FOOD & TREATS

Can Cats Eat Eggs: Exploring the Nutritional Options for Your Bundle of Fur

cat and eggs
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Naturally, felines have been feeding on eggs for ages in the wild. They’ve been doing so without much worry about toxic effects, nutritional benefits, or dangers like choking on shell shards. Domesticated cats, on the other hand, come with the need to be taken care of when it comes to what they eat. You probably eat eggs yourself, but can cats eat eggs?

In an effort to supply you with all the information you need, we have done thorough research on everything cats and eggs. According to our findings, giving you a yes or no answer will not help you make the right decision. Instead, we have explored all the choices at your disposal and will explain each in detail.

Below, find everything you need to know about the nutritional benefits of eggs to your cat, how to prepare them, and how much to give your cat. We have also included instances when eggs are bad for your cat. To crown it all, we have addressed various questions that may come to your mind when you contemplate feeding your cat eggs.

The Nutritional Composition of Eggs and the Benefits for Cats

orange cats and eggs

Cats can eat egg whites. What remains is the yolk; can cats eat egg yolk? This is a big concern since the egg yolk is known to contain high levels of cholesterol. This shouldn’t, however, be a problem as long as the egg is cooked and given to your cat in moderation.

#1: Pros

Eggs contain a lot of nutrients; as a matter of fact, they are one of the greatest sources of proteins. An egg yolk contains 19 types of amino acids, of which 10 are essential to cats. This means that cats cannot manufacture these 10 essential amino acids; they have to get them by ingesting them from primary sources such as eggs.

The amino acids in question are valine, phenylalanine, arginine, histidine, methionine, isoleucine, tryptophan, lysine, threonine, and leucine.

Most of the vitamins and minerals that your furry friend requires are also found in the egg yolk. It may contribute 12% of calcium and 9% of iron that make up an ideal daily meal for your cat. That’s not all; the yolk contains vitamins A, D, E, and B12.

When it comes to minerals, eggs contain calcium, phosphorous, iron, and potassium. These nutrients help to maintain a healthy immune system and also strengthen the muscles, teeth, and bones.

The proteins in eggs help your cat in building muscles, for silky, shiny hair, and repairing tissues. Plus, eggs are relatively inexpensive, making them potential supplements once in a while especially when the budget is tight.

That said, eggs should not be used to replace the primary source of protein for cats, which is meat.

#2: Cons

While eggs are good for cats, there are times when they can cause serious health problems to your furry bundle. Below is a list of certain situations when eggs may not be good for your feline friend:

  • Allergies: Some cats are allergic to eggs. This only becomes evident when you feed them initially. When your veterinarian recommends eggs for your cat, you will be advised to give him a small portion for tasting at first. Signs to look out for when you want to identify allergies in your cat include swelling, coughing, itching, and digestion problems. If you determine he is allergic, avoid feeding him eggs again.

  • Medical conditions: There are medical conditions that may make feeding eggs to your cat unhealthy. The conditions include kidney disease and obesity. Only a vet can advise under these conditions.

  • Overfeeding: As we have established, eggs are rich in cholesterol, calories, and fats. You should, therefore, avoid giving too much of them to your cat. A very small piece of the egg is enough for supplying these nutrients. Moreover, excess protein may lead to kidney issues.

Will All Cats Try Eggs?

cat eating egg

Some cats will eat anything within their reach. Others are picky about what they ingest. All in all, cats are neophilic in nature; they like variety in food.

Naturally, most cats will eat eggs—they can’t resist the aroma. Nevertheless, each cat is different in his own way so don’t be surprised if yours doesn’t become a fan. Just like humans, some may like them while others may find them repulsive.

Now, what about kittens? Are eggs safe to be fed to kittens? Yes, eggs can definitely be fed to kittens. In fact, the best time to introduce eggs to cats is when they are kittens as they are being weaned. While at it, it is wise to also explore other foods that can help them grow up healthy.

Eggs for kittens should be for introductory purposes; they can be used to determine if the kittens are allergic to eggs to avoid future complications. Quail eggs can also be fed to kittens instead since you will not need a whole chicken egg at an instance.

