Many people like to eat a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and among them, there are many cat owners who even like to share this delicious morning snack with their beloved cats.
And though, sharing food with our pets seems heartwarming and absolutely harmless, there are a number of foods and ingredients that are not only bad for cats but can put their overall health and life at risk.
Does cereal fall into this dangerous category? Or can cats eat cereal without any risks? Let’s take a closer look.
Can cats eat Cereal? – Not recommended
If you are having your breakfast, wondering: can cats eat cereal, and thinking to share it with your cat, then I have some bad news for you. Cats should not eat cereal.
Technically, though – they can eat it as it is not poisonous to them, but it doesn’t mean you should feed your cat cereal.
Cats’ digestive system is different from ours, being more sensitive and irritable. Therefore, they have different nutritional requirements. While we are omnivores, cats are carnivores, so they need mostly meat, not some grain-based treats.
So, while eating cereal will not cause much harm to them, it is still not an ideal feline treat and mostly not a meal.
Consequently, while your cat can consume cereal without having much trouble, it is absolutely not recommended to feed your cat cereal.
About cats and cereal
Cereal, a delicious, typically morning food product, is made from refined grains and shaped into forms, such as balls, stars, loops or rectangles.
While it used to be just the kids’ meal, it is now a highly popular breakfast; which is not surprising. It is an inexpensive, fast, and easy snack that is usually served cold, with milk, yogurt, fruits or nuts.
These breakfast cereals have all sorts of health claims printed on the front of their box (like being low-fat or whole-grain and having great nutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamin B), as they are often fortified with vitamins and minerals. This means that these nutrients are added to the cereal to make it more nutritious.
However, if you actually look at the ingredients list, you will realize that it contains loads of added sugar and refined carbs.
In conclusion, despite all the nutritional claims printed on the cereal boxes, these tasty, quick snacks are full of added sugar. Therefore, they are not as healthy, even for humans, as they are claimed to be.
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Any benefits – Is cereal good for cats?
While cereal might seem like a good substitute for dry cat food as many of them even resemble it, it is not recommended for cats.
Despite all the nutritional claims breakfast cereals have, they do not offer any nutritional benefits to cats (and even to humans).
While consuming cereal won’t really harm your cat, there is absolutely no reason to feed her cereal as it gives her absolutely zero nourishment.
Risks – Is cereal bad for cats?
As mentioned before, cereal is not an ideal treat or meal for a cat.
Not only that there is nothing beneficial for your cat in cereal, but there are also some ingredients in it that make it fall under the not recommended category.
First of all, most cereals are full of heavily refined and processed sugar.
Cats’ digestive system is not as efficient as ours, and cannot digest sugar properly. Therefore, too much sugary cereal can lead to an upset stomach or can result in feline obesity or even diabetes.
Cereal is also packed with grains and carbohydrates. Both of which can be contributing factors to chronic urinary tract infections if consumed excessively.
In addition, most of the times cereal is served with milk.
Despite the cute cartoons showing cats enjoying a bowl of milk, the truth is that most cats are lactose intolerant. And when a lactose intolerant cat is having milk, she is not able to digest it properly so it will remain in her digestive system.
Sooner or later this will upset her stomach and lead to vomiting or diarrhea. This is especially true when the milk is mixed with sugary cereals.
Another possible risk is food allergy. Just like people, some cats also may have allergy to certain foods. Although such incidents are quite rare, it might happen that your cat is allergic to cereal.
On such an occasion your cat may experience sneezing, coughing, itchy skin, continuous scratching, or runny eyes.
If your cat displays any of the above-mentioned symptoms, she most probably suffers from cereal allergy.
In consequence, cereal can cause much more harm than good (having no nutritional benefit), so it is absolutely not recommended for cats to eat cereal.
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How much cereal is safe for cats?
Since cereal is not recommended for cats to eat, I suggest you don’t feed your cat any amount.
However, if she has eaten some already, do not panic.
While a handful amount will not harm her, too much of it can cause several health problems.
So to be safe, do not leave a whole bowl cereal out to avoid all the painful consequences mentioned above.
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Do cats like cereal?
Since cats are carnivores and they need mostly meat, they will most probably have no interest in grains, like cereal.
However, sometimes you might find your cat meowing and begging for some as soon as you pour it in your bowl. The reason for this is cereal looks and sounds like dry food when being poured.
In addition, cats cannot taste sweets, so even if they try it, they will most probably eat a tiny little bit, turn their nose up and walk away.
In summary, cats do not typically like cereal. Yet, they might be interested in it as your pour it in your bowl as it is similar to their dry food.
What cats really need
Just because cereal is not poisonous to cats and cats can consume it, it does not mean they need it. Cereal does not provide any nutritional benefits, and mainly, it is low in protein.
Whenever we are about to feed our cats with different foods, we should always keep in mind that they are obligate carnivores and not designed to eat human foods like breakfast cereal.
Meaning, they do not need fiber from grain-based sources, but they do need a lot of protein.
Therefore, the best thing you can do for your cat is to provide high-quality cat food and plenty of fresh water.
In addition to this balanced diet, on rare occasions, you can also offer premium cat treats, and in this case, you will most likely end up with a healthy, satisfied and happy little cat.
Conclusion – Can cats eat Cereal?
Cereal, an inexpensive, fast, and easy snack, might seem like a good substitute for dry cat food.
However, it does not offer any nutritional benefits to cats added to which it can cause several health problems like feline obesity, urinary tract infections or even diabetes.
In summary, even though cereal is not poisonous to cats, it is absolutely not recommended that you feed your cat any.