Cereal is one of the most common breakfast foods in various homes around the world, and understandably so.
Cereals are famous for their immense energy-boosting properties. As such, adding cereals to your breakfast will ensure that you get just about the right amount of energy to power you throughout the day.
Now, if you also own a cat, you may be wondering whether your feline friend can also enjoy some cereal. But can cats eat cereal?
Technically, cats can eat cereal. Cereal doesn’t fall among the people foods that cats should not eat. Therefore, you can feed cereal to your cat without worrying about any immediate adverse reactions.
So, is cereal safe for cats?
Well, the fact that cereal is non-toxic to cats doesn’t necessarily make it safe for them. That’s because cats are obligate carnivores and rely on a diet of animal protein. Therefore, they will not benefit from the nutritional value of cereals the same way humans would.
If you can, keep cereal away from your kitto. But if you must feed your cat cereals, ensure that you moderate the portions.
Read on as we delve deeper into the topic of cats and cereal.
Is Cereal Good for Cats? A Look at the Potential Health Benefits
Most pet owners often wonder, can my cat eat cereal? As we’ve just highlighted, cereals are non-toxic to cats. But before you feed cereal to your kitto, you must first familiarize yourself with its potential health and nutritional benefits.
Breakfast cereals are mostly made up of whole grains and if the grains are unprocessed and unrefined, then they pack various beneficial vitamins and mineral salts. Of notable mention is fiber.
Though cats are obligate carnivores, they require a bit of fiber in their diets. That’s why you may have noticed your feline friend nibbling on grass blades in your backyard from time to time. Dietary fiber performs numerous crucial roles in your cat’s body.
First, it nourishes the animal’s gut-friendly bacteria. Gut-friendly bacteria refer to bacteria that exist in your cat’s alimentary canal, which aid in digestion. Secondly, dietary fiber helps to bulk up the cat’s stool and in turn, ease constipation and facilitate bowel movements.
Dietary fiber is also known for its ability to cause a feeling of fullness for longer. So, supplementing your cat’s diet with fiber-rich foods may be useful in reducing the food portions that the cat consumes as a measure to guard against increase in weight.
Lastly, the dietary fiber in cereals might help to lower the incidences of heart and cardiovascular diseases.
In addition to fiber, whole grains contain numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds help to prevent the oxidative stress caused by free radicals in your cat’s body cells. As such, they reduce the cat’s susceptibility to chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, arthritis, etc.
Lastly, cereals might help to boost your cat’s energy levels, thanks to their abundance in carbohydrates. The carbohydrates generally complement the main energy substrates in your cat’s regular food, which include protein and fats.
So, can cats have cereal?
Well, going by the potential benefits we’ve highlighted here, there seems to be some way your cat can benefit from cereal. However, the following sections will offer you more insights before incorporating cereals into your cat’s diet.
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Is Cereal Bad for Cats? Here’s What Could Go Wrong
We’ve just reviewed some of the potential health benefits of cereals for cats. So, you may be wondering, is it okay for cats to eat cereal?
Before you offer cereals to your cat, you must also be wary of what might go wrong.
First and foremost, you should remember that cereal is essentially a plant-based food. As such, your cat’s digestive system considers it a foreign substance. Therefore, feeding cereal to your cat might lead to gastrointestinal distress, which usually manifests in;
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Diarrhea and constipation,
- Abdominal pain,
- Loss of weight, and
- Changes in bowel and bladder activity
Being a plant-based food also means that your cat might experience problems extracting the nutrients from cereals.
Secondly, by virtue of being plant-based foods, cereals may also lead to choking hazards. Remember that cats do not take their time to chew their foods and instead, usually gobbles it up whole.
Signs of choking include;
- Dilated pupils,
- Hypersalivation, and
- Runny nose and/or eyes
Now, we mentioned that cereals are an excellent source of dietary fiber for cats. Unfortunately, the fiber content in cereals may be too much for most cats to handle. Fiber should only be consumed in moderation. Too much of it has a laxative effect and may cause diarrhea and dehydration for your cat.
Lastly, most breakfast cereal products are made of processed and refined grains. The refining process often introduces ingredients that may be unsafe for your cat to eat.
A notable example is high amounts of calories in the form of sugars. Excess sugar can increase the risks of obesity, diabetes, as well as heart and cardiovascular diseases in cats. This underscores the importance of always reading the ingredients list before buying any cereal for your feline friend.
Other Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Cats and Cereals
Can cats eat dry cereal?
If cereal is not recommended for cats, then it goes that dry cereal is even more discouraged. Besides presenting the risks of choking, dry cereal may also lead to dehydration.
Can cats eat cereal and milk?
Cereal and milk is a dangerous combination. As you may already know, most cats are lactose-intolerant. Therefore, consuming milk and cereal might cause them some gastrointestinal distress.
Can cats eat chocolate cereal?
No, chocolate is one of the human foods that’s highly toxic to pets. Chocolate contains high amounts of artificial sweeteners. Besides irritating your cat’s stomach, excess amounts of sweeteners may also wreak havoc on the animal’s blood sugar levels.
Can cats eat rice cereal?
Rice cereal is okay for cats as long as it’s wet to prevent choking hazards. Most importantly, the rice cereal must be free from harmful ingredients like trans fats and artificial sweeteners. What of rice Krispies, can cats eat rice Krispies cereal?
Yes, they can. Rice Krispies are usually formulated to eliminate harmful ingredients, which makes them safe for cats to eat.
Can cats eat honeycomb cereal?
Honeycomb cereal is fine for cats since honeycomb is a natural sugar. However, only give your cat honeycomb cereal in moderation, as the sugar content in the honeycomb might still be a problem for your kitto.
Can cats eat baby cereal?
Not recommended, as baby cereal is made up of ingredients that are exclusively intended for babies. So, nutritionally speaking, your cat won’t benefit from baby cereal.
Can cats eat Apple Jacks cereal?
No. Apple Jacks contain up to 50% sugar, plus a host of other ingredients that cats should not eat.
Can kittens have cereal?
No. Kittens have a more sensitive stomach and may suffer more severe effects of cereals. So, you’re better off keeping cereal way from your kittens.
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So, should cats eat cereal?
Cereal is not toxic to cats. But nutritionally speaking, it doesn’t come with any significant nutritional benefits for them either.
So, your best bet is to look for cereal alternatives. If you must give your kitto some cereal, keep the portions low to prevent any potential side effects.