You are eating a sandwich when your cat suddenly becomes interested in your meal. Cats enjoy the rich texture of bread and are interested in everything that is not on their normal menu. Cats have this clever way of making you feel bad if you fail to share your food, but not all human foods are safe for cats.
Regular bread consumption will increase your cat’s sodium intake. This can put stress on the heart and kidneys, so it should always be avoided if your cat has either of these health conditions. Bread should never be fed to kittens because their digestive systems are still gradually developing.
- 1 Can Cats Eat Bread?
- 2 What Breads Are Bad for Cats?
- 3 Can Bread Cause Illness in Cats?
- 4 Should Kittens Eat Bread?
- 5 Are Some Cats Allergic to Bread?
Can Cats Eat Bread?
Cats can eat bread, but the consumption should be limited. Because cats require a specific amount of protein and fat, too much bread can be detrimental due to the elevated carbohydrate intake.
Your cat’s health will determine how it responds to bread. A cat with a lean body and no pre-existing health problems should be able to tolerate small pieces of bread occasionally.
Snack items should never exceed more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories. If too much bread is consumed, not enough vital nutrients will be consumed from cat food. While this will not cause any harm for a day or two, a prolonged imbalance can be detrimental to your pet’s health.
Bread should never be used as a meal replacement or added to cat food.
What Ingredients Are in Bread?
The core ingredient in bread is wheat flour. In addition to salt, yeast, butter, milk, and sugar, traditional bread is not overly complex. Standard white loaf and wheat bread are fine in moderation.
Homemade bread is safest for your cat because you have control of the ingredients. You can protect your cat from any hidden dangers by not adding any additional ingredients that are toxic to cats.
Does Bread Have Nutritional Value?
Bread does not contain taurine. Your cat needs taurine to maintain a healthy coat, gums, and teeth. A lack of taurine can cause a cat’s hair to become thinner and eventually fall out.
Tooth decay and vision issues may also become a source of concern if taurine is absent. Your cat’s heart may also be adversely affected by a diet that is low in taurine.
Many cats are attracted to the scent and texture of bread, but it is nothing more than filler with very little to offer. The sugar and salt found in bread are also troublesome. Too much bread can lead to obesity, fatty liver, diabetes, and heart issues.
What Breads Are Bad for Cats?
While cats can eat standard white and wheat bread, other types should be avoided. They are often flavored with toxic ingredients that could make your pet ill. Garlic, onion, and raisin bread should always be avoided. Even the smallest amount can be detrimental to your pet’s health.
Pieces of bread that include toppings and different product insertions are also bad. Any form of chocolate, butter, peanut butter, nuts, cake batter, icing, spices, etc., should not be eaten.
Selections such as Hawaiian bread should also be avoided. While giving the appearance of standard white bread, Hawaiian bread has a significant sweet flavor due to pineapple juice, honey, liquid sugar, etc. Although cats are unable to taste sweet flavors, the ingredients may cause digestive issues.
As is the case with many herbs and spices, your cat can become very ill if it consumes too much. In the case of garlic bread, the threat of garlic poisoning can be a significant concern.
Once the chemicals found in garlic enter your cat’s bloodstream, they will begin to rupture red blood cells. This can quickly lead to hemolytic anemia.
Introducing the same ailment (hemolysis) as garlic poisoning, onion toxicity can be just as harmful if not diagnosed and treated promptly.
Resulting in heavy panting and weakness, onion consumption (through onion bread) can drastically decrease your cat’s oxygen levels. Potentially more potent than fresh onion, onion powder is most commonly found in foods such as flavored bread.
Raisins can result in kidney failure in cats. While not every cat will display signs of a severe kidney problem, raisins are considered to be a toxic food. If your cat has existing kidney disease, a treat such as a raisin bread could have dire implications.
Can Bread Cause Illness in Cats?
