Second Chance: Can Cats Eat People Food?

Second Chance: Can Cats Eat People Food?

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the emergency response, community medical, spay/neuter, volunteer, or other services.

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We cats are curious creatures, exploring our surroundings and perhaps your food. Sometimes our people also give us treats or tastes from the table, which makes us happy. But we don’t have the same digestive system as humans or dogs.

Cats are carnivores, which means we must eat meat; our bodies simply require it. Dogs are considered scavenging carnivores, which means they are primarily meat eaters — but they can survive on plants alone if necessary. Humans are omnivores. You are neither carnivore nor herbivore, but are adaptable and can survive by eating what is available.

What’s that wonderful smell in the morning? I think you call it bacon. Technically yes, cats can eat bacon. Our typical sleeping schedule of 16 to 20 hours per day doesn’t leave much time for us to burn off the high calories. The bigger concern is that bacon contains a lot of sodium and fat (the same goes for other processed meats), which is no better for us than it is for you. Verdict- bacon is okay as an occasional treat.

Some other meats that might be a better choice? Tuna is a great treat for your cat (we love it!).However, that should not be our primary because we need other foods to get the nutrition we need. Chicken is usually just fine for us too – either raw or cooked (if it doesn’t have many spices added). Pork and beef are okay, but only in small amounts (and lean pieces are best).

You’ve seen cats enjoying a saucer of milk on TV, in cartoons, art, and books? Did you know that most cat breeds are lactose-intolerant? We have a hard time digesting anything that is milk-based. So, while small bits of cheese are probably okay as a treat, avoid giving us milk, yogurt, or ice cream.

There are human foods that are toxic or deadly to us. Cats cannot have any member of the onion family (i.e. onions, garlic, chives, etc.). Grapes and grape products are toxic. Cats cannot eat chocolate at all. Most cats recognize chocolate as being toxic and will rarely try to eat it on our own. Eggs should be avoided, although occasional small amounts probably won’t hurt. Peanut butter ingredients won’t hurt either, but the consistency might be a choking hazard. Bread is okay if it is not heavy in yeast. Consuming too much yeast can mess with your cat’s stomach.

I would suggest you limit the people food, occasionally giving your cat only things you know are safe. We can be picky and finicky (sure, that stereotype is probably accurate), so you might need to vary our diet. The basis of our meals should be high-quality commercial cat food that is appropriate for our life stage and health status. A balance of wet and dry food is preferable. Of course, always have fresh water available. If in doubt, ask for advice from your veterinarian.

My name is Anna. I have been at Second Chance a long time and no one here seems to know why. I’m really a perfect cat. I’m not bragging when I say I’m absolutely beautiful. I have a mahogany-colored coat and beautiful eyes. I’m petite, sweet, and would love to be in my forever home.

AND… To continue the Second Chance Highlights section, we want to share the following:

Barn Cats

When we receive little ones that have never known human contact, we do our best to help them learn how to be loving pets. Sometimes we’re successful, and these babies grow into affectionate, trusting cats. Other times, they never quite learn to trust completely. Peach, Kitana, Raiden, Scorpion, Agate, Amber, Ruby, Margo, and Garnet are healthy, young cats who would be great for a barn home. Second Chance is offering a two-for-one adoption special for these cats who would likely be happier with the life as barn cats.

Tips for Adopting a Barn or Outdoor Cat

Successfully adopting outdoor or barn cats is not as easy as physically placing them in their new outdoor home. Cats are very territorial, and they will try to find their way back to where they came from.

1. Place the cat in a large cage or kennel within the building they will be calling home. A room or any enclosed area will work for acclimating, just be sure the cat cannot roam freely until it establishes this space as its new territory. Give the cat a small towel-lined carrier with the door held open (a small bungee cord works well for this), food and water, and a litter box.

2. Clean the litter box and give fresh food and water daily. This can be done by closing the cat inside the carrier to keep the cat safe while you are tending to its needs.

3. After 2-3 weeks, you can open the cage door. Food and water should be kept both inside and outside of the cage.

4. After two more weeks, the cats should be comfortable in their new home and the cage and supplies can be taken away. The cat has now established its new territory and will likely stay.

5. Caring for your barn cat is as easy as providing fresh food and water daily. Never rely on outdoor cats to sustain themselves on rodents alone.

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