Can Cats Eat Bread And Is It Safe For Them?

Russell Cargill

It’s breakfast time, you’ve made yourself some toast with peanut butter on toast, and just as you take your first bite you notice your cat staring at you. At this point you might be wondering, can cats eat bread?

If you’re like me, from time to time I will treat my cat to a small piece of toast. So yes, indeed cats can eat bread, but, how much is too much and what about the topping on the bread?

So, Can Cats Eat Bread?

The short answer is yes, but, you must consider any added ingredients into the bread. For example, garlic can be highly toxic to cats, therefore cats should not be eating garlic bread of any kind.

Typically your common bread will be fine to feed your cat, but it doesn’t contain any real nutritional value for them. While it doesn’t contain necessary nutrients for your cat, they can still enjoy it as a treat every now and then.

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Bread begins to become a danger to your cat if consumed on a regular basis and in high amounts. A cat’s diet should consist of high amounts of protein and fats to maintain their naturally lean muscular bodies. If too many carbs are consumed in their diet, it will leave little room for those essential proteins and fats.

Pro Tip: A piece of bread the size of your fingernail contains about 20 calories and is equal to 10% of their daily calorie intake. An average cat needs 200 – 250 calories per day. Treats should make up only 5 – 10% of those calories.

What Does Bread Contain?

We all know bread contains a bunch of carbohydrates, as well as carbs it contains low amounts of fats, sugar and a very small amount of protein.

Bread also contains fibre, especially the crust and less refined bread such as wholemeal. Vitamin B and folic acid is also found in bread along with niacin. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that it contains iron and calcium, which is added during the manufacturing process.

bread infographic

Can Bread Provide The Nutrients Cats Need?

With bread consisting of mostly carbohydrates and very little protein, protein being what cats need most of, it can’t really provide the necessary nutrients needed for a healthy cat diet.

Your cat should only have about 10% of their diet be carbohydrates, they get this from their natural prey. The protein they need also comes from natural prey such as insects, lizards and small mammals.

Cats need only a good source of natural animal protein to stay healthy. Their digestive system works in a very unique way and too much bread will upset your cat. So no, bread can’t provide any nutrients to our cats.

When Can I Feed My Cat Bread?

Have you ever tried to give your cat medication? Forcing your cat to swallow tablets can be an unpleasant experience. This is where bread can actually come in handy.

Using a small amount of bread to conceal any medication is a great way to trick your cat when they require medication. Just be sure that your cat has no allergies to bread when using this trick.

Bread Can Cause A Carbohydrate Allergy

That’s right, if you constantly feed your cat carbohydrates they can develop an allergy. Cats aren’t born with any allergies, they develop them over time with repeated exposure. Regular bread intake could contribute to your cat developing a carbohydrate allergy.

The occasional cube of bread is not going to hurt them, in fact it can be a good way to medicate your cat. Just keep it to a very minimal amount, and don’t let it become a habit.

When Can Bread Be Bad For Cats?

While bread is a relatively safe treat for cats, there is a point where it becomes dangerous.

As mentioned previously garlic is toxic to cats, therefore garlic bread should be avoided always. Any bread flavored with garlic or onion should never be given to cats at any time, not even as a small treat.

Cats must also not consume any uncooked dough or yeast dough. Surprisingly this can lead to issues such as bloating and even more serious, alcohol poisoning.

Both of which can be life threatening. The yeast may ferment in the stomach producing ethanol, potentially causing cardiac arrest.

If you think your cat has eaten uncooked yeast dough and you begin to notice symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Is White Bread Safe For Cats?

While plain white or banana bread isn’t toxic to cats but, should be avoided. Bread that contains additional ingredients such as garlic, onion, or some nuts should NEVER be given to cats. 

When it comes to your feline friends bread consumption keep to an absolute minimum and remember no health benefits come from feeding your cat bread.  

With that said, there isn’t any nutritional benefit to feeding your cat bread. Feeding your adult cat large amounts of bread will cause health issues such as weight gain or feline diabetes. 

Warning Signs Your Cat Has Eaten Something Toxic.

There are a few symptoms or warning signs to look for if you are concerned your cat has eaten  something toxic.

The below list is a quick guide of what to look for.

  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Trouble breathing
  • Increased body Temp
  • Abdominal pain

Pro Tip: Be aware of giving bread that contains nuts. These could result in an allergic reaction and be a potential danger to your cat.

The Conclusion On Can Cats Eat Bread?

So, can cats eat bread? Yes, but remember the above guide when giving him that next treat.

Bread itself is not toxic to cats, however, the ingredients can be. Keep this in mind and no matter what do not give them uncooked yeast dough.

Cats need a high protein, high fat diet. Bread should be exclusively used as a treat, keep in mind the 5 – 10% rule I mentioned.

Although cats can eat bread, it’s still recommended to avoid feeding your cat bread. It doesn’t provide your cat with any required nutrition and can cause allergic reactions.

About the only time I’d recommend feeding your cat bread is, when having to medicate your cat. It really can be a handy tool to give them that much needed medication. Of course, make sure they suffer no bread allergies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats eat raisin bread?

Raisin bread should be avoided as it may cause your feline to develop kidney issues

Can cats eat bread with peanut butter?

Yes but, you should try to avoid it. Read more on can cats eat peanut butter here.

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