Food & Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Mango? Or Is It Poisonous?

A white, grey, and black cat on a table licking its mouth. In front of it, is a bowl that is filled with cut mango slices and ice cream.

With summer approaching, we all tend to crave the cooling sweetness of fresh fruits. One of those popular fruits is mango. If you’re thinking that our kitties are craving the same things, it’s important to know if eating mangoes are safe for them.

While mango isn’t considered toxic to cats, it’s also not a necessary staple for their diet. Read on to find out how much mango is okay for your cat to consume.

Are There Any Potential Issues With Feeding a Cat Mango?

Mango may have many benefits in its corner, but does that mean that it’s suitable for your cat? 

You may have a hard time getting your cat to eat sweet fruits, such as mango. That’s because cats don’t have tastebuds that sense sweet, so they don’t tend to crave it the way humans or even dogs can. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t get curious or enjoy the texture that mango provides.

Other issues can come about if you feed your cat too much mango. The fiber and sugar that come with the fruit can create digestive upset if your cat eats too much in one sitting. Look for things like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain if you exceed your cat’s digestive tolerance of mango.

Mango can also be a choking hazard if you give your cat large chunks of it. While the ripe fruit tends to be fairly soft, indiscriminate chewers may gobble pieces that are too large to be easily swallowed.

Mango is a stone fruit, meaning that it contains a large, hard pit in the center. It’s essential to remove this pit before giving the fruit to your cat as the pit contains poisonous amounts of cyanide. Plus, the pit is a choking hazard and doesn’t taste good.

How to Feed Your Cat Mango

If your kitty is into it, feeding them mango once in a while can be a healthy vitamin and antioxidant boost. But that doesn’t mean that mango should make an appearance at every meal or be given to your cat’s heart’s content. 

Rather, feed your cat one to two slices of mango with the skin and pit removed. Removing the skin helps to increase digestion and decrease the likelihood of fiber-induced digestive issues. Of course, remove the pit to prevent cyanide toxicity. 

You’ll also want to dice the mango up, especially if you have a kitty that prefers to eat their food whole. This will also increase digestion and decrease the possibility of choking. 

Make mango a once or twice a week treat at the most, and remember that since cats don’t taste sweet, they might not be interested. So, don’t force them to eat mango if they don’t want to. They can get all of the nutrients that mango provides from other, more desirable sources.

The Health Benefits of Mango

Mango is a great-tasting and pretty fruit. It also boasts a pretty impressive nutrient profile.

  1. Vitamins: Mango is packed with vitamin C. It also contains vitamins A, E, K, and many of the B vitamins. This makes mango especially important at boosting immunity and growth and repair of cells. They also aid in healthy vision, hair, and skin.
  2. Minerals: Mango also brings potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and small amounts of iron, calcium, and selenium. These minerals help to support heart health and many other bodily functions.
  3. Fiber: The fiber in mango helps to regulate digestive health and helps us feel full for longer. 
  4. Antioxidants:  Mango is a great source of polyphenols that help to reduce damage to cells. These antioxidants are essential for healthy aging and fighting chronic diseases.
  5. Anti-Cancer Activity: The polyphenols in mango are also important for preventing certain kinds of cancer.

Final Thoughts

Mango is a great summertime, or anytime, treat for us. Not only that, but it’s packed with many vital nutrients. If your cat is interested in snacking on mango, be sure to give it to them in small amounts every once in a while. This will help prevent digestive upset and potential toxicity from eating the pit.

Can Cats Eat Cheese? Is it Good for Them?

A white, black, and white cat wearing a white chef's hat is lying down next to bowls of cheese on a countertop.

Sure, most cats love cheese. It’s high in protein, fat and very tasty to boot, but is cheese safe for your cat to eat? A few bites of cheese every now and then is safe for most cats, but cheese shouldn’t be a regular part of your cat’s diet for several reasons.

Is Cheese Bad for Cats?

We’ve already touched on the benefits of cheese-it’s high in protein and taste, and you probably enjoy it too. But that doesn’t mean you should always share it with your cat.

