What Does Cats & Kittens Eat?

What Does Cats & Kittens Eat?

If you have been the parent to a furry munchkin for some time, you must already be aware that cats are the biggest foodies, who simply love to eat. But have you ever wondered what do cats like to eat or what do kittens eat? Although cats are known to eat certain fruits and veggies, they are essentially carnivores, which means their natural diet predominantly consists of animal protein obtained from eating meat. 

As carnivores, a high-protein diet is considered normal for cats. In the wild, cats are proficient hunters and can effectively prey on smaller animals, birds, and rodents as their primary source of food. As is not the case with indoor cats, they can be offered commercially produced cat foods that contain sufficient animal protein and fatty acids.

Since cats generally enjoy variety when it comes to food, rather than offering them the same food regularly, you should offer different kinds. This quick cat-feeding guide will provide you with all the essential knowledge you need to keep your furry well-fed and happy. It will also help you answer questions like what do cats like to eat besides cat food or what does cat eat?

The difference in nutritional requirements of cats and kittens

  1. Kittens need more nutrients as they are in the growing stage

    As much as we love our snuggly, little balls of fur in their kittenhood, they are not going to stay kittens forever. Kittens completely mature within a year of their birth, turning into beautiful, majestic cats. Thinking what do kittens eat? Since the time taken to grow into adults is relatively shorter for these adorable felines, they require significant amounts of energy and nutrition during their growing months. The nutritional requirement for kittens in their growing stage is generally higher than that of adult cats who have stopped growing. The excess nutrition mostly consists of protein, taurine, phosphorus, and calcium.

  2. Importance of mother’s milk in kittens

    As infants, kittens are unable to eat and digest animal protein and fatty acids like adult cats. So, if you are thinking what do kittens eat, kittens, like most mammals, are primarily dependent on their mother’s milk for all kinds of nourishment for four to five weeks from birth before they can effectively ingest solid foods. When it comes to what do kittens eat, the mother’s first milk, also known as colostrum is especially crucial for kittens as it provides them with their first systemic immunity. The colostrum contains immunity-boosting substances in large amounts, protecting the kittens against most diseases.

  3. Kittens' nutritional needs include

    Energy: Ideally, kittens need almost three times the energy of adult cats. Therefore, kittens need to be fed more frequently than adult cats.

    Protein: The protein requirement of a kitten is higher than adult cats because kittens need more nutrition to support their rapid growth.

    Fat: Due to their high caloric content, fats and fatty acids help kittens maintain a playful, energetic lifestyle.

    Minerals: Kittens require a considerable portion of minerals like magnesium, vitamin A and copper as a part of their diet, which is important for the strengthening of their bones.

  4. Health complications if the requirements are not fulfilled

    Unless their nutritional requirements are fulfilled, cats and kittens can face the risks of several disorders that can affect their lifestyle, behaviour, and health. Malnutrition and starvation are possibly the most common signs of your kitty's nutritional requirements not being properly met. In addition, other health complications can arise out of malnutrition, pancreatitis being one of the most prominent disorders resulting from digestive enzymes flowing into the abdominal region. If your kitty is starving, these digestive enzymes often start breaking down fat and protein cells and tissue lining of other organs, causing ulcers and inflammations.

What cats and kittens love to eat

  1. Fish

    Have you ever faced the question of what cats love to eat? Fish is among the favourite foods of our feline buddies since they relish the taste and flavour. Though the strong smell of fish can be repulsive to some humans, cats are usually delighted by the smell as it triggers their vomeronasal organs, making the feeding sessions more appealing. Since fish stimulates both the sense of taste and smell, cats are often attracted to fish and foods with fish flavours. However, it is not the best idea to offer raw fish to your precious ball of fur, as it can cause indigestion. Instead, you can spruce up your kitty’s dinner by cooking the fish, but with little oil and spices. In addition to commercially available cat treats and cat food with fish flavouring, fishes like tuna and salmon are popular options that your kitty is going to love.

  2. Chicken

    Offering your kitty home-cooked chicken is a great option as chicken contains vitamins in great amounts, along with minerals like selenium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6 which can help your kitty to have strong bones. In addition to being a cats favorite food, chicken is also rich in fatty acids and protein.  And due to its low caloric content, it can be easily fed to cats on special diets without causing them to grow obese. In addition to chicken being what cats love to eat, chicken is also easily available and easy to cook, making it a convenient option for parents who prefer home-cooked food to commercially available ones for their munchkins. In addition to improving bone density and strength, chicken is known to have medicinal benefits for cats facing risks of liver and kidney disorders. However, if you are cooking chicken for your ball of fur as cats favorite food, remember to go low on oil and spices to avoid causing indigestion.

  3. Beef

    What do cats like to eat? Beef is also ranked top on the list of the favourite food of cats since it is flavourful and rich in animal protein and fats. It packs all the essential calories for cats to keep up with their regular, playful lifestyle. Beef is also a hit with cats because of its distinct, savoury smell. However, as unmatched beef is a viable source of protein, it is rich in fatty acids and has a high caloric content. So, if your feline buddy is eating beef regularly, they are likely to grow obese or overweight in the long run. Furthermore, beef has a higher content of sodium salt, which can be detrimental to your cat’s lifestyle, often leading to feline lower urinary tract disorders (FLUTD). So, if your cat is on a beef-based diet, make sure to offer it in smaller portions.

