Can Cats Eat Adult Food?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Can Cats Eat Adult Food?
Many people believe that cats should only eat cat food, but the truth is that they can actually eat a variety of foods.

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Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that their bodies are designed to digest and use only animal-based proteins. In the wild, the diet of a cat is mostly composed of small prey animals that they catch and eat. This diet provides them with all of the nutrients they need to survive and thrive.

While cats in the wild rarely have access to processed foods, domestic cats often do. And while most commercial cat foods are designed to meet a cat’s nutritional needs, some people do choose to feed their cats human foods instead. While there are some human foods that are safe for cats to eat, there are others that can be potentially harmful. It’s important to know which foods fall into which category so that you can make informed choices about what to feed your cat.

In general, adult cat food is safe for cats to eat. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when feeding your cat adult food. First, not all human foods are nutritionally complete for cats. This means that while your cat may be able to survive on a diet of nothing but chicken and rice, they would not be getting all of the nutrients they need to thrive. Cats require certain vitamins and minerals that are found in animal-based proteins and fat sources, so it’s important to choose an adult food that contains these nutrients.

Second, while most adult human foods are safe for cats, some can be potentially harmful. Certain foods, like onions and garlic, can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. Others, like raw meat or fish, can contain bacteria that can make your cat sick. And finally, some human foods simply don’t agree with cats’ digestive systems and can cause problems like diarrhea or vomiting. To avoid these potential problems, it’s best to stick with commercially prepared cat foods that have been specifically formulated for your cat’s nutritional needs.

Cats’ Nutritional Needs

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they require animal-based proteins to survive. Their diet should consist mostly of meat, with a small amount of fat and minimal carbohydrates. Adult cats should not eat kitten food because it is too high in calories and fat, and it does not have the right ratio of nutrients that an adult cat needs.


Most kittens are weaned by around 8 weeks of age and can start eating solid food. Kittens should eat kitten food until they are around a year old because it has higher levels of protein and fat to help them grow. After that, they can switch to adult food.

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that they need animal protein to survive. Protein is essential for cats of all ages, but especially for growing kittens. Kitten food should have at least 30% protein, while adult cat food only needs to have 18%.

Kittens also need more fat than adults because they use it for energy and to support their growing bodies. The minimum amount of fat in kitten food should be 9%, while adult cat food only needs to have 5%.

Adult Cats

Your cat’s nutritional needs change as she matures from kittenhood to adulthood. At about 6 months of age, your kitty can start making the transition to an adult diet. Though her eating habits and caloric needs will continue to evolve throughout her life, most cats reach full-grown status by 1 year of age.

During this time, your cat will need less calories and more protein than she did as a kitten. Look for a food that is complete and balanced for adult cats, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how much to feed your feline friend. It’s also important to continue providing fresh water at all times.

As your cat ages, her nutritional requirements may change again. Some senior cats need more calories, while others may need fewer. Your veterinarian can help you determine the best diet for your aging feline companion.

Senior Cats

While there is some debate over whether cats should eat wet or dry food, all cats need certain nutrients in their diet to maintain good health. However, a cat’s nutritional needs change as they age, so it’s important to adapt their diet accordingly.

For example, senior cats tend to require fewer calories than younger cats because they are less active. They may also need more protein and fat to help them maintain muscle mass and a healthy weight. Additionally, senior cats are more prone to dehydration, so it’s important to make sure they have access to fresh water at all times.

When choosing a food for your senior cat, be sure to read the label carefully and consult with your veterinarian to find the best option for your feline friend.

The Dangers of Feeding Cats Adult Food

Feeding a cat adult food can be very dangerous to their health. Cats are not able to digest all of the nutrients in adult food, which can lead to them becoming sick. Adult food can also contain harmful toxins that can be deadly to cats.


