In my house, you can’t leave a loaf of bread or a bun on the counter for fear that the cat will eat it. Many cats are interested in bread, and if you’ve seen your cat devour your sandwich, you’ve probably wondered if this food is safe for cats.
Let’s look at how much bread cats can eat, how often they can safely eat it, and more.
Types of bread
There are as many types of bread in the world as there are cultures, and they are all different. Bread is one of the oldest forms of cooking and is eaten all over the world.
In the West, we tend to eat our bread in loaves – although even that varies wildly, from a nice sourdough loaf from an artisan bakery to a store-bought loaf of white bread in a plastic bag. In other countries, unleavened bread is more common, such as tortilla from Mexico and chapatti from India.
Bread can also be used as a base for baking other ingredients. Pizza bases are made from bread, and various crusts are baked on buns to make cheese bread, tiger bread, onion bread, and seed breads.
Bread nutrition statistics
As you might expect, it is impossible to list the nutritional elements of “bread”, as there are so many different types. Even “normal” white bread can be made with egg, milk, oil or butter, and contain various possible additives such as vitamins.
Nutritional benefits of bread
The nutritional benefits of bread can vary as much as the bread itself, but overall bread is not very nutritious for cat owners or their feline friends! Bread is mostly carbohydrates, and since cats don’t have high carbohydrate needs, it doesn’t provide them with much nutritional value.
Is bread good for cats?
If your cat just grabbed a bun from the counter, don’t worry. Cats are safe to eat bread in most cases, but there’s more to it:
Too much bread is bad!
A bun might be the perfect size for a human, but it’s way too much for a cat – it would be like eating 15 buns at once! If you think you’ll feel bad after that, you can only imagine what your poor cat will go through. While cats can eat small amounts of bread as an occasional treat or to help them swallow a pill, you should call your veterinarian if your cat eats a large amount of bread.
Bread is high in calories
Bread is high in calories but not in nutrients. In other words, it is considered a source of “empty” calories for cats. Feeding too many excess calories can lead to weight gain and with feline obesity already affecting around 50% of cats and on the rise, attention should be paid to the calorie intake of all our feline friends.
Raw bread dough
Raw bread dough is to be avoided for cats. Raw dough contains active yeast, which causes the bread to rise. And if this lifting occurs in your cat’s stomach, it can cause serious problems such as bloating or obstruction of the digestive system.
Additionally, yeast produces ethanol as a byproduct of fermentation. When the paste ferments in your cat’s stomach, the ethanol can quickly make your cat sick, as cats are much more prone to alcohol poisoning than humans.
Bread baked with added ingredients
Be careful of breads baked with added ingredients, as these can be toxic to cats. Ingredients to avoid in bread for cats are:
- Onions may be delicious to us, but they’re toxic to cats. If your cat has eaten onion bread, you should immediately call your veterinarian.
- Garlic is often used in garlic bread, focaccia, and other seasonings. It is toxic to cats and causes anemia. If your cat has eaten garlic bread, you should call your vet for advice.
- Raisins are sometimes included in bread and are considered poisonous to cats; they cause acute kidney disease.
How much bread can a cat eat?
If your cat nibbles on a small piece of baked bread on an ad hoc basis, don’t panic. Don’t let him eat more of it and call your vet if the bread contains any ingredients that cause concern.
Chances are your cat won’t suffer from his mishap, although he may have an upset stomach if he’s eaten a lot. Watch your cat carefully for any symptoms and call your veterinarian if you are concerned.
If your cat really likes Wheat Bread for Cats, you can try giving her small, safe pieces of bread every once in a while, but let’s discuss some caveats:
- Bread should only be given as an occasional treat, as it is highly likely to cause obesity.
- If you must use bread to disguise a tablet, use a piece no larger than necessary to wrap it around the tablet and disguise it.
- The maximum amount of bread a cat can eat in a day is 10% of their daily caloric intake. For a 3 kg cat, this is about 20 calories, or a quarter of a slice of white bread. However, cats that eat such an amount are not allowed to eat any other treats all day and should also eat less cat food!
Although most types of bread are safe, they should only be given to cats as a very occasional treat. Even the crust of your toast is high in calories and contains virtually no nutrients for your cat. If you give your cat bread, only give it a small piece of bread. It is far better to give him fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Can cats eat bread?
A small amount of bread is not likely to harm your cat, provided it does not contain toxic additives. However, bread is not good for cats and you better give your cats something healthier to eat!