat food has other benefits. It’s convenient to store and serve, eliminating the need to prepare homemade meals or feed table scraps. Also, dry cat food can help scrape plaque from teeth while wet cat food can help keep gums healthy – promoting strong dental health.

Choosing the Right Cat Food

One of the most crucial ways to achieve this is by choosing the right cat food. With so many options available, it’s easy to get confused about where to start. Here are some key factors that you need to consider when selecting the best cat food for your furry companion.

Age, Weight, and Activity Level

Just like humans, cats have different nutritional needs depending on their age, weight, and activity level. Kittens require more protein and calories than adult cats because they’re growing and developing. Senior cats may need different nutrients to support their aging bodies. Overweight cats may need a lower calorie diet to help them shed some pounds, while active cats may require a higher calorie diet to fuel their energy levels.


When looking at cat food labels, it’s essential to read the ingredients list carefully. For obligate carnivores like cats, meat should be the first ingredient on the list as they require a protein-rich diet. Avoid cat foods that contain fillers such as corn or wheat as they offer little nutritional value and can cause digestive issues.

What Do House Cats Eat-2

Dry vs. Wet Food

Another consideration when choosing cat food is whether to go for dry or wet food. Wet food can be an excellent choice for cats who need more hydration or have dental issues. However, dry food may be more cost-effective and convenient.

Food Intake

Monitoring your cat’s weight and adjusting their food intake accordingly is crucial. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which in turn can cause many health problems. Consult with your veterinarian about your cat’s ideal weight and how much food they should be eating each day.

a. Animal Protein as the First Ingredient

And when it comes to their diet, animal protein is a crucial nutrient that should never be overlooked. In fact, it’s recommended that animal protein should be listed as the first ingredient on any cat food label.

Why is animal protein so important? Well, cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require a diet high in animal-based proteins to thrive. Their digestive systems are uniquely designed to efficiently digest and absorb nutrients from these types of foods. Without enough animal protein in their diet, cats can experience a range of health problems such as muscle wasting, weight loss, and poor coat condition.

To ensure that your cat stays healthy and happy, it’s essential to read the label carefully when choosing their food. Look for specific sources of animal protein such as chicken, turkey, beef, or fish. Avoid cat foods that list grains or vegetable-based proteins as the first ingredient since these do not provide the necessary nutrients your cat needs.

It’s also worth noting that some cats may have allergies or sensitivities to certain types of animal proteins. If you notice any digestive issues or skin problems after feeding your cat a particular type of food, it may be worth trying a different protein source to see if it improves their symptoms.

Human Foods for House Cats

While commercial cat food is the optimal choice for meeting their nutritional needs, you may be wondering if it’s okay to supplement their diet with human foods. However, it’s crucial to understand that not all human foods are safe for cats to consume.

As natural carnivores, cats require a diet that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. While some human foods may provide protein, they may not necessarily contain all the essential nutrients that cats need to stay healthy.

One common misconception is that milk is a safe treat for cats. However, most adult cats are lactose intolerant and consuming milk can cause digestive upset and diarrhea. Instead of risking your cat’s health, consider purchasing lactose-free cat milk from your local pet store as an alternative.

Another food that should be avoided is chocolate. Even a small amount of chocolate can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and seizures in cats due to the presence of theobromine. Coffee and tea also contain theobromine and should be avoided as well.

While some fruits and vegetables are safe for cats to consume, there are some that should be avoided. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in some cats, while onions and garlic can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Avocado can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in some cats.

If you do decide to supplement your cat’s diet with human foods, it’s important to do so in moderation. Human foods should never make up a significant portion of their diet as they may lack essential nutrients. Consult with your veterinarian before making any major changes to your cat’s diet to ensure that they’re getting all the necessary nutrients they need to stay healthy.

a. Small Amounts of Cooked Meat, Fish, and Poultry

While commercial cat food is the recommended option, supplementing with small amounts of cooked meat, fish, and poultry can be beneficial.

Firstly, it’s vital to understand that cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they require a diet primarily made up of meat. While commercial cat food is convenient for most owners, some prefer to mix things up. As such, small amounts of cooked meat, fish, and poultry can be safely added to their diet.

