Eggs are protein-packed, loaded with valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and are low in calories. They offer near-perfect nutrition, so it’s no wonder that you would want to share them with your favorite feline friend. But is it safe for your cat to eat eggs? In short, yes, as long as they’re cooked and given in small amounts.
How Can I Feed My Cat Eggs?
Eggs are included in many commercial cat diets because they provide all of those wonderful nutrition bonuses. However, if you’re looking to boost your cat’s nutrition with some egg supplementation, be sure you’re doing it safely. Always consult your veterinarian first to find out if eggs are a good idea for your cat.
It’s essential to cook any eggs that you give your cat thoroughly. The best way to prepare eggs is by boiling or scrambling them without any added seasonings. If your kitty is on a low-calorie or fat diet, remove the egg yolk first. Make sure the egg reaches an internal temperature of 160℉ to kill any harmful bacteria.
How Much Egg Can a Cat Have?
When we say cats can have eggs, we mean to give it to them in moderation. Eggs aren’t something that your healthy cat should have every day. Eggs shouldn’t take up more than 10% of your cat’s diet.
This is because, while they may be a superfood, they don’t provide all of the necessary nutrients that your cat needs. And feeding too many eggs can take the place of other healthy foods that will provide those additional nutrients.
It’s easy to get carried away when feeding your cat eggs. Calories can add up quickly in your cat’s diet, especially considering that an average 10-pound housecat only needs about 200 calories per day. That’s not a lot.
With this in mind, most veterinarians will recommend that you remove the egg yolk to cut down on the fat and calories and only feed about 1 tablespoon of cooked egg white to your cat once or twice a week. This can be given as a snack or on top of their regular cat food. Again, speak to your veterinarian first to determine the best feeding plan for giving eggs to your cat.
The Benefits of Feeding Cats Eggs
Breaking down the nutritional components of an egg will help you see where your kitty can benefit from eating some.
- Protein: The white of an egg, and a little bit of the yolk, provides a high amount of protein and amino acids. This protein is important for your cat to build and maintain muscle mass and provide energy for their daily activities.
- Fat: The egg yolk contains fatty acids that promote a shiny and soft hair coat. This healthy fat can also be used as a concentrated energy source.
- Vitamins: Eggs provide nearly the entire vitamin alphabet all in one food. They are high in vitamins A, D, E, and several of the Bs. These vitamins are essential for immune function, eye, skin, heart, and blood health.
- Minerals: Your kitty can also get zinc, selenium, and iron from eating eggs. These minerals aid in immune function, skin health, and blood production and function.
- Taurine: If you have a cat, you’ve probably heard about the importance of taurine in their diet. Taurine is an amino acid that is integral in your cat maintaining a healthy heart. Cats need to get taurine from their diet, and it is only found in animal-based proteins, such as meat and eggs.
What Don’t Eggs Have?
How about no carbohydrates? If your kitty is on a limited carb diet due to diabetes or weight loss, eggs can provide a significant boost of protein without blowing up their carb count. They’re also relatively low in fat as compared to other high protein food options.
What Are Potential Problems Associated with Feeding Cats Eggs?
Before your cat has any eggs, make sure they are thoroughly cooked. Raw eggs present a two-prone danger to cats.
- Bacteria: Raw eggs can contain harmful bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli. Both bacteria can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea in your cat and you.
- Avidin: Avidin is a protein found in raw egg whites. It inhibits the absorption of biotin and other B complex vitamins. Cooking the egg white decreases the amount of avidin available in the egg. Biotin deficiency can cause weight loss and a scruffy hair coat, dry skin, and hair loss.
Other possible downsides of eggs include:
- Fat and Cholesterol: An egg yolk contains a lot of fat and cholesterol. While some amount of fat is healthy for your kitty, it’s easy to get carried away. Kitties are small critters and don’t require a lot of fat or calories to fuel them.
- Eggshells: Eggshells contain a high amount of calcium, a vital mineral for bone health. While eggshells are great supplements for chickens, they’re not always the best for your kitty. If you choose to give your cat the eggshell, make sure it is finely ground to prevent GI punctures and mask the not-so-palatable taste.
Eggs pack a nutritional punch and can liven up your cat’s meal. However, eggs shouldn’t be seen as a staple in their diet or given to them raw or undercooked. Before embarking on the egg feeding journey, speak with your veterinarian about potential benefits and issues for your particular feline friend.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons, where they spend their free time exploring the great outdoors that is right in their backyard.