Most cat owners have experienced that moment of panic on a Sunday night or a holiday when they’ve suddenly realized the cat food is all gone, and Fluffy is hungry. It’s so tempting to feed your cat whatever you’re eating, or some leftovers from the fridge. But be careful—some human foods are not safe for feline consumption.
So, what can you safely do to satiate your little tiger’s appetite in the mean time? Here’s a list of twelve human foods you can safely feed to Fluffy when you have run out of cat food.
1. Cooked Chicken
High in protein, and low in fat, cooked chicken is an ideal substitute for cat food. And chances are your cat will gobble it up quickly. Be sure it’s cooked thoroughly to avoid the dangers of salmonella, and cut into bite size pieces for your pet.
2. Deli Meats
Cooked deli meats, like sandwich ham and turkey, also make a good supplement to cat food. Avoid any with added flavours or seasonings as things like onion, garlic, some spices, and salt can be bad for your cat.
3. Tuna Packed In Water
Tuna is also a good source of protein for your cat, but avoid any meat packed in brine or oil. The brine contains a high percentage of sodium which is bad for cats, and the oil may provide too much fat. The jury is still out as to whether the mercury levels in tuna are dangerous or not—if you have any doubts, talk to your veterinarian.
4. Cooked Eggs
Cooked eggs contain lots of protein and healthy fats that your cat can benefit from. Try scrambling an egg as a meal for your cat, or if he doesn’t like that you can boil an egg and offer him the cooked yolk. Never give your cat a raw egg because this could make him sick.
5. Peanut Butter
Contrary to popular belief, some nuts are okay for cats, and peanuts are one of them. Peanut butter offers a good source of protein for your cat, but it is high in fat too, so only give your cat a small amount. A little dab of peanut butter along with one of these other foods might give Fluffy the protein boost and the full tummy he needs until you can get to the store.
Adult cats no longer produce the enzyme necessary to properly digest lactose, which can cause many cats to be unable to eat dairy products. However, some adult cats can still handle a small amount of cheese from time to time, and it does offer protein and calcium. Introduce cheese slowly, in very small portions, and watch how your cat’s body reacts. If you are unsure, talk to your veterinarian before offering you cat cheese.
Surprisingly, while high protein foods are the best option, some vegetables can also be good for cats. Have you ever seen a cat chewing on grass? This could be a sign that he needs more fiber in his diet. Cooked broccoli, asparagus, peas, carrots, green beans, and squash are all okay for your cat to eat in small doses.
8. Baby Food
Of course most people don’t keep baby food in their cupboards, but if you have little ones at home as well as pets, you can substitute meat based or vegetable based baby food when you run out of cat food. Just make sure to check the label for things that cats can’t have, like onion powder.
9. Canned Pumpkin
Canned pumpkin is a great food for your cat when you don’t have much else on hand as its soft, rich in vitamins, and easy on the tummy. Your cat may like it cold, but if not you could try warming it up in the microwave.
While many cats will turn up their noses at fruit, there are fruits that are perfectly safe to feed them should they happen to show any interest. Apples, oranges, and bananas are all feline friendly. But make sure you remove all seeds from apples, and the peels from bananas and oranges.
11. Plain Boiled White Rice
Rice may not offer a lot of nutritional value to your cat, but it won’t harm him, and in a pinch it can calm a rumbling tummy until you can get to the store. Rice is also a good food to give your cat if he is having digestion problems because it’s bland, and thus gentle on the stomach.
12. Baked Potato
Like rice, potatoes are another food that may not offer much value to your cat, but is still safe and will fill a hungry cat in an emergency. Be sure to wash and peel the potato carefully, and bake it thoroughly until it’s soft all the way through. Wait for the potato to cool, then cut it up or mash it before offering it to your cat. Do not add salt or butter.
Bear in mind that your cat probably will not like everything on this list. And it’s best to introduce new foods one at a time so that your cat does not become overwhelmed or finicky.
You should also keep an eye out for any signs of allergic reactions in your pet because while all of these foods are safe for cats in general, just like humans, each cat is different and may react differently to some foods.
Finally, when you do get to the store, remember to stock up. While these foods are okay now and then, a prolonged diet of human foods can be detrimental to your cat’s health. Choose a good quality name brand cat food to help ensure your cat’s best health and well being for life.