Bread is a common food staple in many households. We love eating it for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. It’s tasty, filling, and smells great. So why wouldn’t we want to feed it to our cats?
But the question is, should you? Should you give your pet kitty a bite or two of bread?
Let’s find out.
Can Cats Eat Bread?
Yes, cats can eat bread, but of course, like other human food, there’s always a precaution. Bread is not dangerous for cats to eat. It’s not toxic and if your cat has ingested an entire slice of bread, you won’t have anything to worry about.
However, just like any other human food, it shouldn't be given to cats on a daily basis, and it shouldn’t be the only thing that your cat eats for an entire day.
Cats Don’t Need Carbohydrates
As you may already know, cats are obligate carnivores. This means they get their daily nutritional needs from meat. They need protein, fat, and other nutrients every day. Bread does not contain protein nor does it give your cat any vitamins and minerals. Bread for cats is empty calories.
Giving bread to your cat, therefore, should only be done as a treat. Any human food should not exceed 10% of your cat’s diet, otherwise, there won’t be any room to meet her nutritional requirements for protein and fat.
For example, your cat eats 3 slices of bread. A slice of bread is about ⅕ of your cat’s diet. That leaves very little room for your cat to consume meat or protein. Because she’s already consumed most of her daily calorie intake, it will lead her to eat less meat, and therefore, her daily protein needs won’t be met. In short, the risk of malnutrition may occur if you make bread a daily staple in your cat’s diet.
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Are Cats Attracted to Bread?
While most cats will eat bread out of curiosity, there are some cats that are actually addicted to bread. When they see and smell bread on the countertop, they will automatically gobble it up. Studies have shown that some cats are addicted to bread because of the yeast. As it turns out, cats love the taste of yeast because it is often found in many commercial cat foods. Inactive yeast is used in many cat foods, as well as in their medicine.
While feeding bread to cats is not necessarily a bad thing, as mentioned, it can interfere with their nutritional needs. Daily consumption of bread that exceeds more than 10% of her daily diet is not good for her due to the risk of nutritional deficiency.
If you think your cat may not be interested in the bread that you place on your dining table or countertop, then it’s time to think again. It may be a better idea to keep bread in a sealed container to make sure your kitty doesn’t get a hold of it as easily as she can.
The Dangers of Uncooked Bread Dough
While bread is not toxic to cats, uncooked bread dough is a different story. If you love baking and your cat is hanging around the kitchen as you bake, then it might be a good idea to put her away from the kitchen.
This is because raw bread dough can be toxic to cats because of the yeast. When your cat ingests uncooked bread dough, the dough could expand in her moist and warm stomach. This can lead to bloating, vomiting, and gas.
Yeast can also produce carbon monoxide, as well as alcohol when the yeast ferments inside the stomach. Alcohol is toxic to cats and can lead to alcohol poisoning.
A condition called alcohol toxicosis can cause health issues, such as diarrhea, excessive gas, vomiting, and when it is absorbed in the bloodstream, it can even cause seizures and respiratory failure.
If your cat has eaten uncooked bread dough, bring her to the emergency room as soon as possible.
When to Feed Bread to Your Cat
An occasional treat is okay for cats. A small cube of bread, about the size of your pinky finger, is about 20 calories, and that’s enough to give as a treat to your cat.
If you’re administering medicine to your cat, such as a pill, you can hide the pill inside the bread to make it easier to give it to your cat.
What Kind of Bread is Okay to Give To Your Cat
Not all kinds of bread are okay to feed to your cat. Some types of bread are bad for cats. The rule is, the plainer the bread, the better. This is because seasoning and other ingredients may be toxic to cats.
Plain, white bread usually only contains eggs, flour, milk, salt, yeast, and oil. These ingredients are not harmful to cats. However, when other added ingredients are added, such as garlic and onions, chocolate, or tomato, cheese, these are harmful and dangerous, so it’s best to avoid any bread that has added flavoring or ingredients. Garlic bread is a big no-no for cats.
Avoid savory bread because you never really know what’s inside them, and your cat might be allergic to the ingredients.
Plain, white, baked bread, is the safest type of bread that you can give to your cat as a treat.
The Bottom Line
Cats can eat bread but should they eat it? The answer is not necessarily. It’s neither good nor bad for them so if you’re eating bread and your cat is watching you with pleading eyes, a small cube of bread is fine to give to your cat.
But do not use bread as a substitute for your cat’s daily diet. She needs protein and other nutrients to keep her healthy and happy, which means a piece of bread is only good as a treat and not as an addition to her diet.