Critter Culture
Should I Feed Eggs to My Cat?

Should I Feed Eggs to My Cat?

Critter Culture Staff



Eggs have served as a breakfast staple for generations, and they appear in recipes and ingredient lists of all kinds. High cholesterol content in egg yolks has prompted concern at times, but the general consensus is that eggs are perfectly safe and healthy in moderation. The multitude of vitamins, minerals, and proteins in eggs are very beneficial for human health. Those of us with pets know that cats are often quite fond of eggs. Fortunately, eggs are a safe and healthy addition to a cat's diet as well.


Eggs are full of nutrients

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Eggs are an excellent source of many nutrients your cat needs to stay healthy, such as folic acid, choline, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins D, B6, B12, K, A, and E. Mineral content includes iron, copper, selenium, calcium, and zinc. Cats can easily digest various proteins found in eggs, and these proteins provide the building blocks to maintain lean muscle.


Watch for allergies

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Cats can eat eggs, although allergies are possible. The chance of your cat or dog having a food allergy is low, but animals can develop allergies to foods they've previously eaten without problems. Allergy symptoms include hair loss or thinning, excessive scratching or grooming, diarrhea, vomiting, broken skin, and inflammation around the ears. Some cats also bite their own skin, and even inflict injuries. Stop feeding your cat eggs immediately after noticing these symptoms and consult a veterinarian.


Encourage weight gain

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Eggs can be very beneficial for underweight or malnourished cats. In addition to protein and nutrients, egg yolks contain fatty acids and plenty of calories. Extra fat and calories aren't always desirable, but a malnourished or sick animal needs extra nutrients. Stray animals and rescues frequently enter their new families' lives in less than ideal health. Mix eggs into soft or dry cat food to help a malnourished cat recover and gain weight.


Eggs meet complex nutritional needs

carnivores, protein, amino acids, egg Astrid860 / Getty Images

Cats are obligate carnivores; they have very specific nutritional needs and require animal protein to obtain essential amino acids. Commercial cat food products are designed to provide necessary nutrients, but egg proteins consist of the same amino acid chains present in meat and other animal products. Add egg to your cat's food to provide extra amino acids, such as lysine, histidine, leucine, tryptophan, and taurine.


Prepare eggs for your kitty

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Many cats like eggs in any preparation, including scrambled, poached, or hard-boiled. You can simply fry an egg without any seasoning and serve it in a dish. Cats may also be quite picky and eat yolk while ignoring the whites. Cut the egg into small pieces or blend it into slurry to mix with your cat's normal food if you have a picky eater on your hands.


Make an omelette

omelette, meat, vegetables, treats LauriPatterson / Getty Images

Omelettes are delicious and healthy treats for your kitty. Some common omelette ingredients are not good for cats, so stick to fairly basic preparations. Choose a simple meat, such as ham or bacon. Avoid sausage and similar meats with multiple additives. Safe vegetables for cats include asparagus, squash, carrots, green beans, and broccoli. Use butter or olive oil for cooking and do not add salt, pepper, or any other spices.


Care for young kittens

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Sometimes those of us that love cats discover kittens in need of help. Kittens younger than eight weeks need frequent, scheduled feeding. Nutrients, fats, and calories are extremely concentrated in cat's milk. Cow's milk isn't an appropriate replacement. Many homemade kitten milk replacements contain nutrient-dense egg yolks. Other possible ingredients include sweetened condensed milk, karo syrup, and other rich foods. Consult your veterinarian for advice on caring for young kittens.


Eggs are often a safe food option during illness

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Eggs alone can not provide adequate nutrition for your cat, although they may be the best option when a cat refuses regular foods. Cats with chronic health conditions or serious illnesses frequently refuse food. The best food in such a situation is whatever the cat will eat. An egg is better than nothing, but always consult a veterinarian for help with a sick kitty.


Avoid illness

raw, cook, bacteria, salmonella, poisoning Mitch Diamond / Getty Images

Raw eggs are not safe for cats. Egg shells are frequently contaminated with Salmonella and E. coli bacteria that contaminate the inner contents when the shell cracks. Cooking kills bacteria, but raw eggs may contain live bacteria. Cats are susceptible to food poisoning and symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Elderly animals are at higher risk. A good rule of thumb is to avoid feeding your cat anything you wouldn't eat.


Always cook your cat's eggs

cook, biotin, avidin, denature, metabolize Daniel Day / Getty Images

Aside from possible illness, there is another reason not to give your kitty raw eggs. A protein known as avidin is present in raw egg whites and yolks. Avidin binds to a vitamin called biotin, or vitamin H, within a cat's body. Cats need biotin to metabolize many types of protein, but biotin becomes inactive after binding with avidin. Cooking denatures the avidin protein and renders it harmless so it can't interfere with biotin.



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