Can cats eat eggs?
Yes, cats can eat eggs, but as with any ‘treat’, limit the amount and frequency you feed as this adds excess calories to the cat’s diet. An average 4.5 kg (9.9 lb) cat on a maintenance diet should consume 246 calories per day, and one egg is approximately 74 calories (310 kilojoules), which is just under 1/3rd of the cat’s total daily calorie allowance.
While eggs contain many beneficial nutrients, they are not balanced and complete. Cats are obligate carnivores and must consume a diet that is made up of predominantly animal protein. So feed eggs as a treat, and feed less at the next mealtime. As a general rule, treats should not make up more than ten percent of a cat’s diet.
Are eggs good for cats?
Eggs are good for cats. The protein in eggs is easily digestible protein and eggs provide many essential nutrients which include vitamins A, B6, B12, D and E, riboflavin, folate, niacin, iron, zinc, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, amino acids (arginine, histidine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, methionine + cysteine, phenylalanine, phenylalanine + tyrosine, threonine, and valine) and antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin).
Related: Human foods cats can eat
Feeding your cat eggs
There are several ways to feed eggs to cats which includes poached, hard-boiled and scrambled eggs. Go easy on the butter and milk if you are feeding scrambled eggs as they can cause dairy intolerances in some cats.
Once cooked, make sure the eggs have cooled and cut bite-sized pieces before feeding to the cat.
When not to feed a cat eggs
As with any new food, always consult your cat’s veterinarian to make sure it is safe to feed your cat eggs as some medical conditions or therapeutic diets may contraindicate eggs in the diet.
Cats on therapeutic diets
Therapeutic diets are diets that are prescribed by a veterinarian to treat or manage underlying medical conditions such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, digestive help and stone dissolving diets. Most of these diets must be fed exclusively, with no other foods. Always check with your veterinarian before feeding any non-prescription foods to cats who are on therapeutic diets.
Cats who are on food trials
Food elimination trials are recommended for cats with allergies, during the trial, the cat is fed a novel source of protein, such as duck or kangaroo, and no other type of food can be fed during this trial.
Cats who are on a weight control diet
Avoid extra calories for cats who are overweight and on a calorie-controlled diet.
Kittens who have not started solids yet (under 4-5 weeks).
Frequently asked questions
How much egg can a cat eat?
Eggs should be an occasional treat once or twice a week and definitely not every day. Treats (including eggs) should not make up more than 10% of a cat’s diet.
Can cats eat raw eggs?
Do not feed your cat raw eggs to reduce the risk of salmonellosis, a zoonotic bacterial infection that can cause vomiting and diarrhea and e coli, a bacterial infection that can cause bloody diarrhea.
Too much raw egg white can be bad for cats due to the risk of biotin deficiency. Raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin which binds to biotin (vitamin B7) in the small intestine preventing absorption. Biotin deficiency was induced in kittens fed dried raw egg white over a period of 25 weeks. Obviously, that is a lot of egg white over a long time, but there is no research on the impact of raw egg whites and biotin deficiency in cats who ingest the occasional treat. Cooking denatures avidin.
What human foods can cats eat?
It goes without saying that cats should eat a species-appropriate diet that is complete and balanced. But the occasional treat is fine as long as the veterinarian has given the go-ahead. Feeding treats can be used during training, when a cat has lost his or her appetite or when administering medication.
Human food safe for cats to eat include cheese, yoghurt, tinned tuna, rice, fruit (strawberries, bananas, blueberries, mango, apples), vegetables (cucumber, cooked carrot, cooked broccoli).
Can kittens eat eggs?
Yes, kittens can eat a small amount of egg once they have weaned.
Can cats eat other types of eggs?
Yes, cats can eat duck eggs and quail eggs which are also excellent sources of protein. But again, stick to the 10% rule and check with your veterinarian first.
- Do not feed your cat eggs that have expired.
- Always wash your hands before and after handling eggs.
- Watch for signs of allergy or anaphylaxis such as itching, scratching, swelling and difficulty breathing. If the latter occurs, seek immediate veterinary attention.
- Do not feed raw eggs. Cook thoroughly and allow to cool.
- Do not eat eggs that have cracked.