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Can Cats Eat Table Scraps? 6 Vet-Reviewed Things to Consider

Written by: Chantelle Fowler

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

curious cat joins in the dinner table

Can Cats Eat Table Scraps? 6 Vet-Reviewed Things to Consider


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk


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

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You know how hard it is to say no to your beloved kitty when they’re looking up at you at the dinner table with their big eyes, begging for a taste of whatever it is you have on your plate. Surely, sharing a small taste of what you’re eating for dinner would be harmless, right? Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Sharing table scraps with your cat is not recommended for a number of reasons. Read on to learn more.

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The 6 Things to Consider About Table Scraps

1. Cats are obligate carnivores.

For people to have a balanced diet, you want your meals to have protein, fruits, vegetables, and grains. Your cat, however, is an obligate carnivore and does not have the same nutritional requirements as humans. They do not need fruits, vegetables, and grains the same way we do. Instead, they rely mostly on meat as their bodies need the nutrients mainly found in animal flesh. Cats require a high amount of protein, moderate amounts of fat, and minimal carbohydrates to thrive.

So, while the meat you’re eating is probably okay to offer very occasionally as long as it is cooked and plain, the remainder of what is on your plate may not be species-appropriate for cats.

Man holding bowl with feeding for his hungry domestic cat
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

2. Some spices and seasonings are toxic for cats.

We add spices and seasonings to our dishes to add flavor and make our food more palatable. Your cat’s wild ancestors never evolved to require additional flavoring for their food. While some herbs are safe for cats to consume, the same cannot be said about all herbs and spices.

Garlic, onions, and chives are among the most popular add-ins in human dishes, but they’re also the most toxic for cats. Consuming chives, garlic, or onion, whether it in powder, vegetable, or herb form, can cause extreme gastrointestinal upset and even red blood cell damage.

Even eating large amounts of salt can cause problems for cats.

3. Some foods are toxic for cats.

Some human foods are toxic for cats, including green tomatoes, raw potatoes, grapes, raisins, anything containing xylitol, and chocolate. Eating these foods can cause various issues including digestive upset and kidney failure.

Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

4. Feeding table scraps can cause behavioral problems.

Cats are creatures of habit, and those continuously offered table scraps may get a little too comfortable with the idea. This may lead to behavioral issues like begging for food or stealing food. In particularly mischievous cats, this type of behavior may lead to injuries if they try to steal food right from the stovetop.

5. Feeding human food can create a picky eater.

Cats continuously fed table scraps may become picky eaters, especially if they’re not too fond of the cat food you feed them to begin with. A refusal to eat their species-appropriate diet can create nutritional deficiencies that ultimately impact your pet’s overall health.

cat not eating and looking at the food in the bowl
Image Credit: PawelKacperek, Shutterstock

6. Table scraps can cause gastrointestinal issues.

A cat’s digestive system is designed to digest species-appropriate foods. Feeding too many table scraps can wreak havoc on your pet’s gastrointestinal system, as the system is not intended to digest human food. Additionally, cats generally do not cope well with sudden diet changes, so adding too much human food too quickly can be problematic. Your kitty may exhibit signs such as vomiting or diarrhea if their digestive tract is having a hard time with the foods you’re feeding.

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Final Thoughts

While some human foods are okay to feed cats as a special treat occasionally, it’s best not to get into the habit of offering your pet table scraps. Not only are human foods and the spices we add to them potentially toxic, but they’re not species appropriate for cats. Additionally, feeding table scraps can cause behavioral issues that can be hard to break.

Featured Image Credit: olgaarmawir, Shutterstock

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