Can Cats Eat Human Food? 20 Foods Safe for Cats to Eat

Sometimes when I start eating, my cat begins to get curious about my food. He comes up to me and tries to catch a sniff of what I’m eating.

As a veterinarian assistant, I am cautious about what I allow my cats to eat. I am frequently asked, ‘Can cats eat human food?’ And the answer is yes, but not all. Many human foods aren’t good for our felines, while others are more tolerable or even beneficial to our cats. 

It’s important to note, though, that cats should not be fed human food exclusively. Think of human food as more of a snack or fun treat for your cat. It can be given occasionally, as long as you are giving them a high quality diet made specifically for them. 

I’ve compiled a list of 20 foods that are safe to feed your cats. The actual number of human foods cats can eat is surely more than 20, however, we are still researching a number of them. Until we know for certain what other foods are safe for cats, it’s best to stick to these 20 foods when you want to give your kitty a human treat. 


This watery vegetable is beneficial for your cat in many ways. It provides some extra fluid to their diet, which is crucial for an animal who doesn’t usually like drinking water. It also contains a high amount of vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium and potassium. Cucumbers also have molybdenum, which helps increase a cat’s metabolism. This is an ideal food choice for overweight felines, as the water content can help them feel fuller longer. The best way to serve it is by cutting it into small pieces. 


Dark, leafy greens are the key to a good human diet. It turns out, they’re great for cats, too! Spinach has a ton of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. [1] Cats with calcium oxalate bladder stones should not be given spinach, however, as it can increase the chances of these forming. Spinach is generally regarded as one of the best foods to give your cat, and its inclusion in various cat foods is proof of that.


Can I have some more peas, please?! This vegetable is a good source of protein, and includes vitamins A, B1, B6, C and K, in addition to minerals and fibers. It’s great for your kitty, and is actually listed as one of the top ingredients for cat foods. Its nutrients can improve your cat’s muscle tone, nerves, skin and fur, as well as their vision, immune system, and digestive tract. It’s best to cook them before serving, as it makes it easier for your cat to chew. [2]


While carrots are one of the best human foods for cats, they do need to be chopped up in fine pieces for them to consume. If your cat likes carrots, then it can be a great source of beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that helps your cat’s vision, skin, fur, muscles and nerves. They can be served cooked or raw, as long as the pieces are small enough for your cat to eat. 


My cats go crazy for broccoli. It’s something about the texture that gets them excited. Luckily for them, this veggie is a powerhouse of vitamins. It includes a high amount of vitamin C and carotenoids, as well as lots of fiber and antioxidants. Serve it cooked for easier digestion and chewability. 


Just like cucumbers, zucchini can provide a great source of water for your cat. Loaded with magnesium and potassium, you can provide it either raw or cooked. Either way, you’ll need to cut it into small pieces and peel off the skin for your cats to easily digest it. 


Fun fact: cats don’t have sweet receptors on their tongue. That means they can’t taste sweet! But that doesn’t mean they don’t like fruit. One of the best fruits to give cats is bananas. Their mushy texture makes them easy to eat, and its vitamins make it a healthy choice. Bananas contain potassium, magnesium, fibers, calcium and fibers. The rest of the nutrients in bananas can’t be digested by cats, as cats are carnivores and lack the enzymes necessary to fully digest plant foods. When giving your cats bananas, be sure to just give them a small portion, as this fruit has a lot of carbs which can lead to weight gain. [3]


Another water dense food, watermelon’s main benefit is its fluid content. It doesn’t have many vitamins or minerals that cats can absorb. During the summer, it can be a refreshing treat for your feline. But don’t be fooled into thinking it does anything for your cat other than provide it some much needed H2O!


These pretty red berries are a great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Whether you feed them raw, blended, frozen or chopped up, your cat will likely enjoy this little treat. It can help boost their immune system as well. 


With vitamin A, B6, C, folate and minerals, cats can eat this tropical treat. Be aware that this fruit does contain a high amount of sugar, so it should only be given in small portions. It’s best to choose fresh pineapple because the canned version has even more sugar. Avoid feeding your cat this fruit if they have diabetes.


In addition to being safe for cats to eat, they might enjoy playing with these fruits. With a substantial amount of vitamin C and antioxidants, this fruit prevents oxidative stress and lowers the risk of your cat getting a UTI. As with all fruits, you’ll only want to give them a small amount. [4]


While the seeds, stems and leaves are best avoided (they contain cyanide), the actual apple has lots of antioxidants, fibers, and vitamins. This tart-y treat will please your cat’s senses, and may also act as an efficient teeth cleaner.


As carnivores, cats can eat all types of meat. This includes poultry – chicken, turkey and duck. Poultry is a great source of protein, especially the skeletal muscle, like breast and thigh. Stick to giving your cat these lean meats. And while duck also has a lot of nutrients, it does have a lot of fat, so is best given in smaller portions. Although cats can eat raw meat, it is safer to cook meat thoroughly before giving it to your cat (make sure it reaches a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit). 


All types of beef are great for your feline, particularly ground beef. It is easy for your cat to chew and is more affordable than other meats. You can also give your cat beef organs, which are very nutrient dense, but remember to only give this in small portions. Cook any beef products to a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, and ground beef should reach a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.


Because it has a high fat content, pork should only be given occasionally, and in small amounts. But please give this meat slowly, as some cats can have an allergic reaction to it. 

Lamb and Veal

Though lamb and veal are more expensive than other meats, they are a tasty treat for a cat. These are rich meats, however, so they need to be given in smaller portions. 


Eggs are present in many popular cat foods as they offer a great source of protein. They also have a high amount of vitamin B. It’s vital to cook eggs fully before giving it to your cat.


Easy to chew, oatmeal has a high source of fiber and B vitamins. Much of today’s popular cat foods contain oatmeal. Although it’s great for cats, some might not like it. Incorporate this food slowly as that will give the cat more time to decide if they like it. 


Often given to cats when they have diarrhea, pumpkin is known for its high fiber content, which promotes bowel regularity. There are even supplements you can give your cat that contain pumpkin. It’s best to give this food in puree form. Make sure it’s 100% pumpkin, as many store bought pumpkins contain spices, especially if they’re for pumpkin pies. 


You wouldn’t think that cheese would be safe for cats to eat, but it is! Obviously, you’ll need to limit your cat’s intake of this delicious food, as it has a lot of fat. Feed your cat hard cheese like Swiss, cheddar or gouda. With lots of calcium and protein, they can be a nutritious little snack for your feline. 

Final thoughts…

Many human foods are safe for cats to eat! While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’s made up of some of the most thoroughly researched and vetted human foods for cats. If you want to experiment with giving your cat human food, this list is a great place to start. As with any new diet, please incorporate slowly, and remember that human food should not be your cat’s main source of sustenance. It’s best to give human food in moderation, and think of it more as a rare treat.

*The content provided in is not, without limitations, medical advice and/or professional advice and should not be construed and/or considered to be. We advise you to contact your pet’s veterinary care physician for specific treatment and care.*

Thomas is a veterinarian assistant and loves sharing his expertise with the world. He is passionate about increasing cats' quality of life and helping them reach optimal health.