Here’s why:

  • Fat: Cheese is high in fat; that’s part of the reason it tastes so good. Even small pieces of cheese pack a high-fat punch. And while that doesn’t seem like a big deal to us humans, it can add up quickly in your cat. As an example, an average 10 lb cat eating a 1 oz piece of cheese would be consuming the caloric equivalent to us eating two and a half hamburgers! If your cat is already on the verge of being overweight or you’re constantly fighting to keep their bulge under control, cheese should not be your go-to treat.
  • Lactose: Even though a cat drinking a saucer of milk creates a picturesque scene, it’s not a good idea to give a cat more than minuscule amounts of dairy. That’s because dairy products, including milk, cheese, and ice cream, contain the sugar lactose. While humans, and some other animals, produce the enzyme lactase to break down this sugar, cats don’t. Most cats are actually lactose intolerant. This means that lactose goes through their system undigested, which can lead to gas, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, especially when dairy products are eaten in large amounts.
  • Allergies: Besides being lactose intolerant, some cats can even be allergic to dairy products like cheese. Dairy allergies are different than lactose intolerance in that eating dairy actually creates an inflammatory response when they eat dairy products. Allergies usually require multiple exposures to a specific food, while lactose intolerance can cause problems after just one piece of cheese. Cats with dairy allergies will appear similar to cats with lactose intolerance in that they may have vomiting, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal discomfort. But they can also show up with skin conditions such as a rash, itchiness, dry skin, and hair loss.
  • Other Conditions: Cheese is also not an ideal treat for kitties that need to lower their salt intake due to a heart condition or high blood pressure. This is because cheese is also high in salt and can exacerbate these issues.
  • Cheese Extras: Cheeses with seasonings or cheese dips are definitely on the “don’t-eat” list for your cat. This is because some of those seasonings, mainly onion and garlic, can be severely detrimental to your cat.

How to Feed Your Cats Cheese

With what you’ve just read, you’re probably wondering why this section even exists. It’s because it’s not uncommon for veterinarians to recommend cheese as a mask for medication. A small chunk of cheese can be the perfect hidey-hole for a pill with its irresistible flavor and texture. If you’ve ever tried to give medicine to a cat, you’ll probably appreciate this. 

However, by no means should you give your cat cheese all of the time. You’ll want to give it in small quantities, basically just bigger than the size of the pill, only when you need to. Of course, if your cat has a known dairy allergy, you’ll need to find something else.

Types of Cheese to Give Your Cat

Some cheeses are better for cats than others. This is primarily due to the lactose content. Cheeses like cheddar and Swiss are lower in lactose than other types of cheese., but they still can cause some digestive upset if given in high amounts. 

Soft cheeses, like mozzarella, are higher in lactose content and should be avoided. Unpasteurized and molded cheeses, like blue cheese, should also be avoided. 

Non-dairy cheeses pose an interesting question when considering giving cheese to your cat. They are lactose-free but are still high in fat and salt, so these types of cheese should also be avoided.  

Final Thoughts

If you choose to treat your cat every once in a while with a bit of cheese, be sure to keep the amounts small and only offer it infrequently. Not only can cheese cause digestive issues due to its lactose content, but it can also cause weight gain and exacerbate heart troubles.

Can Cats Eat Cabbage? Is It Good For them?

Three white and yellowish kittens inside of plastic cabbage leaves.

Being obligate carnivores, cats require high protein in their diets, with little to no vegetable matter. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to try some now and then. A food that people wonder if cats can eat is cabbage. 

Cabbage is a perfectly healthy, nontoxic food for cats to eat in small quantities. It provides many beneficial nutrients and has a pleasing crunch. But how much is too much cabbage for a cat? Let’s find out.

Are There Any Risks Associated with Feeding Cats Cabbage?

Even with all of the healthy benefits that cabbage provides, it still shouldn’t be given to your kitty in large quantities. There are several concerns associated with feeding cats cabbage regularly.

  1. Digestive Upset: Any food that is high in fiber has the potential to cause digestive upset. While fiber is a fantastic product that can help constipation and diarrhea, too much can cause the opposite reaction. This is especially true in cats that don’t have the digestive ability to handle a lot of fiber. Cats eating too much fiber may show up with diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain, and gas.
  2. Thiamine Deficiency: Thiamine is a B vitamin that is needed to convert food to energy that can be used by cells in the body. Major systems that are affected by a thiamine deficiency include the nervous system, brain, and heart. Thiamine deficiency may result from eating excessive cabbage because it contains polyphenols that change the form of thiamine so that the body can’t use it.
  3. Thyroid Issues: Cabbage contains another compound, thiocyanate, that suppresses the thyroid gland. This compound is only found in raw cabbage. Cooking cabbage deactivates the thiocyanate so that it is safe for cats to eat.

How to Feed Cabbage to Your Cat

Cabbage is a nutrient-packed food that is on the plates of many human healthy eaters. However, since cats can’t digest vegetables the same way humans do, they might be missing out on some of those benefits. This means that cabbage isn’t required in a healthy diet for cats. Instead, it can be used as a crunchy treat from time to time to give your kitty a little variety plus any additional nutrients that they can glean from it.