If your cat has eaten bread that contains toxic ingredients, you should monitor them closely. Because cats have such a keen sense of smell, they often eat foods that have an appealing scent while being unaware they are not safe for feline consumption.
While not always related to toxicity issues alone, some cats can become sick from bread consumption in general. If your cat has eaten too much food, already has digestive concerns or is in generally poor health bread can make your cat sick.
Senior cats often have trouble eating foods beyond standard cat food. While small amounts of bread may not have affected your cat a decade ago, the same amount of bread could be detrimental.
Symptoms of illness from bread consumption may include
- Pale gums
- Increased body temperature
- Decreased appetite
- Increased thirst
- Trouble breathing
Can Cats Eat Bread Dough?
Bread dough is toxic. Raw yeast or uncooked dough should never be given to your cat. If consumed, it could expand inside of your cat’s stomach and be fatal.
Bread that is unbaked expands due to the warm environment of your cat’s stomach. As PetPoisonHelpLine.com notes the bloating experienced is caused by yeast is known as gastric-dilatation volvulus or GDV. This is defined as a twisted stomach. Vomiting, retching, increased heart rate, and weakness are all signs of GDV.
Raw dough can also result in alcohol poisoning. Produced by yeast through the process of fermentation, the alcohol can be absorbed into the bloodstream, leading to seizures and respiratory distress. The ingestion can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Can Cats Eat Toast?
Cats can eat toast, provided that it is plain white, wheat, and has not been burned. Served in small amounts, similar to standard bread, portion control required to avoid ingesting too much salt, sugar, and preservatives. All of these can lead to digestive problems in cats.
Small bites of toast intrigue cats because they are crunchy. Some cats prefer toast to regular bread because the consistency is similar to cat treats and snacks.
- Bread that has been burned in a toaster can be harmful to animals due to the acrylamide that forms when the bread is cooked (toasted) at high temperatures.
How does acrylamide (found in burnt toast) affect cats? The American Cancer Society notes that acrylamide does not appear naturally in raw foods but is a byproduct of cooking starch-based foods to extremely high temperatures. Any temperature above 250 degrees can introduce acrylamide.
The chemical reaction between various sugars and asparagine is what causes acrylamide to form. The longer bread is toasted (burned), the higher the odds of acrylamide increasing.
Can Cats Eat Breadsticks?
Breadsticks (of any variety) are not recommended for your cat. Quite tough and of a much different texture than standard white bread, breadsticks are often coated with flavorings and oils. Additionally, the salt level is usually elevated to add extra flavor.
Also, they can potentially be a choking hazard. Much more difficult to break into smaller pieces, your cat may have a hard time chewing the bread.
Can Cats Eat Cornbread?
Corn, like bread, has no nutritional value for a cat. Corn serves as a filling agent and nothing more.
As long as the cornbread is unseasoned, then basic consumption should be fine in tiny amounts. However, the batter used to make most cornbread is unhealthy and can upset a cat’s stomach.
- The burnt edges of cornbread can pose the same health threat as burnt toast. In addition to butter, sugar, and other additives, burnt cornbread should never be given to your pet.
Should Kittens Eat Bread?
Under no circumstances should your kitten eat bread. They should only consume premium kitten food that is optimized for their nutritional needs.
A kitten’s digestive system is more sensitive than that of an adult cat. This is why formula and specific cat food should be the only thing that is fed to a growing kitten.
Are Some Cats Allergic to Bread?
Although bread is not a known allergen, some cats may have an issue with artificial food coloring and preservatives.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include…
- Coughing and sneezing
- Itchy skin
Even when specific foods are deemed safe, you should always monitor your cat’s response carefully. If your cat has a known history of food allergies, you should avoid feeding your cat bread.
In short, most basic forms of bread can be fed to a healthy adult cat in small quantities as a treat. It should not be fed to kittens or senior cats. Never feed a cat onion or garlic bread, and avoid any toppings (nuts, chocolate, species, etc.) as they can be toxic to cats.