Can cats eat animal crackers?
This question might have crossed your mind when you saw your kitty look at you with her adorable little eyes when she saw you enjoying this snack.
If they’re good enough for humans, they must be good enough for your furball, right?
Before you hand over a tasty tiger to your own kitty, though, read on to find out if it’s safe to do so!
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Can Cats Eat Animal Crackers?
The short answer to this is “not quite.” It may not sound definitive or conclusive, but it’s what you should go by.
So here’s the thing, animal crackers aren’t toxic to cats. They’re not listed under ASPCA’s list of toxic foods for pets.
It means that it’s totally safe to let your cat have a bite or two as she won’t suffer any severe side effects.
However, they’re also not particularly healthy either. In fact, they have very little nutritional value to your furball.
As obligate carnivores, cats’ bodies weren’t designed to handle a carb-heavy diet. Instead, they prefer and fare better when provided with a meaty diet.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do away with grains. But, you should keep them to a minimum, and this includes the likes of animal crackers.
Are Animal Crackers Safe for Cats?
The answer to this depends on the frequency with which you feed animal crackers to your feline buddy. If feeding only occasionally, then you have nothing to worry about.
But if animal crackers are your go-to treat whenever you’re training your cat or just want to spoil her, you might want to rethink this choice.
There are two potential problems that can arise from feeding your cat animal crackers too frequently.
One of these is weight gain and the second point has to do with the salt content in these snacks.
Allowing your cat to consume too many animal crackers can result in unnecessary weight gain due to increased calorie intake.
Plus, she probably won’t have room for proteinous high-quality cat foods, which is what she needs more.
This recent article explains the dire situation that pet owners are facing as obesity continues to affect a large number of cats and dogs.
In fact, it is estimated that 59% of cats are obese. This brings us to the question, are animal crackers a healthy snack choice for your feline?
The answer to this is a resounding no. There are much healthier snacks that you can give your cat other than animal crackers. More on this in a bit…
Another aspect that makes these snacks unsafe for your pet is the high salt content.
Salt is an essential ingredient for enhancing the flavor of crackers, but an excess amount of it can be dangerous to your kitty’s little body.
If you suspect that your cat is suffering from salt toxicity resulting from consuming too many animal crackers over time, look for signs, such as:
- Excessive thirst
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and weakness
When Can you Feed Animal Crackers to Cats?
Some food products are recommended when giving your furry companion medication.
Animal crackers can be said that they fall under this classification.
Just be sure not to give this snack to felines suffering from kidney or heart disease.
This is because the sodium content and amounts of calories can aggravate these conditions.
Whenever possible, find a suitable substitute snack for animal crackers. For instance, any one of the following vegetables will be a much healthier option:
You can feed this to your cat in raw or cooked form. If cooked, remember not to add any salt, oil, or seasoning to keep your pet’s calorie and sodium intake to a minimum.
Zucchini is rich in fiber, making it an excellent replacement for animal crackers.
This is another vegetable with higher fiber content. So much so that it’s often used to treat constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and stomach upsets in pets.
If your cat’s diet is lacking in fiber, giving her pumpkin treats will be a nice way to provide the missing nutrient.
Carrots are not only chock-full of vitamins and minerals, but they’re also flavorful.
This makes them a suitable option for replacing animal crackers from your cat’s diet.
Your pet will particularly love the crunch feel she’ll get when biting into this snack.
More importantly, she’ll be getting a good dose of nutrients, such as potassium, fiber, vitamins K1 and B6, just to mention a few.
An important side note is that you should do some due diligence in case you’re thinking of giving your cat any fruit-based snacks in place of animal crackers.
Just because veggies are acceptable doesn’t mean fruits are. Here’s the deal- cats do not have sweet taste receptors.
And this means they’re not very fond of the sweetness found in most fruits.
Nonetheless, you can always feed your cat acceptable fruits, as long as you do this in moderation. Here are a couple of options:
What other Crackers are Safe for Cats?
The best way to look at this concept is to focus on flavored crackers that could be lethal to your kitty.
We mentioned earlier that crackers aren’t harmful to your pet, but this only applies to plain animal crackers.
If they’re flavored, then you should take a closer look at the list of ingredients before feeding your cat as a snack.
For safety reasons, avoid crackers that contain any of the following:
- Cheese and milk
- Fat trimmings
Can cats eat plain crackers? Sure, they can, but you probably shouldn’t feed them to her.
The next time you think of giving them to your cat, first think about their composition.
They’re low in fiber and high in carbohydrates and calories. Oh, and don’t forget- they contain loads of salt too!
Sure, you may find animal crackers tasty. But, when it comes to nutritional benefits for your cat, they are nowhere in sight.
If anything, they contain elements that aren’t good for her. So you should consider giving your cat healthier snacks, instead.
These animal crackers only increase the risk of weight gain, not to mention, take up space for the proteins in her diet.
Remember, cats are obligate carnivores; hence, they thrive on a protein-rich diet, not one that’s filled with carbs.
- New Study Shows Obesity Epidemic Spreading To America’s Pets CBS New York.
- People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets. ASPCA.
- Pet Obesity Epidemic Fact Sheet. Vet Innovations.
Can cats eat animal crackers? How about your cats? Have they tried eating animal crackers? Share with us below!
Barry Stingmore is a British content creator living in Fuerteventura, Spain. An animal lover at heart, he shares his home with a dog and four rescue cats.
Barry works with the island’s animal charities to help manage and care for feral and abandoned animals. Alongside fieldwork, he works to support the charities with fundraising and raising awareness.