A guide to healthy cat food (that your cat will actually eat)
Come sunrise, your cat is probably pouncing on your toes or meowing as they march across your bed.
Even pre-coffee, it’s not hard to figure out they’re probably hungry as they paw at your face repeatedly.
But what do cats like to eat for breakfast? Should they even eat breakfast? Cats are carnivores with special dietary requirements, so getting breakfast cat food right can be a challenge.
In this article we’ll walk you through what a tasty and healthy breakfast for cats looks like, and explain quickly why it’s so important. Ready? Let’s pounce.
Should cats have breakfast?
Your cat seems hungry as soon as the sun’s up. But should cats eat breakfast? In short, yes.
- It provides routine, which cats thrive on.
- It suits their stomach anatomy.
- It can help them cope with sudden change.
- You’ll know quickly when they go off their food.
Cats should eat at least 3-5 meals each day, so eating regular, smaller amounts more often is a healthy option. If more than 12 hours goes by between meals, their stomach can become hyperacidic and lead to nausea. And once they feel nauseous, they’re likely to go off their food which can cause serious problems quite quickly.
Many cats will eat their main meals at dawn and dusk, as their ancestors did in the wild. (Which explains your regular sunrise alarm clock.) That can be a good time to feed them, as it should also fit in with your breakfast and dinner schedule.
A regular breakfast routine means regular cuddles
If you know and love a cat, you know they’re creatures of habit. While this may make it tricky to skip your usual purring cuddle on the lounge, it does make it easier to start a feeding routine. Meals can become a cornerstone event of the day, which other activities revolve around.
Having a long-held feeding routine will also help your cat cope if something else needs to change (like the arrival of a new family member, a family holiday, or even a new home).
Regular breakfast suits their physiology
Just like us, cats have a simple stomach anatomy. Which means their stomach will empty within a few hours as food moves to the small intestine. And after their long night sleep (about 8-10 hours), your cat slowly begins to feel hungry again. Those regular morning wake ups make a lot of sense now, don’t they? (Although the habit of snoozing either on your bladder or across your neck is still baffling.)
Be careful of filling your cat’s bowl and letting them graze all day. Modern cat food is developed to be so palatable that cats can easily overeat. Combine that with low activity levels, and it’s a recipe for ill health and painful joints for your feline friend.
You’ll know quickly if they’re unwell
The final reason to have a regular breakfast for cats and meals throughout the day, is that it’s immediately obvious when they go off their food.
While cats are notoriously picky eaters, if your cat stops eating it can be a sign that they’re unwell. If they go more than about 24 hours without eating properly, you should take them to your vet. Most problems will be manageable when caught early.
What can I give my cat for breakfast? Breakfast for cats
For breakfast, cats should eat a complete and balanced cat food that will give them all of the nutrition they need as obligate carnivores (who must eat animal protein). It should:
- be protein rich
- be free from grains (but have low levels of carbohydrates)
- contain essential fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E and B3
- smell appealing
- taste great.
This usually means feeding them a high-quality, commercially-made food that’s developed specifically for their breed.
You can feed either wet, dry or fresh food, or a combination of them all. Wet food has a higher moisture content and can help increase water intake, dry food is good for their oral health and fresh taste great given the high meat content and less processing. While it won’t matter if your cat sneaks a bit of brekky from under their canine mate’s nose occasionally, don’t feed them dog food regularly. It’s deficient in taurine, an essential protein that cats can only obtain through food.
On that note, do you know what ingredients make up a healthy breakfast for cats?
Let’s take a closer look, and answer the question which may have brought you here: “What do cats like to eat for breakfast?”
Breakfast cat food should be balanced
Because cats are obligate carnivores, their digestive system and physiology have evolved to eat a meat-based diet. So they have different dietary requirements to some other members of your household, like dogs and humans.
A healthy breakfast for cats will include a balance of essential nutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates, and vitamin A, D, E and B3). But it’s complex – too much of these in your cat’s food will cause problems.
For example, if fed a diet without enough amino acids for long enough, your cat will simply die. Amino acids are found in the meat-based protein ingredient of your breakfast cat food.
Of course, you shouldn’t feed them only meat. Although this meets many of their dietary requirements, some critical components are still missing. Calcium, for example, might be missing if they’re only eating the muscle from an animal and not the bone.
It’s easy to see why a specifically formulated, complete and balanced cat food is essential to keeping your feline friend healthy and happy. All Fussy Cat main meal offers are complete & balanced for this reason. So whether you feed them wet, dry or fresh you can be assured that it contains the necessary vitamins and minerals your cat needs.
A healthy breakfast for cats may not be to their liking
Ever watched in exasperation while your cat looks at their breakfast as if it’s radioactive? Right after they’ve pawed you awake because they’re so hungry?
