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Cats in the wild, feral cats and some outdoor domesticated cats eat raw bird eggs if they’re available. Many indoor cats like the taste of eggs, while others don’t. When the question, “Can Cats Eat Eggs?” comes up, the answer is “yes” and “no.”
Cats should never be given raw eggs or big chunks of eggshells. But it’s okay for them to have small amounts of cooked eggs. Here are some points to consider if you want to treat Fluffy to some egg now and then.
The Value of Eggs
Eggs are a powerhouse of protein, vitamins like riboflavin, essential trace minerals like selenium, and amino acids. In fact only one of the essential amino acids for cats (turine) is missing from an egg, and an eggshell is full of beneficial calcium. Scrambled eggs have even been touted as a treatment for GI upset although too much egg can actually cause GI upsets in susceptible kitties. So, can cats eat eggs? Read on.
Why should cats not eat raw eggs?
There are two major reasons why cats shouldn’t eat raw eggs:
- The white of an egg contains the protein avidin. While most proteins are good for your furry friend, consuming avidin can cause a Vitamin B7 (Biotin) deficiency in cats. The good news is that when egg white is cooked, the avidin is reduced or eliminated.
Children, elderly people, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals (HIV, chemo) are especially susceptible to salmonella.
Can cats eat (cooked) eggs?
Yes! Small amounts of cooked egg is good for your cat while providing some variety to their diet. If they’re balking at their regular food, kibble with some egg mixed in can remind them that eating is a good thing.
It’s important to feed only small amounts of scrambled or boiled egg to your purr-fect pal. Feline weight gain and obesity are two serious side effects from eating too much egg. Cats require 150 to 200 calories per day. An egg contains about 90 calories. Eating whole eggs along with their regular diet will soon find them plump and on the way to obesity. Feeding less of their cat food on the days you give them eggs can lessen that danger.
The discussion about the role of ingested cholesterol in heart disease and stroke implies that a cat, like their human family, is at higher risk of these two serious diseases if they eat a lot of eggs. Be sure to limit their intake to ⅛ to ¼ of an egg per day.
Keep in mind that there is a small danger of your cat choking on pieces of hard boiled egg as well. Scrambled eggs are softer and easier to swallow.
Can cats be allergic to eggs?
Rarely, an allergy to eggs can lead to skin infections secondary to itchy rashes, as well as stomach disturbances. However, a cat allergy to eggs is not common. If your kitty is showing signs of allergies, like scratching themselves more often than usual, your veterinarian can help relieve their discomfort until the symptoms subside. Do not feed them eggs again after an allergic incident.
How to prepare and feed eggs to your cat
As mentioned earlier, raw eggs are bad choices for your cat-buddy. The best way to avoid raw egg problems is to cook them well. Here’s how:
- If you want to fry an egg, use no cooking oil or butter in their preparation
- If scrambling the egg, don’t add milk to the egg mixture. Many dairy products, including milk, can upset a cat’s stomach
- Cook the egg until there is no runny eggwhite.
- Use no condiments on your “Eggs du Chat.” They don’t need them, and spices and salt can be very harmful. The cat won’t notice they’re not there.
- Feed egg plain or mix with it the cat’s food for an extra-special treat
- Cooked shells can be ground into a powder and sprinkled on the cat’s regular food. The high calcium in the shell will protect bones and other organs.
Keep in mind that treats should comprise only 5% of a cat’s total intake.
So the question was, “Can Cats Eat Eggs?” The answer appears to be “yes” if precautions are taken to cook the egg completely and to feed only about ⅛ to ¼ of it. Preventing salmonella and other food-poisoning in your cat by feeding cooked eggs may also prevent it in you and your family. Remember that unground eggshells, raw eggs, and too much egg can cause problems for your Purr-ince or Purr-incess. Bon apetít!
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