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Can Cats Eat Oatmeal? Vet-Reviewed Fact & Considerations

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Can Cats Eat

Can Cats Eat Oatmeal? Vet-Reviewed Fact & Considerations


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

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

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There are few staple breakfast foods that keep you satisfied and full of energy like oatmeal does. But is it also a good morning snack for your pet cat? Oatmeal is technically safe for cats to eat because it doesn’t contain any toxins or harmful components that make cats sick. However, it’s best to serve this food in moderation. It’s not a natural part of a cat’s diet, and it’s unhealthy for cats to consume large amounts of carbohydrates.

So, before you fix your cat and yourself a bowl of breakfast oatmeal in the morning, make sure you know how to let your cat safely enjoy this food.

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Nutritional Benefits of Oatmeal

Oatmeal is mainly a carbohydrate source, so it’s not ideal for cats. It does provide a small amount of fiber and a tiny bit of protein.

It also has small amounts of the following vitamins and minerals:
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Selenium

Oats contain more protein than other grains, such as rice and wheat. However, it also contains a high amount of carbohydrates, so cats shouldn’t have a diet that incorporates a lot of oatmeal.

a jar of oatmeal
Image Credit: sunxiaoji, Pixabay

How Often Can Cats Eat Oatmeal?

Cats are obligate carnivores, so they require a lot of protein in their diet. They also need adequate amounts of fat because their bodies use protein and fat as energy sources. So, there’s very little need for carbohydrates in a cat’s diet.

With that being said, cats can safely eat oatmeal if it’s given to them every once in a while in very small, bite-sized morsels. However, if you try to give your cat oatmeal, there’s a good chance that your cat won’t enjoy it. Oatmeal tends to be more of an acquired taste, so some cats will enjoy it, while others won’t find it appealing at all.

There’s no need to force your cat to eat oatmeal. It’s not a crucial food in a cat’s diet, so if your cat doesn’t like it, you can definitely provide other species-appropriate snacks for them to enjoy. Cats will most likely prefer meat-based treats over carbohydrate-heavy treats, anyway.

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A Cat’s Basic Dietary Requirements

In general, cats thrive on protein-heavy diets with adequate amounts of fat and very few carbohydrates.


Adult cats usually need a diet that consists of at least 26% protein. Studies suggest that cats maintain lean body mass when their diet contains at least 40% protein.

Some senior cats may need even more protein in their diet and should be fed food containing about 50% protein. However, cats with kidney issues will need lower amounts of protein. The best way to determine the appropriate amount of protein in a cat’s diet is to work with your veterinarian.

One of the most important reasons cats need to eat protein from animal meat is that they need an ample amount of taurine in their diet. Taurine is an essential amino acid found in high concentrations in animal meat, such as chicken and salmon.

Taurine deficiencies can lead to potentially fatal health conditions, such as feline taurine retinopathy or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

tabby cat eating from metal bowl
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock


When it comes to fats, cats need diets containing a minimum of 9% fat. Many people may think that consuming too much fat isn’t good. However, cats actually need to eat a good amount of fat to stay healthy.

Since cats use fat as energy, low-fat diets can be detrimental to their overall health in the long run. Unless they have a specific condition, such as pancreatitis, they need to have at least 9% fat or more in their diet. Your vet can guide you in choosing the right ratio for your cat. Cats also need to consume omega fatty acids to maintain healthy skin, a healthy coat, and a strong immune system. Fats also help transport important nutrients across cell membranes within a cat’s body and help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.


Cats don’t need a lot of carbohydrates in their diet. So, outside of eating their usual cat food for main meals, they shouldn’t eat too many foods or treats containing a lot of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates aren’t as filling for cats, so they can end up eating more and gaining weight. Therefore, it’s important to feed cats a regular diet that sticks to their daily nutritional needs. A well-balanced diet for cats can help them keep a healthy body weight and maintain their daily bodily functioning.

Carbohydrates like oatmeal can be nutritious for humans and dogs because they’re facultative carnivores and have adapted to eating carbs. However, it’s not the best option for obligate carnivores like felines. Cats can easily become overweight and sick by consuming foods with a lot of carbohydrates.

Oatmeal in a white bowl
Image Credit: jmexclusives, Pixabay

Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Cats must also regularly consume specific vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Any sort of vitamin and mineral deficiencies can potentially lead to serious health conditions. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has a set list of essential vitamins and minerals that all cat food should contain.

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Final Thoughts on Cats & Oatmeal

Although oatmeal is safe for cats to eat, they will benefit from other treats that better fit their diets, such as chicken jerky. However, since oatmeal has no harmful properties in it, you can still feed it to your cat if they enjoy the taste. Just make sure to only serve a small amount in order to prevent any weight gain, as this is not an ideal food for an obligate carnivore.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: martin_hetto, Pixabay

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