Can Cats Eat Bread?
Bread is probably the canvas on which all other foods are piled. It’s just so basic that it’s hard to imagine a world where bread isn’t a thing. You can put some meat between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich. You can have bread with soup and call it an appetizer. You can make it into crumbs and put them on your chicken. It has a taste that isn’t too spicy for anyone and it’s filling. It’s also got a good supply of carbs to give you the energy you need to get through a tough day.
I could sit here and talk about it all day. And I would, if this were a blog about whether or not humans can eat bread. However, it isn’t. It’s a blog about whether or not Scratch and other cats can eat bread. The prevailing question today is: can cats eat bread?
Is Bread Safe for Cats?
Can cats eat bread? Yes, they can. However, as usual with foods that aren’t meat, there are some caveats you should observe.
For starters, you can’t fill your cat’s bowl with bread every day and brag that you fed her. It might seem like you’re being a good pet parent because you’re giving her whatever she wants. However, you should remember that she doesn’t always know what it is good for her and it’s your duty to make sure you give her the treasure and keep her away from the trash. To start with, it’s important to know just what kind of bread you’re giving your cat to begin with.
Let’s start with baked bread. Baked bread is pretty much okay for your cat. However, you shouldn’t give her too much of it or it will have an adverse effect on her health. You’re probably wondering how much the correct amount to give her is. Well, a little treat every now and then should be just fine; as long as it doesn’t become the main part of her diet.
Remember that bread isn’t absolutely crucial to your cat’s wellbeing. She’s an obligate carnivore and will do just fine without even knowing what bread tastes like. Bread is mostly carbs which, while she can digest it and obtain some energy from it, isn’t really necessary to keep her going.
What about bread with some other ingredients added to it? It’s important that you only give your cat plain baked bread because the extra ingredients might be very dangerous for her.
If the bread has garlic added to it, like as in garlic bread, you should certainly keep it away from your kitty. Garlic and onions can cause anaemia in your cat because it spells death for her red blood cells. You should also keep your cat away from bread with any grapes or raisin. These two ingredients can cause acute kidney failure in some cat breeds. You also shouldn’t give your cat bread with any spreads, such as jam or peanut butter. The additives in these spreads can be dangerous for your cat.
What about raw dough? I cannot say this anymore emphatically: Do not give your cat bread dough!!!
Bread dough can give your cat alcohol poisoning. That is because it contains yeast, which will most certainly react with any sugar present in your cat’s digestive system and convert it into alcohol. It could also block your cat’s intestinal tract. If your cat accidently consumes bread dough, rush her to the vet; she might need an emergency surgery.
Laying Down the Facts
As mentioned above, bread is pretty popular the world over. You’ll find it in just about every grocery store you visit and it comes in a slew of shapes, sizes, and flavours.
Bread is also incredibly cheap. A filling food that is also incredibly cheap is a pretty good idea. Not only does bread make you feel full, it also has all the right nutrients to get you through a busy day. It’s no wonder this great food is a main component of most people’s breakfast tables. However, while this is great news for us human beings, it doesn’t mean it’s fantastic news for our cats too. Bread is okay for humans, but this doesn’t mean we should make the assumption that it will sail right through a feline digestive tract without causing any problems.
To be honest, actually, wheat isn’t the only plant used to make the flour that goes into making bread. The flour could be made from beans, roots, and grains. What’s a constant through and through, however, is that all of these ingredients are plants. This will definitely have an effect on the proportions of the nutrients in bread. As it stands, carbohydrates make up about 8 parts in 10 for bread. Protein and fat make up 10% each.
Bread certainly doesn’t have the wrong kind of fat. It has unsaturated fat and a low cholesterol content, making it safer for cats than foods with high cholesterol content and saturated fats. It also has some great ingredients, such as foliate and thiamin. However, bread comes with its own baggage, like a high sodium content.
Bread also doesn’t have anywhere near the requisite amount of protein your cat should eat in a day. Your cat needs foods with an amino acid score of 100+ to get their daily requirements. Bread has a meagre score of 52. That means that you can’t let your cat live solely on bread. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your cat bread either.
Is there any Potential Harm to Eating Bread for your Cat?
Bread certainly has some drawbacks, if you give too much of it to your feline companion. It has a high sodium content and, in some cases, a high sugar content as well. These two ingredients are not good for cats.
If you give too much bread to your cat, she’ll like suffer from obesity. Due to the high amount of carbs in bread, your cat’s body will probably break it down and store it as fat, making your cat chubby.
The kind of bread we typically buy has added preservatives to keep it fresh for longer than usual. This is okay for humans, but not for cats. Also, bread is lacking in taurine, a very important vitamin for cats. Cats cannot produce their own taurine, and get it from the meat they eat instead. If you make bread the main component of your cat’s diet, she won’t get any taurine in her system and will suffer many complications. These include hair loss, tooth decay, and reproductive malfunctions.
On the plus side, bread certainly gives your cat a lot of fibre, which helps in her digestion. In moderate amounts, the carbs are also okay for your cats. However, apart from these two benefits (and maybe the taste), there really isn’t much else going for bread. Your cat might never taste bread in her life and she’ll still be just fine.
Can cats eat bread? Yes. Should they eat it? They don’t have to. And even if they do, they certainly shouldn’t have too much of it. A treat every now and then is just fine. Any more and you’ll be loving your cat too much.