House cats love to eat meat, just like their big cousins in the savanna. Our feline companions get their nutrition from meat — not from crops, fruits, or vegetables. The protein from the meat they eat promotes cardiovascular and reproductive health, as well as sharp eyesight.
But upon visiting my brother’s house, I saw his cat nibbling some herbs in the garden and a cube of watermelon that had fallen on the kitchen floor. Aren’t cats obligate carnivores? So, I made a simple poll on social media to see what other strange foods cats eat.
Immediately, I received a long list of unexpected cuisine preferences by their whiskered housemates. The following foods what made the top 10:
Herbs and Grass
Catnip is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family. Also known as the “King of Cat Herbs,” it felines all over the world love it! The plant contains a compound called Nepetalactone, which gives cats an intoxicating “high” similar to marijuana when sniffed or eaten. This feline ecstasy lasts for a few minutes before wearing off.
Cats may react to catnip by being hyperactive — rolling around, meowing, flipping over, and eventually, zoning out. Still, the results vary between individuals. However, only 2/3 of cats react to the chemicals in the plant. Young kittens are not affected by catnip at all.
Cat thyme produces the same intoxicating “high” as catnip, with the attendant feelings of contentment. So, you may want to give your cat a small pot of cat thyme if it doesn’t react to catnip. Your kitty will surely thank you after it’s done spazzing out. While this plant relaxes your cat, its odor is sometimes offensive to the human nose.
If you can’t endure the pungent smell of cat thyme, try lemongrass. Aside from the cooking uses it offers, it gives your home a subtle, refreshing scent. The long thin blades offer cats a satisfying crunch. You will likely see nibble-friendly patches of lemongrass if you go to your local pet store.
Don’t worry if you might see your cat munching valerian leaves in your backyard. This pungent herb is safe for your kitty.
While valerian is notable for promoting sleep in humans, it works the exact opposite for felines. The herb acts as a stimulant to cats, giving lazy fat cats a bolt of energy to turn them into exercise machines.
Spider ivies feature white and pink-purple flowers, as well as a rosette of long, thin, and arched foliage that is either green and white-striped. Not only do these plants look gorgeous in your home, but they also offer stimulant qualities that your kitty will love. Your cat will also love batting at the bouncy leaves.
Cheese is high in protein, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is suitable for all cats. A majority of adult cats are intolerant of dairy products. Unlike kittens, they don’t produce enough of the lactase enzyme that will digest milk. The production of this enzyme slows down after weaning.
If your pet does eat cheese without a problem, it can quickly pack on pounds. Hence, cheese and other dairy products are a poor choice of protein for house cats.
Fresh Fruits and Cooked Vegetables
You can alternate fish flakes and dried meat treats with fresh fruits and half-cooked vegetables. These healthy treats provide fiber for your cat. You can explore treating with the following:
- Sweet potato
Furthermore, make sure to remove the rind and seeds of the fruits before you serve it to your pet.
Moreover, raw fish contains high amounts of thiaminase that deteriorates thiamin, which is an essential vitamin for your pet. If your kitty likes to eat fish, you can save it as an occasional treat.
Carnivorous fishes, such as tuna, swordfish, and salmon, can lead to mercury poisoning in cats when eaten in large amounts. Likewise, be sure to cook the fish well before serving it.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Likewise, eggs contain a lot of vitamin B essential for feline health.
Canned Baby Food
- Cats with a reduced appetite due to cancer, CKD, and liver disease
- Cats who have a hard time chewing due to periodontal disease
- Cats who just had their teeth extracted
- Kittens who are just weaned by their mothers
Baby food is often palatable and easy for the mouth to handle and digest in the stomach.
Also, be sure to check the ingredients for onion and garlic that can be harmful to cats.
Bugs and Insects
The aerial hunt involves climbing curtains and leaping on one furniture to the other in the pursuit of stalking, capturing, and eating the wayward bugs and insects.
While this behavior seems gross to us, humans, this occasional feast is often harmless. But if your cat shows any sign of ill health, call your vet immediately.
Hence, our whiskered friends don’t have a sweet tooth at all. The simple answer to why cats love ice cream is because of the milk and its high fat and carbohydrate content.
Cats have no issue digesting, absorbing, and metabolizing dietary carbohydrates in bread.
You can give your bread bandit bits of baked bread in moderation, but it should never become a staple in their diet.
But according to the Merck Veterinary Manual, it is the easiest grain for your cats to digest.
We grew up watching movies and cartoons where cats eat fish and drink a saucer of milk. But it turns out that many foods please our feline companions’ palate. Although our cats may enjoy a slice of cheese, a scoop of ice cream, or any of the items mentioned above, they should not be a staple to their diet.