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Can Cats Eat Eggs?

Updated July 2, 2022
Can Cats Eat Eggs?

Eggs are packed with nutrients and microelements essential for humans. And although our pets have different dietary needs, cats can eat eggs, too.

Eggs are among the healthiest treats for cats, bringing more benefits than risks – but only in moderate amounts.

Wild cats sometimes eat eggs from bird nests, and many cat food manufacturers add egg powder into their products.

However, this doesn’t mean that all eggs are equally healthy for cats or that any cat can eat eggs without adverse effects.

Learn about the risks of feeding cats eggs, recommended serving size, and best cooking methods if you want to incorporate this delicious treat into your pet’s menu.

Are Eggs Safe for Cats?

Eggs are rich in animal protein, the primary nutrition source for cats, and don’t contain any elements toxic to felines. Therefore, eggs are not solely safe but also healthy for cats.

Although eggs shouldn’t be the base source of protein for a cat, it’s an excellent supplement to the feline diet. But no food is risk-free, especially if the consumption is excessive.

Some studies suggest that eating a lot of eggs is unhealthy due to their high cholesterol content.

This may be true for humans, but healthy cats effectively transform large amounts of fat into energy, and high cholesterol is a rare problem in felines.

However, eggs may be dangerous for cats already diagnosed with high cholesterol or diabetes. Cats with high cholesterol must receive no more than 10% of the total calorie intake from fats.

Senior and neutered cats with a slower metabolism risk gaining weight from frequent egg consumption because of the high fat content.

Overall, eggs are incredibly nutritious and rich in vitamins and minerals. That’s simultaneously a benefit and a risk because too much phosphorous and vitamin K in the feline body may have severe adverse effects.

Vitamin K overdose in cats may lead to red blood cell destruction and be life-threatening, while phosphorus overdose may lead to depression, anorexia, and lethargy.

Feline owners can avoid obesity and microelement overdose by keeping the servings adequate, but even moderate egg consumption can cause an allergic reaction or gastroenteric upset in some felines.

Kittens can eat eggs, too, but the serving size should be significantly smaller than that of adult cats. Fat and calcium make eggs a perfect snack for kittens that constantly grow and develop.

Egg whites contain mainly protein, while egg yolks primarily consist of fats with some addition of protein. If your cat’s diet is already high in fats, you can feed your cat only egg whites and vice versa.

Can Cats Eat Raw Eggs?

Many feline owners wonder whether cats can eat raw eggs. Raw eggs are unlikely to cause a gastroenteric upset in cats, but they can be contaminated with E.coli or Salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella infection, known as salmonellosis, causes a range of gastroenteric, cardiovascular, topical, and neurovascular symptoms, including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, skin irritation, and abnormally fast heart rate.

Salmonellosis in cats often ends lethally, so giving a cat raw eggs is risky. Another danger of raw eggs for cats is protein avidin. Avidin is non-toxic, but it binds essential vitamin biotin. Over time, avidin may cause vitamin deficiency.

Eggs should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 1600 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered safe for cats. At this temperature, all harmful bacteria die.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Eggs?

Eggs can be boiled, scrambled, fried, poached, or cooked in an oven. You may prefer any egg cooking method, but not all of them are equally good for your cat.

Cats can eat boiled or scrambled eggs but not fried. Eggs should be prepared without seasonings, salt, oil, or any other add-ons. Sodium is integral to a cat’s diet, maintaining the correct fluid metabolism.

However, too much salt is dangerous for a cat. Some spices pose no threat to feline health, while others are toxic, including allspice and oregano. Oil is simply unnecessary for a cat that is getting enough fats from food.

Remember that cats need significantly fewer calories and fats than people. Eggs fried even with a tiny drop of oil increase the risk of obesity and pancreatitis in cats.

Avoid giving your cat any dishes containing eggs, such as omelet, quiche, or frittata, because some of the ingredients may be dangerous for felines.

Can Cats Eat Eggshells?

Eggshells are far from delicious, and a cat is unlikely to eat them voluntarily. However, some veterinarians suggest that eggshells are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, and sulfur, and they’re right.

