Can Cats Eat Bread?
This may sound unusual, but some cats actually love the odd bit of bread. All around the internet there are tales of bread bandits, cats sneaking slices off countertops or racing their owners for the toaster when they hear it pop. It’s a phenomenon that’s baffled cat owners all over the globe and no-one really knows why some pets love bread so much!
If you’re got a bread aficionado on your hands, you’ll probably want to know ‘can cats eat bread?’ and more importantly, ‘is bread bad for cats?’ Find out the answers to your questions about cats and bread in this article!
Can cats eat bread?
Yes, cats can eat bread as it is not toxic to them, but it’s not recommended. This is because their gastrointestinal systems have not evolved to digest foods that are mainly composed of carbohydrate, and they need high protein diets.
It’s probably fine for cats to have a bite of plain bread or toast as a treat, but it should never be flavoured as there are breads which contain garlic, fruits and even chocolate, that can be harmful for cats. Additionally, the bread shouldn’t be fed with any toppings – butter or peanut spread are too high in fat, and chocolate spread is actually toxic.
Is bread bad for cats?
Although a small portion of bread is unlikely to be harmful, it doesn’t really offer any nutritional benefit either. Excessive feeding of high carbohydrate treats can lead to health problems such as gastrointestinal issues or weight gain and may predispose to diabetes. As a rough guide, half a slice of toast will be around 10% of your cat’s daily calorie requirement. However, it is likely to be very filling and does not contain the nutrients they need to maintain optimum health. This can mean that your cat won’t have enough room to eat their daily portion of a complete and balanced cat food, and over time they could become deficient in certain nutrients as a result.
However, the main instance where bread is bad for cats is when it’s uncooked. Raw bread dough can be incredibly dangerous for our feline friends as a cat’s stomach offers the perfect conditions for dough to expand, leading to bloating and a distended stomach. This can cause a significant amount of discomfort for your cat, and in some cases it can be life-threatening.
The yeast used to ferment the carbohydrates in bread dough also poses a threat to your cat as it produces alcohol in the form of ethanol. This alcohol will be absorbed into the bloodstream and leads to alcohol toxicosis which can cause seizures and respiratory failure. If your cat might have eaten uncooked bread dough, contact your vet as an emergency.
How to feed bread to cats
It’s usually best to avoid bread entirely and instead opt for treats especially made for cats. However, if your cat really does have a taste for bread you can offer them a tiny bite of plain, baked bread with no toppings or flavourings.
If cats really love bread, it can sometimes be useful for administering oral medication if this is proving otherwise difficult. Check with the vet whether your pet’s medication is suitable to give with food, and hide the pill inside a small piece of bread. This method doesn’t work for all though as each kitty is unique.