Cat diet has always been a debatable topic. And the latest to join this bandwagon, owing to the popularity and the variety available, is: can cats eat cereal?
Cats can eat cereal, but it is not at all recommended. Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need animal-based meat to fulfill their protein requirements. Cereals are high in sugar, carbohydrates and are grain-based. The cat’s digestive system cannot process all these ingredients.
Hence, the cat will not get any nutritional benefit from eating cereals. A thing to consider here is that, even though cereals are not beneficial to cats, they are also non-toxic. If your cat has eaten cereal once in a while, there is nothing to be worried about. Let’s discuss the various cereals and their effects on cats and the best cereal choices for cats.
Is Cereal Safe For Cats
Cereals are safe for cats, but they are not at all recommended. The reason we say this is because cats are obligate carnivores.
That essentially means your furry friend requires meat and protein for her nutritional requirements rather than the fibers, sugar, and grains found in cereals.
Thus, in a nutshell, your four-legged friend will not be harmed or have severe side effects if she eats cereals. But, if you talk about nutrition, then cereals are a fry cry than what your cat needs!
Can Cats Eat Dry Cereal?
It is not advisable that cats eat dry cereals. The reason is that dry cereals are often hard and crunchy. While this might not possess any health issues to your furry feline, in all probability, it can cause choking in your furry friend.
Dry cereals can also get lodged in your cat’s throat, leading to extreme irritation. This might also lead to your cat feeling nauseous, and she can also throw up.
Thus, if you want to feed cereal to your cat, it is best to serve it with some liquid. However, we highly recommend serving protein-based food and high-quality cat foods to your cat for a healthier life.
Can Cats Eat Cornflakes
You can consider cornflakes as one of the healthier cereal options for your cat, and YES, your furry friend can eat cornflakes.
Before understanding how cornflakes can add some nutritional value to your cat’s diet, let’s take a look at a few of the core ingredients that make cornflakes one of the most trusted cereals.
● 90% Corn
● Salt and sugar
● Barley malt extract
● Minerals like iron and zinc oxide
● Vitamin E
While excessive salt and sugar are not recommended for cats, the other ingredients boast the nutrients that your cat can benefit from.
Corn is not harmful to your cat and can add some fiber to your cat’s diet. Barley extract works excellent as a laxative for hairballs, which is quite a common thing in cats.
Iron is essential for maintaining the proper hemoglobin levels in your furry friend. Hemoglobin facilitates the oxygen transfer in your cat’s whole body. Without hemoglobin, your cat’s cell might not get enough oxygen to function correctly. This can often lead to Anemia.
So, the iron content in cornflakes works in favor of your cat.
Coming to Vitamin E is an essential vitamin needed in your cat’s diet. Vitamin E is essential to maintain your cat’s healthy skin and fur, and also it prevents the occurrences of mites and fleas.
Thus, if your cat digs for cereals, then cornflakes are probably the safest option out there. Of course, when given in the wet form. You wouldn’t want your cat choking. But, never make the mistake of solely providing your cat with cornflakes. They lack the one core ingredient that cats need the most, meat!
Can Cats Eat Rice Krispies Cereal
Even though cats can eat rice krispies, you should refrain from serving it to your feline friend. Now you may ask why? So, the answer is these Krispies are covered in excessive sugar, which can be no good for your cat.
It’s not that your cat will have an immediate unpleasant effect by eating the rice Krispies. Still, in the long run, excessive sugar, along with the high carbohydrate content of the rice, can lead to obesity and diabetes in your cat.
The sugar content can also be harmful to your four-legged friend’s dental health.
But, just in case your cat goes wild over the taste of Rice Krispies, which we highly doubt, then you should look out for the varieties that are low in sugar and sweetener content.
And just one reminder, do not feed dry rice Krispies to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Special K
If you think that those nutritional values advertised for special K will benefit your cat, you are highly mistaken. Cats should not eat Special K. Though good for cat owners, it is pointless to serve this cereal to your feline friend.
Let’s take a look at some of the core ingredients in the Special K cereal:
● 36.2% Rice
● 33.2% Whole Wheat
● Liquid Glucose
● Iodized Salt
A glance at the ingredients above, and it is pretty evident that the nutrients that your cat’s body demands, and the nutrients that Special K provides, are poles apart. If you aren’t aware, cats need a high amount of protein, fat and extremely low or no carbohydrates.
Special K is high in grain content, sugar content, and salt content. Everything that should be avoided for your feline friend.
And did you know, few cats also have grain allergies? If your cat is one of those, then you should not give even a tiny spoon of Special K to your four-legged friend.
Being a cat owner myself, I very well understand how stubborn these furballs can be! And sometimes, all that your cat would want is some Special K. If this is the case, then try to give only a tiny amount to your cat, and that too in a wet form.
Can I Feed My Cat Cheerios
You can feed your cat cheerios in a very small amount, maybe one or two. And that too, only if your feline friend wants it. Even though cheerios will not be harmful to your cat, it is zero if we talk about the nutritional value.
