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Can Cats Eat Oatmeal? Health Benefits & Precautions

There are few staple breakfast foods that keep you satisfied and full of energy like oatmeal does. But is it also a good morning snack for your pet cat? Oatmeal is technically safe for cats to eat because it doesn’t contain any toxins or harmful components that make cats sick. However, it’s best to serve this food in moderation. It’s not a natural part of a cat’s diet, and it’s unhealthy for cats to consume large amounts of carbohydrates.

So, before you fix your cat and yourself a bowl of breakfast oatmeal in the morning, make sure you know how to let your cat safely enjoy this food.

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Nutritional Benefits of Oatmeal

Oatmeal is packed with a lot of healthy nutrients. It contains a lot of fiber and antioxidants that are good for the digestive system and help to maintain healthy skin and coat.

It also has several important vitamins and minerals:
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin B
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Selenium

Oatmeal also contains a lot more protein compared to other grains, such as rice and wheat. However, it still contains a high amount of carbohydrates, so cats shouldn’t have a diet that incorporates a lot of oatmeal in it.

a jar of oatmeal
Image Credit: sunxiaoji, Pixabay

How Often Can Cats Eat Oatmeal?

Cats are obligate carnivores, so they require a lot of protein in their diet. They also need adequate amounts of fat because their bodies use fat as an energy source. So, there’s very little need for carbohydrates in a cat’s diet.

With that being said, cats can safely eat oatmeal if it’s given to them every once in a while in very small, bite-sized morsels. However, if you try to give your cat oatmeal, there’s a good chance that your cat won’t enjoy it. Oatmeal tends to be more of an acquired taste, so some cats will enjoy it while others won’t find it appealing at all.

There’s no need to force your cat to eat oatmeal. It’s not a crucial food in a cat’s diet, so if your cat doesn’t like it, you can definitely provide other snacks for it to enjoy. Cats will most likely prefer meat-based treats over carbohydrate-heavy treats anyway.

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Cat’s Basic Dietary Requirements

In general, cats thrive on protein-heavy diets with adequate amounts of fat and very few carbohydrates.


Adult cats usually need a diet that consists of at least 26% protein. Studies suggest that cats maintain lean body mass when their diet contains at least 40% protein.

Some senior cats may need even more protein in their diet and should be fed diets containing about 50% protein. The best way to determine the appropriate amount of protein in a cat’s diet is to work with your veterinarian.

One of the most important reasons why cats need to eat protein from animal meat is because they need an ample amount of taurine in their diet. Taurine is an essential amino acid found in high concentrations in animal meat, such as chicken and salmon.

Taurine deficiencies can lead to potentially fatal health conditions, such as feline taurine retinopathy or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).

tabby cat eating cat food out of bowl inside
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock


When it comes to fats, cats need diets containing about 20% to 24% fat. Many people may think that consuming too much fat isn’t good. However, cats actually need to eat a good amount of fat to stay healthy.

Since cats use fat as energy, low-fat diets can be detrimental to their overall health in the long run. Cats also need to consume omega fatty acids to maintain healthy skin, a healthy coat, and a strong immune system. Fats also help transport some important nutrients across cell membranes within a cat’s body and also help the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K.


Cats don’t need a lot of carbohydrates in their diet. So, outside of eating their usual cat food for main meals, they shouldn’t eat too many foods or treats containing a lot of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates aren’t as filling for cats, so they can end up eating more and gaining weight. Therefore, it’s important to feed cats a regular diet that sticks to their daily nutritional needs. A well-balanced diet for cats can help them to keep a healthy body weight and also maintain their daily bodily functioning.

Carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, can be very nutritious for humans and dogs because they’re omnivores. However, it’s not the best option for carnivorous cats. Cats can easily become overweight by consuming foods with a lot of carbohydrates.

Oatmeal in a white bowl
Image Credit: jmexclusives, Pixabay

Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Cats must also regularly consume specific vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Any sort of vitamin and mineral deficiencies can potentially lead to serious health conditions. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has a set list of essential vitamins and minerals that all cat food should contain.

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Final Thoughts on Cats & Oatmeal

Although oatmeal is safe for cats to eat, they will benefit from other treats that better fit their diets, such as chicken jerky. However, since oatmeal has no harmful properties in it, you can still feed it to your cat if it enjoys the taste. Just make sure to provide a small amount to prevent any weight gain.

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Featured Image Credit: martin_hetto, Pixabay