What to feed cats when out of cat food?

Last updated: 02 Mai 2024

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What to feed cats when out of cat food

You just found out you ran out of your cat’s food. Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us at least once in a while. You must be thinking: Is it possible to just use human food until you restock again? Luckily, it is possible with the right set of guidelines. In this article, we will guide you through both right and wrong food options for your feline buddy.

What to feed cats when out of cat food?

The food listed below covers mostly everything your cat will need in a meal. Choose one type of food from each category and make a full, balanced meal for your cat. The food quantity is given based on the following:

  • Your cats get 2 meals per day (Total of 200 calories).
  • Each meal has a composition of 60% protein, 30% fat, 10% carbohydrates, and some vitamins and minerals (100 calories).

60% Protein

  1. Cooked Chicken or Turkey: (0.7-1.06 oz per meal) Prepare small portions of boneless, skinless chicken or turkey, as they are excellent sources of lean protein.

  2. Cooked Fish (Salmon, Tuna): (0.7-1.06 oz per meal) Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Serve small, occasional portions, as fish should not be a permanent protein source due to thiamine deficiency.

  3. Cooked Beef: (0.7-1.06 oz per meal) Lean, cooked beef can be offered occasionally. Remove excess fat and ensure it’s cooked thoroughly to avoid digestive upset.

30% Fats

  1. Cooked Egg (Scrambled or Boiled): Eggs are a good source of protein and healthy fats. Serve small portions, such as a quarter of a scrambled egg or half of a boiled egg per meal.
  2. Olive Oil: (1/4 teaspoon per meal) A small amount of olive oil can be drizzled over your cat’s food occasionally to add healthy fats to their diet.

10% Carbohydrates

  1. Cooked Brown Rice: (0.35-0.53 oz per meal) Brown rice is a nutritious whole grain that provides fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

  2. Cooked Quinoa: (0.35-0.53 oz per meal) Quinoa is a gluten-free whole grain that is high in protein and contains essential amino acids. It can be cooked and served to cats in moderation.

  3. Cooked Oatmeal: (0.35-0.53 oz per meal) Plain, cooked oatmeal can be a source of fiber for cats. Make sure it is cooked without any added sugar, salt, or flavorings.

Vitamins and Minerals

Cooked Vegetables (0.22-0.35 oz per meal)

  1. Carrots: Cooked carrots are a good source of fiber and vitamins such as beta-carotene, which can benefit your cat’s vision and immune system.

  2. Peas: Cooked peas are rich in vitamins A, B, and K, as well as minerals like iron and potassium. They can provide a healthy boost to your cat’s diet.

  3. Green Beans: Cooked green beans are low in calories and rich in fiber, making them a great addition to a cat’s meal, especially for weight management.

Water (240-320 ml per day)

In situations where you find yourself temporarily without cat food, it’s important to remember that your cats also need access to water to stay hydrated. Ensure your cat has access to clean, fresh water throughout the night. Hydration is crucial for your cat’s health, especially during periods when their food may not provide sufficient moisture.

How to serve your cats home-cooked food?

Kittens prefer their food to be warm. Just like baby milk, check if the food is hot by putting some on your wrist. If it’s still too hot, it might burn the kitten’s inside as well. As for adult cats, they don’t seem to have a preference regarding food temperature. However, some won’t touch a meal that is too cold. That’s why it’s better to serve food slightly warm.

What not to feed them?

Dairy Products: Many cats are lactose intolerant, meaning they lack the enzyme lactase needed to digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products. Consuming dairy can lead to gastrointestinal upset, including symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and gas. While small amounts of lactose-containing dairy may not cause severe issues in all cats, it’s generally best to avoid feeding dairy products to cats.

Avocado: The avocado fruit, pit, leaves, and even the tree bark contain a substance called persin, which is toxic to many animals. While its toxicity is more commonly associated with birds and larger animals like horses and cattle, its effect on cats and dogs remains questionable. According to Dr. Jean Dodds, persin has no effect on cats or dogs. The major risk, she said, would be a large avocado swallowed whole or in part, causing a foreign body obstruction in the stomach, digestive tract, or esophagus.

Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are stimulants that can lead to various health issues in cats. These compounds can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, tremors, seizures, and even death.

Onions and Garlic: Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage a cat’s red blood cells, leading to a condition called hemolytic anemia. Symptoms may include weakness, lethargy, pale gums, and even collapse. Cats are more sensitive to these compounds than some other animals, and even small amounts can be toxic.

Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins are toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure, even in small amounts. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and decreased urine production. If left untreated, grape or raisin ingestion can be fatal.

Alcohol: Alcohol is highly toxic to cats and can cause alcohol poisoning, even in small amounts. Ingestion of alcohol can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, coma, and death. Cats lack the enzymes needed to metabolize alcohol effectively, making them more susceptible to its effects.

Xylitol: Found in many sugar-free products, xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin in cats, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver damage.

Bones: Cooked bones, especially those from poultry or fish, can splinter when chewed, leading to sharp fragments that can cause lacerations in the mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract.

Raw Eggs: Raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli, which can cause food poisoning in cats. Ingestion of raw eggs may lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and dehydration. Additionally, raw egg whites contain avidin, a protein that can interfere with biotin absorption, leading to skin and coat issues over time.

Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and some medications. In cats, caffeine ingestion can lead to symptoms such as restlessness, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, tremors, seizures, and even death.

Fat Trimmings and Raw Meat: Raw meat may contain bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli, which can cause food poisoning. Fat trimmings can lead to digestive upset and, in some cases, pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.

Citrus and Citrus Oil Extract: Citrus foods contain compounds such as essential oils and psoralens, which can be toxic to cats. Ingesting citrus fruits or their oils can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and, in some cases, more severe symptoms such as central nervous system depression.

Dog Food: This food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of dogs, which differ from those of cats. Dog food may not provide the essential nutrients that cats require for optimal health, such as taurine, arachidonic acid, and certain vitamins. Feeding cats dog food exclusively can lead to nutritional deficiencies and health issues over time.


When faced with a shortage of cat food, it’s crucial to provide safe alternatives for your feline companion. While some human foods can serve as temporary solutions, it’s essential to offer them in moderation and avoid harmful options. Remember, if your cat has special dietary needs or health problems, consult with your veterinarian before serving any home food to ensure the best care for your cat’s health and well-being


Frequently Asked Questions

How to stop a cat from meowing for food?

First of all, rule out any medical issues. Also, make sure there isn’t something obvious they’re signaling. After this, you need to ignore this behavior as much as you can. Reward them instead when they’re quieter. And lastly, avoid screaming at them or hitting your cat when they start meowing.

What cat food is best for kittens?

Look for kitten formulas that provide essential nutrients such as protein, taurine, DHA (omega-3 fatty acid), and vitamins. Wet kitten food is often recommended due to its higher moisture content and palatability, but high-quality dry kitten food can also be suitable. Ensure the food is labeled as suitable for kittens and meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards for complete and balanced nutrition.

How long can a cat live without food?

While cats are known for their resilience, they cannot go without food for extended periods. On average, a cat can survive without food for approximately 3 to 7 days. However, this timeline can vary depending on factors such as the cat’s age, health status, and access to water. It’s crucial to monitor your cat closely and seek veterinary attention if they refuse to eat for more than 24 hours, as prolonged fasting can lead to serious health complications.

When to switch from kitten to cat food?

The ideal time to switch from kitten to cat food is typically between 9 and 12 months of age. By this time, most kittens have reached their full size and can benefit from the nutritional composition of adult cat food. However, it’s essential to monitor your kitten’s growth and energy levels during the transition period to ensure their overall health.

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