Can Cats Have Baby Food?
Anyone who has ever shared their home with an animal companion can attest to the fact that our pets are a part of our family. We bring them into our homes, we feed them, we take care of them when they are sick, we buy them a wide variety of expensive toys (which they rip apart within fifteen minutes), and we panic any time they show the slightest signs of illness or injury. We shamelessly refer to our cats as our ‘babies’ and our ‘fur children.’ For many couples, adopting a pet is a serious step in their relationship—it is, in a way, practice for having a baby. Cats are a little more resilient than human infants, so they make great starter children.
Since our cats are our babies, we fret over everything we put into their mouths. We scrutinize the labels on the back of their bag of kibble, we heavily research cat treats and the side effects of eating garden plants, and we suffer from crushing guilt whenever we give them a ‘treat’ that upsets their stomach. When our cats are sick, though, many of us are at a loss. What can we give our ailing cats? Can we use the same foods we would give to our human children? After all, the jars of pureed food are made to provide nourishment to fragile little tummies. Can you give your cat baby food?
The answer is yes, cats can eat certain types of baby food in moderation. Baby food is just pureed food, after all, and it can be very helpful in certain situations. Babies and cats are both tiny creatures known for their delicate stomachs, so it makes sense that some types of baby food would be perfect for cats. If they find standard cat food too difficult to digest, cats who are recovering from severe illness or injury may benefit from eating baby food as a way of getting some calories and nutrition. Though it is not a substitute for specially formulated cat food in the long term, baby food may help your cat get enough nutrition until their body has recovered enough to eat their usual fare. The important thing is to carefully read the label on the back of any baby food you want to give your pet—the best options are meat-based, and they should never include toxic ingredients like garlic, onions, raisins, or chocolate.
Benefits of Giving Your Cat Baby Food?
Many pet parents find that baby food comes in handy if their cats are sick or recovering from surgery. When our cats fall ill, the first thing to go is often their appetite and their ability to keep food down—after a couple rounds of vomiting, many cats will flat-out refuse to eat any kibble or wet cat food we put in front of them. Though fasting may prevent them from vomiting, it also means that their bodies can’t get the nourishment they need to fight off whatever bacteria or virus is ailing them. Without adequate sustenance, illness can stretch out for a long time.
Baby food to the rescue! Meaty baby foods smell enticing enough to get your ailing cat to take a few bites, and, because they are formulated for delicate baby stomachs, they are some of the gentlest foods you can feed to your furry friend. Your carnivorous cat may be able to keep the baby food long enough to absorb some of the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and calories they need in order to fight off infection and repair any damage that has been done to their body.
Because cats are obligate carnivores, any baby food you give them should contain at least some meat. Their bodies are set up to digest meat products, so either pureed meats or meat and vegetable mixes are ideal. When your furry friend is refusing food, the best option is the one that they will eat—whatever your cat finds tasty is the best food you can give them.
Even though baby food is a great way to get your cat through a stomach bug, it does not make a suitable dietary staple in the long term. Even baby food made out of nothing but meat will not provide adequate nutrition for your cats. Baby food is deficient in one of the feline essential amino acids, taurine. Humans are able to produce taurine on our own, but cats have to get it from their food, and they will develop health problems if they do not eat enough of it.
Taurine deficiency can lead to hair loss, skin problems, tooth problems, chronic fatigue, depression, an increased risk of infections, and both cardiovascular and reproductive problems. It can also cause blindness and, in severe cases, heart failure. A couple days of baby food during times of illness will not hurt your cat, but if you use baby food as a replacement for cat food, they will most likely develop a taurine deficiency.
Things to Keep in Mind
Some types of baby food can be dangerous to cats. If you purchase pureed meats for your cat, make sure to check the ingredients list for garlic and onion powder—both of these ingredients are extremely poisonous to your cat! Eating either one of them can lead to a condition called Heinz body anemia, which is often fatal. If your cat has eaten baby food containing either garlic or onions, it would be wise to consult a veterinarian for further instructions. Other ingredients to avoid include grapes, raisins, chocolate, chives, and dairy products.
If your cat’s symptoms do not improve within a few days, or if they only seem to get worse as time goes by, take your furry friend to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Even if your cat gobbles up baby food every day, they may not be able to fight off whatever is ailing them on their own—your vet will be able to make a potentially life-saving diagnosis.
In conclusion, baby food is safe for cats to eat as a treat or during times of illness, but it is not a nutritionally complete cat food. If you want to use meaty baby food in order to help your cat through a bout of stomach flu, go ahead, but don’t put your healthy cat on a long-term baby food diet!
Cat Eating Baby Food Video: