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Can Cats Eat Grits? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Corn grits in a wooden bowl

As cute as they are, our cats can be menaces when it comes to our forgotten leftovers on the counter. You turn your back for 5 minutes, and your hungry feline has helped themselves to half of your breakfast!

If you prefer a plain breakfast with no additives, like a simple grits dish, your cat eating your food isn’t necessarily alarming. On their own, grits aren’t toxic or otherwise harmful to your cat, but they shouldn’t be made a big part of their diet. The biggest issue comes in the form of milk, sugar, and other additives that you can add to your meal to make it more palatable.

Our choice of breakfast might be nutritional for us, but our cats are another matter entirely. This guide will help you understand whether your cat can eat grits and why they shouldn’t eat too much.

Can Cats Eat Grits?

tabby cat eating cat food out of bowl inside
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Grits is a popular type of porridge made from boiled cornmeal. While it can be a tasty, savory, or sweet breakfast for us, it shouldn’t become a big part of our cat’s diet, no matter how much they wish otherwise.

As long as grits don’t become a major part of your cat’s diet, they won’t be adversely affected by eating the occasional mouthful. It isn’t recommended, though, especially if you add any sweeteners, milk, or other toppings to your breakfast. That said, in moderation, plain grits won’t harm your feline.

Can Cats Eat Corn?

Corn isn’t toxic to cats. It’s used in many manufactured cat foods as a filler, but it can cause stomach upset if a cat eats too much of it. This is due to your cat being an obligate carnivore, which means they get most of the nutrients that they need from a diet focused on animal protein. While they can eat some plant protein, which is often used in cat food, cats can’t process the amino acids that they need from plant matter alone. It’s why vegetarian diets don’t often work for our beloved felines for the long term.

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What Foods Can Cats Eat?

cat eating cooked chicken
Image credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

Keeping our cats as healthy as possible is as simple as ensuring that their diet consists of the nutrients and minerals that they need to survive. Many people rely solely on commercial cat food with an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) certification on the label. This means the food meets the AAFCO’s standards for nutrition and is suitable for your cat to eat.

Still, it’s nice to offer our cats something new to give them a break from regular old cat food. It’s never a good idea to make any of these foods a big part of your cat’s diet, but in moderation, a nibble now and then will give your cat a nice change.

If you’re not sure about any of these, you can ask your veterinarian for recommendations or stick to commercial cat treats. You can buy all sorts of tasty snacks for your cat from your local pet store.


The raw type might not be the best idea due to the risk of salmonella, but you can give your cat bitesize pieces of cooked egg. Like meat, eggs supply a large amount of protein that can benefit your cat.

Fruits and Vegetables

Your cat might not be able to eat as much fruit and veggies as your dog can, but they can enjoy the occasional bite of certain fruits, berries, and vegetables. Moderation is key here to avoid causing digestive issues.

A few options that you can give your cat include:
  • Asparagus
  • Banana
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cucumber
  • Peeled apple
  • Pumpkin
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach

When it comes to fruit and vegetables, fresh is always better. Canned fruit in particular contains a large amount of sugar in the included syrup and isn’t recommended for your feline.

Meat and Fish

Meat and fish are both good additions to your cat’s diet. Cut meat into manageable chunks with no bones. Fish is also a great source of omega fatty acids and can help keep your feline’s joints lubricated and their fur smooth.

Remember to ensure that store-bought meat and fish are always fully cooked to avoid the risk of making your cat sick.

What Human Foods Are Toxic to Cats?

chocolate bar
Image credit: Alexander Stein, Pixabay

If you’ve been a cat owner for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced their wide-eyed look of betrayal when they find you eating something without them. Like feeding dogs table scraps, it’s always tempting to toss a morsel or two to our cats, but not all human food is suitable for their consumption.

In most foods, the sugar and fat content are much too high for them to be a suitable addition to our cat’s diet. A small piece of the cheese that you cut for your sandwich might be okay once in a while, but there are several foods that you should never give your cat.

Foods You Should Never Feed Your Cat:
  • Alcohol
  • Baby food
  • Bread dough
  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic and onions
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Xylitol

This list isn’t all-inclusive, and if you’re not absolutely certain that the food you’re eating is safe for your cat, don’t take the chance. It’s far safer for your feline and your wallet when it comes to veterinary bills, if you only give them treats that you know won’t harm them.

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Final Thoughts

Grits is a simple meal to make for breakfast with plenty of potential for variety. Your cat can eat plain cooked grits in moderation. The biggest issue when it comes to your cat eating grits is the extras that you might add to make the dish more interesting. Depending on the toppings you enjoy, the harmless, non-toxic breakfast can become deadly to your feline.

To have your cat be as healthy as possible, especially if you’re not sure they can eat grits or other human foods without risking their health, keep human food away from your cat. Invest in cat treats that are known to be safe for your feline’s consumption, or ask your veterinarian for snack recommendations that your cat will enjoy.

Featured Image Credit: Katarzyna Hurova, Shutterstock

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