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Can Cats Eat Muffins? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Safe Alternatives

Written by: Kathryn Copeland

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

blueberry muffins on wooden platter

Can Cats Eat Muffins? Vet-Reviewed Risks & Safe Alternatives


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


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

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Many of us enjoy munching on a muffin from time to time. They are tasty and can fill the gap when you’re hungry between mealtimes. There are so many options, too—blueberry, chocolate, bran, and cranberry, just to name a few! But would it be okay to share a piece of your muffin with your cat?

While plain muffins aren’t toxic, they aren’t the safest things to give to your cat. Muffins contain ingredients that aren’t good (and even toxic) for cats, so muffins aren’t recommended for cats. 

In this article, we’ll discuss why muffins aren’t suitable for cats and healthier options to consider instead.

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Why Shouldn’t Cats Eat Muffins

A cat’s diet doesn’t really allow for eating items like muffins. Felines are obligate carnivores, which means they must eat meat to survive, which is why putting a cat on a vegan or vegetarian diet is dangerous.

Cats must have a diet that comprises at least 70% meat, which is why their bodies can struggle to properly digest plants. Generally speaking, cats need a diet that has a high amount of protein, a moderate amount of fat, and only a minimal amount of carbohydrates.

Let’s go over what’s in a muffin to understand why they aren’t suitable for cats.

1. Sugar

Most muffins are high in sugar, which is an ingredient that cats don’t need. A diet high in sugar could lead to obesity, which, in turn, could lead to health conditions like pancreatitis or diabetes.

Cats can’t taste anything sweet, anyway, so giving them something with sugar isn’t actually a treat for them.

sugar cubes
Photo Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

2. Artificial Sweeteners

Some muffins might be artificially sweetened. Most sweeteners aren’t toxic, but there’s the potential that xylitol might be harmful. It’s been well-documented that xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, but it’s not known if it is also harmful to cats.

Either way, avoid giving your cat anything artificially sweetened, particularly if it contains xylitol. It’s not worth taking a chance on your cat’s health.

3. Flour

Muffins are made with flour, which makes them high in carbohydrates. A cat’s diet only requires a minimal amount of carbs, so eating a muffin might cause stomach upset.

4. Dairy

Most muffins are made with milk. Many cats are lactose intolerant, so eating a muffin could set off an upset stomach, which can include diarrhea, bloating, gas, and vomiting.

Cheddar Cheese
Image Credit: HandmadePictures, Shutterstock

5. Fats

Muffins are made with a fair amount of some kind of fat, such as butter, shortening, lard, or oil. Giving high-fat food to your cat can lead to obesity or stomach troubles.

While some cats can have extra fat in their diet because they need to gain weight or are kittens or nursing mothers, there are healthier fats that you can give them. Muffins are definitely not ideal.

6. Added Ingredients

It’s not often that we eat plain muffins with no flavors or added ingredients. Many of the things that you might find in muffins can be bad, if not toxic, to cats.

You should avoid the following ingredients:
  • Chocolate is highly toxic to cats.
  • Raisins are highly toxic to cats.
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg can cause irritation. They are toxic if ingested in large amounts.
  • Oranges or any citrus fruits are considered toxic to cats.
  • Poppy seeds and all parts of the poppy are potentially or are toxic to cats.
Any of the following nuts should also be avoided for various reasons:
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Walnuts and pecans (toxic if they have any mold)

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What Should You Do if Your Cat Eats a Muffin?

If your cat is healthy with no known health conditions or food allergies and the muffin doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients, they will likely be fine. There is a chance of an upset stomach, though, so they might have diarrhea and vomiting. But if your cat has any health problems or food allergies or eats a muffin with a toxic ingredient, you should bring them to your vet as soon as possible.

Even if your cat is healthy and the muffin is technically safe, you can still call your vet to ask for advice. You should always talk to your vet if you plan on adding to or changing something in your cat’s diet.

woman holding her cat in vet clinic
Image Credit: Vladeep, Shutterstock

Safe Treats for Cats

There are all kinds of safe treats that you can give your cat, but speak to your vet before introducing something new, especially if your feline has any health issues.

There are all kinds of cat treats specifically made for cats that can be suitable. Many cats adore lickable treats in particular.

As far as safe people foods for cats, you can try providing the following in moderation:

  • Meat: Plain, cooked turkey, chicken, and beef
  • Whole grains: Brown rice, barley, and couscous
  • Fish: Canned or cooked fish with no seasonings or bones
  • Eggs: Plain cooked eggs
  • Vegetables: Pumpkin and cooked broccoli

There are also various safe fruits. That said, you should never give your cat anything raw or seasoned. Too much salt is bad for cats, and other ingredients, such as onions and garlic, are extremely toxic to cats.

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If your cat eats a tiny bit of your muffin, it’s likely nothing to worry about. But if your cat eats an entire muffin and it contains a toxic ingredient, see your vet immediately.

While blueberries and cranberries in muffins are fine, as they are considered safe fruits, there are other ingredients in muffins that won’t do your cat any favors.

Stick with treats specifically formulated for cats and anything else that your vet suggests. This way, you can still spoil your beloved feline.

Featured Image Credit: Charles Brutlag, Shutterstock

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