Cat Food, Cat Health

What Can Cats Eat? 15 Foods Cats Can And Cannot Eat

Turns out that all the picture books from childhood mislead us about the foods cats can eat. Cats DON’T just eat fish and drink milk. In reality, feeding a cat either of these in large quantities would lead to malnourishment and an upset stomach respectively. What human foods can cats eat then? Check out our infographic below for a handy checklist of what foods cats can and cannot eat to ensure proper growth and nutrition. More details on the food your cat can eat are on the infographic below.

Infrographic showing which foods cats can and cannot eat and drink

1. Can Cats Eat Chocolate?

What can’t cats eat? Chocolate. 

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are both toxic to cats. Products that contain chocolate such as chocolate milk or chocolate cake should not be given to your cat. 

2. Can Cats Eat Cooked Fish? (Salmon, Tuna, etc.)

Yes, cats can eat cooked fish in moderation. 

Ancestrally, cats originated in desert regions where their primary diet consisted of small mammals. Thus, while most cats love the taste of fish, it is not a part of their natural diet. Some are even allergic to fish. 

In addition, feeding just fish to cats will lead to malnutrition as fish doesn’t contain all the nutrients that cats need. Furthermore, too much fish, especially tuna, can cause mercury poisoning. A small amount of fish, however, will add a good dose of omega-3, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, and other nutrients to their diet. 

3. Can Cats Eat Cooked Meat? (Chicken, Beef, etc.)

Yes, cats can eat cooked meat. 

Cooked meats are rich in protein as well as vitamins and minerals such as B3, omega-6, potassium, calcium, and more.

Cats are carnivores by nature. Chicken, beef, and turkey, are all good for cats. Cooking the meat ensures that your cat isn’t ingesting any bacterial contamination that can make them sick. Be sure to only boil and not include additional spices.

4. Can Cats Have Dairy?

What can cats eat? Apparently dairy, but only in moderation.. 

The reality is that most cats are lactose intolerant, which means that they can’t process dairy. Too much can lead to an upset stomach.

Products made from dairy, such as cream or cheese should also be fed with caution. It is a good idea to test the tolerance of your cat with a little bit of dairy to see how they react.

5. Can Cats Eat Eggs?

Yes, cats can eat cooked (boiled) eggs in moderation.

Eggs are rich in protein, vitamins A, D, E, K, iron, biotin, and more. However, eggs are also high in fat and cholesterol, so they should be given sparingly. They should not be given to cats with kidney or weight problems.

6. Can Cats Eat Fruits?

Yes, cats can eat certain fruits in moderation. 

The same fruits that are safe for dogs are also safe for cats. This means no grapes/raisins, plums, and avocados, as they are all toxic to cats.

For other fruits, be sure to remove all pits/cores as well as the seeds and rinds. Cats should only be eating the flesh of the fruit, and only in small quantities. Too much fruit can lead to an upset stomach and diarrhea.

7. Can Cats Eat Garlic?

No, cats can not eat garlic. 

This is because garlic is part of the allium family, along with onions, leeks, shallots, and chives. Members of the allium family contain thiosulphate, a compound that causes the rupturing of red blood cells, which leads to hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia can make cats weak and faint. In addition, too much garlic can cause gastroenteritis, which will make them nauseous, vomit, and/or have diarrhea.

8. Can Cats Eat Liver?

Yes, cats can eat liver in moderation. 

Liver is rich in vitamin A. Feeding your cat a significant amount can cause an imbalance in their vitamin A levels (hypervitaminosis A), which leads to bone deformity. Very high levels of vitamin A can kill a cat.

9. Can Cats Eat Onions?

No, cats can not eat onions. 

Onions belong to the allium family, same as garlic. While not as potent as garlic, onions are still toxic to cats and can cause hemolytic anemia as well as gastroenteritis. 

10. Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

Yes, cats can eat potatoes (the brown kind) that are cooked. 

Only feed your cat plain boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes without extra additives such as salt, herbs, or butter. 

Do not feed raw potatoes to cats as they contain solanine and are toxic to cats. Sweet potatoes should not be given to cats either, as it can lead to health issues, and they don’t have the nutritional value that brown potatoes do.

Fried potato products such as chips or fries shouldn’t be given to cats as the extra oil and flavoring may upset their stomach. 

11. Can Cats Eat Raw Fish/Seafood?

It depends. 

Whether cats should have a raw diet or not is a hot topic of debate. While some cat owners swear by it, others are wary. 

Those who are pro-raw diet claim that cooking reduces the nutritional value and that a raw diet is better aligned with a cat’s natural diet. Meanwhile, those who are anti-raw diet point to the fact that raw food may be contaminated with e. coli, salmonella, and bacteria that can gravely sicken a cat.

In addition, water-dwelling species have an enzyme called thiaminase, which breaks down thiamine (B1). Too much thiaminase cause a B1 deficiency. Cooking fish/seafood deactivates this enzyme. 

12. Can Cats Eat Raw Meat?

It depends. 

For the same reasons mentioned above for raw fish/seafood, raw meat diets are also very controversial. 

13. Can Cats Eat Rice?

Yes, cats can eat rice in moderation. 

While rice isn’t toxic to cats, it doesn’t offer much in terms of nutritional value for cats. Small amounts of white or brown rice are fine and provide fiber, which is beneficial for their digestive health.

14. Can Cats Drink Alcohol?

No, cats can’t drink alcohol.

Because of their small size, even a small amount is enough to risk ethanol poisoning. This can lead to an upset stomach, breathing troubles, loss of consciousness, liver/kidney failure, or even death.

While you may not intentionally feed your cat alcohol, make sure to keep alcoholic beverages, detergents, mouthwashes, and other products that contain alcohol out of their reach.

To get a sense of how toxic alcohol is to cats: 3 teaspoons of whiskey is enough to kill a 5-pound cat.  

15. Can Cats Have Caffeine? (Coffee, Tea, etc.)

No, cats can’t have caffeine.

Products containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and medicine should not be given to your cat as it can lead to increased heart rate, vomiting, and in serious cases seizures or even death.


What foods can cats eat? What can cats not eat? While there are certain human foods that cats can eat, the majority will trigger unwanted reactions. Always err on the side of caution as even small amounts of food not meant for cats can have detrimental effects.

This article was written by The Pawsome World, a site dedicated to sharing valuable content that helps pets and their owners live their best lives. Being a pet parent isn’t always easy, and The Pawsome World provides tips/hacks as well as heartwarming content that pet lovers can rely on. To learn more about The Pawsome World, visit Also follow on IG for daily doses of pet-related happiness: