Cats are carnivores and need to eat meat to live long, healthy lives. However, they may also enjoy some human foods, even though they're not a necessary part of their diets. Cats may see you eating and beg for a bite of your food. It's normal for pet parents to want to share food with their feline friends, but not every human food is safe for cats. If you're wondering, "Can cats eat eggs?" you'll be glad to know that cooked eggs are safe for cats. However, your cat should never eat raw eggs because they can harm their health.
Eggs can provide many benefits for cats since they're a source of animal protein and fat. However, since they're not a necessary part of a cat's diet, they should only be fed in moderation. In addition, you should never feed a cat a whole egg because they contain calories your cat doesn't need to stay healthy. Let's discuss a little more about feeding eggs to cats.
- Are Eggs Good For Cats?
- What Types Of Eggs Can Cats Eat?
- How Much Eggs Should I Feed My Cat?
- How To Cook Eggs For Your Cat
- Final Notes
Are Eggs Good For Cats?
Eggs offer some benefits because they contain protein and fat.1 However, that doesn't necessarily make them good for cats. Because eggs aren't a necessary part of your cat's diet, there's no reason to give them eggs regularly. Cats need meat protein, but eggs can offer a way to supplement their diet.
In addition, egg yolks contain fat with only some protein, so egg yolks can increase how much fat your cat eats. Eggs also contain calories. A healthy cat weight is around 8-10 pounds, so they don't need many calories. On average, there are about 80 calories in an egg, and cats only need a few hundred calories a day. Therefore, feeding them a whole egg or a small portion of egg can increase their daily caloric intake, causing weight gain, obesity, and associated health conditions like diabetes.
Ultimately, cats don't require eggs in their diet since they should get all the essential nutrients they need from their regular cat food. However, it's normal for pet parents to want to share human foods with their pets. Luckily, the egg is one you can share with cats, but there are a few caveats. For example, raw eggs are not good for cats because they carry risks.
Health Benefits Of Eggs For Cats
While cats should only consume eggs in moderation, they're not necessarily an unhealthy snack. Here are the health benefits of eggs for cats:
- Carb-free protein: Eggs are carbohydrate-free, making them pure animal protein necessary for carnivores like cats.
- Amino acids: Amino acids support the building of protein, and 10 of the 11 amino acids cats require are found in eggs.
- Vitamin A, D, E, and B12: Every cat needs vitamins to support their health. Vitamins found in eggs support your cat's skin, coat, heart, bone, immune system, and nervous system health.
- Healthy fats: Cats need fat in their diet, so giving your cat a small portion of the egg can give them the fat they need to support their overall health. However, some cats should not consume additional fats in their diet, including those with pancreatitis and diabetes.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants found in eggs can protect cats against free radical damage.
- Thiamine: Also known as vitamin B1, thiamine supports the metabolism of carbohydrates to provide the body and brain with energy.
- Iron: Iron helps cats remain healthy by supporting red blood cell production. Without it, cats may become anemic.
- Riboflavin: Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin is essential for energy production and aids in the growth and development of cells in the body.
- Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that supports skin, hair, and reproductive health in cats.
- Selenium: Selenium protects cats from free radical damage and supports the immune system.
- Biotin: Biotin improves the skin and coat health while supporting thyroid and adrenal gland health.
What Types Of Eggs Can Cats Eat?
Eggs are not a meal for a cat; instead, they can be a small treat for them. Eggs are not nutritionally complete or balanced, so cats must consume their regular kibble or wet cat food for optimal health. Cats can eat all types of cooked eggs, so if you're wondering, "Can cats eat scrambled eggs?" the answer is yes. However, it doesn't matter how you cook eggs for cats, as long as they're fully cooked. The easiest way to share eggs with your cat is to scramble or boil them, but you can also make your cat their own little omelet free of additional ingredients like salt and other seasonings.
Be careful when feeding your cat eggs with yolks, though. Yolks contain mostly fat, which increases your cat's calories for the day.1 In addition, fatty meals, including healthy fats found in eggs, may cause GI issues and lead to more serious health conditions in cats, such as pancreatitis. Meanwhile, egg whites contain almost no fat, so if you want to feed your cat a healthier snack, skip the yolks and ensure the egg whites are fully cooked.
Can Cats Eat Raw Eggs?
Cats should never eat raw eggs because of the salmonella risk.1 Ingesting raw eggs of any kind can cause a salmonella infection in cats and humans. Raw eggs can also cause GI upset in cats, leading to diarrhea and vomiting.
Since salmonella is dangerous to cats and humans, there's no reason to feed raw eggs to your cat. After handling raw food, always wash your hands before serving eggs or any other food to your cat to minimize their risk.
How Much Eggs Should I Feed My Cat?
How much egg you feed your cat depends on their health and weight. Some cats should not eat eggs because they may increase your cat's daily caloric intake if you're not counting their calories. For example, cats with pancreatitis and diabetes or those on a restricted diet should avoid eggs.
However, healthy cats can consume a small amount of egg in moderation. One tablespoon of egg whites is typically safest and can help supplement their diets.1 Never feed your cat an entire egg; they don't need all those additional calories.
Always talk to your vet before adding eggs to your cat's diet, especially if they're on a weight management program or have a health condition. Eggs are generally safe in moderation for most cats, but you should always talk to your vet before sharing new human foods with your pet.
How To Cook Eggs For Your Cat
If you've decided you're ready to share some eggs with your cat, you must know how to prepare them. Here's how to get started feeding your cat eggs:
- Get approval from your vet: Always get approval from your vet before introducing a new food into your cat's diet. If your cat is on a weight management plan, your vet may advise about how to include treats and other foods in their diet to prevent weight gain.
- Egg whites should be cooked: It's always best to remove the yolk and only feed your cat egg whites because they're healthier and don't contain as much fat or calories. The egg whites should be fully cooked to prevent the possibility of salmonella infection.
- Cook without seasoning or salt: When cooking eggs for cats, always avoid butter and oils, and never give your cat food with seasonings. Cats don't need salt, pepper, or any other spices to enjoy food, and some can be dangerous to their health.
- Serve in small pieces: Only serve your cat a small portion of an egg at a time. Since they contain additional calories, and it only takes a little bit of food to overfeed your cat, there's no reason to give them more than a few bites.
- Serve in moderation: Eggs should not be a daily snack for cats, especially if you're not monitoring their calorie intake. Since eggs contain calories, whether or not they include the yolks, there's no reason to feed them more than they need.
- Monitor them: After feeding your cat eggs, always monitor them for signs of illness. While it's rare for cats to have an egg allergy, they could have a negative reaction to eggs, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
You can serve eggs as snacks or use them to give a cat a pill by boiling an egg and sticking the pill within a small portion of it for your cat to swallow. Eggs can also be used as training treats for cats because you can easily break off small chunks.
Cats should get all the nutrients they need from their regular diets, so there's no reason to share eggs with your cat for health benefits. Instead, you might want to give them a little treat now and then. Eggs are a safe treat to share with your cat in moderation, but cats don't need eggs in their diets; they prefer meat. If your cat is interested in eggs, you can share a few bites of unseasoned egg with them from time to time, but you should never make it a regular snack because it can lead to weight gain, obesity, and associated health problems.
Knowing how to feed your cat the right foods is important. Since diet plays a critical role in your cat's health, you must know how much to feed your cat, what foods to give them, and what treats are safe. Talk to a Dutch vet if you have questions about cat nutrition. Our vets can help you plan your cat's diet and determine whether your cat's current diet is negatively impacting their health.