While it might not seem like a big deal to give your cat the odd scrap of chicken from your plate or a bite of your sandwich, feeding them human food can actually be dangerous for their health. One of the main dangers of feeding cats adult food is obesity. Just like in humans, carrying around extra weight can lead to all sorts of health problems, including diabetes, joint problems, and respiratory difficulties. Cats who are fed a diet of human food are also more likely to develop picky eating habits and may start to refuse their regular cat food altogether.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Cats who eat only adult food may be at risk for developing certain nutritional deficiencies. For example, they may not get enough taurine, an essential amino acid that helps support the heart and eyes. Taurine is found naturally in animal tissues, so it’s not present in most plant-based foods.

Cats also need higher levels of protein than dogs or humans. If they don’t get enough protein from their diet, they may start to break down their own muscle tissue for nourishment. This can lead to weight loss and a weakened immune system.

Another nutrient that’s important for cats is arachidonic acid, a type of fat that’s essential for healthy skin and coat. Arachidonic acid is found in animal-based fats, so cats who eat only plant-based foods may have dry, flaky skin and dull fur.

Cats also need vitamin A to maintain their vision and immune system function. Vitamin A is found in animal-based foods like meat, fish, and organs. If cats don’t get enough vitamin A from their diet, they may develop night blindness or other health problems.

Gastrointestinal Issues

While cats of all ages need food that’s nutritious and tasty, the specific nutritional requirements change as they age. kittens have different nutritional needs than adult cats, and senior cats have different needs than both of them. Feeding an adult cat food to a kitten can result in health problems like liver disease, pancreatitis, and obesity. Feeding a kitten food to an adult cat can result in malnutrition.

There are a few reasons why feeding an adult cat food to a kitten is dangerous. First, kitten food is higher in calories because kittens need more calories per pound than adults do. Kittens also need more fat and protein than adults because they’re growing so quickly. If you feed an adult cat food to a kitten, he’ll likely become obese and may even develop liver disease or pancreatitis.

It’s not just the amount of fat and calories in kitten food that’s important, it’s also the ratio of nutrients. Kitten food has a higher ratio of protein to fat than adult food does. This is important because kittens need more protein than fat to grow properly. If you feed an adult cat food to a kitten, he won’t get the right balance of nutrients and may become malnourished.

Finally, kittens need certain nutrients that are only found in kitten food. One example is taurine, an amino acid that’s essential for proper heart function. Kittens who don’t get enough taurine can develop heart disease, so it’s important that they eat kitten food until they reach adulthood.

So, Can Cats Eat Adult Food?

Many pet parents ask if it’s okay to feed their cats adult food, and the answer is usually a resounding “no.” Kittens and adult cats have different nutritional needs, and feeding an adult cat food meant for kittens can actually be harmful. So, can cats eat adult food? Let’s find out.

In Small quantities

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that their diet should consist primarily of meat. In the wild, cats eat mostly small prey–a trait that has led to their small stomachs. Because of this, cats do not have a very strong desire for carbohydrates and other fillers that are often found in dry and canned foods. In fact, many commercial cat foods contain little to no meat and are instead filled with grains, corn, and other plant-based proteins.

While carbs and other fillers are not necessary for cats, they will not necessarily harm them in small quantities. If you’re feeding your cat a diet that contains a significant amount of plant-based proteins, you may want to supplement with additional animal-based protein sources such as cooked chicken, turkey, fish, or eggs. You can also talk to your veterinarian about whether or not a commercial cat food designed for carnivores would be a good option for your pet.

With Vet Approval

“Many people think that as long as a food is healthy for humans, it must be okay for their cats, too,” says Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, veterinary nutritionist at The Ohio State University. “But that’s not necessarily the case.”

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are designed to run best on a diet of animal protein. “Their intestines are shorter than ours, so they can’t effectively digest plant-based proteins and nutrients,” explains Erin WilsonMissedy, DVM, MS, DACVN, associate professor of nutrition at Texas A&M University. “They also lack certain enzymes that allow them to break down carbohydrates.”


It’s not recommended to feed your cat adult food on a regular basis because it doesn’t have all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, but occasional treats are fine. If you’re unsure whether a food is safe for your cat, ask your veterinarian.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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