The potential issues of thiamine deficiency, thyroid problems, and digestive upset can stem from feeding your cat too much cabbage, especially over a long period. Most cats aren’t going to want to eat that much cabbage anyway, but it’s best to keep your cat’s cabbage consumption to a minimum. Giving your cat one cabbage leaf shredded over their food every couple of weeks shouldn’t hurt. 

Since raw cabbage can be challenging for a cat to chew and presents the potential for thyroid suppression, cooking the cabbage first will make it easier and safer for your cat to eat. One cooked cabbage leaf every couple of weeks should be all your cat needs.

Stay away from seasonings, like garlic, onion, and salt, on your cat’s cabbage as these are toxic to cats. Don’t give your cat’s coleslaw complete with dressing. The dressing adds unwanted calories and may be flavored with the above seasonings that can be toxic. 

Can Cats Eat Sauerkraut?

Fermented foods, like sauerkraut, are packed with healthy probiotics that can boost your cat’s digestive system. They make a healthy treat for any cat, especially those who have had a recent digestive illness or are experiencing malnutrition. The issue comes from getting your cat to want to eat sauerkraut. It packs a distinctive smell and flavor that most cats aren’t going to like unless they’re accustomed to it from a young age. 

The Health Benefits of Cabbage

Considered a superfood in the human world, cabbage can be the same for your cat. Cabbage has a rather impressive nutrient profile, and it does it all with very few calories.

  1. Vitamins: Cabbage contains significant amounts of vitamins K, C, and many of the Bs. It also has trace amounts of vitamin A. These vitamins work to boost the immune system, eyesight, blood function, and many other processes in the body.
  2. Minerals: Manganese, calcium, potassium, and magnesium are all found in cabbage, along with small amounts of iron. These minerals are essential for bone formation, immune function, and many other processes.
  3. Fiber: Cabbage is an excellent source of fiber, which is necessary for digestive health. Fiber also helps a cat feel full for longer.
  4. Antioxidants: The antioxidants found in cabbage can help reduce chronic inflammation and protect and repair cells against oxidative damage. Antioxidants may also play a role in a healthy aging process.
  5. Anthocyanins: These are plant pigments that can help protect against heart disease. Anthocyanins are highest in purple and other dark-colored cabbage.
  6. Other: Cabbage also contains protein and compounds that help reduce bad cholesterol and lower blood pressure.

Final Thoughts

Cabbage is an excellent superfood treat for your feline friend. However, it shouldn’t be a primary or everyday part of their diet as eating large amounts of cabbage over time can have detrimental side effects. Use cooked cabbage as an occasional treat, or use sauerkraut whenever your kitty needs a digestive boost to provide your cat with a bit of dietary variety without the risk of creating health concerns.

Can Cats Eat Black Pepper?

A glass bottle full of black peppercorns, with some spilling over next to the bottle and scatter all over the wooden tabletop.

If you’re like most cat parents, you’ve probably wanted to awaken your cat’s tastebuds by adding some seasoning to their seemingly boring diet. However, black pepper doesn’t make the best flavor enhancer for your feline friend. Instead, it may repel your cat from the food and be problematic in large amounts.

Should Cats Eat Black Pepper?

Even though black pepper isn’t considered toxic, there are some possible issues with feeding your cat black pepper that shouldn’t be ignored.

  • Smell: First of all, black pepper has a very pungent smell, especially to a cat. Piperine, which is responsible for so many of the healthy benefits of pepper, is an irritant to the nasal airways. If inhaled in a large enough quantity, black pepper can cause your cat to sneeze. Since cats rely on their sense of smell as much as their mouth to boost their appetite, something that irritates the nose won’t be very appealing. 
  • Pepper is a Natural Repellent: The smell of black pepper is so irritating to cats and other animals that it is often used in natural pesticides as a repellent. This would make you think that food spiced with black pepper wouldn’t be appetizing to your feline friend.
  • Spicy Food Can Irritate the Stomach: Even though black pepper has a fraction of the spiciness of chilis or other types of pepper, it may still cause digestive upset if eaten in large enough amounts. Cats that consume a lot of black pepper may experience diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. These symptoms are usually minimal and should go away on their own. However, if your cat has any of these symptoms after eating black pepper that lasts longer than 48 hours, see your veterinarian.

So, it’s not an issue of black pepper being unsafe for your cat; it’s more a problem of your cat not wanting to eat something with a lot of black pepper on it. That being said, it’s okay to give your cat food seasoned with a touch of black pepper as long as they’re into it.