Other foods that cats and kittens love

  1. Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel)

    Fish is the obvious answer to what is a cats favorite food. In addition to being fascinated by the strong smell of fish, cats are known to love the distinct taste of fish too. The strong fishy smell also stimulates the vomeronasal organs in cats, creating a strong association of taste and smell while eating. Fish contains moderate amounts of minerals like zinc, magnesium, and calcium, which are beneficial to cats for maintaining strong bones. However, since cats are unable to digest raw fish, it is always a good idea to serve your kitty fish cooked with little oil and spices.

  2. Ham

    Wondering what does cat eat? Ham is another food that can be fed to cats, especially those that enjoy variety in their food. The savoury, exotic flavour of ham is going to make a mouth-watering meal for cats. As carnivores, cats are largely dependent on animal protein and fats, and ham contains both in good amounts. Though ham is ranked high on the list of what do cats like to eat, since cats are prone to obesity, make sure to offer them ham in calculated portions as ham has a high caloric value. In addition, ham also contains bacteria like E Coli and salmonella, so cook the ham before serving.

  3. Boiled Chicken

    Are you wondering what do cats like to eat besides cat food? The answer is chicken! Chicken is nutritional and easily digestible and affordable. It also has a distinct taste, making it a popular choice among cats. Chicken has a low-calorie content, which can be helpful when your kitty is on a diet. Furthermore, chicken is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B6, which can be helpful for kittens in their growing stage. Chicken should be cooked in low oil and spices before serving to cats. Cats also enjoy boiled chicken, making it a popular nutritional meal.

  4. Egg

    What does cat eat? Like fish and chicken, eggs are also a popular meal among cats. It is rich in nutrients and animal proteins, making it a top choice of food for felines. Eggs have a high amino acid content, which cats can digest without any difficulty. It is also soft and convenient for young cats and kittens. However, if you are planning to feed your cat eggs, make sure to cook them first to get rid of bacteria like salmonella which can cause diarrhoea and indigestion in cats.

  5. Wet/dry cat food

    You might not always have the time and energy to cook for your feline. In such cases, you can opt for commercially available cat food. Available in a wide variety of flavours, commercially available wet and dry cat foods are amazing alternatives to home-cooked foods. What does cat eat? There are several options available in terms of textures and flavours to add variety to your feline’s meal. Furthermore, wet food keeps your kitty hydrated. Don’t forget to include delicious Temptations™ treats into your kitty’s diet since Temptations™ treats are not just rich in nutrients but are also a feline mood-lifter.

What to not feed cats?

  1. Dairy products

    Although kittens are primarily dependent on their mothers’ milk as a source of nutrition and immunity, they gradually lose their ability to digest milk as they grow up. Most cats are lactose intolerant and giving them cow milk, goat milk, or milk products often can cause severe indigestion and vomiting.

  2. Fatty foods

    What does cat eat? Felines are great foodies, but feeding them fatty foods often can cause your little munchkin to become overweight. Although cats require some fatty acids to maintain an active lifestyle, unless their caloric intake is regulated, the excess fat in certain foods can often lead to obesity.

  3. Salty foods

    Most mammals require salt to carry out essential life functions. However, salt in excess can slowly manifest into major health concerns, such as dehydration, frequent urination, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Cats in particular have a low tolerance to sodium salts, so make sure to offer them food with low sodium content.

  4. Undercooked foods

    It is important to make sure that the food you make at home is sufficiently cooked before it is offered to your feline furry munchkin. Undercooked or uncooked food items like eggs often contain bacteria, notably salmonella and E Coli which can cause gastrointestinal infections and food poisoning in cats.

  5. Chocolates

    Although chocolate is a comfort food for most humans, it is not recommended for cats. Chocolate, in addition to having a high caloric value, is packed with caffeine and theobromine which can be toxic for fur kiddos. Chocolate also contains complex sugar and xylitol which can cause indigestion in cats.

  6. Citrus fruits

    Citrus fruits are also best avoided for felines. Citrus fruits, leaves, stems, and seeds contain citric acid in varying amounts, which cannot be broken down by the digestive enzyme in cats. Rather, citric acid tends to give cats an upset tummy and if ingested in excess, can even be fatal.


  1. What human foods can cats eat?

    Cats can enjoy certain fruits like apples, bananas, watermelons, strawberries, and blueberries. You can also offer home-cooked meals prepared with fish, egg, chicken, ham, or beef in low oil and spices. These are human foods your kitty can safely eat.

  2. What do cats naturally eat?

    As carnivores, the natural diet for cats includes animal protein and fat. Hence, cats can be fed fish, meat, and eggs. Most of the nutrients needed by cats to keep up with their everyday lifestyle are available in these foods. 

  3. Can cats eat rice?

    Although rice is a staple food for most humans, cats are unable to digest plant fibres in large quantities. Rice is not harmful for feline consumption, but it should not be a part of your fur baby’s everyday diet either. 

  4. Is potato good for cats?

    Potato does not belong in the natural feline diet, neither is it a cats favorite food. Though it is safe for feline consumption, cats receive zero to negligible nutrients from eating potatoes. However, you can offer roasted or mashed potato to your feline as an occasional treat. 

  5. What can my cats drink?

    The most recommended drink for cats is a bowl of fresh and clean water. But if your cat is not a drinker, you can also offer chicken broth and can also occasionally give them freshly prepared apple juice as treat.


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