It can take a bit of trial and error to serve up something they like. And of course, what they liked yesterday may be what’s practically glowing green with radioactivity today.
So, what do cats like to eat for breakfast?
What do cats like to eat for breakfast?
Your morning must-have might be some crunchy toast with a thick slather of Vegemite (and a healthy dollop of melty butter). Maybe you dole out bowls of cereal and yoghurt to the kids like a trained ninja as you juggle the school run.
But what about our feline family members? What do cats like to eat for breakfast?
Cats like to eat protein-rich food with interesting textures and strong flavours. Some cats like to eat the same food everyday, and other cats need variety. They may like their food lightly heated up rather than straight out of the fridge. Try to feed them high-quality, specially formulated wet, dry or fresh cat food with occasional healthy treats. Fussy Cat has a full range of meaty offerings across all the different formats so no matter what your cat prefers they are guaranteed to enjoy some of the grain free foods that Fussy Cat offers.
Breakfast cat food must pass the sniff test
Have you noticed how pungent your cat’s breakfast food is the moment you lift the top? That’s because cats love food that smells good. Smell stimulates their appetite. So make sure you offer food that’ll have them sniffing it out, even from their favourite hide-out on top of the cupboard.
Can I share my own breakfast with my cat? (What human foods can cats eat?)
There are some human foods that cats can eat. But they shouldn’t eat them everyday, only very rarely as a treat. (Remember the careful balance of nutrients required in their diet to keep them healthy.)
As with all treats, be careful to reduce their regular food by a similar amount of calories, and make sure you know what human food will harm your cat. Here’s a list of foods you can occasionally share from your plate.
We’ve established that cats are meat eaters. Meat protein supports a strong heart, good vision, and a healthy reproductive system. But you should check with your vet before you share any meat in your breakfast. Plain cooked beef, chicken or turkey in small amounts and as a rare treat should be okay.
Want meat specifically designed for your cat? Check out the Pet fridge for the range of fresh Fussy Cat minces that your cat will absolutely love. If fresh mince sounds a bit messy then be sure to try the convenient single serve 70g pots. Alternatively all other Fussy Cat meals have meat as #1 ingredient and are grain free to deliver the best possible meat experience.
Avoid sharing your breakfast sausages and most deli meats. Sausages contain sulphite as preservatives, and sulphite preservative-induced thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency can be fatal in cats.
Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps your cat’s vision, and supports cats with arthritis, kidney disease and heart disorders. Whether canned or cooked, fish is fine as a treat. Make sure it’s plain and not soaked in oil.
Do you share our love of smoked salmon and sushi? Avoid sharing these, because cats shouldn’t eat raw fish. Instead try one of the Fussy Cat wet food options; either the dual texture & protein combination of Twice as Tasty in easy to serve 80g pouch or 400g/85g serves that also deliver grain free & meat as #1 ingredient.
While many cat’s love fish, you shouldn’t feed them fish every day (unless in properly balanced levels in a commercially-made cat food). Eating too much can lead to a vitamin E deficiency and painful conditions, because it contains high levels of fatty acids.
Eggs are another great source of protein for your cat. But like raw meat and fish, raw eggs can harm your cat. Make sure they're cooked.
Vegetables are loaded with fibre and water, and are a rich source of vitamins. If you can convince your cat to eat them, it will aid in their digestion. However, make sure to avoid onions and garlic which are toxic to cats.
There are other foods to steer clear of because they’re toxic to cats.
- Grapes and sultanas.
- Bread dough.
- Xylitol (found in many sugar-free foods).
You can see that trying to feed cats human food is complex. What cats like to eat for breakfast may not be what they should eat. The healthiest and safest option is simply to feed your cat food and treats that have been made specifically for cats to the Australian standard.
Recap: what cats like to eat for breakfast
To avoid the breakfast bowl sitting forgotten (and your cat going hungry), here’s a few tips to discover what your cat likes to eat for breakfast.
- Feed wet, dry or fresh complete and balanced cat food.
- Warm it up slightly to feline body temperature (38 degrees). Especially fresh cat food that comes straight from the fridge.
- Make sure it smells great.
- As a rare treat, share your food: plain meat, fish, egg, veggies.
- Avoid most other human foods, if you are not sure check with your vet first.
- Make sure they eat a proper balance of protein, fats, carbohydrates and essential vitamins.
- Fussy Cat has a full range of wet, dry or fresh offers that are complete & balanced, grain free and have meat as #1 ingredient to ensure your cat not only loves the food but it is good for them too.
And the next time you trudge to the kitchen, after being determinedly pawed awake at the crack of dawn? At least you’re reassured they can’t help it. They’re hungry! We sincerely hope this article helps.