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Can Cats Eat Cereal? Nutrition Facts & Potential Risks

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

Can Cats Eat cereal

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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Cereal is one of our breakfast staples here in the United States and many other countries around the world. There are hundreds of varieties, with the healthiest being known for their energizing characteristics and nutritional benefits. However, not all human foods are the safest treats for our feline companions.

While, technically, cats can eat small amounts of cereal without any real threat to their health, it is not recommended to feed it to them. That goes for any brand of cereal, even the most nutritionally dense ones. Felines are obligate carnivores, and cereals don’t provide adequate nutritional value to their bodies. This article will help you understand why you should refrain from giving your cats cereal, even if they seem to enjoy eating it.

Do Cats Need Cereal?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that cats have absolutely no need for cereal. A cat has a specialized digestive system. Unlike humans that tolerate a wide range of foods, cats are built to function solely off meat protein.

Aside from not needing cereal, a very small proportion of cats (0.1% in a recent Banfield study) are actually allergic to grains, most commonly wheat. If they eat it, there could be an array of health issues that come with it, like diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, or itchy skin. Just because your cat may be naturally intrigued by some of your foods doesn’t mean it is safe for consumption.

cat licking mouth after eating
Image Credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock

Is Cereal Safe for Cats?

In general, cereal is safe for cats in small quantities. It should never be something that you use to replace their staple diet, though. Even if you’re dying to give them a few nibbles, you should at least be confident that they don’t have a gluten or grain sensitivity. Remember, just because something is non-toxic for pets doesn’t mean that it is nutritionally beneficial or that it should be given to them all the time. If your cat really enjoys the taste of cereal, then give them a small piece on rare occasions. Do not feed them cereal daily.

Is Cereal Bad for Cats?

It’s hard to say whether cereal is good or bad for felines. While it doesn’t contribute to a healthy life, it also isn’t poisonous for them. The grains in cereal often contain high amounts of fiber, which can actually help their digestive systems. However, there are far better and tastier ways to boost their fiber intake. At the end of the day, what cats really need is a high amount of protein.

What About Cereal with Milk?

There’s been a long-time rumor going around that cats love to drink milk. But is it actually good for them? While some cats do like the taste of milk, they don’t need it. Giving milk to cats isn’t that great of an idea, despite what you’ve seen in the movies. Cats lack the appropriate enzymes to break down and digest milk. Over time, it could create some health issues such as digestive distress. Nobody wants to see their cats in pain with a tummy ache and diarrhea, so try to refrain from feeding it to them.

cat eating out of food bowl
Image Credit: PxFuel

Do Cats Get Any Benefits from Cereal?

Technically, there are some minute benefits from cereal, but the cons far outweigh the pros. Cereal that is made from whole grains do have some small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fibers that cats need. However, as we mentioned before, there are better ways for them to receive these things. Most cats get everything they need from their daily kibble and wet food, so they don’t need to eat cereal to better their life.

What About Cats that Like Cereal?

There are some cats that are happy to eat just about anything you put in front of them. As curious animals, most will try anything once. As their caretaker, it is your job to determine which things are safe and which are detrimental. Even when they are staring at you with those big, sad eyes, you have to refrain from giving in to their demands. At the end of the day, you know what’s best for them and must have the willpower to say no and keep them out of danger.

Now that you know what you can safely feed your cat, it’s just as important to find a bowl that supports their health and well-being. With whisker-friendly bowls and a wide tray to catch any spills, our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite option.

hungry white cat hepper nom nom bowl licking lip


While cereal is both safe and non-toxic for most cats, it doesn’t mean it is a healthy snack option. Your cat really doesn’t need anything that comes from cereal to stay mentally and physically sharp. In fact, they could be more attracted to the crunchy texture of the cereal than the taste. If that’s the case, then buy them some cat-friendly treats instead of feeding them processed human foods. Cats that eat cereal occasionally likely won’t suffer long-term, but it’s better to just keep it away from them in general.

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Featured Image Credit: sferrario1968, Pixabay

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