This helps them get used to the taste and adapt early; it might be a bit more difficult trying to introduce eggs to an already grown cat.

As a caution, if you decide to give your kittens eggs, ensure that you make healthy recipes that include other ingredients for a wholesome, balanced diet.

What Types of Eggs Should Be Fed to Cats?

gray cat and an egg

Basically, chicken eggs can be farmed in two different ways: factory-farmed eggs and free-range organic eggs. Free-range eggs are acquired from hens fed on organic foods. These feeds don’t contain any added hormones or antibiotics.

Free-range hens access natural plant and food since they are not confined. They are free to move about in extensive pastures.

On the other hand, factory farmed home birds have limited movement as they are confined in cages. They are fed with commercially produced feeds. These feeds contain products meant to add nutritional value to them such as cereals, green plants, and dead animal parts.

These ingredients may come with the danger of pesticide contamination. In addition, factory farmed eggs may contain hormones and antibiotics through the commercial feeds.

So, which of the above eggs are good for your pet? From a nutritional point of view, both of them are good for your cat. However, free-range eggs are considered better because of the less stressful living and healthier feeds. This is in contrast to the factory-farmed eggs which could possibly be contaminated.

There exist other non-chicken eggs like duck eggs and quail eggs. Other rare ones include goose eggs. You’ve probably seen some other large members of the cat family like lions feeding on wild eggs on TV. Similarly, domestic cats can feed on other non-chicken eggs.

These eggs have nutritional value closely similar to chicken eggs. They only vary in their size and price.

Besides having many of the minerals and vitamins contained in chicken eggs, goose and duck eggs also contain more cholesterol and fat. Their big size and scarcity, however, make them quite expensive. Whenever you can, include them into your cat’s diet.

Quail eggs are much more convenient when feeding kittens; they are much smaller, hence come in handy when you want your cat to feed on small amounts or as treats.

How Should Eggs Be Prepared for Cats?

It is well known that cooking changes the chemistry of food. This is the reason why eggs should be cooked before being served to cats. Cooking eliminates some harmful components such as bacteria and a protein called avidin (explained later in the article).

#1: Are Hard-Boiled Eggs Dangerous for Cats?

kitten sitting on eggs

This should be your first choice when feeding eggs to cats since no harmful ingredients and oils are added. Boiling eggs is simple and convenient for you, plus cats really enjoy eating them.

After cooking the egg, make sure it has cooled completely. Remove the shell, cut it into chunks, and mix it with the cat food.

#2: Can Cats Eat Scrambled Eggs?

Scrambled eggs are best cooked in a microwave; this helps you to avoid additional oil which may be unhealthy for your cat. The fat content is higher with fried eggs which is not good for cats. In fact, if you can, don’t add milk or butter—use water instead.

So, can cats eat scrambled eggs? Yes, but remember, moderation should be applied when serving the eggs after preparation.

#3: Can Cats Eat Raw Eggs?

cat eating raw egg

If you give your cat raw eggs, alone or mixed with food, he will probably eat away. The question is: are they safe? Can cats eat raw eggs? Raw eggs are generally not recommended for cats. They can be the source of health problems.

It is important to note that raw eggs whites contain avidin, a naturally occurring protein which binds biotin or vitamin B7 and prevents its absorption. Biotin is beneficial to felines is several ways; it is important for healthy skin, nails, and brain. It also boosts energy and mood.

While occasional avidin consumption may not be an issue, excess consumption can lead to a deficiency of this B vitamin which may manifest in skin, nail, and coat problems in your cat.

That’s not all; raw eggs can have a lot of bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli. These can cause serious food poisoning in your cat.

So, when it comes down to the choice between raw and cooked eggs for your cat, would you rather be safe or sorry? Knowing that you can choose either, the decision entirely lies in your hands.

See Also: Raw Diet for Cats

#4: Are Egg Omelettes Safe For Your Cat?

Preparing an omelette for your cat or even sharing yours may feel like a great treat for your cat. However, eggs are best for cats when plain.

Omelettes contain additives such as sauces, salt, and spices among other things depending on the type. Some ingredients like oils, cheese, garlic, and onions are toxic to cats. Some can also trigger allergies or upset your cat’s stomach.

