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Can Cats Eat Crackers? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

crackers-in-ceramic-bowl

Finding the perfect food for your feline can be challenging, and sometimes, cats seem more interested in human meals than their own. They may not have “puppy dog eyes” that entice us to give in, but soft meows and leg rubbing are their preferred methods of persuasion. When you’re looking for treats that you can enjoy with your pet, you may have wondered, can cats eat crackers? A cat can eat a plain cracker without any adverse effects, but you should avoid giving crackers to your pet as treats.

How Are Crackers Harmful to Cats?

Salt

Cats that eat a healthy diet with high-protein wet food receive enough fat and sodium to satisfy their nutritional requirements, and an excessive number of crackers can result in obesity and digestive issues. Although higher sodium food is less dangerous to felines than previously believed, it can lead to dehydration in large quantities. As you’ve probably witnessed, cats are not fond of drinking from water bowls. Their ancestors survived in arid climates and depended on the moisture in their food for hydration. Giving salty treats to your pet will not convince it to drink more water, but you can provide snacks and wet food developed for cats to prevent dehydration.

british short hair cat eating
Image Credit: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock

Fat and Carbohydrates

Saltine crackers and other types are not only salty, but they’re high in fat. Adult cats that spend most of their lives indoors are prone to becoming overweight, and they benefit from eating food that’s high in protein and low in fats and carbohydrates. Crackers have the opposite composition; they’re low in protein, high in fat, and high in carbohydrates. Wheat flour and other grain-based ingredients are not harmful to cats, but they’re unnecessary components that could be replaced with healthier choices.

Seasonings

Plain crackers are unhealthy treats, but seasoned crackers can harm your kitty. Onion, garlic, and other spicy ingredients can irritate your cat’s stomach and cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Cat vomiting
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Human Food That Is Unsafe for Your Cat

A few crackers will not harm a healthy cat, but some of the foods humans enjoy can cause severe illnesses and sometimes death. Our list of unhealthy human foods is based on data from ASPCA’s Poison Control Center, and you can also examine their toxic and non-toxic plant list for detailed descriptions of flora to keep away from your feline.

Chives, Onions, and Garlic

These vegetables can cause minor stomach irritation in small quantities, but more significant portions can cause anemia and damage red blood cells.

onions_Couleur_Pixabay
Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay

Chocolate and Coffee

Coffee and chocolate contain compounds called methylxanthines that are present in cacao seeds. White chocolate has very little methylxanthines, but dark chocolate and baking chocolate have elevated levels of the substance that can cause serious harm. Symptoms of methylxanthine reactions include panting, diarrhea, vomiting, excessive thirst and urination, abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, tremors, and death.

Dairy Products

The myth that serving milk to cats is a healthy treat was perpetuated by literature, film, and television programs in the past, but dairy products should not be part of your cat’s diet. Cats cannot digest milk very well because they lack enough lactase to break down the lactose. Cats enjoy the taste of milk and will not refuse it, but it can cause digestive irritation and diarrhea.

milk
Image credit: Couleur, Pixabay

Xylitol

Baked goods, peanut butter spreads, desserts, and candy sometimes have the sweetener xylitol in their recipes instead of sugar. Xylitol is highly toxic to felines, and any product with the sweetener should be stored safely away from your pet. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning begin with vomiting and loss of coordination but can progress to seizures and liver failure.

Nuts

Although they’re high in protein, nuts are not appropriate treats for your cat. They have elevated levels of fat and oils that can cause diarrhea and vomiting. Ingesting nuts can also lead to pancreatitis in some animals.

Raw Meat

Commercial raw diets are safe for cats, but raw meat prepared for humans can contain E. coli and Salmonella that can contaminate feeding surfaces and litter boxes. Uncooked meat can also have tiny bones that can cause severe injuries to a cat’s digestive tract.

slicing raw chicken meat
Image Credit: Pixabay

Alcohol

When you’re enjoying libations with family or friends, try to keep your glasses away from your cat. Alcohol can poison your pet and cause diarrhea, vomiting, breathing problems, tremors, elevated blood acidity, central nervous system depression, and death.

Avocado

Avocados can be deadly if ingested by birds, horses, and other livestock animals, but the fruit is less harmful to cats and dogs. However, avocado is high in fat and should not be part of your cat’s diet. If your cat eats too much avocado or guacamole, it can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.

sad cat
Image Credit: avi_acl, Pixabay

Conclusion

Some cats walk away from their food but will leap in your lap when you’re eating a snack. Crackers, chips, and other salty products are not healthy treats for your cat. A small piece of saltine cracker gobbled up by your pet probably will not result in a vet visit, but your furball is better off eating protein-rich cat treats than human snacks that are high in sodium, fat, and preservatives. Save your crackers for your family and friends and use the seafood treats with the unusual aroma for your cat.


Featured Image Credit: Maryia_K-Shutterstock

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