Does Black Pepper Have Any Benefits?

Black pepper comes from the vine Piper nigrum. This plant produces berries, called peppercorns, that are harvested green and dried until black. These peppercorns are ground into the black pepper that we use as an essential spice in nearly every food we prepare. It has a mildly hot taste, making it perfect for enhancing almost any food, including baked goods and meat. 

Most of us have black pepper at the ready near our stoves and on our dinner tables, but black pepper provides more than just flavor. 

  • Antioxidants: Black pepper provides antioxidants to help repair damaged cells and boost the immune system.
  • PiperinePiperine has anti-inflammatory properties which can help with chronic inflammation associated with diseases like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Piperine may also benefit degenerative brain conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Blood Values: Black pepper may help decrease cholesterol and help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Anti-Cancer Properties: It has been implicated in helping to slow the replication of cancer cells in a laboratory environment.
  • Other Health Benefits: Black pepper may help reduce appetite, promote gut health, and enhance nutrient absorption.

Even with all of these potential health benefits, it’s best to avoid giving black pepper to your cat at all. 

Are There Any Spices That Cats Can Have?

As a general rule, cats don’t need a lot of seasoning to enjoy their food. Their sense of taste is relatively poor. As humans, we can enjoy a range of flavors from sweet to salty and bitter to mild, thanks to our nearly 9000 tastebuds. 

On the other hand, cats only have a few hundred tastebuds on their tongue and mouth, making them less likely to appreciate a combination of spices.

If you are feeding your cat a homemade diet or looking to treat them with a bit of human food, it’s recommended to leave the seasoning out. Cats don’t need it to make their meal taste good, and some spices can be very toxic. 

Seasonings to AVOID Giving Your Cat

Be sure to avoid the following spices in your cat’s food:

  • Onion
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Scallions
  • Salt 

Final Thoughts

While black pepper isn’t considered a toxic food to cats, it is completely unnecessary to your cat’s diet. The aroma of black pepper will put off most cats, and those that aren’t won’t appreciate the flavor anyway. If you’re cooking for your cat, leave the black pepper out. 

If your cat ingests small amounts of black pepper, there’s no need to worry. Just monitor them for a day to two to make sure they are okay. If they happen to eat a large amount of black pepper, vomiting and diarrhea may be headed their way but should usually resolve within a couple of days. If you have any questions about black pepper and your cat, consult your veterinarian.

Can Cats Eat Eggs? Advice from A Veterinarian

A grey and white cat is lying down, with 4 decorated (brown and white) eggs between its front legs.

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Can Cats Eat Raw Chicken? Is It Dangerous?

A hand can be seen holding a piece of raw chicken and feeding it to a grey and white cat who is biting on it.

With the raw diet rage comes the question, can cats eat raw chicken? The short answer is yes; the long answer is more complicated. If you’re thinking of making “raw the law” for your cats, please read on.

Is Eating Chicken Good For Cats?

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they crave protein and need it to make up a large part of their diet. Protein from animal sources is complete, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids that a cat needs. On the other hand, plant-based proteins are incomplete and need to be paired correctly with other protein sources to provide those same amino acids.

With that in mind, chicken is an excellent protein source for cats. Not only does it provide all of the essential amino acids, but it is also low in fat compared to beef or pork. You may notice that many cat food brands use chicken as their primary protein source because of this. 

Is Raw Chicken Safe for Cats?

The many nutritional benefits of chicken have led some pet parents to believe that raw chicken is equally valued as cat food or as a treat. Raw chicken still provides the same nutritious goodness, but without the processing; therefore, raw chicken must be better, right? 

Maybe not. 

The main focus of a raw diet is on providing cats with superior nutrition through fresh, whole, non-processed foods. It does seem like a great idea. However, raw foods may also contain harmful bacteria, such as SalmonellaCampylobacterandClostridium perfringensThe process of cooking chicken kills these pathogens, making them safer to consume.

Not only are these bacteria potentially harmful to your kitty, but they also pose a risk to the person who handles the bacteria-laden food.  So avoid giving raw chicken to your cats.

Can Cats Eat Chicken Bones?

In the wild and raw feeding, bones are often a component of a cat’s diet. After all, they are packed with healthy minerals like calcium and phosphorus. 

Bone marrow is also very nutritious and can support joint and skin health and decrease inflammation. But does that mean that you should let your feline friend chomp down on a few chicken bones?

