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Can Cats Eat Cheetos? Vet Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Written by: Ashley Bates

Last Updated on June 20, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat CHEETOS

Can Cats Eat Cheetos? Vet Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

We’ve all seen the Cheetos commercials with a cartoon jaguar. He’s technically a cat, so can cats eat Cheetos? Truthfully, even humans probably shouldn’t even eat Cheetos. They are chock-full of preservatives, artificial dyes, and harmful additives.

The same sentiment extends to our kitties. Even though they’re cheesy and tasty, Cheetos aren’t a healthy snack for our felines. There are several Cheetos flavors. Are certain types of Cheetos worse for cats than others? Let’s explore precisely why Cheetos are a no-go for your kitties.



Cats Shouldn’t Eat Cheetos

If your cat comes up and licks part of a Cheeto, it’s not going to hurt them. They would have to eat an entire bag before things started going south. However, it is not a nutritionally sound snack. It’s full of unnatural ingredients that can be pretty harsh on their digestive systems.

Let’s Discuss the Ingredients

Based on the original Crunchy Cheetos

Serving Size: 1 ounce (21 pieces)
  • Calories—160
  • Fat—10 g
  • Sodium—250 mg
  • Carbohydrates—13 g
  • Protein—2 g
Vitamins & Minerals
  • Thiamin—8%
  • Niacin—4%
  • Iron—2%
  • Riboflavin—4%
  • Vitamin B6—6%

different cheetos variants

Different Types of Cheetos

Types of Cheetos:
  • Crunchy Cheetos
  • Cheeto Puffs
  • Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
  • Cheetos Popcorn
  • Mac n’ Cheese Cheetos
  • Fantastix
  • Simply
  • Baked

Breakdown of Ingredients

Ingredients and their consequences for your kitty:
  • Enriched Corn MealCornmeal is often found in many commercial cat foods, but it is considered a filler. It isn’t the best grain that your cat should be eating. In fact, many pet food companies are now steering away from corn, wheat, and soy since they don’t contain enough nutrients.
  • Oils—Many oils can be beneficial to your cats, such as flaxseed oil or coconut oil. However, the oils found in Cheetos aren’t the best nutrition for your beloved pets.
  • Cheese & Dairy—Until recent years, it was perfectly acceptable to give your kitty a warm dish of milk. However, most cats are naturally lactose intolerant and shouldn’t have dairy products at all.
  • Salt—Cheetos contain too much sodium, which can be harmful to dogs and cats. It would be best if you didn’t give your pets salty snacks.
  • Lactic Acid—This acid controls microbial growth and is perfectly safe for cats.
  • Citric Acid—In large quantities, citric acid can irritate a cat’s digestive system.
  • Artificial ColorsMany cat food companies avoid artificial flavors and colors because it’s bad for your cats.

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Do Cats Like Cheetos?

As with anything else, cats can be picky about what they will and won’t eat. Even if you have a picky cat, it might surprise you that they’re attracted to human cuisine.

Some cats might love the incredibly cheesy texture, while other kitties might steer clear entirely. In the end, it’s all about personal preference.

cheetos puffs

Why Cats and Dairy Don’t Mix

As we mentioned when we discussed the ingredients in Cheetos, dairy is not suitable for cats. It is a common misconception that it is a healthy option because cats enjoy drinking milk. However, cats do not have the necessary enzymes to break down lactose.

Even though dairy products aren’t necessarily toxic to cats, they can cause digestive issues like vomiting or diarrhea.

Why is Sodium Content Important?

Cats can tolerate a small amount of sodium. Most commercial pet foods have enough sodium to keep your cat’s body healthy. However, an overabundance of sodium can cause dehydration and thirst.

Small quantities of sodium might not hurt your cat, but always be mindful of giving them appropriate amounts so there are no side effects.

Cheesy Alternatives for Cats

Instead of giving your cat Cheetos to munch on, there are treats designed explicitly for felines that are better alternatives. You can give your kitty all of the cheesy flavors they desire that are formulated for their bellies.

Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
  • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
  • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...
  • CHEW-SAFE MATERIALS - Kittens and cats love chewing on silicone and soft rubber - but it's a choking...

Learning about what your cat can and cannot eat is a crucial part of keeping them happy and healthy! Choosing a bowl to serve cat-friendly foods in is another important decision pet owners face. Satisfy the specific needs of your cat with the innovative design of the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl. Learn why it’s our (and our cats!) favorite food and water dish here.

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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Final Thoughts

Ultimately, Cheetos aren’t necessarily going to hurt your cat, but they won’t benefit them either. There are several alternatives that your cat will like just as much. If your cat wants to lick the Cheeto dust off your fingers, it’s acceptable occasionally, but don’t let them make a habit of it.

Featured Image: Kelvin Wong, Shutterstock

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