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Can Cats Have Cereal as a Treat?

David Fields
Last Updated on
by David Fields

In this article, we will answer the question can cats eat cereal?

The answer is yes. Cats can eat grains, but veterinarians do not recommend it because cats are carnivores by nature.

Cereals are primarily grain-based carbohydrates, not animal-based proteins. As a result, cats cannot process cereals correctly in their digestive system. While they will not gain any nutritional benefit, cereals are non-toxic to cats.

Once in a while, you can let your cat enjoy some cereal. Keep reading to learn more about the best cereals for cats.

Can Cats Eat Cereal?

Cats Eat Cereal

Cats can eat cereal, but veterinarians do not recommend it because cats are carnivores. Nevertheless, cereals are non-toxic to cats and should not cause any life-threatening adverse reactions.

Your furry friend functions best on an animal meat diet. However, some commercial cat foods use cereal grains for extra vitamins. These complement the meat but do not replace it as the main ingredient. Many brands put grain in cat foods because it is a low-cost way to boost the volume.

Keep in mind that some cats are sensitive to grains and will require a grain-free diet. You can talk to your vet to see if your cat needs a more natural diet to prevent digestive issues. These cats will not tolerate any cereal.

Overall, the cereal should not harm a healthy cat free from gluten and grain intolerances. You can give your cat the occasional nibble of cereal without any problems. Regardless, you should never replace one of your kitty’s meals with a bowl of cereal.

Despite cereal being non-toxic, most brands contain significant amounts of sugar that aren’t even recommended for human consumption. In cats, excess sugar can lead to issues like:

  • Damaged teeth
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Increased blood sugar

Most cats are curious, so they will look at you when you open a box and pour out your cereal. Out of curiosity, they may even take a bite. If your cats continually gnaw at your breakfast, make sure you are feeding them enough meat regularly. But rest assured that your cat won’t get sick from a few nibbles.

Read More: Can cats drink almond milk?

What to Do if Your Cat Ate Too Much Cereal

Most cereals contain fructose, carbohydrates, refined sugars, and fiber, which are too much for a cats’ digestive system to handle. They do not have the digestive enzymes to process the nutrients in cereals.

Cereals with chocolate may induce other issues, such as:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urination
  • Heart tremors
  • Vomiting

When fed in excess, cereal can have a detrimental effect on your cat. If you have been feeding your kitten some sugary cereals, check for gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation. Take them to the vet to look for dental and blood sugar issues as well.

Ensure you stop feeding your cat cereal immediately. Get them on a high-meat, low-carb diet to repair their digestive system as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s dive deeper into the topic with these frequently asked questions.

What cereal can cats eat?

One of the best cereals for cats is cornflakes. While these have sugar and salt, corn and barley can help with constipation. The iron added to the cereal can prevent anemia by regulating haemoglobin levels. Also, Vitamin E improves the skin and fur of cats.

Cereals like Lucky Charms and Rice Krispies have excessive amounts of sugar and sweetener that may lead to diabetes and obesity in cats. Make sure to look for cereals that have lower sugar levels than others.

Some cereals that are marketed as healthy, like Special K, have high levels of sugar, grains, and salt that you would not want to feed your cat. Again, avoid the high-sugar varieties and feed them to your cat in small volumes.

Can cats eat dry cereal?

You should not feed your cat dry cereal. While they can eat it, the crunchy nature may cause your cat to choke. Also, dry cereal can lodge in a cat’s throat and irritate. These foods may cause our cat to vomit or feel nauseous.

Can cats eat cereal and milk?

If you do wish to feed your cat cereal, serve it with some liquid. You may think that cats enjoy milk, but most adult cats are lactose intolerant. Giving them dairy can lead to digestive issues and nausea.

While it may sound unappetizing, you would do better to give your cat cereal moistened with water. That way, you can prevent choking from the hard grains and avoid any issues with lactose.

The only thing a kitten needs to live is its mother’s milk. Do not mix cereal with this milk because the kitten may choke on the grains and have trouble digesting it. They have yet to develop the digestive enzymes even to eat meat, let alone something they aren’t supposed to.

Can I give my cat oatmeal?

Plain oatmeal is one of the safest cereals to feed cats. Oats have a decent amount of protein and other nutrients like manganese, folic acid, Vitamin B, and zinc. Small amounts of oats cooked in water can supplement your cat’s diet.

Manganese aids in thyroid maintenance. Folic acid and B vitamins help with energy levels, homeostasis, and strengthening your cat’s skeletal system. Lastly, zinc can improve a cat’s fur and skin.

That’s not to say that your cat should have a bowl of oatmeal with you for breakfast. However, it is one of the best options if you opt for plain oats free from sugars.

Is it safe to give a cat cereal?

For most cats, it is safe to give them cereal. While they do not provide the necessary nutrients to live, cereals shouldn’t kill a cat.

If you plan on feeding your cat cereal, choose cornflakes or oatmeal that are low in sugar and salt. If you give them a sugary one, make sure to keep the quantity very low to prevent health issues. Also, never feed kittens cereal as they have far more trouble digesting grains than adult cats.

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About David Fields
David Fields
David Fields is a long-time animal lover and has been blessed to share his life with many companions. A short list includes ragdoll cats, siberian husky and greyhound dogs, an African Grey parrot, many fish of all sorts, and a pandemonium of parakeet. He writes most of the articles on iPetCompanion and is regularly featured on other popular websites on the Internet.
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