The bones of birds are hollow. They need to be to decrease body weight to support flight. That hollowness and lightweight structure also make them more prone to splintering when crunched. Chicken bones, especially the larger ones, pose a risk of gastrointestinal punctures and choke if fed to your cat.

Smaller bones may be safer from the splintering standpoint, but they still come with plenty of risk of causing your cat to choke. So, while feeding your cat chicken bones may make them feel like they’re a lion out on the savannah, they can actually be quite dangerous.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Chicken?

If you’ve decided to take raw chicken off of your cat’s menu, you don’t have to remove chicken as an ingredient altogether. There are ways you can cook chicken to make a safe and nutritious snack for your kitty.

When cooking chicken for your cat, keep it simple. Plain boiled chicken is best. The boiling process removes harmful bacteria while still providing your cat with a flavor that they will love. Don’t add any seasoning, as things like garlic and onion can be dangerous for your cat to consume. 

Remove the skin. Your cat doesn’t need the extra fat, and fatty foods can lead to a potentially serious condition called pancreatitis. Avoid cooking chicken in fats or oils as well.  

What about other preparations for chicken?

Types of Cooked Chicken to Avoid

  1. Fried Chicken:  It’s best not to share this Southern dish with your kitty. Frying chicken in fats and oils increases the risk for complications like pancreatitis. Also, the seasoning that we love so much can be detrimental to your cat.
  2. Smoked Chicken: Smoked chicken offers a very pleasant alternate flavor that most of us love; however, it also adds high amounts of salt and nitrates to the meat, which can be detrimental for your cat.
  3. Canned Chicken: The canning process usually requires the addition of salt, which at high amounts can be detrimental to your cat. If you can find low sodium versions of canned chicken, feel free to share small amounts with your feline friend.

Acceptable Types of Cooked Chicken to Feed Your Cat

  1. Baked Chicken: Chicken that has been baked plain without the use of seasonings or other flavorings is safe for your cat. Make sure to remove the skin and don’t douse it in oil or butter.
  2. Grilled Chicken: Grilling is another way to serve up some chicken to your kitty. Again, avoid seasonings, skin, and oils when preparing it.

Final Thoughts

Most of us think of our cats as members of our family, and we want to “treat” them as such. A common way that we show how much we love is by sharing our food with them. If the food you choose to share is chicken, take precautions to ensure that it poses the least amount of risk possible. 

That means cooking it to remove harmful pathogens and serving it without additional seasoning, flavorings, and bones. Also, use chicken as a treat rather than an entire meal. Your cat needs a complete and balanced diet to be healthy, and chicken can’t provide all of the nutrients that they require. 

The Best Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth

A older, yellow and white cat sitting on top of an open book with reading glasses on top of the book.

We all want to help our feline friends age gracefully. We’ll go as far as buying them memory foam or heated beds to help ease those senior aches and pains, or even get them a set of stairs to help them climb onto your bed or furniture. 

But one area that we may be neglecting in the kitty aging process is their teeth. 50-90% of cats older than four have some form of dental disease, including gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth resorption. Many people don’t even think about trying to find the best cat food for their older cat with bad teeth. So, how do you choose a cat food that won’t cause further dental concerns?  

Best Overall Choice: Purina Pro Plan Senior Canned Cat Food

Purina Pro Plan Senior Canned Wet Cat Food
Specially formulated wet food for older cats (11+) made with real tuna and salmon.
Easier to chew while providing increased hydration to help keeps joints & bones healthy.

If your older kitty already is suffering from some mouth soreness, chances are you’ll be looking for a canned food that is a little gentler on the teeth and gums. When it comes to canned food, it’s hard to beat the quality and affordability of Purina Pro Plan. It’s packed with whole-meat protein, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and all of the vitamins and minerals your kitty needs to stay at the top of their health.

Not only is this canned formula nutritious and easy to chew, but it also comes in a wide variety of flavors so that you can keep even picky senior cats interested in eating. This is something that becomes more and more difficult to do with bad teeth. This isn’t a pate type of food; there is some texture to it so that your cat won’t become bored with a puree either.

Most of Purina Pro Plan Senior canned cat food flavors contain fish, which could be a problem if your cat is allergic or if you don’t like the smell. It can smell up your house if you’re feeding a lot of it.

Pros

  • Soft, easy to eat consistency
  • Variety of flavors
  • High in protein and other nutrients

Cons

  • Contains fish which some cats can be allergic to
  • Can have a strong smell

Best Kibble Style Food: Hill’s Science Diet Dry Senior Indoor Cat Food

Hill's Science Diet Dry Cat Food, Adult 11+ for Senior Cats
#1 Veterinarian Recommended and made with natural ingredients.
Specially formulated to provide optimal levels of nutrients for eye, heart, kidney & joint health for senior cats.

