What Can Cats Eat?

Last Updated on September 10, 2021 by Jenny

Your cat’s diet is really important. Making sure they have the right balance of proteins and nutrients through your choice of cat food is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and it’s a conversation you should have early with your breeder and veterinarian when deciding what needs your kitty has.

But what about the occasional treat, or foods that you’re eating that you either might want to share with your cat willingly, or that may drop to the floor and get pounced on before you’ve had time to clean it up? Are any of those foods dangerous to your cat, or likely to cause health problems? What can cats eat?

While I’ve covered a couple of foods like pistachios and popcorn in a little more detail previously, I wanted to run through some of the other foods your cat might get their paws on, or that you might be tempted to share with them, and let you know whether they are generally safe for cats or not.

What can cats eat?

BUT! This is not medical advice, and every cat is different.

While I can tell you the broad nutritional value and toxicity of products to most cats, I don’t know whether your cat is allergic to a particular food or whether their own digestive system might react to something differently.

You should always ask your regular veterinarian before you start sharing food with your kitty, to make sure it won’t cause any problems.

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Can cats eat ice cream? 😻

Most cats will be OK if they eat a small amount of ice cream, although they are lactose intolerant and so might suffer from diarrhea or vomit.

It’s not a recommended regular treat for cats, as the sugar content is bad for their health.

It’s also important to note that cats won’t get quite the same enjoyment from ice cream as humans anyway, as their taste receptors aren’t sensitive enough to sweet things to taste sugar.

They do enjoy dairy products for their fat content though, which is why many cats are drawn to dairy.

Can cats eat corn?

Can Cats Eat Popcorn Ragdoll Cat Trigg IMG_8817

In most cases, cats can eat plain corn without any major health concerns. However, there is also little nutritional value, apart from small amounts of Vitamin B and fiber.

Cats are obligate carnivores, so meat-based dishes are more nutritional.

Corn is used in a lot of commercial pet foods, but that’s as a filler agent, which means it’s just designed to thicken the food and fill your kitty’s tummy faster, and it’s a cheap option for pet food companies.

A grain-free diet is healthier for your cat. And any corn with a coating, or that’s used to make corn chips and salted, will be even more unhealthy.

Can cats eat peanuts?

Generally, peanuts aren’t toxic to cats but they’re not healthy either. They’re too fatty, and while they contain proteins it isn’t the right kind of protein for your cat’s diet.

You should avoid giving your cat peanuts, although if they grab one you drop on the floor it is unlikely to be an issue.

You should monitor your pet if they do eat a peanut though, because just like humans, cats can be allergic.

Look out for any sneezing or swelling, and seek emergency veterinarian help if you think they might be having a reaction.

Can cats eat lettuce?

Cats can safely eat most types of lettuce, and they will get some nutritional benefits.

It’s high in fiber and contains Vitamins A and K. It’s also full of water, which is good for cats who don’t drink enough from a bowl.

However, lettuce should only be used as a snack or supplement alongside a main diet which provides the protein your kitty needs most.

Also, you should monitor your cat’s lettuce intake, as some types of lettuce can cause digestive upset.

Can cats eat cucumbers?

Litterbox.com Pet Food Mat Product Review with Ragdoll cats Charlie and trigg placemat

While a cat’s diet should mainly consist of meat, one of the better salad foods they could snack on would be cucumber.

Again, it should only be given in moderation – no more than one or two slices – but cucumber’s high water content and vitamins can be beneficial to your cat, as a snack only.

Another benefit of cucumber is its cooling properties. If you live somewhere hot and you think your cat might be uncomfortable, a slice of cucumber can help to cool them down and make sure they stay hydrated.

Can cats eat oranges?

Citrus fruits like oranges aren’t suitable for cats.

The high amount of citric acid can upset their digestive system and cause diarrhea.

Also the oils contained in an orange peel, leaves and seeds are poisonous to cats, so if they did eat orange it should only be the flesh.

If your cat does eat part of an orange, make sure to monitor them closely and seek medical help if you’re concerned they might have even some of the peel.

Can cats eat mushrooms?

Generally, mushrooms aren’t suitable for cats.

Wild mushrooms are often toxic and can hurt or kill your kitty.

Store bought mushrooms are normally safe so long as you only give your cat a small amount, but the nutritional value is low and so it isn’t worth the risk.

You need to be careful with mushrooms because the smell of them, and the taste, can be particularly appealing to cats.

If you have an outdoor cat and live where there are wild mushrooms growing, you might want to think about limiting where they can travel, such as by buying cat fencing to stop them leaving your safe garden.

Can cats eat green beans?

Green beans are generally safe for cats to eat, and they have useful nutrients including protein and fiber.

Green beans are sometimes recommended to cats who are suffering from feline obesity.

Avoid giving more than 4 or 5 at a time, as too much fiber can impact your cat’s natural digestive system.

You should avoid canned green beans, as these sometimes have extra sodium added – fresh or frozen is the way to go here.

You can feed them to your cat raw or boiled/steamed if they prefer softer foods.

Can cats eat olives?

In most cases, olives are safe for cats to eat.

However they must be plain olives, and you should remove the pit as it can be a choking hazard.

Never feed your cat more than one olive as a snack, as any more than that could upset their stomach.

Stuffed olives are a no-go, as many of the typical options would be poisonous or harmful to cats.

However, plain olives are often loved by cats. It’s believed that it’s due to a chemical that is similar to that contained in catnip.

Can cats eat peas?

