Cat with a slice of fake bread around its neck

Key takeaway

The consumption of bread and bread-dough can be potentially hazardous to both dogs and cats. Cats especially can have difficulty digesting bread. Eating bread dough, or uncooked bread, as well as bread with additives in it like raisins or chocolate chips can lead to severe nausea, vomiting and other GI issues in cats.

Cats are very curious creatures who like to jump up on our countertops and stick their noses in places where they don’t belong. And sometimes, a cat’s curiosity can get the best of them and they may end up eating something they shouldn’t have. From bread to bananas, we leave a lot of human food on our countertops, but not everything is safe for a cat to eat. So if you have a curious feline friend, you may be wondering: “Can my cat eat bread?”.

Cats can eat small amounts of bread without getting sick. That being said, it should be noted that bread is not an ideal food for cats, as it is not rich in the nutrients that they need to thrive. Also, eating too much bread can be bad for cats as it can lead to malnutrition as well as indigestion.

So, while it is not recommended that pet owners offer bread to their cats as a regular form of food, if a cat does eat a small amount of bread, it should not be harmful for them. To learn more about how to safely feed your cat bread and which types of bread are and are not safe for cats to eat, continue reading this article.

Is Bread Safe For Your Cat To Eat?

So first and foremost: Can cats eat bread? Yes and no.

While fully cooked bread does not pose a significant health risk to cats, that doesn’t mean it’s a recommended food choice for them.

Bread dough, on the other hand, is not safe for cats to eat. Bread dough contains raw, uncooked yeast that ferments within the dough. This fermentation process creates ethanol and carbon dioxide.1 When consumed raw, this fermentation process can continue in the stomach, which can lead cats to become disoriented, as well as bloated. This means that a cat can become mentally distressed and develop GI discomfort as a result of eating the uncooked bread dough. In most cases, eating raw bread dough will also lead to nausea and vomiting.

While fully cooked bread is considered safe for a cat to eat, it is important to recognize that every cat is different and has different health needs. Therefore, while some cats will digest bread perfectly fine, there are other cats who could have difficulty digesting something that’s as dense and carbohydrate-heavy as bread is. Also, there is a chance that your cat could be allergic to some of the ingredients in bread, which can cause bloating and generalized discomfort.

How To Safely Feed Your Cat Bread

When looking for what to feed your cat, it is best to stick to foods that are designed for cat consumption. Pet foods are designed in a way to support your pet’s digestion. This means that cat food is developed with ingredients that are optimal for a cat's health and nutritional needs. Bread doesn’t meet those same requirements, and so it’s not going to be recommended as a source of nutrition for your cat.

However, if you do decide to feed your cat bread, make sure that the bread is plain with no toppings on it whatsoever. Any toppings or mix-ins are likely unsafe for your cat.

But before introducing any new food to your cat, especially foods that are not meant for cats, always consult with your vet. Your veterinarian can evaluate your cat to make sure there are no underlying digestive issues that may add to the likelihood that a new food will make them sick.

If you are seeking a new treat for your cat, it is best to not select bread as your go-to option. There are plenty of cat treats that are designed specifically for cats.

The most common reason why pet owners feed their cats bread is as a tool for administering oral medications.2 In this situation, the bread can be used to coat a pill. To do so, you’ll wait to put the pill into a small piece of bread and feed it to your cat.

If you feed your cat bread, it is incredibly important that you monitor your cat after feeding them to make sure that they do not experience a negative reaction to the food.

Which Types Of Bread Are Safe For Cats To Eat?

Generally speaking, a cat will not get sick from eating bread. However, that doesn’t mean that bread is an ideal food for them. If you are going to let your cat eat bread, it should not be a regular occurrence, and you need to make sure that your cat is also eating plenty of foods that are designed specifically for them to eat. If your cat starts to eat too much bread and cuts back on traditional cat foods, they could develop nutritional deficiencies.

Cats can eat plain bread that is fully baked.2 This includes white, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, or sourdough bread. Any type of bread that has nothing on it and nothing in it is safe for cat consumption.

Which Types Of Bread Are Not Safe For Cats To Eat?

The primary type of bread that is unsafe for cats to eat is uncooked bread. Since so many people like to make their own bread, understanding that bread dough is dangerous for cats is very important.

One of the key steps in making bread from scratch is letting it sit on the counter to rise. So, if your cats are prone to jumping on the counter and poking their noses in places they don’t belong, then your cat may come across uncooked bread dough on your countertop. This could lead to a problem, because the raw cultures in uncooked bread are dangerous for cats to eat.

In addition, breads that have ingredients added into them, such as bread with garlic, zucchini, raisins or chocolate chips, are not safe for cats to consume. Can cats eat banana bread? The simple answer is they shouldn't, due to the fact that banana bread likely includes other ingredients that aren’t safe for cats to eat. Can cats eat garlic bread? Cats should definitely not eat garlic bread, as garlic can be poisonous for cats to consume and cause a host of health issues.

If your cat is going to eat bread, make sure that they are eating plain bread. So can cats eat wheat bread? Yes, as long as it isn't loaded with sugar or other ingredients.

If your cat eats uncooked bread or any type of bread that contains additives, you should contact your vet immediately or bring your cat to an emergency vet clinic so you can get them checked.

Cat Cats Eat Bread: Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if a cat eats bread?

In general, nothing will happen if a cat eats a few bites of bread. Many cats enjoy sticking their noses in the dishes of their humans, and so taking a small bite of bread here and there is okay. They shouldn’t eat too much of it, however. Some cats will experience gastrointestinal discomfort as a result of eating too much bread. Just always make sure to check in with your vet before allowing your cat to try any new food.

How much bread can a cat eat?

If you choose to feed your cat bread, make sure that you only give them a limited amount. It’s imperative to understand that while bread typically won’t make cats sick, that doesn’t mean that bread is an ideal food choice for cats.

Like many other human foods, having a small amount of bread—like a crumb here and there—is considered okay for cats. Moderation is key, and bread should not be offered to cats on a regular basis. If your cat is a big fan of bread, then you can reserve it for a once-in-a-while treat. If a cat eats too much bread or uncooked bread, they can develop negative symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting,3 or even symptoms of cat allergies.

What human foods can cats eat?

The best way to care for your cat is to make sure that you’re feeding your cat the right food. There are plenty of foods that are developed and sold specifically for cat consumption. However, there are also plenty of human foods that are foods but will not harm cats when eaten in moderation.

Cats can eat small amounts of meat, fish and whole grains. When considering what foods to let your cat have, remember that cats have much smaller stomachs than humans do, and so will not be able to eat a large amount of any food, especially compared to a standard portion size for humans.

If you are going to let your cat enjoy a bite of your food, then it is best to give it to them in very small quantities so that they can consider whether or not it is something they like. However, cats will typically get all of the nutrients they need from traditional cat food, like wet cat food or cat treats, which means there is no reason to go out of your way to ensure that your cat is also getting human food.

Final Notes

While eating bread is not harmful for cats, it’s also not recommended. If your cat eats a little bit of bread here and there, it should be nothing to worry about. Cats are unlikely to develop gastrointestinal issues as a result of eating a small amount of bread. However, that doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to feed your kitty bread. Instead, stick to cat food and cat treats when you want to give your cat something special to eat.

If you have any questions about what foods are safe to feed your cat, you can check out Dutch.com. Dutch is a premier source of information about pet care. Dutch is a pet telehealth service for pet parents who are looking for a convenient way to treat their pets from the comfort of their own home.

So if your cat ate something they shouldn’t have, you can log onto Dutch.com and access a network of experienced vets who are available to answer any question you may have.