Cat food is made specially to meet the nutritional needs of our feline friends. But some curious humans have pondered – can humans eat cat food too in certain cases?
The idea may seem bizarre, but there are some explanations for why a person may consider trying cat food. Should you eat food manufactured for cats on any sort of regular basis though? Read on to learn more about the composition of cat food and the potential health risks.
Can Humans Eat Cat Food –
Mostly Cat food contains the same ingredients as the human food, so if you want to taste it you can but however nobody will gonna recommend you to eat it in large proportions or to solely depend on this diet.
This is because the nutritional composition of cat food is very different from that of humans. Also, for humans consuming it for a long time, it contains several Health risk factors.
To understand weather humans can eat cat food or not you must know about both of these points in detail. So let’s take a closer look.
Nutritional Composition of Cat Food
1. High in protein from meat sources
Cat requires high protein so their food items contains meat sources which are rich in protein. This requirement of humans is very much different from that of cats. Also humans require other essential nutrients.
Humans consuming cat food for long-term can poses risks of nutritional deficiencies due to the lack of sufficient vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbs that come from fruits, vegetables and grains. A meat-only cat food diet would deprive humans of vital nutrients.
2. Vitamin and mineral fortification aimed at cat health
Most cat food is fortified with added vitamins and minerals intended to support feline health and meet their nutritional needs. This can include synthetic vitamins to strengthen vision, urinary tract health, dental health and more based on a cat’s dietary requirements.
3. Often has byproducts not ideal for humans
Cat food frequently includes animal byproducts and fillers that may be less suitable or appetizing for human consumption. Examples are non-muscle meats like organ parts, bone meal, eggshells, cartilage, feathers and feet. These foods provide protein but are not choice or options that people would want to eat.
4. Lack of carbohydrates needed for balanced human diet
Cat food lacks adequate fruits, vegetables, grains and carbohydrates that would provide the fiber, antioxidants, energizing carbs, and other nutrients humans require in a balanced diet for good health. The meat-centric formulas cater to cats’ needs but not humans’ nutritional needs.
Can Humans Eat Cat Food – See the Health Risks Behind It
1. Nutritional Deficiencies if eating solely Cat Food
Consuming cat food long-term poses risks of nutritional deficiencies in humans given the lack of sufficient vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbs that come from fruits, vegetables and grains. A meat-only cat food diet would deprive humans of vital nutrients.
2. Excess Protein can overwhelm Human Organs
The excess protein and fat levels in cat food tailored for carnivorous cats could potentially overwhelm the human digestive system and organs like the kidneys and liver which must work harder to metabolize high protein.
3. Food Poisoning from Bacteria growth in Moist Foods
Eating moist canned cat food also brings risk of food poisoning from bacterial growth like Salmonella or E. coli. Specially if the cat food is not handled or stored properly after opening.
4. Vomiting, Diarrhea, Dehydration from digesting Cat Food
Actually digesting cat food can cause stomach pains, cramps, gas and other gastrointestinal issues in humans given the high protein, fat, and mineral content specifically formulated for cats’ needs. The unsuitable composition can irritate the digestive tract.
5. Long Term Risks: malnutrition, organ damage, diseases
Potential long term health risks and complications include malnutrition, organ damage, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, broken bones, blindness and kidney disease from vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.
Reasons Some May Consider Trying Cat Food
1. Curiosity or dare from others
Out of curiosity or on a dare from peers, some humans – especially teens – may sample cat food just to see what it tastes like. Eating a bite of cat food can be seen as a challenge. Groups of friends may dare each other to try it and post reactions online.
2. Outdoor survival situations
In dire survival situations outdoors with no other food sources, some preppers or hikers may consider cat food as an emergency source of protein and calories. If facing starvation, cat food could potentially provide sustenance.
3. As a goof or prank
As a prank or practical joke, videos show some people tricking others into eating cat food by disguising it as a different food. Influencer stunts and comedy bits also show people voluntarily eating cat food for laughs or shock value.
4. Financial reasons/inability to buy normal human food
In severe poverty, if unable to afford normal human groceries, some people may feel compelled to try getting nutrition and sustenance from readily available pet food products including cat food. Though risky, the lowest-cost cat foods can become an appealing option in urgent circumstances.
Safer Alternatives for Humans
1. Food banks, pantries, government programs
Food banks, pantries, and government programs like SNAP and WIC can provide food that is nutritionally balanced for human dietary needs. Things like rice, beans, pasta, cereal, canned goods, etc. offer affordable nutrition.
2. Affordable staple foods like rice, beans, pasta, etc.
Buying inexpensive staple foods like rice, beans, eggs, lentils, pasta, oats, peanut butter etc. in bulk and planning frugal meals around them can help humans in poverty meet nutritional needs.
3. For survival: edible plants, fish, game if available
In survival scenarios outdoors, foraging for edible plants and berries, fishing if possible, and hunting local game like rabbits if done legally and safely may offer safer alternatives than eating cat food when faced with starvation.
4. Pet food designed specifically for human consumption
There are some specialty pet foods designed for short-term human consumption in emergencies that have more appropriate nutritional profiles for humans. While not ideal for regular eating, these could be a better option than regular cat food if no other human food source in a crisis.
Final Words – Can Humans Eat Cat Food?
In the end, cat food is specially formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of our pets – not humans. While trying a small amount out of curiosity likely will not cause harm, making cat food a regular part of your diet can be dangerous.
The high protein and mineral content along with bacterial risks of moist foods can lead to gastrointestinal issues, malnutrition, and long term health complications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it bad if I eat cat food occasionally?
Yes, you shouldn't eat cat food at all. It lacks nutrients people need.
Can eating cat food make a person sick?
If you eat it on a long term than it can. Cat food can cause vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition, and digestive issues in humans.
Why does cat food taste bad to humans?
Cats have different taste than humans. So cat food is made to appeal to cats' preferences, not ours. Also their food contains more protein and fat than human food to meet cats' needs.
Does cat food have ingredients unsafe for people?
Yes, it contains higher mineral levels that can harm kidneys and the heart over time.
Will just one bite of cat food hurt me?
One bite likely won't hurt. But resist tasting it at all, since cat food is formulated just for cats.