There are many human foods that cats should not eat. Some contain dangerous toxins for cats. However, there are some amazingly healthy humans for cats that may in fact improve your cat’s health. These are known as superfoods for cats because they’ve been shown to boost their well-being.
In this article, I will take a look at some of the most healthy human foods for cats and why they are considered a superfood for your cat. We’ll take a look at what vets and experts have to say about these foods and what science says on how they improve cats’ health.
First, let’s breakdown the definition of a “superfood” and what it means for a cat.
What is a superfood?
However, that does not mean that some human foods are not superior to others when fed to cats, and there are clear reasons why you should include them in your cat’s diet.
All superfoods for cats are mostly plant-based, but they can also include other nutrient-dense foods like fish and eggs. Superfoods are classified as such based on their huge health benefits; they are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants for cats.
This is what you would generally see as superfoods:
What constitutes a human food to be appropriate for cats?
There are only a few aspects to consider to know whether a specific human superfood is good for cats to eat: (a) it must be non-toxic to cats, and (b) it must be biologically appropriate, or species-appropriate food for cats.
Below I will list 25 superfoods for cats that are the healthiest foods on the planet.
What are the health benefits of superfoods for cats?
There are tons of health benefits from including these nutrients in your cat’s diet and feeding superfoods to cats. Let’s take a look at some of the major ones.
Vitamins and minerals in superfoods.
The main component of these healthiest foods for cats are their high content of vitamins and minerals, all of which work together to strengthen cat’s bones, boost the immune system, heal damaged tissues and generally help feline body to function properly.
A deficiency of vitamins and minerals in cats is actually common (3) because of the way domesticated cats have evolved and because many pet owners avoid anything other that commercial cat food. This deficiency causes cats to become prone to illness and disease.
Antioxidant and cancer fighting compounds in superfoods.
Another vital component of most superfoods for cats is the fact that they are rich in antioxidants and many plant compounds that have been observed in clinical trials to fight cancer, inflammation and diseases like arthritis, dementia and joint problems.
Superfoods that are rich in these antioxidants may help your kitty fight off many different forms of cancer and diseases; they prevent urinary problems, keep the cat’s heart healthy and her eyesight in check, among many other things.
Electrolytes in superfoods.
Falling below the minerals, vitamins and antioxidants found in superfoods for cats are no less important electrolytes, which are vital for stimulating cat’s muscles and nerves.
Providing a supple amount of electrolytes in your cat’s diet can help keep your feline’s blood pressure at an optimal level, and even regulate blood sugar levels, studies show.
Essential fatty acids in superfoods.
Finally, and probably most importantly, are the essential fatty acids found in few of the below mentioned superfoods for cats. EFA like omega-3s are unsaturated healthy fats that contain DHA and EPA, which are proven (4) to provide many health benefits for cats.
In a nutshell, supplying omega-3s in your cat’s diet will help keep your feline’s immune system healthy, prevent and fight inflammation and joint related diseases like feline arthritis, keep her skin hydrated, her heart strong and her joints lubricated.
The above are just some of the benefits of superfoods for cats, and there’s a lot more to this which gives us a clearly good reason to include these healthy human foods in our feline’s diet. Now let’s take a look at 25 specific superfoods for cats and what they do.
25 Most Healthy Superfoods for Cats
Before you start scouring all the foods you have at home to see what you can give to your cat, remember that not everything we keep in our refrigerators and pantries are safe for our cats to eat. There are some very dangerous human foods cats cannot eat.
To help you make informed decisions, here’s a full list of best superfoods for cats:
1. Lean Chicken.
In the wild, cats survive by hunting and eating their prey. From an evotionaly standpoint, your cat needs a great deal of lean protein in her diet, and chicken is a healthy source.
Chicken is naturally low in fat and cholesterol, when the fat and skin has been removed. Unless you really understand raw feeding of cats, ensure that chicken is well-cooked before you give it to your cat. This is to prevent any bacterial infections, like salmonella.
Dandelion is one of the overlooked superfoods for cats that very few owners know about.
If your kitty enjoys the occasional nibble on the dandelions in your yard, don’t fret. Dandelion roots and leaves actually can offer help with cat’s digestion and allergies.
To further reap the benefits of dandelion, you can even pick, wash and dry them, and cut them up. They can later be used to sprinkle on your cat’s food, just a little at a time.