What are the Best Egg Recipes for Felines?

tabby cat holding egg

If you have identified that your cat really likes eggs, you can mix cat recipes for him that include eggs. This is a good way of ensuring that he gets a balanced meal containing all the necessary ingredients. These other ingredients offset the nutritional imbalance in eggs.

One good recipe is beef and egg fricassee, which you can make at home.

Directions:

  • Get some raw or cooked beef

  • Simmer it in 1½ cm of broth for about 5 minutes

  • Remove it from the heat

  • Add an egg into the mix

  • Mix it well then heat it back up for about for 3 minutes

  • Wait for it to cool and serve

What Is the Best Amount of Eggs For Your Cat?

cat looking at eggs

Having established that eggs are good for your kitty, it is advisable not to give them in excess. This is the reason why you should first consult the vet.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the number of eggs that your cat should eat. Each cat’s recommended amount may depend on his age, weight, overall health, and diet. With this in mind, the following tips should point you in the right direction:

  • Your cat should not eat a complete egg in a single serving

  • Averagely, eggs should not exceed 10% of your cat’s daily calories; one egg contains approximately 90 calories

  • Eggs should not be fed to your cat regularly; they should be a treat to him

  • On average, feeding your cat eggs two times in a week should be enough

  • Eggs should be cut into cat bite sizes

  • You should not feed your cat eggs alone; they are not nutritionally balanced

Felines, unlike humans, tend to overeat. As long as his taste buds aren’t satiated, he can keep on eating, which would make him uncomfortable and possibly lead to vomiting and sickness. It is important to exercise proper caution.

Remember that cats are not supposed to survive on eggs. First of all, eggs aren’t nutritionally balanced for felines; cats need to eat nutritionally balanced food on a daily basis. Secondly, cats are not even supposed to feed on them every day since they can lead to health problems.

See Also: How Many Calories Should a Cat Eat

Can Eggshells Be Fed to Cats for Nutritional Value?

kitten and eggshell

Nutritionally, eggs are one of the “perfect foods” provided by nature; nutrients run from the egg yolks to the shells. There is evidence to suggest that if you want your feline to have strong teeth and bones, eggs shells are your answer. This is especially so if you usually feed homemade food to your cat which may lack in calcium.

One crushed eggshell provides up to 800 milligrams of calcium. This is enough for up to two meals. Other nutrients in egg shells include boron, copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, silicon, sulfur, molybdenum, and zinc. There up to 27 mineral elements in eggs shells.

#1: Preparation

First, you need to wipe or wash the eggshells to remove any dirt. Eggshells can be a source of salmonella poisoning in cats. For the safety of your cat and your own peace of mind, boil the eggshells and allow them to completely dry. Crush the shells using a clean coffee grinder, or a mortar and pestle. Finally, sift to remove the big shafts.

#2: Storage

Store the powder in a cool dark place, preferably contained in a closed glass jar. Avoid moisture exposure at all costs.

#3: Feeding Your Cat

The addition of eggshell powder to food should be done proportionally. Weigh the cat food, then add 1 teaspoon of the powder to every pound of meat. Since you are not likely to feed your cat with a pound of food, all you need to do it make the amount of eggshell powder that you feed your cat is proportional to his food.

Wrap Up

kitten and eggs

Finally, cats can indeed eat eggs, both raw and cooked. However, raw eggs pose food poisoning and nutritional deficiency risks. This makes cooked eggs a safer option for your cat.

The best ways of preparing eggs are hard-boiling them or preparing them scrambled in a microwave without added ingredients. You also have the option of preparing them in recipes that offer your cat other nutritional benefits.

While giving eggs to your cat is okay, it should be done in moderation and only to complement other foods. You can also give them to your cat as a treat once in a while.

If your cat shows any form of undesirable effect after eating eggs, you should discontinue giving him eggs. Obese cats and cats with kidney disorders should also not be given eggs. That said, it is a good idea to consult the vet should you have any concerns about giving eggs to your cat.

Have you ever given eggs to your cat? What was it like? After reading this, what do you think about giving cats eggs? We would like to hear your thoughts on this and more. Next, for your cat’s health, check out our article on are essential oils safe for cats.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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