At a glance
Cat food is always the best source of food for cats, it is nutritionally balanced and meets all their nutritional needs. As a rule, cat treats should make up no more than 10% of a cat’s diet, and only if the veterinarian gives the OK. Unweaned kittens who have not started solids, cats on a diet or food trial should not be given treats.
Grated cheddar cheese is a great way to add calcium to the diet, to encourage a cat who has lost his or her appetite to eat. You can either give it a small amount on its own or try sprinkling it over their food. Cottage cheese is another type of cheese that’s safe for your cat to eat.
Avoid blue cheese, hard and soft cheeses.
Plain pot-set Greek yoghurt, not the fruity stuff which contains too much sugar. Some cats love it, but not all.
Yoghurt is good to give to a cat who is on a course of antibiotics. These drugs not only kill harmful bacteria, but they also kill good bacteria in the gut, which can lead to diarrhea. Yoghurt can replace good bacteria.
Both cheese and yoghurt are generally safe for cats to eat even if they are lactose intolerant, but if you are unsure, try your cat on a small amount and see how he goes.
A small amount of butter help with the passage of hairballs. But do not feed large amounts of butter due to the fat content. One teaspoon added to the food once or twice a week is enough.
Cooked chicken or turkey
Plain steamed or grilled chicken or turkey is great for a cat who is sick or recovering from a sickness. It is tasty enough to encourage a cat to eat but bland enough to not cause an upset tummy. Most cats love small pieces of cooked chicken.
Most cats love tinned fish, and it is an excellent way to encourage a cat who has lost his or her appetite to eat. However, tuna should be an occasional treat only, some cats can become tuna junkies and refuse all other types of food which puts them at risk of yellow fat disease, which is caused by feeding too much fish that is deficient in vitamin E.
Keep tinned fish for special occasions only or to encourage a sick cat to eat.
Cooked beef or lamb (fat removed) is great for dental health as the cat has to gnaw it. Cut into 2 cm cubes.
Don’t give your cat cured meats such as ham or salami.
Cooked hard-boiled or scrambled eggs are a great source of protein, selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12, zinc, iron and copper.
Useful for sick cats, baby food is palatable to cats and easy to digest. Avoid baby food that contains onion or garlic.
Boiled or steamed rice is useful for cats with gastrointestinal problems who need a bland diet. Rice and chicken are often recommended to rest the gastrointestinal tract.
Mix 1 cup cooked chicken breast with 1/2 cup cooked rice. Add a small amount of chicken broth if the mixture is too dry.
Some cats enjoy eating vegetables. Cooked pumpkin is a great way to add fibre to the diet if your cat suffers from hairballs as well as helping to treat diarrhea and constipation. Other vegetables cats seem to enjoy are broccoli and carrot. Don’t feed hard vegetables such as broccoli or carrot raw as they can be a choking hazard; the best way to cook vegetables is by boiling or steaming. Don’t give your cats anything which contains onion, garlic, leek or potatoes.
Some cats love to snack on fruit which is packed with vitamins and a natural source of fibre. Do not allow cats to eat apple, pear or stone fruit seeds that contain cyanide, any citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, mandarins etc) or grapes (the toxic compound is unknown). Safe fruits include melon, kiwi fruit, raspberries, blueberries, mango, strawberries and banana.