However, the sour taste of cranberries may not always entice your cat into eating them. Fortunately, cranberries can be purchased in cat supplement or simple powder form.
Furthermore, the antioxidants in cranberries are beneficial in preventing and fighting off cancer, as well as many different inflammatory and chronic diseases.
4. Coconut Oil.
Today, coconut oil is already known as one of the best superfoods for cats, and rightly so.
Coconut oil can be used as a topical treatment for cats with skins problems, or it can be mixed into their daily cat food and eaten just like that.
There are plenty of studies on the benefits of coconut oil. Experts say that coconut oil promotes healthy skin and fur, and also reduces itchiness and shedding in cats.
Additionally, the compounds found in coconut oil are also beneficial to your cat’s immune system and can reduce inflammation and even fight cat’s bad breath.
The easy-to-digest egg is a protein and nutrient powerhouse, and has the largest amount of biotin of all foods. Eggs also provide amino acids for strong, healthy muscles in cats.
It’s best to cook (boil) eggs to avoid any problems associated with bacterial infection or digestion. The next time you whip up an omelette, feel free to share some with your cat.
Cantaloupe is not just a sweet, tasty, refreshing fruit that humans enjoy. Cats go crazy over cantaloupe, and it’s one of the the best superfoods for cats you can find.
Cantaloupe has a unique, sweet smell that for whatever reason cats cannot seem to resist. Fortunately, it’s a very healthy cat snack, as it is packed with amino acids, the building blocks of protein, as well as tons of vitamins and minerals that are good for felines.
Steamed broccoli may be an interesting, tasty treat for your feline if she enjoys the taste of it. But most importantly, broccoli is one of the most healthy vegetables on the planet.
Broccoli contains tons of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidant and powerful plant compounds. Another main benefit of broccoli for cats is that it improves digestion.
Opt for organic, pesticide-free broccoli brands for a healthy snack for your cat.
Kids who grew up watching Popeye know that spinach is a healthy food to eat, but it’s not just based on theory; plenty of research has shown many benefits of spinach.
Steamed spinach can be mixed into your cat’s regular food for an overall health boost. Just like broccoli, it is packed with vitamins and minerals that will benefit your cat’s body.
Not only are blueberries full of antioxidants, beneficial plant compounds, vitamins and minerals, but they are also rich in fiber – helpful for regularity and digestion in cats.
Manganese in blueberries will improve cat’s metabolism. Their deep blue color is due to the abundance of antioxidants they contain, making blueberries a great cancer-fighter.
Fortunately for everybody, many superfoods like bananas are sweet, and people and cats alike enjoy the taste of this fruit.
Your cat may prefer fresh bananas, or maybe even frozen for a cool treat on a hot summer day. Bananas are rich in fiber, which aids in cat’s digestive health, and magnesium in bananas will reduce anxiety and potentially prevent osteoporosis in cats.
However, due to their high natural sugar content in bananas, it is recommended to only give your feline a small piece once in a while as a treat. It’s also high in calories.
Apples are an excellent sources of fiber to improve digestive health in cats. Plant phytonutrients in apples which can reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
Before feeding apples to your cat, be sure to remove the seeds, as they contain a harmful substance called cyanogenic glycoside. This toxic element can make your cat really sick.
Even though apples contain less calories, it’s still a sugar-packed fruit. Therefore, it’s best that your cat enjoys only a small pieces of apple in moderation and as occasional treat.
Going back to berries as the best superfoods for cats, right alongside blueberries are another famous fruit, strawberries. And its benefits are quite similar.
They are packed with same vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which provide similar health benefits to cats as they do for people.
Strawberries are completely safe for your cat; however, the leaves of strawberries should not be ingested by your cat. Due to their sweetness, you cat might not be interested in this berry, but if she is, she will gain the benefits offered by the berry’s antioxidants.
Most cats often love snacking on sweet carrots. Just ensure that the carrot is cooked first, to prevent possible choking. They are also easier to digest when they are cooked.
Carrots can help keep your cat’s eyes healthy due to high content of Vitamin A (beta carotene). They also contain retinal, both of which prevent cataracts in cats and are necessary for good vision and overall eye health.
Not many people know of chia seeds, let alone include them in their diet (and especially in the cat’s diet).
However, chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants and plant-based omega-3s, essential for your cat’s health in many different ways we discussed above.
