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Can Cats Eat Cheez-Its? Facts & FAQ

Our pets are like family members to us. They join in on quality time with the rest of the kids and adults, often becoming the center of attention with their hilarious antics. However, when it comes to sharing your food, more caution is required.

As omnivores, humans eat many things that we should not give to our cats. We enjoy snacking on things that would disrupt our cats’ digestive systems and make them very uncomfortable. Some of the things we enjoy might even be toxic for them.

What about Cheez-Its? Can cats share in this snack? The answer to that is no.

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Can Cats Eat Cheez-Its?

As carnivores, cats do not need almost anything that is in a Cheez-It, as it has very little nutritional value for them.

Cats can eat Cheez-Its without being poisoned, though. There is nothing in a normal Cheez-It that is toxic for your cat, and you don’t have to worry about significantly damaging their digestive system if they eat one or two a couple of times a week.

cat waiting for treats_shutterstock_Andriy Blokhin
Image by: Andriy Blokhin, shutterstock

Cats & Lactose Intolerance

The major hang-up for a cat’s dietary relationship with Cheez-Its is the dairy that the food contains. Cheez-Its contain real cheese, making up 6% of a human’s daily calcium needs in a single serving. They also contain extra fat and way too much sodium for cats.

There are a surprising number of lactose-intolerant cats. Although you shouldn’t assume that your cat is lactose-intolerant, you should be careful as they age. Adult cats’ bodies often stop developing the protein enzymes that can easily break down lactose into a usable form. Because of this, they cannot digest it well.

For some cats, that only manifests in a bit of discomfort and maybe gas, similar to humans. For others, it results in vomiting and diarrhea, which can be dangerous when too frequent or heavy.

If your cat is lactose-intolerant, even eating one Cheez-It could bring on a violent physical response. If you decide to give your cat a Cheez-It, you should only give them one the first time. Even if they don’t have an adverse physical reaction afterward, you should never give them more than one or two in a week.

Sodium Level of Cheez-Its

The Association of American Feed Control Officials only recommends that cat food contain 0.2% sodium for a cat’s expected growth.

That is a minimal amount, especially compared to a human body, which can’t live without sodium.

Cheez-Its contain 174mg of sodium in a single ounce, or 28 grams. That salt is partly what makes them so appealing to the human palate. For cats, though, salt poisoning is a possible risk. Too much salt, which isn’t much, can become toxic to cats.

If your cat has had too much sodium, some of their symptoms could be diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and excessive thirst. They might also suffer from seizures and even go into a coma in extreme cases.

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Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock

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In Summary

A Cheez-It or two won’t often present much of a risk for your cat if you want to give them one as a snack. But if you know or suspect that they are lactose-intolerant, save them the discomfort and don’t give them the dairy-filled snack. Remember that there are much healthier treats for cats with more nutritional value and less risk than a Cheez-It.

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Image Credit: WikimediaImages, Pixabay