If your cat’s dental problems are not too bad and can still be saved, considering a dry kibble may actually help treat and prevent these issues from becoming worse. Hill’s Senior Indoor dry kibble cat food is triangular shaped and thicker to mechanically help clean your cat’s teeth while they chew. 

This food contains fiber amounts properly formulated for indoor cats meaning it is highly digestible to create less waste in the litter box. The high fiber also helps to promote digestive regularity and a correct caloric balance to accommodate an indoor lifestyle without leading to weight gain and muscle loss in old age. 

Hill’s Senior Indoor cat food also contains proper amounts of antioxidants and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and hair, to help decrease inflammation, and boost the immune system.

With dry kibble that is thick and triangular, senior kitties with painful mouths will have trouble eating it. This food would be better suited for cats with dental disease that are still able to chew their food. 

Pros

  • Kibble shape helps remove plaque and tartar
  • Decreased litter box waste
  • Proper nutrition for older cats

Cons

  • May be difficult to chew for some cats
  • Some cats may not like it

Best Grain Free Option: Instinct Grain-Free Wet Cat Food Pate

Instinct Grain Free Wet Cat Food Pate
Made with 95% animal protein (cage free chicken, cage free duck, or wild caught salmon) and 5% vegetables, fruits and other wholesome ingredients.
Made without grain, corn, wheat, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives.

If your cat would rather not eat grains, Instinct Wet Cat food is the way to go. This food is designed for all life stages, including older kitties. The pate texture makes it a great no-chew type food for those cats with sore mouths that may turn up their noses at other foods. 

The standout of Instinct cat food is the protein. It boasts that 95% of this food is made from whole meat, making it a highly digestible protein source to promote muscle maintenance in old age. It is then balanced with fruits and vegetables to complete the nutrient profile. It also comes in many different flavors, including duck, chicken, and salmon, to keep your senior cat’s tastebuds on their toes and keep them interested in what’s in their food bowl.

However, you may need to check your sources if you order this product online. Some people have had this product arrive spoiled even before the expiration date. While this is more likely due to the distributor than the manufacturer, you’ll still want to be careful and check out every can before giving it to your cat.

Pros

  • Highly digestible protein
  • Lots of flavors
  • Pate texture is easy on teeth
  • Grain-free

Cons

  • Possible spoilage problems

Most Variety: Purina Fancy Feast

Purina Fancy Feast Adult Canned Wet Cat Food
100% complete and balanced nutrition, special formulas for older cats.
Purina offers a lot of product options and flavors for your cat.

With older kitties, the severity of their dental issues can vary by the day. Because of this, somedays your cat may feel like eating kibble, and some days they may need something softer, like canned food. This is where Purina Fancy Feast has you covered. They offer a wide range of senior cat foods from dry kibbles, to pates, to minced or shredded meat. Along with the variety in textures, this food comes a variety in flavors, such as chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, liver, and trout-just, to name a few.

The different textures of Purina Fancy Feast allow you to mix and match foods depending on how your cat’s mouth is feeling and is also packed with protein, antioxidants, and the proper balance of vitamins and minerals to keep senior cats’ bodies healthy. It’s grain-free as well, should your cat need that option.

There have been some quality control issues with Fancy Feast as well, especially the canned formulas. This is more than likely on the distributor than the manufacturer, but you never can be too careful what you are feeding your cat. As with any brand of food, always inspect each can and bag before feeding.

Pros

  • Variety of textures to suit any dental condition
  • Variety of flavors to entice picky eaters
  • Grain-free

Cons

  • Cans have been known to arrive spoiled before the expiration date

Best Treats: Delectables Lickable Wet Cat Treats:

Hartz Lickable Wet Cat Treats
Small wet flakes that are easy for senior cats to enjoy, with added Vitamin E and B vitamins to supports the health of older cats.
Also provides hydration, and is free of grain, fillers, preservatives, and by-products.

If you like to give your furry baby snacks or rewards, the DelectablesLickable Wet Cat Treats are easy to chew for sore mouths and provide the necessary moisture that most older cats crave. There’s also a variety of textures so that your cat can choose which they are comfortable chewing without sacrificing any nutrition.

This treat isn’t just empty calories. Other than water, it can provide protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants without fillers, preservatives, or by-products. The variety of flavors compliment the variety of textures, giving your cat exactly what they are craving when they are craving it. Another plus is that they come in a squeezable pouch, making it easy for you to bond with your cat while giving them a treat.