Apart from this, cheerios are loaded with processed sugar, corn syrup, and preservatives. These can be harmful to your cat in the long run. The sugar content can also cause tooth decay.
So, if your furry friend has stolen some cheerios without your knowledge(trust me, they do this!), don’t fret about it. Few stolen cheerios will not harm your furball. But it’s best not to serve them daily.
You should stick to an animal-based protein diet if you want your cat to remain fit and fine.
Are Cereals Bad For Cats
Since cereals serve no nutritional value to your cat’s diet, they are de facto bad for cats.
Your feline cat is an obligate carnivore, and her body is designed in a way that it can only get nutrition from meat and meat products. With no fault of theirs, cats’ bodies are not designed to digest sugar, salt, grains, and carbohydrates found in cereals.
They can’t even digest milk! This might come as a shock.
Apart from this, if you substitute your cat’s diet entirely with cereals, your cat might also be at risk of going blind. This is because cereals, no matter which brand or which type you select, lack Taurine. Lack of this element can cause blindness in cats.
An occasional biting of cereal won’t pose much of a risk to your furry friend, but never, and we repeat, never make it a habit for your cat. The contents of cereals can lead to nutritional deficiency, diabetes, obesity, kidney, liver, and bladder problems in your cat.
So, it would help if you only fed a grain-free and meat-based diet to your cat.
Is It Ok For Cats To Drink Cereal Milk
It is not at all ok or recommended for cats to drink cereal milk.
The cereal milk will have a high quantity of sugar, and along with that, it might also contain some nuts and cocoa bits or dried fruits which will also be added to the cereal milk. All these ingredients can be hard to digest for your feline friend.
Apart from this, milk being a staple cat food is also a misconception amongst many cat owners. Kittens love milk, as they help them to grow. But adult cats are mostly semi-lactose intolerant.
Hence, serving your cat with cereal milk will invite double trouble for you. This can lead to effects like vomiting, diarrhea, and severe gas issues in your furry friend.
What Type Of Cereal Can Cats Eat
If your feline friend is intrigued with cereals and doesn’t let you eat in peace without sharing some from your cereal bowl, then it’s time you should think of some cereals that would be a bit less harmful to your cat. And might also provide some nutrients.
Check out the below table to get some quick and handy information.
|Cereal||Major Ingredients That Are Beneficial To Cats||Health Benefits|
|Oat Cereals||OatsDietary fiberProteins (11.6 grams/ 100 grams)Minerals like Zinc and ManganeseVitamins||Oats are high in Vitamin B and folic acid.Folic acid facilitates the production and maintenance of new cells.These are essential for strong bones, teeth, and nails.Zinc maintains the healthy fur and skin of your catManganese maintains proper thyroid levels in your feline friend.The protein content is high as compared to other cereals.|
|Cornflakes||Corn (90%)Proteins (8 grams/ 100 grams)Barley malt extractMinerals like iron and zinc oxideVitamin E||Corn adds some fiber to your cat’s diet.Barley malt works as a great laxative. This is usually helpful to prevent hairballs in your feline friend.Iron maintains the hemoglobin levels in your cat, essential for the supply of oxygen throughout the cat’s body.Vitamin E maintains your cat’s healthy skin and fur. Vitamin E is also used to prevent and cure flea and mite infestation on your furry friend.|
Make sure you follow the below two thumb rules while serving the cereal to your furball:
● Do not replace your cat’s food entirely with cereals. This will only lead to malnourishment and health issues in your cat. Cereals should only be served as treats to cats.
● Always give wet cereal to your cat. Add some warm water or some canned cat-safe soup if needed. Avoid serving dry cereal, as it might lead to choking and nausea in your cat.
Things To Consider
Since serving cereals is not a good option, it is vital to know the ideal diet for your cat. Read on to know more about your cat’s dietary needs and the factors that might affect them.
Serve Lots of Animal-Based Protein
Since cats are strict carnivores, you should serve your furry friend meat high in protein content. The meat should be devoid of any seasonings like salt or sugar.
Also, never try to make your cat a vegetarian!
Kibble Should Be Selected Based On Cat’s Age
A cat’s food requirements might change as per their age. A kitten will be more active than an older cat. Hence, always look out for age-specific cat kibble.
Look out for high-quality kibbles made of natural ingredients like duck and turkey.
High-Quality Wet Foods Are Better Than Dry Kibble
Wet food suffices more nutritional needs of your cat as compared to kibble. So, if your cat likes wet food, it is best to stick to that only.
However, if improper or low-quality wet food is selected, in that case, the nutritional needs will not be met. To judge which is high-quality cat food, follow the next point.
Look Out For AAFCO Statement
If you are confused about the ingredients or having a hard time deciding the best food for your cat, look out for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
AAFCO approved cat foods, kibble, or water-based foods are safe and highly nutritious for your cat.