Cat owners know that no creature on this planet is hungrier than a cat. Cats will beg relentlessly for a snack despite having a full bowl of food. They’ll meow and dramatize as if they’re being starved to within an inch of their life despite all evidence to the contrary.
So, of course, it’s not uncommon for cat owners to want to share their own food with their (clearly starving) feline companions – even if it is only to get a moment’s peace.
It isn’t wise or recommended to assume that just because a food is good for humans or tastes nice, that your cat will enjoy it or benefit from it as much as you do. Human nutritional needs and calorie requirements are vastly different from those of your cat, not to mention that some human foods can be toxic to pets.
In our previous articles, we’ve covered which meat products are good for your cat, as well as which fish are best for cats. But what about eggs? While eggs are well known for being a convenient and affordable way for humans to consume more protein, what about our feline friends? Can cats have eggs? Are they any good in terms of nutritional value?
It’s not uncommon for dog owners to treat their canine pals with an egg now and then. Read on to find out if the same is appropriate for felines too.
- Сan cats eat eggs
- Raw eggs
- Egg yolk
- Egg whites
- Scrambled eggs
- Boiled eggs
- How to cook eggs for cats
- Final thoughts
Can cats eat eggs
Absolutely! Eggs are a good source of protein and fats for your cat, but if your cat is already receiving a complete and balanced diet, it’s not technically necessary to feed your cat eggs.
As obligate carnivores, cats thrive on animal protein, so eggs can be a healthy treat that’s easy for your cat to digest. Eggs, while nutritious, don’t provide your cat with complete nutrition and so should only ever be served as an occasional treat, if at all. Eggs should never be the primary food source for cats.
It’s essential to know how much egg is appropriate for a cat. While a single egg is a relatively low-calorie, high-protein snack for a human, the high fat content of eggs can cause your cat to gain weight if the correct portions are not adhered to.
An average cat needs around 150 to 200 calories daily, and while a single whole egg is about 90 calories, you can see how quickly the calories can add up for your kitty. Eggs should never make up more than 10 percent of your cat’s daily nutrition.
Whenever you introduce a new food to your cat’s diet, it’s a good idea to start small and see if there are any adverse reactions or effects. While food allergies in cats are reasonably rare, eggs are the most widespread food allergens for felines.
If you don’t notice any symptoms like scratching or hair loss after a couple of weeks, you can assume that your cat isn’t allergic. If you do notice these symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately. If your cat has any existing conditions or is on any medication, it’s always best to check with your veterinarian using Vet Chat before adding anything new to their diet.
Can cats eat raw eggs
Raw eggs are not appropriate to feed your cat. The presence of bacteria like Salmonella and E.Coli can be just as bad for your cat as they are for humans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eggs are only safe when cooked and handled properly.
A cat’s digestive system works much faster than yours, so for the most part, any bacteria that your cat consumes is more than likely to pass through quite quickly and not be inside your cat’s digestive tract for long enough to cause too many problems. Still, these bacteria can affect your cat, especially if your cat has other conditions or a weakened immune system.
Even if your cat doesn’t get sick, handling contaminated raw eggs or meat can expose everyone in the household to these harmful bacteria. It can be particularly concerning for small children, older people, or anyone with a weakened immune system. Things like handling your pet’s bowls can spread these bacteria through the home if proper hygiene is not followed.
In addition, raw eggs contain a protein called avidin that can cause problems with your cat’s ability to absorb vitamin B7 that they need for healthy skin and coat. Over time this can cause a vitamin B7 (biotin) deficiency in your cat.
Can cats eat egg yolk
Eggs can be a very nutritious snack for your feline. But the high fat content in the yolk can mean that they can add too many calories into your cat’s diet, leading to weight gain. In addition, excess fat in your cat’s diet can lead to some gastrointestinal upsets too.
Most of the fat in eggs is housed in the yolk, so it’s a good idea to limit the amount of yolk you give to your cat. Including a little bit of yolk can’t hurt, but it’s best to be conservative.
If your cat is overweight or has kidney issues, it’s probably best not to include the yolk in their diet at all.
Can cats eat egg whites
Unlike yolks, egg whites contain almost no fats and are where all the protein is. In comparison with yolk, which peaks at 2-3 g of protein in one large egg, the white accounts for around 4 g of protein. Giving only egg whites to your cat will reduce the calories that a whole egg would offer as most of the fat and calories lie in the egg yolk.
Can cats eat scrambled eggs
Scrambled eggs can be good for your cat, as long as no salt or seasoning is added. The main concern with scrambled eggs is how they are cooked. It’s easy to add too much fat to the eggs during the cooking process, which is likely to bump up the calorie content of the eggs.
Remember, too much fat in your cat’s diet can cause gastrointestinal problems, and in the long term, weight gain. One way to prevent adding too much fat is to scramble just the egg whites without seasoning.
Can cats eat boiled eggs
Boiled eggs, whole or just the whites, are great for cats. No additional fat is required in their preparation which keeps the calories in check.
Once you’ve boiled the egg, mash it up without any seasoning and either add it to your cat’s regular food or serve it as is.
Remove the yolk to decrease the calorie and fat content, and remember to pay attention to the portion size.
Can cats eat eggshells
Eggshells are widely believed to provide a calcium boost for your cat, contributing to strong bones and teeth. In addition, the shells contain other minerals like zinc, copper, and iron, which are also beneficial to your feline. But most cats won’t be interested in eating eggshells as they are. So, you can either order an eggshell powder for cats or grind shells on your own.
Because of the potential for bacteria on eggshells, make sure to boil the shells first to get rid of any potential nasties. Let them dry completely before popping them into the oven at 300 degrees for a short while. This procedure makes the shells more brittle and easier to grind up.
Using a clean coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the shells up to a fine powder. Once you’ve got it, you can sprinkle about half a teaspoon of this onto your cat’s usual food. Any leftover shell powder can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place away from moisture.
How to cook eggs for cats
We’ve mostly covered these concerns here already, but when it comes to preparing eggs for your cat as a treat, make sure they are cooked through and don’t contain any salt or seasonings. If you wish to reduce the fat content or keep the calories lower, stick to the egg whites only.
The best way to prepare eggs for your cat is either scrambling, boiling, or poaching them (without vinegar). Be aware that any method that requires oil or butter will add significantly to the calorie content of the eggs and should be avoided entirely.
Final thoughts on feeding eggs to your cat
Cats, like humans, enjoy variety in their diet, and some may find the occasional eggy treat very enjoyable. Others… well, they may turn their noses up as though you’ve just insulted them.
If your kitty is eating a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs, there’s no need to go out of your way to feed your cat eggs. But if your cat seems curious, feel free to give eggs a try, keeping in mind the advice we’ve provided here.