Cats are seen as the ideal pets because of how low maintenance they are. You just need to give your cat some food on a regular basis and clear out the litter box, while the cat keeps itself busy around the house, thereby reducing the amount of work that you need to put in to the bare minimum.
Cat owners, however, sometimes find themselves confused over what is the right food to feed their cats. A cat’s diet is different from a human’s diet, which means that there are many that you eat that may not be suitable for your cat. This piece has been geared towards answering one such question — can cats eat bread?
What Is Bread Made Of?
Before getting to whether or not cats can eat bread, it is important to understand what bread is really made of.
First and foremost, there are many different types of bread that are available for you to purchase. Many of these have a variety of ingredients that may be completely different from other types of bread.
While you may be inclined to think that bread is just carbohydrates, that isn’t the case. The bread that you are consuming will also have some amount of fats as well as sugar, in addition to protein.
If the bread has been made with grains that aren’t overly refined, you may notice that it can also prove to be a great source of fiber. In addition to folic acid and niacin, which is present in many forms of bread, there are some that are enriched with calcium and iron so that they can be better for your health.
In order to make an informed decision about whether or not you can feed your cat bread, it is important that you look at the nutrients that the bread offers and see whether they are of any use to your cat. The next section is dedicated to this.
Cats and the Nutrients in Bread
If you were to consider the nutrients that a cat needs to have access to in order to lead a healthy life, you may notice the absence of carbohydrates on the list. This is because their genetic buildup is different from humans, who need carbohydrates in their life to function well.
On the contrary, cats do not require carbs to be a part of their diet and can actually end up with difficulties if too much fiber is introduced into their diet.
If you look at cats in the wild, only 10% of what they consume comes under the category of carbohydrates, most of which comes from animal sources and not bread. These animal sources also give the cats protein, which is essential for their survival.
In the previous section, it was mentioned that some amount of protein is also found in bread, but you must keep in mind that this amount is too insignificant to add nutritional value to the cat’s diet.
As is evident, cats need a good amount of animal protein. Similarly, they do not need bread to survive. However, the question here is whether or not cats can eat bread and answer is yes, they can.
Do Cats Enjoy Bread?
Every being has a different taste. For example, one person may enjoy food with tons of spices and a strong aroma, while another one may prefer bland food. The same is the case with cats. While many cats are known to showcase an affinity for food with a certain texture and strong smells, there are others that may be turned off by the flavor.
In general, cats do not look at bread as their favorite food, as it is relatively bland for their taste. In case they have been fed bread from the start, developing a special love for it, they may prod the owner into giving them some. Finally, it is difficult to ascertain which category of cats your pet belongs to, making this just a matter of individual taste that differs from cat to cat.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to offer your pet any sweet-tasting loaves of bread, as they don’t have the receptors to enjoy these.
Is Bread Toxic or Dangerous?
Again, it is difficult to classify all types of bread into one category, as it can be made using different ingredients and offers different nutrients to the consumer. In general, most types of bread will not be toxic, which makes it safe to be eaten by your pet.
In case your cat is used to having a little bit of bread here and there, small amounts of this food will have an adverse effect on its health. Similarly, if you have been using it to give a treat to your cat, you can continue with limited portions.
With ingredients like flour, milk, water, eggs and others — all in limited quantities — it is unlikely that your feline buddies will be severely harmed by consuming bread accidentally.
The worst-case scenario may be that the cat develops some indigestion as a result of eating too much bread, in which case it needs to be taken to the veterinarian or licensed professional immediately before the situation gets more complex.
When Does Bread Work for Your Cat?
If the consumption of bread — and other carbohydrates — is restricted to 10% of the cat’s regular diet, it should not face any considerable problems.
However, you must keep in mind that cats are not naturally consumers of carbohydrates. Too much of these nutrients can end up leading to obesity in cats, which are otherwise known to be carnivores.
If the cat has diabetes or arthritis, consuming too much bread can actually lead to health-related complications, resulting in premature death in rare cases.
A piece of bread here and there will not affect the cat’s health too severely, but you must keep in mind that if your pet has a sensitive stomach, there could be a reaction. You need to monitor the health of your pet after they eat bread and if it results in stomach-related ailments, diarrhea or vomiting, bread needs to be removed from its diet immediately.
It is recommended that you consult your veterinarian before making any other changes in the cat’s diet.
What Types of Bread to Avoid for Your Cat
While your cat may be able to eat some regular bread, there are some things that you must explicitly avoid when it comes to feeding your pet. This section has been dedicated to the different types of bread or related items that must not be made a part of your cat’s diet, so keep reading!
- No Raw Bread Dough — First and foremost, do not try to feed your cat dough that hasn’t been baked or raw yeast. The reason behind this is that the dough will keep expanding inside the cat’s stomach once it has been ingested, causing bloating that could end up endangering its health. If the yeast is ingested, the fermentation leads to the formation of alcohol, which can get into the blood and become toxic.
- Different Types of Bread — While plain bread can be eaten by your furry pet, there are some types of bread that should be kept away. Amongst these, raisin bread and garlic bread top the list, as both these items — raisins and garlic — are known to be toxic when it comes to these feline creatures. Thoroughly checking the ingredients of the bread is recommended.
- No Toppings — Most of us eat bread with some common toppings like cheese, butter or even Nutella. Even if you enjoy your bread in a particular way, it doesn’t mean that your cat should be given the same. Avoid butter and cheese, as an overwhelming number of cats have shown a tendency to be lactose intolerant. Feeding them these products may end up upsetting their stomach and causing complications.
Moderation is the key when it comes to a healthy diet for human beings and things aren’t too different when it comes to other living beings — in this case, cats. If you are wondering whether your cat can eat bread, the answer is yes.
However, you must remember that it should be given in moderation, as the cat’s diet requires a very limited amount of carbohydrates. Avoid flavored bread and toppings even if you feel that your cat may enjoy it, as there are a bunch of additives and ingredients that may not work for your cat. Finally, be sure to leave that raw dough alone!