30+ human foods safe for cats (plus some to avoid!)

August 15, 2023 - 5 min read
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s care, treatment, or medical conditions.
woman in white long sleeve shirt holding spoon full of cereal at table. Black and white cat eats off a small tray next to her on the table.

What's the best way to get your cat to come when you call?

Forget training; just crack open a can of tuna.

While your cat's enjoying their (well-deserved) treat for obedience, you might be wondering: What about that avocado you're also having?

Some human foods that seem innocuous enough might actually be toxic for cats. So before you go ham feeding your cat ham or bacon, we're here to help outline some safe and unsafe foods for felines.

A note before we begin: Your cat is unique (as if we needed to remind you). So even though human food is objectively safe for felines, even if your neighbor's cat can eat their way through a four-course meal and come out unscathed, yours might not. Proceed with caution and ALWAYS consult your vet before introducing new foods into your cat's diet.

What Human Foods Can Cats Eat?

Cat eating strawberries

Fruits That are Safe for Cats

Shocking fact of the day: Cats lack taste receptors that detect sweetness. So they aren't really getting the full joy that comes with eating fruit.

Of course, moderation is key, and your cat should only have a few bites. Fruit is high in sugar and fructose, even if it is natural (insert halo here) sugar, and if your cat can't really enjoy the sweetness, you're probably better off sharing treats they can fully experience.

That said, if you're dying to share a bite of banana, it's probably safe to do so. Here's what else you can share!

IMPORTANT: Always remove any seeds, stems, skin, pits, etc. as they can be choking hazards.

CTA _9

Top-notch cat insurance

Insure all 9 lives.

Curious cats get into tricky situations. Insurance can help reimburse you for unexpected accidents and illnesses.

CTA _9

Vegetables That are Safe for Cats

Whether you consider vegetables a treat or not is debatable. That said, there are actually quite a few vegetables cats can eat safely, and they provide some beneficial nutrients for your kitty without the calories fruit might have.

Here are some you can feed your cat (in small quantities, of course). If it's a hard vegetable like a carrot, make sure it's steamed.

Cat trying to eat raw meatIMPORTANT: Make sure these are cooked and cut into small pieces or mashed to prevent choking. No spices or oils allowed.

Meat and Fish

Your cat probably would have been fine with you skipping the above two categories, quite honestly.

MEAT IS WHERE IT'S AT FOR CATS. Pet food manufacturers have this part down.

That said, there are some meat options that are probably better than others. And keep it plain.

Meat or fish should not contain any spices, salt, or butter and should only be steamed or grilled. If you are buying canned meat or fish, be sure to purchase one in water rather than brine or oil. Lean protein, such as plain boiled chicken breast or fish, is often less likely to cause an upset stomach. And just like humans, some cats do better on some proteins than others.

If you’re interested in providing a raw food diet for your cat, you should do plenty of research first and speak to your vet, as there are potential risks associated. (Most of us aren't pet food dieticians and aren't aware of a cat's dire need for amino acids such as taurine.)

Here are some meats that are generally considered safe for kitties:

Cat licking yogurt on a spoon

Dairy That's Safe for Cats

This one's mind-boggling, considering so many kids books feature kittens lapping up milk. Generally speaking, cats are actually lactose intolerant, meaning they don’t have the ability to break down dairy within the gut. (!!)

This means that oftentimes, when cats receive dairy products like milk or cheese, vomiting or diarrhea are common outcomes. Yikes.

yogurt on white background

However, one dairy food they can eat is plain, unsweetened yogurt. This is because the yoghurt contains bacteria that, during fermentation, break down lactase, a naturally occurring sugar in milk, into lactic acid. This not only gives it that distinct flavor but also makes it more digestible for cats.

(Of course, consult your vet before offering yogurt to your cat.)

Cereals and grains

While not a natural part of a cat's diet, certain cereals and grains can be given in small quantities as a source of fibre or minerals. These should be cooked and served without any added sugar, flavourings or milk. Here are some cereals and grains that are safe for cats:

What Foods Aren't Safe for Cats?

This is key information for every cat owner with a feline with adventurous tastebuds.

While your cat might seem like they can handle anything, there are some things they should never attempt to eat, and some of these might surprise you. (Spread the word to other cat owners!)

Chocolate on beige backgroundChocolate: So delicious, yet so dangerous for our pets

What Human Food Can Kittens Eat?

Kittens have slightly different dietary requirements than adult cats.

So can they have milk? Still no, sadly.

While they can eat some of the same foods, their primary diet should be kitten food to help them grow strong and healthy. You can learn more about feeding kittens here.

Here are some foods that are safe for kittens as small treats:

  • Scrambled eggs

  • Cooked meat and fish

  • Pumpkin (cooked, seedless, plain)

You can feed the same plain, lean meat and fish as you would an adult cat, but in smaller amounts.

However, try to avoid raw meat unless you’ve spoken to your vet. Mini floofers are still developing, and they generally have less resilience to any harmful bacteria or parasites potentially found in raw food.

The Bottom Line for Felines and Food

As you and your cat cruise off onto adventurous (SAFE) food islands, remember that treats should never replace a nutritionally balanced diet for your cat.

And as always, your vet is the best resource and should be your first stop for personalized guidance regarding your cat's diet.

That said, mistakes do happen. Did your cat get into some of the gum tucked away in your purse? Cat insurance can help protect you against the financial shock of unexpected vet bills. That means you get to focus on caring for your furry friend.

Leanna Zeibak
Content Manager

Leanna Zeibak is a Content Manager at ManyPets. In her spare time, she paints pet portraits and bakes far too many chocolate chip cookies.