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Can Cats Eat Cheerios? Vet-Reviewed Feeding Facts

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

Can Cats Eat cheerios

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

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

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Pouring yourself a big bowl of Cheerios with milk is a classic breakfast for many Americans. Each bite is sweet while still being a somewhat healthy option for a quick and easy morning. Cheerios may be good food for humans, but they might not be such a great option for cats.

Cheerios are not toxic for cats to eat. However, they are not something that you should be giving to your cat for a meal or even as a treat. This cereal, although tasty, doesn’t meet a cat’s dietary needs and is not at all necessary for a healthy lifestyle.


What if My Cat Eats Cheerios?

Cheerios and other types of cereal technically aren’t going to do your cat any harm if they accidentally got into some. The cereal pieces are small and dissolve quickly, so they also pose little to no choking risk. With that said, there is no nutritional value that benefits your cats by eating the cereal.

Most cats have no adverse reactions, but some could have an upset stomach or vomiting. So if you truly want to give your cat a tasty treat, there are far better options than whatever you’ve got stored in your pantry.

British shorthair cat eating
Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Is Sugar Dangerous for Cats?

Cheerios are known for their subtle, sweet taste. This sweet flavor comes mostly from honey, corn syrups, sugars, and sugar syrups. Although Cheerios do not contain as much sugar as other cereal options, a 39-gram serving of Cheerios has 29 grams of carbohydrates and only 5 grams of protein.

Considering that these proteins are not even complete to provide a cat with the amino acid profiles they require, then it is easy to understand that the whooping 140 calories it provides are basically “empty calories” for a cat. And remember, a 10-pound male neutered adult cat needs only around 227 calories in a day. Excessive calories will quickly lead to being overweight, which has detrimental consequences for a cat’s health.

Are Grains Dangerous for Cats?

Cheerios are made from oats and corn. In general, grains will not be as harmful to cats as refined sugars will be. Research regarding the value of grain in cat diets is ongoing. Still, historically, cats will only consume a minimal amount of grains if it is within their prey’s gut, considering they are obligate carnivores. Feeding your cats too many grains could actually leave them feeling unsatisfied since they do not obtain the nutrition they need from their meals.

What Is a Cat’s Natural Diet?

All cats are obligate carnivores and require protein sources from meat to survive both in the wild and as domestic pets. Even though you don’t necessarily feed your cat a raw diet as they would eat it in the wild, they still must have protein from meat as the primary portion of their meals. Even wild cats consume small amounts of plants with their meals, but their need for grains, fruits, and veggies is minimal.

maine coon cat eating
Image Credit: Lita Keire, Shutterstock

Healthier Treat Options for Cats

Try to refrain from giving your cats Cheerios as a treat. There are much healthier treat options that they are going to love just as much and feel better eating. Strive to mimic their natural diet with small chunks of meat or fish that don’t have any bones. Some people even give their cats very small amounts of cheese as an occasional treat— just make sure that it is a low-lactose variety beforehand. Those that prefer to give fruits and veggies as a snack must ensure that the foods they choose are also safe options. Some good choices are small amounts of blueberries, melons, or shredded carrots.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Feeding Cats

In the long run, allowing your cats to eat Cheerios isn’t a good idea. Prolonged consumption could lead to a slew of health problems. Besides, they are nutritionally empty and don’t benefit your pets in any way. Furthermore, these empty calories could cause your cats to become obese. With obesity comes issues with eating, exercise, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other problems.

Dangerous Flavors

The most dangerous type of Cheerios to feed your cat are chocolate Cheerios. Chocolate Cheerios contain cocoa, which is toxic for cats and other pets. Consuming this cereal can even put their lives at risk due to a substance called theobromine, which their bodies can not process. Cocoa can also contain caffeine, which is toxic to cats. Plus, chocolate Cheerios have much more sugar compared to traditional Honey Nut Cheerios. So, please ensure you never share chocolates or chocolate-flavored Cheerios or other cereals with your pets.

a tabby cat being fed a cat treat by hand
Image Credit: Jakub Zak, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Whether your cat ate them by accident, or you were simply curious, feeding your cats Cheerios isn’t the best idea. Instead, provide your cats with treats that will improve their health and that fit their daily dietary needs. A few Honey Nut or Original Flavor Cheerios here and there won’t hurt, but will also not help, so why take the risk in the first place?

Featured Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

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