Can Cats Eat Bread? Lets try and answer the question….
Can cats eat bread? Any responsible cat owner is going to have questions about the best types of treats to give their feline friends. It’s hard to say “no” to a cat begging at the table. But can cats eat bread or other human foods? Many people know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, for example. So, can cats eat bread, cheese, potato chips -- or would such things make them sick?
Cats are obligate carnivores,which is a fancy way of saying they need to eat meat. They therefore have a digestive system designed for eating meat. Cats have a digestive tract that is proportionately a lot shorter than that of almost any other mammal, for meat is easier to digest than plants.
Cats don’t therefore don’t need or have the long gut or fermenting bacteria found in herbivores or omnivores. As a result, their bodies don’t break down carbohydrates all that well. Bread is therefore of limited nutritious value to a cat; if they eat it, it’s mainly because they like the taste.
Cats get their nutrients from the proteins in meat. While they need glucose like we do, their bodies get it from protein rather than by breaking down carbohydrates. Similarly, they get the amino acids they need, like arginine, from the meat they eat.
“But my cat loves bread!”
A lot of cats like bread; they like the yeast in it. In fact, many cat foods and treats contain yeast, and so do many medications and supplements. Yeast is a good source of proteins and some of the vitamins from the B Complex, particularly Vitamin B12.
The complex carbohydrates in bread, however, can have the same effect on cats as they do on humans: they can make them overweight. Obesity is as bad for cats as it is for people and can have many of the same consequences, like heart disease.
Can cats eat bread at all? Yes – but only in small amounts. No more than 10 to 15 percent of a cat’s diet should consist of people food, including bread. The other should 85 to 90 percent should be cat food. A 10-pound cat should be given 45 to 65 grams (3/8 to ½ cups) of food per day. Ten percent of that would equal 4.5 to 6.5 grams or 0.16 to 0.23 ounces-- and a single slice of bread weighs roughly 29 grams or one ounce.
Some cats also have sensitive stomachs and can therefore react badly to certain foods. If a cat vomits, develops diarrhea, or refuses to eat, it’s time to call the veterinarian.
What types of bread can a cat eat?
Not all bread is created equal; some types are dangerous to cats. For example, both raisins and garlic are poisonous to cats, so raisin bread and garlic bread should not be given to cats. While plain bread is generally safe, it’s best to check the ingredients first. Too much salt or sugar is bad for cats.
Cats can also eat toast, but burnt toast may be dangerous. Burnt toast develops a compound called acrylamide that can cause cancer and nerve damage in humans and other animals, including cats.
It is also best to not put any kind of topping on the toast when feeding it to a cat. Butter, for example, is simply too fattening. It’s also a dairy product, and most adult cats are lactose-intolerant. Peanut butter is also fattening and contains too much salt to be safe for a cat. Chocolate is as poisonous to cats as it is to dogs, so toppings like Nutella should also be avoided.
Can cats eat bread dough?
Absolutely not! The yeast in bread dough makes it rise and expand. The dough continues to expand after being eaten, and it can actually stretch the cat’s stomach painfully. Moreover, the yeast ferments as it makes the dough rise. As the yeast ferments, it produces alcohol that is poisonous to a cat.
A cat owner who bakes bread and suspects that Kitty got into the dough needs to get their cat to the veterinarian immediately.
What about other types of people food?
Remember the rule mentioned earlier: people food should not make up any more than 10 to 15 percent of a cat’s diet.
Cooked meat of almost any type is generally a safe option. Even lean deli meats can be good for cats, but the owner has to watch the salt content. Cats can also eat turkey, chicken and beef. Spoiled or raw meat can make a cat sick, however, just as it would a human. Cooked bones are also dangerous, for they can splinter and damage the digestive tract. Raw bones, however, are safe. Fat of any type is bad for cats, for it can cause such digestive problems as diarrhea or vomiting.
How about Fish and Eggs?
Fish has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that help a cat’s eyes and overall health. Canned and cooked fish is fine, but raw fish like sushi is not. Cooked eggs are another good source of protein, while raw eggs can make a cat ill. Raw eggs can contain bacteria like Salmonella or E.coli, which are just as bad for cats as they are for humans. While cheese is a good source of protein, it can cause digestive problems in a cat, so it should only be given to them sparingly.
Can Cats eat Veggies, Fruits and Grains?
Cats can even eat some fruits, vegetables and grains. Since they can’t taste sweet flavors, they are generally not interested in eating fruit. Vegetables and fruit are a good source of fiber and water and can thus help a cat’s digestion. They may like steamed broccoli or asparagus, or they may prefer fresh cantaloupe or cucumber. The seeds should be removed beforehand, as they can cause blockages in the digestive tract.
Grains should be cooked to make them easier for the cat to digest. Cats also have an easier time with grains that are naturally small, like couscous or millet, or have been ground up beforehand.
What can't my Cat Eat?
Foods that cats should not eat include onions, garlic, grapes, mushroom, chocolate, salt, and caffeine. All of these are toxic to a cat. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is also poisonous to a cat. It’s commonly used in candy, so that shouldn’t be given to a cat, either.
To Summarize - Can cats eat bread?
The answer to the question, “Can cats eat bread?” is therefore a cautious “Yes.” Plain bread or toast is safe to feed a cat in small amounts. Many of the spreads, like butter or Nutella, can make a cat sick. Certain types of bread, like raisin bread, contain ingredients that are poisonous to cats. Bread dough is dangerous to cats, and they should never be allowed to it.