Peas are normally a safe food for cats to eat, provided you only use shelled peas to avoid choking hazards, and you avoid canned peas that have added sodium.

Peas contain Vitamins B1, K, and C as well as fiber, iron and potassium.
Some pet food manufacturers will add peas to their products as a way of bulking them out.

Again though, remember that your cat needs a carnivorous diet in order to get the essential proteins that their body uses.

Can cats eat celery?

Celery is safe for cats to eat in moderation, although too many leaves can cause stomach upset.

While celery does have some nutritional benefit, including being high in fiber, it is only suitable as a small snack as part of a regular protein-based diet.
Most vegetables are fine for cats as long as they are shop-bought and given fresh or frozen, but only in small amounts.

Too much can unbalance your cat’s normal diet and cause them digestive problems.

Can cats eat cherries?

Cherries are not safe for cats to eat. The stem, seeds and leaves are toxic and can kill your cat.

If you see your cat eating from a cherry plant, stop them immediately and take a sample of the plant with you and the cat to your veterinarian.

The actual flesh of the fruit is not toxic but it’s not worth the risk.
There’s no major health benefits from your cat eating cherries, and they won’t appreciate the sweetness due to their taste buds being suited to other flavors.

Can cats eat marshmallows?

Blue Lynx Mitted Ragdoll Cat Trigg Chiggy August 2019 Marshmellow IMG_5426

Cats cannot eat marshmallows.

They are considered a choking hazard, and they have zero nutritional benefits.

They’re high in sugar, which can lead to your cat putting on weight, and the sodium content can damage your cat’s health too.

Remember that your cat’s mouth and throat are much smaller, and so the sticky texture and fluffy shape can cause a blockage much easier in cats than in humans.

If your cat does sneak a marshmallow, just make sure they aren’t choking.

They aren’t toxic so as long as they’re breathing OK then you just need to monitor your cat.

Can cats eat salami?

Generally, salami is safe for cats to eat in small amounts. However, it is not a healthy meat to base your cat’s diet around.

It is high in sodium, and the fact that it is cured rather than cooked does present small risks of bacterial diseases.

Just like with humans, you should avoid cured meats for pregnant cats as they are more vulnerable to some properties.

Also be aware that some of the seasoning used in salami can upset your cat’s stomach. It’s best to stick to chicken, beef or fish for your cat’s protein.

Can cats eat seaweed?

Cats should be OK to eat a small amount of seaweed amongst the rest of their usual diet.

Seaweed has a number of nutritional benefits for cats, improving their coat and acting as an antacid.

It can also reduce free radical damage.

Moderation is key.

Seaweed is high in iodine, which can lead to hyperthyroidism, where your cat generates too many hormones and develops health issues from that.

Small portions irregularly are usually OK but check with your vet.

Can cats eat peaches?

Ziwi Peak Canned Cat Food - Mackerel and Lamb Ragdoll Cat Trigg Eating 3

As with many fruits, the actual flesh of peaches is not toxic but every other part of the fruit – the stem, leaves and pit – are as they contain cyanide.

Peach pits are also a choking hazard.

Most cats also can’t tolerate peach flesh, so avoid feeding your cat peaches.

If your cat does eat some peach flesh, they will likely suffer from dehydration and may vomit or have diarrhea.

These are also some of the initial symptoms of poisoning though, so if your cat does eat peach you should get them checked out.

Is my cat eating spaghetti a problem?

Your cat should be fine eating spaghetti, as long as there are no extra toppings or sauces with it.

Plain spaghetti is made using flour, eggs and water and none of these are toxic to cats.

Herbs and spices can negatively impact your cat though, so be careful.
There is no nutritional benefit to letting your cat eat spaghetti, so it’s not worth it unless you have a plate and want to share a little taste with your feline friend.

The fact that it is soft means it should be safe, but only give them small nibbles, don’t let them suck down a long strand that could cause irritation in their throat.

Can cats have olive oil?

Cats can eat olive oil in moderation, but too much of any fatty food is bad for their health.

Olive oil is sometimes recommended as a treatment for hairballs, although always ask your vet for advice first.

Olive oil can also improve your cat’s coat.

Extra virgin olive oil is not chemically treated and is less acidic, so is safer than regular olive oil.

But it should only be used in small portions. Food cooked in olive oil should also be safe if it is also a smaller size. Fried foods are not healthy for cats.

Can cats eat asparagus?

Asparagus is not toxic to cats, and is a good source of fiber and potassium, as well as being high in Vitamins A, C and K.

So in moderation, it is a good food for your cat to occasionally snack on alongside their regular diet.

Asparagus is a little tough for cats to eat raw, so steam or boil it first, and avoid feeding them the firmer end of the stalk which can be tough to digest.

If you cut it into bite-sized pieces you can add it to your cat’s regular food.

Make sure you don’t season it, as that will make it unhealthy for your kitty.

In summary

Again, let me be absolutely clear – while I can tell you how most cats will react to these foods, you should not treat this as medical advice and you should always speak to your regular vet who knows your cat before adding anything new to their diet.

However, most of the foods on this list are not toxic, so the occasional nibble won’t be an issue for those. Avoid fruits that could contain cyanide, and always keep snacks fresh rather than canned or seasoned. And make sure that you only use these foods as irregular treats alongside a normal protein-packed diet.

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One thought on “What Can Cats Eat?

  1. Patti Johnson says:

    TYSVM for this SUPER PAWESOME & FABULOUS info, Jenny honey! Very interesting. Learned a lot! Well done! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs & lots of love & purrs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3 <3 <3

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