This wet cat treat comes in many textures and consistencies, and some cat parents didn’t like the look of the creamier types. The meat pieces are blended in with the gravy, making more of a puree, which is great for cats with bad teeth but not so great to look at. Some people also don’t like the smell of them.

Pros

  • Easy to eat treat
  • Variety of textures and flavors
  • Allows for interaction while feeding your cat

Cons

  • The smell can bother some people
  • Some people may find the look of it unappetizing

Buying Guide for Cat Food For Older Cats With Bad Teeth

A grey and black cat eating soft cat food from a plate on the ground. Next to it is another plate with dry cat food on it.

When your older kitty suffers from dental disease or bad teeth, the food you choose has to solve multiple problems. It needs to meet an older cat’s nutrition requirements and be safe and gentle on the teeth. Bonus points are given if the food can help improve dental health. So, see how you can find the right multimodal cuisine for your cat.  

Senior Cat Nutrition

A cat face shaped bowl that has cat food in it (3 different colors: orange, yellow, and brown).

Before we get into which foods are best for our senior kitties with bad teeth, let’s do a quick overview of senior cat nutrition. Our older kitties require some special treatment when it comes to their diet, including:

  1. Digestible Protein: Cats need protein, even more so in older kitties. Diets high in protein help maintain muscle mass and provide energy but with less chance of becoming overweight. Older kitties need a highly digestible protein due to their decreased digestive efficiency. Highly digestible proteins come from ingredients like real, whole meats rather than plant-based protein sources.
  2. Antioxidants: Ingredients like vitamin E help reduce and repair oxidative damage to cells, a process that occurs with age in all animals. Antioxidants can be used to prolong cognitive dysfunction, or dementia, in kitties as well.
  3. Healthy Fats: Rather than cutting fats out of an older cat’s diet, you need to be sure to provide healthy fats that contain proper amounts of omega fatty acids. These fatty acids can help reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin and coat.
  4. Moisture: Older kitties need more moisture in their food to help combat lower kidney function and prevent dehydration.

Dental Care for Cats

A grey, white cat with black stripes is holding a toothbrush in its paw and is brushing its on teeth.

We all understand that it is much easier to prevent an illness or health issue than treat one. Dental disease is no different. While most of us already find ourselves in the treatment stage, it’s essential to understand how to prevent dental disease.

First and foremost, get your veterinarian involved. Annual or bi-annual exams are a great time to get your vet’s eyes on your cat’s teeth. They will be able to spot the early stages of dental disease, as well as recommend a cleaning routine that will be manageable for both you and your cat.

It’s recommended to brush your cat’s teeth daily or at least three times a week. If this sounds crazy and unattainable to you, remember that every little bit helps. If once a week fits your schedule better, then once a week it is. 

Brushing helps remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup, leading to bad breath and inflammation of the gums and connective tissues surrounding the teeth. It can also prevent tooth loss and give you a chance to catch the little things before they turn into more serious issues.

The next step is a professional cleaning. Even with regular brushing, there may be buildup that is unreachable by a toothbrush. Professional cleanings require sedation or anesthesia and will give vets a chance to get a good look at your cat’s dental health, remove any problem teeth, and treat any lingering gum issues.

Cat Food For Cats With Bad Teeth

A black, white, and orange-brownish cat looking at the food in a bowl being held by a man sitting down.

Finally, the food that your older kitty eats can have a significant impact on their oral health. Let’s look at that in detail.

  1. Texture: Most of the time, it’s recommended to feed your kitty hard kibble as the manual crunching helps to naturally clean teeth and prevent tartar buildup. However, in cats with severe forms of dental disease, hard kibble might be too painful to eat, causing them not to eat their food. For these kitties, soft or canned food may be more comfortable and enticing.
  2. Shape and Size: Generally, larger kibble means more chewing, which leads to cleaner teeth. Most dental diets for cats will feature larger or more triangular-shaped kibble to encourage chewing to get as much tartar and plaque off as possible.
  3. On the flip side, if your kitty has a sore mouth, smaller sized kibble may work better for less painful chewing.
  4. Additives: Some dental diets will use special ingredients to help reduce tartar, plaque, and bad breath-causing bacteria buildup while promoting dental health. Some of those include sodium tripolyphosphate, zinc, and green tea.

Final Thoughts

Bad teeth, or dental disease, is a common ailment of older kitties. Finding the best food for your older cat with bad teeth can be challenging, depending on their stage of dental disease. Some food will work better to prevent dental issues, while some are better suited for those that already have pain and discomfort. Always look to your veterinarian to guide you through the best nutrition for your older cat with bad teeth.

