Ever wanted to share your food with your cat? Yeah, us too. Plenty of fur mamas out there give their kitties a little taste of the snacks that they enjoy. But before you think about handing over your dinner, it’s important to make sure the food is actually safe for your cat.
Do make sure the food is lean.
Lean, cooked meat and fish are probably the best “treats” for your cat. After all, kitties’ systems are designed for digesting high-protein, low-carb foods. So avoid anything breaded, fried, or heavily seasoned. Be sure not to give them any meat that’s still on the bone — it could be swallowed and cause indigestion or even infection. Plus, remember to only feed your cat small amounts.
Don’t feed your cat anything possibly toxic.
You might already know that chocolate is dangerous for cats, but did you know that common savory ingredients like onions, scallions, and garlic are also toxic for kitties? Grapes and raisins are potentially deadly as well. (Psst: While this topic is on your mind, it never hurts to brush up on the list of foods potentially dangerous for pets, courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States.)
Do remember to count calories.
If you treat your cat with “human foods” every so often, you should subtract about 10 percent of their regular diet for that day to avoid overfeeding them. This is especially important to remember if you want to treat your cat often during the holiday season. After all, weight gain is just as much of a possibility for cats as it is for humans during that time of year!
Don’t give your pet anything that’ll cause an upset stomach.
Any dish that contains butter or milk could potentially cause diarrhea if your cat is lactose intolerant (as many of them are). Ham and other pork products are best avoided as well, since they can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Plus, pork tends to be a fattier meat and can pack a whole bunch of unnecessary calories into a kitty’s diet — even in small amounts.
Do offer a bit of produce.
Small amounts of cat-friendly veggies like cooked, peeled potatoes or corn are typically fine for cats. (Just double-check with your vet that your pet doesn’t have an allergy to any vegetables first.) Some kitties might also enjoy a few cat-friendly fruits, such as seedless, rindless watermelon. But don’t worry too much about satisfying your pet’s sweet tooth. Cats have far fewer “sweet” receptors on their tongues, so they don’t really know the difference!
Remember: If you’re ever unsure about whether a food is safe to give your cat, ask your vet first. And if you suspect your pet has already eaten something toxic, you can call the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-855-764-7661. Let’s keep all our fur babies safe and sound!