When it comes to cooked meats, choose lean cuts free from bones. Cooked bones can splinter and cause digestive problems or even internal injuries. Also, steer clear of raw or undercooked meats as they may contain harmful bacteria that could make your fur baby sick.

Fish is another common ingredient in a cat’s diet but should only be offered in moderation. Too much fish can lead to thiamine deficiency in cats, which can result in serious health issues like seizures, loss of appetite, and even death. Therefore, it’s best to offer cats cooked fish that’s low in mercury and other toxins.

Poultry such as chicken and turkey can also be given to cats in small amounts. These meats are a great source of protein and other essential nutrients that help maintain a healthy body weight and muscle mass in cats. However, avoid feeding them the skin or bones, which can be difficult for them to digest.

Avoiding Overfeeding with Human Food

But while the temptation to indulge your cat with human food is strong, overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health problems. So, how can you ensure your feline friend stays healthy and happy without overfeeding on human food?

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand that cats have specific nutritional needs that differ from humans. While a well-balanced diet designed specifically for cats is an ideal way to meet their nutritional requirements, establishing a feeding schedule can also help prevent overeating. By feeding your kitty at regular times each day and providing an amount of food based on their age, weight, and activity level, you can help make sure they’re receiving the appropriate amount of nutrients.

When selecting cat food, high-quality brands that meet your cat’s nutritional requirements are key. Look for protein sources of the highest quality and essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health. Avoid brands that contain fillers or artificial ingredients.

If you do decide to treat your kitty with human food, always ensure it’s safe for them to eat. Some human foods can be harmful or even toxic to cats, such as chocolate, onions, and garlic. Foods that are high in fat or sugar should also be avoided as these can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Providing Fresh Water for Your Cat

One of the most critical components of their wellbeing is ensuring that they have access to fresh water at all times. In this post, we will delve into why providing fresh water for your cat is crucial and offer tips on how to ensure that your furry friend stays hydrated.

Water is Life

Cats need clean and fresh water for several reasons. Water helps regulate their body temperature and is necessary for healthy organ function. Without enough water, cats can become dehydrated, which can lead to serious health issues such as kidney problems and urinary tract infections.

Cats are notoriously picky about water and often do not drink enough. Therefore, it’s essential to provide them with ample access to water to encourage them to drink more. By doing so, you can help prevent dehydration and ensure that your cat remains healthy.

Choosing the Right Bowl

When selecting a water bowl for your cat, opt for a wide and shallow one instead of a deep one. Cats prefer to drink from a surface area that doesn’t touch their whiskers as it can cause discomfort. Moreover, if you have multiple cats in the household, it’s best to provide separate bowls of water as some cats may be territorial and not want to share resources.

Filtered or Bottled Water

Tap water may contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine or fluoride that can be dangerous to your cat’s health. For this reason, it’s recommended to use filtered or bottled water for your cat’s drinking bowl.

Cat Water Fountain

Running water is more appealing to some cats than still water. Investing in a cat water fountain can encourage them to drink more water as these fountains keep the water moving.

Incorporate Wet Food

In addition to providing fresh water, incorporating wet food into your cat’s diet can also help with hydration. Wet food has a higher moisture content than dry food, which can help prevent dehydration and maintain healthy kidney function. However, it’s important to feed wet food in moderation and ensure that it doesn’t exceed 25% of their daily caloric intake.


To wrap things up, it’s crucial to prioritize your house cat’s diet to maintain their overall wellbeing. As obligate carnivores, cats require a protein-rich diet that provides them with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fat. While commercial cat food is widely available and recommended by veterinarians, it’s important to read the ingredients carefully to ensure they meet your cat’s nutritional needs. Alternatively, some pet owners prefer homemade diets tailored specifically to their cat’s requirements.

When selecting cat food, consider your feline friend’s age, weight, and activity level. Opt for animal protein as the first ingredient and avoid fillers or artificial additives. Don’t forget to provide fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration.

Although certain human foods can be safely added to a cat’s diet in moderation, overfeeding can lead to obesity and other health issues. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian before making any significant changes to your cat’s diet.

In summary, choosing the right type of food and providing fresh water are pivotal factors in ensuring that your furry friend stays healthy and happy for years to come.