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Can Cats Eat Cereal? What You Need to Know!

If you can’t resist sharing the last of your cereal and milk with your cat, you might be wondering if this is a good idea. Is cereal bad for cats, or can you let them eat as much as they like?

In brief, cereal isn’t a great foodstuff for cats, but it’s not poisonous. So, while they won’t gain much nutritional benefit from cereal, it shouldn’t do them any harm either. An exception is if your cat is grain or gluten-intolerant, cereal shouldn’t be a part of their diet in any way. Let’s learn more about whether cats can eat cereal.

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Health benefits of cereal

Many of us humans love to eat cereal for breakfast — or at any other time of the day! There are so many different brands, it’s always possible to find a flavor to suit you.

Cereals contain grains, which in turn, contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Vitamins and minerals are essential for a cat’s diet to help them stay healthy.

Fiber is useful to help a cat’s digestive system function correctly and prevent problems like diarrhea or constipation.

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Image Credit: Melissa Askew, Unsplash

Do cats need grains from cereal?

As obligate carnivores, the digestive system of cats is designed to function on a purely meat-based diet. Some commercial cat foods do contain grains, as these are used to provide vitamins and minerals and are carefully blended with meat-based ingredients. Your cat won’t gain any additional benefits from the grains in your cereal.

Some cats have sensitivities to grains, in which case, you should avoid feeding them even a small amount of cereal, as it may cause digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation.

Is cereal safe for cats?

Cereal doesn’t contain any ingredients that will harm your cat, unless they’re gluten or grain-intolerant. While most cats can eat a small amount of cereal without any adverse effects, you shouldn’t feed cereal to your cat as a replacement for their regular, meat-based food.

As with any foods that your cat wouldn’t normally eat, it’s always best to speak to your veterinarian for advice if you have been regularly giving your cat cereal.

Just because cereal is safe and non-toxic for cats, that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to feed them.

Most cereals also contain quite a bit of sugar. Cats definitely don’t need this in their diets, and it can cause gastrointestinal issues and increased blood sugar, and damage your cat’s teeth if you feed it to them over an extended period of time.

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Image Credit: Deedee86, Pixabay

What about feeding cereal and milk?

It can be tempting to think that a nice bowl of milk can be a treat for your cat, especially if it has some of your leftover cereal in it! Despite popular misconceptions, adult cats don’t actually find milk that easy to digest. It can cause digestive issues, and most veterinarians would not recommend it as a suitable drink for your cat.

It’s even less suitable if it has added sugars from your cereal in it!

What if my cat likes cereal?

Some cats are happy to try any sort of foodstuff at least once! If it seems like your cat is generally interested when you open your packet of cereal, it’s more likely that they think that you’re opening a box of kibble.

An inquisitive cat may act interested when you’re pouring your cereal out, but it’s not that they want to eat it, they’re just curious enough to take a bite. Remember that cereal doesn’t provide any nutritional benefits for your cat.

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Image Credit: Nyana Stoica, Unsplash

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Wrapping it up

Cereal is safe and non-toxic for cats to eat, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for them! Cereal is often high in grains, processed sugars, and carbohydrates, none of which your cat needs to stay healthy. As obligate carnivores, your cat’s digestive system is designed to process a meat-based diet that’s high in protein, so that’s what’s best to feed them.

Some cats might like the texture or crunch of cereal or just enjoy sampling a small taste of whatever it is you’re eating. If you’re tempted to give your cat your bowl of leftover milk with a few pieces of cereal in it, remember that adult cats have trouble digesting lactose, so you may find that they end up with a gastrointestinal upset.

While your cat probably won’t suffer any long-term consequences from eating a few pieces of cereal, they won’t get any nutritional benefit either. In if doubt, always feed your cat the highest-quality cat food that you can, and rest assured that this will provide all the nutrition that they need to stay healthy and strong. Leaving your cereal in the bowl and pouring kibble for your cat instead is a much better option in the long run!

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Featured Image: shixugang, Pixabay