However, the answer to “are eggshells safe for cats?” is complicated. On the one hand, eggs shells crushed into powder are a perfect supplement for cats lacking essential minerals.

Cats fed homemade foods often get too much phosphorus but not enough calcium. These minerals work hand in hand to support feline bone and teeth health, but without calcium, phosphorus may cause kidney problems and hyperphosphatemia.

On the other hand, administering extra minerals to a cat without consulting a vet beforehand is risky. Excessive mineral content in a cat’s body is equally dangerous as a mineral deficiency.

Furthermore, if the eggshells aren’t crushed fine enough, the sharp edges may hurt a cat’s mouth or gastroenteric tract.

Nutritional Benefits of Feeding Cats Eggs

The health benefits of eggs for cats are impressive and significantly outweigh the risks. An average boiled egg contains 84 calories, 63% of which come from fat, 35% from protein, and only 2% from carbohydrates.

Cats are natural-born carnivores and feed primarily on protein. The feline diet is high in fats and low in carbs, so such fatty foods as eggs make better cat treats than carb-based foods like vegetables.

Furthermore, eggs contain animal protein which is significantly better for carnivore health than plant protein. Unlike dogs and humans, cats can’t synthesize essential amino acids and need to get them from food.

Eggs are one of the best amino acid sources for cats, rich in taurine, histidine, leucine, lysine, methionine, and valine. In fact, eggs contain ten amino acids out of 11 cats need.

Vitamin A found in eggs supports feline coat, skin, and nervous system health, while vitamin D bonds with calcium and phosphorus to maintain bone and teeth health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant preventing red blood cell damage.

Vitamin B12 is crucial for a cat’s immune, nervous, and gastroenteric systems, while vitamin B7, known as biotin, assists in protein metabolism and supports coat health.

Eggs are also rich in minerals, including iron, zinc, and calcium. These minerals are essential for feline cardiovascular, reproductive, and nervous system health.

Egg yolks contain more vitamins, thiamin, and folic acid than egg whites, but whites have most of the egg’s niacin, riboflavin, and magnesium.

Scrambled eggs are good for cats with diarrhea because they are rich in protein, and protein improves intestine function and fluid metabolism in cats.

How Many Eggs To Give a Cat?

Despite all the benefits, eggs are only healthy for cats in moderation. There’s no universal answer to how many eggs a cat can eat because it depends on the cat’s age, weight, activity level, health state, and diet.

Frankly, the wording “how many eggs” is wrong because even one egg a day is too much for a cat. For a ten-pound cat, one egg equals about 15 eggs for an average man.

As a rule of thumb, treats should account for no more than 10% of a cat’s total daily calorie intake. Depending on the activity level, an adult cat should consume 220-300 calories a day.

So, a ten-pound cat can only eat treats for 22-30 calories daily. One boiled egg contains about 84 calories, so the safe egg serving size for a cat is about a quarter or less.

How To Spot an Allergy

An allergy is always a possibility with new foods. Sometimes, it occurs even for foods a cat used to eat without any issue previously.

Learning about the symptoms of egg allergy in cats is crucial for every owner to provide timely help if necessary.

The symptoms of egg allergy in cats are primarily gastroenteric and topical and manifest within several hours of ingesting the allergen. A cat may experience skin irritation, hair loss, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, and bloating.

Sometimes, cats with food allergies have respiratory symptoms, including difficulty breathing and sneezing. To diagnose an egg allergy, a vet must first rule out other potential symptom causes.

The treatment may include antihistamines, intravenous fluids, and anti-inflammatory medications, but the primary objective is to reduce allergen exposure. In other words, if a cat has an egg allergy, it should never eat or even touch eggs.

Why Does My Cat Like Eggs?

The answer to why a cat likes eggs is pretty straightforward. Cats are carnivores, so their taste buds have developed differently from ours.

While humans often prefer sweet or salty flavors, cats find protein-based and fatty foods the most delicious.

Since eggs consist primarily of animal protein and fat, most felines find them appealing. Some cats also like the texture of boiled or scrambled eggs.

Image credit: Pexels

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