What Human Foods Can Cats And Kittens Eat?

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An orange kitten is held by its young pet parent. The kitten is alert and of a healthy weight

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Getting a new kitten or cat is always exciting and we often want to lavish them with nice things. Giving food is one of the most important elements of the human-animal bond, and we love to see our cat or kitten really enjoying what we give. This often involves treats and titbits of human food, but is this really OK? And if so, what human foods are safe for your kitten to eat?

First things first

Growth is a really crucial period in any animal’s life and one of the times that optimal nutrition is most important. The right nutrition means a steady, healthy growth rate, strong bones and teeth, and a brain and senses that are as sharp as they can be. Your kitten needs a complete and balanced kitten food to achieve this. You can feed wet or dry food, or a combination, as long as everything you give is complete and balanced. 

It’s always a good idea to feed wet and dry right from the start if you can. Cats get very easily hooked on textures, and if you ever need your cat to eat wet or dry, you may struggle if they are not used to both from an early age.

Treats and human foods

By far the safest way to give your cat or kitten treats is to use dedicated cat treats. Whatever you are using for treats, they should never make up more than 10% of the daily ration of calories. Feeding too many treats can not only lead to obesity, but may unbalance their diet and lead to excesses or deficiencies in some nutrients.

There are lots of human foods that can make healthy, safe treats for your kitten. These include:

  • Cooked meats. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they have to have meat in their diet to get all their essential nutrients. Your kitten food will have everything they need, but titbits of cooked meat like chicken, pork and beef are safe to feed. Avoid very fatty meat or skin as this may cause a stomach upset. Never feed bones or raw meats. Avoid processed meats like ham because of the high salt content.


  • Fish is highly nutritious and, because cats’ appetites are very closely linked to smell, lots of cats and kittens absolutely love fish. Remember to remove bones and cook the fish, as cats should not be fed raw fish. 

  • Eggs are a great source of protein and are safe for cats to eat. Scrambled or boiled are best, not fried. It’s best not to add milk or butter if you’re making scrambled eggs as some cats can’t tolerate dairy products.


  • Fruit and vegetables. Cats don’t generally have a sweet tooth and they don’t necessarily need vegetables, so you may find they have no interest in fruits or vegetables. However, some are safe. You can try offering peas, broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, bananas, melon and blueberries. Just don’t be offended if they say no!

  • Whole grains such as oats and rice are also safe, nutritious human foods you can offer.

So you have some tasty extras that you can offer in addition to your kitten’s normal diet, but remember that there are lots of human foods that are dangerous for cats and should not be fed. These include:

  • Grapes and raisins.

  • Onions, shallots, garlic and other members of the allium family.

  • Foods containing xylitol sweeteners.

  • Alcohol.

  • Chocolate.

  • Caffeine.

  • Nuts and seeds.

  • Dairy. Some cats can tolerate dairy products but some don’t. They are not necessary so are best avoided.

Food for thought.

The main things to remember when it comes to great nutrition and optimal growth for a healthy kitten are:

  • Feed a complete and balanced kitten food as at least 90% of the ration. 

  • Feed both wet and dry food if possible.

  • Treats should never exceed 10% of the daily calorie needs of your kitten. 

  • Although many human foods are safe, many are not, so if you are ever unsure, just don’t feed it.

  • Keep them slim and monitor their growth with your vet. Slim kittens grow up to be slim cats.

Have fun with your new bundle of joy! Here’s to many years of a beautiful friendship.

Reviewed by Dr. Hein Meyer, DVM, PhD, Dipl-ECVIM-CA