Cats are carnivores, so when it comes to the question of ‘Can cats eat eggs?’ it seems pretty straightforward – eggs are a protein and the feline species thrives on meat, which, of course, is also a protein.
But it wasn’t that long ago that healthcare professionals were doing their best to convince us of the many “evils” of the simple egg, or at least their yolks.
Doctors claimed these innocent little yellow orbs held the potential to raise cholesterol which could lead to heart issues (for many folks, this warning sent them away from the egg and into the liquefied arms of the egg substitute).
With all the negative hype about the egg, pet parents also assumed that if eggs were bad for them, they must also have the same ill effects on their feline friends.
So, here we are, once again, finding ourselves wondering can cats have eggs?
Let’s uncover the “yolk” of this “mystery” once and for all.
Can Cats Eat Eggs?
We can all take a collective sigh of relief and know that the answer to “can cats have eggs” is YES.
Eggs never posed a dietary threat to our cats in terms of cholesterol and heart-health. Don’t get me wrong, the feline species can have heart issues such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a genetic disorder that causes the heart’s walls to thicken) and dilated cardiomyopathy which is caused by a taurine deficiency. However, eggs are not the culprit in these conditions. In fact, eggs are actually a great source of taurine (which we know is vital to the cat’s overall health).
Can Cats Eat Cooked Eggs?
For humans (who eat a varied diet) the egg makes a perfect protein; however, for animals, the egg is not considered to be a complete and balanced diet. Therefore, a cat fed a diet of only eggs will have dietary deficiencies.
That being said, feeding your cat bits of scrambled egg (plain without seasonings) or hard-boiled egg makes for a healthy treat or supplement to their usual diet. Cooked eggs are also gentle on the tummy, so they’re perfect for stimulating your cat’s appetite after an illness or surgery.
Can Cats Eat Raw Eggs?
When it comes to cats eating raw eggs, that’s a “bird of a different feather” (stretched pun intended). Cats should not eat uncooked eggs for the same reasons humans should not indulge in raw eggs; Salmonella and e.Coli.
These bacterias are NO YOLK!
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) feeding your pet raw eggs increases their chances of contracting these harmful pathogens which can be found in raw eggs and meat.
Symptoms of salmonella and e.Coli include vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Left untreated, salmonella poisoning and e.Coli can lead to death, especially in senior pets, the very young, and those with compromised immune systems.
Aside from those nasty bacterias, raw egg whites also contain avidin. This protein naturally bonds itself with biotin (aka vitamin B7). If your cat eats too many raw egg whites, it could lead to biotin deficiency which will manifest itself as a nasty skin condition.
The good news is cooking the egg before giving it to your cat will kill off the harmful bacterias as well as the biotin.
Can Cats Have Eggs?
Now that we know cats can eat eggs, we need to explore how we can introduce this superfood into their diets.
As with any new food, we have to watch for an allergic reaction – eggs are a known allergen for some animals. To begin, only give small bits of cooked egg to your feline. This can include scrambled eggs, boiled or hard-boiled.
Although an allergy to eggs is relatively rare, it does happen, so watch for any adverse effects like increased itching (especially around the ears), skin infections (over time), and gastrointestinal upset (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite).
The Final “Yolk” on Eggs
Can cats eat eggs?
Yes! As long as they are cooked and only given as a treat in moderation, eggs are a healthy protein boost that most cats will enjoy. When giving egg to your cat for the first time, watch for any signs of an allergic reaction or stomach upset. If these occur, your feline may have an allergy or sensitivity to the egg, so be sure to take it off the list of acceptable foods for your fur baby.