Chia seeds can be ground or given whole. These nutritious snacks also provide significant amounts of fiber and a variety of vitamins and minerals for cats.
15. Goji Berries.
Although not as powerful as well-researched blueberries or strawberries, this fruit still has many health benefits for cats. Goji berries may be purchased dried or whole.
They are a rich source of antioxidants and amino acids. Feeding goji berries to felines may reduce the risk of cancer, lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Keep them in a zipper bag and these berries become an excellent replacement for commercial cat treats.
With all the recent health trends and news coming out about the benefits of leafy greens, there’s no doubt that kale can be considered as one of the healthiest superfoods for cats.
But would your cat eat kale. It’s hard to say; some cats like the taste of it while others wouldn’t even come close. But the vitamins, minerals and plant compounds are worth it.
In order to reap all the benefits of kale (which are similar to those of spinach and broccoli), you can add a tablespoon of chopped kale daily to your cat’s food. Kale is known for its liver health properties and it also helps to reduce inflammation.
The fiber will also aid in preventing diarrhea and constipation in your cat.
Finally, pumpkin supports urinary tract health and can aid in cat weight loss. Pumpkin can be fed to cats fresh or cooked, but it’s best that it’s pureed beforehand.
This red vegetable that is rare in the western diet has been very popular in many other cultures due to its many health benefits and great taste.
Beets are a healthy superfood for cats that are high in fiber, which is perfect for cat’s digestive health and regularity. It also may improve cardiovascular health.
Beets are rich in minerals like potassium and manganese, which are important for cat’s body protein synthesis, proper muscle and nerve functioning, and metabolism.
19. Sweet Potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are a healthy superfood for cats because it contains antioxidants and vitamins essential in a balanced diet and overall health of your feline.
Sweet potatoes should be cooked beforehand, and then given to a cat a little at a time. They can also be mashed and mixed into your kitty’s normal cat food.
20. Green Beans.
Very few felines enjoy green beans, but if yours does, or if you can somehow add them into her diet, this is one of the best superfoods for cats.
Steamed green beans are an excellent snack for cats. They are a great source of fiber, and also help in weight loss for cats due to fiber and being low in calories.
If your cat is a little on the fluffy side, green beans may be the ideal substitute for more traditional cat treats.
First of all, they are round, they roll and they are fun to play with for any cat. But peas also offer significant amounts of fiber and several minerals for overall cat health.
You might want to steam the peas first to make them easier to digest for your cat.
No list of best superfoods for cats can go without their favorite category – fish.
Herring, not a common food in the western diet, is an excellent choice of fish for your cat, as it is very easy to digest for felines.
Like most other fish, it is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, quality lean protein and Vitamin D which is vital in regulating the calcium and phosphorous levels in a cat’s blood. Herring’s health benefits are very similar to those of sardines listed below.
Sardines are an oily fish, containing an impressive amount of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which provide tons of health benefits for cats we discussed above.
Sardines are a safe fish choice for cats, eliminating the possibility of mercury poisoning associated with other popular canned fish – tuna. Sardines can be frozen in small pieces, removed and thawed completely to offer your kitty a small, tasty snack.
One of the healthy superfoods for cats you don’t hear mentioned often enough is watercress. It’s a great source of plant phytonutrients which have positive effects on blood pressure and inflammation in cat’s body.
Watercress also contains tons of Vitamins C and K, which can give a good boost to your feline’s immune system. The stems and leaves should not be consumed at all, as they may cause digestive irritation, and the watercress itself can be eaten in small amounts.
They provide plenty of carbohydrates for energy, and plenty of other beneficial vitamins. Lentils also contain the most protein of any vegetable that is safe for cats.
Cats are carnivores, but that does not mean that we have to restrict their diets to meat alone, or that they would not enjoy an occasional fruit or vegetable. As shown above and supported by research, there are tons of benefits from these cat friendly superfoods.
The fact is that if domesticated cats would only eat meat, they could potentially be lacking some very important nutrients, such as carbohydrates, antioxidants, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet is the key for a healthy cat.
When introducing human foods to cats, do so slowly. Felines have sensitive digestive systems and may not react well to quick, drastic dietary changes. Your finicky cat might also turn up her nose to any human foods you may try to offer her..
Sharing a healthy superfood for cats as a snack can prove to be a bonding experience too, and we are often tempted to give them a nibble of whatever we are eating. Care must be taken, however, to ensure that the treat is safe for your cat.