Can Cats Eat Beans? Are They Healthy?

A white, heart-shaped bowl filled with different types of beans, ranging from white, orange, brown, green, and yellow beans.

A source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients, cats can eat beans. However, moderation is key, as with all human foods, and beans shouldn’t make up a significant portion of their diet. So, what are some other benefits of beans, and are all beans the same when it comes to your cat’s tummy? Let’s find out.

The Benefits of Beans for Cats

A circular piece of art made from brown beans, with some black beans inside of it forming the image of two black cats.

With beans, the list of benefits is long. As already stated, beans are excellent sources of protein. Cats are obligate carnivores meaning that they need protein, and lots of it, in their diet as a source of energy and muscle maintenance and growth. 

Add to that high protein a high fiber content, vitamins, minerals, and even antioxidants. Fiber is important for digestive regulation and function. It also helps keep a kitty feeling full for longer so that they aren’t constantly rubbing against your legs, begging for food. High fiber in the diet is a definite plus if you’re trying to convince your cat to lose a couple of pounds.

Vitamins and minerals are needed in nearly every bodily function, and antioxidants help protect and prevent oxidative damage to cells. This is something that can occur to any cell at any time and happens as your cat ages. A diet high in antioxidants can help deter diseases such as cognitive dysfunction and kidney disease.

Beans are also low in fat and calories, something that most of our housecats don’t need. They are even less expensive than their high-protein counterparts-meat, another great benefit if you’re on a budget or just looking for a less expensive snack for your feline friend.

Can Beans Be Bad For Cats?

A brownish and white cat leaning against the top of a cushioned chair, looking at the camera with both of its ears down.

Beans have been called a superfood, and they indeed are for humans. But for cats, they’re not so much a superfood as they are a super-snack. Beans are high in protein, but they are incomplete in their amino acid profile, like many other plant-based protein sources. This means that they don’t provide all of the essential amino acids that cats need from their protein. This makes mixing and matching of beans with other protein sources important. Meat is a complete protein and should make up the majority of a cat’s diet.

That high fiber that is touted as a savior for digestive health can be detrimental in high qualities. Fiber is undigestible, which helps bulk up bowel movements to get things moving in constipated kitties or solidify loose stools. 

But on the flip side, it can also draw lots of water into the digestive tract, leading to diarrhea. It can even fill up the stomach, taking up room that more important and necessary nutrients need to inhabit.

Beans are by no means toxic to your cat. However, since your kitty’s digestive system is finely tuned to efficiently digest meat, adding a bunch of beans to their diet can lead to diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain.

How to Feed Beans to Your Cat

A black cat sitting in the lap of a woman, who is holding a silver food bowl for the cat to eat from.

If you’re looking to add a bean bonus to your cat’s snack time, do so wisely. Steer clear of canned beans, refried, or baked beans as all can be high in sodium. Baked and refried beans usually contain lots of fat and sugars that negate the positive effects, or seasonings, like onion and garlic, that can be toxic. 

Instead, feed your cat beans that have been washed, soaked, and cooked without seasonings. Raw beans aren’t very appetizing, and they can contain harmful bacteria on their skins and create obstructions in the gut.

Soak beans for a couple of hours and then boil for about 30 minutes or until tender. Serve without other seasonings. Keep the amounts low and infrequent so that these beans don’t replace too much of your cat’s regular diet. 

For kitties on a diet, you can add beans to their regular meals to up the fiber content and decrease the number of calories consumed. Stick to below 10% of their total diet unless directed by your veterinarian.

Is There a Difference Between Different Beans For Cats?

9 silver spoons each filed with a different type of bean, which is in a row on top of a wooden surface.

Kidney, pinto, black, white, green…the list of types of beans are long, but are they are the same? As far as your cat’s concerned, most beans have a similar nutrient profile. This is because your kitty will only be eating a small amount, so that any differences will be minor. 

That being said, darker colored beans tend to be higher in antioxidants, so if you have an older kitty or one with a chronic condition, darker beans, like black and kidney, may be more beneficial.

Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are less digestible than other beans, so they should be avoided. Again, seasonings and extra add-ins, like sugar, should also not be a part of your cat’s bean snack.

Final Thoughts

If your kitty is curious about beans, feel free to give them some. Just make sure that you give them beans in their purest, cooked form in small amounts and only sporadically. These (infrequent) little treats can provide your cat with some additional protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, as well as a little antioxidant punch.