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Can Cats Eat Donuts? Is It Healthy for Them?

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	Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many cats want to be all up in your business, doing everything that their human is doing. So, if you are snacking on a delicious doughnut, your cat might be nosing around, acting like they want a bite, especially if it has a strong aroma or extra colorful sprinkles!

Luckily, most donuts are largely non-toxic for cats, but it greatly depends on additional ingredients for each flavor. Let’s get the full scoop on why you may want to avoid donuts for your cat regardless.

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Donut Nutrition—or Lack Thereof

We probably don’t have to tell you that donuts are not the healthiest snacks. They are full of oil, sugar, and flour—and that’s just the base. That doesn’t include the laundry list of toppings you can add to them.

The reality is that even we humans shouldn’t be eating donuts too often as they are not full of many nutrients. The same extends to our feline friends, particularly because they don’t need any ingredient in donuts whatsoever.

In fact, depending on what kind of toppings are on the donut, these sweet treats can be quite dangerous for them to consume. Luckily, most cats will walk up to inspect a food item and often turn away. There’s really not much that would draw them in, given that they usually are attracted to savory tastes over sweet ones.

But there is always that one cat that gets a hankering to taste something new.

two donuts on wooden table
Image Credit: ThorstenF, Pixabay

Donuts Are Full of Empty Calories

You have heard the term empty calories, but what does it really mean? Essentially it means that there are no beneficial nutrients in a food item, just calories that will add to weight gain.

Donuts are made of flour, sugar, butter, and a wide array of other sweet goodies. Then, they are deep-fried to boot. Can you say circle-shaped heart attack? But that doesn’t stop us from indulging in these soft little dough delights. Cats, however, shouldn’t have any of the ingredients in a donut as they are obligate carnivores and they only need meat to survive. In fact, while they can handle a moderate amount of starches, they should be offered via a vet-approved commercial cat food, and not in the form of a donut.

Donuts & Dangerous Toppings


Chocolate is an extremely common donut topping. Also, some donuts are made out of chocolate batter.

If your cat consumed any chocolate, it is important that you call the poison pet helpline or contact your veterinarian right away. If they are displaying any symptoms of illness, it is important to know what to look for and seek medical help immediately.


Even though it is a very common misconception, most cats are actually lactose intolerant. Sure, they will beg for a saucer of milk and drink it without hesitation. They are even attracted to milk-based products. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s something that’s good for them. Dairy can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea.

donuts with fillings
Image Credit: dinar_aulia, Pixabay


Some cats don’t have an issue with eggs. In fact, eggs can make your pet’s coat incredibly silky and smooth when given in moderation. However, some cats do show sensitivities to this oval food item.


Cats can be very sensitive to certain spices that we humans eat with no regard. Some ingredients that are big no-nos for cats include cinnamon and nutmeg. Both of these food items are toxic to cats.

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Cat Taste Buds Can’t Detect Sweetness

Did you know that cats can’t even taste anything sweet? It’s true, cats do not have taste buds developed to detect sweet flavors. It really makes sense as cats are obligate carnivores in the wild. They catch and eat animal prey, deriving all of their nutrients strictly from that source. There’s nothing sweet about a carcass.

The term “curiosity killed the cat” wasn’t invented out of thin air. Cats are notoriously curious creatures.

Or alternatively, something else might draw them to a food item, such as smells you can’t detect, textures, or even the crinkling of the bag or wrapping it comes in.

But one thing is for certain, scientists deemed it 100% that cats cannot taste sweetness. It’s one thing that we do not have in common.

Cat licking its tongue
Image Credit: Adina Voicu, Pixabay

Better Options for Cat Treats

Cats shouldn’t generally eat human food at all. It’s just best to steer clear entirely from table scraps and bites here and there to prevent any type of accident from occurring. After all, what might seem harmless to us can be extremely dangerous to our feline friends.

To protect them and keep them safe, only serve them things you know they can have. That’s not to say that you couldn’t give them the occasional boiled meat or dehydrated snack, but make sure these are treats and not full meals.

Also, sites like Pinterest are booming with DIY projects right there in your kitchen. You could whip up a nice batch of cat-safe snacks. That’s a safer choice for a treat than donuts and coffee.

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Cats + Donuts: Final Thoughts

We are sure you were disappointed to find out that you shouldn’t share your donuts with your cat. Keep in mind that even though the base of donuts is likely to cause no real harm to your cat, they really shouldn’t be eating this dessert. That is especially true if they have any potentially harmful toppings on them like chocolate or nuts.

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Featured Image Credit: AJEL, Pixabay

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