Can I Give My Cat Boiled Eggs?
People have searched for efficient ways to meet their nutritional needs for as long as we have been cooking our food. Today, many of us incorporate meal replacement powders, protein bars, and shakes into our daily routines, but these are only one example of various tactics people have utilized to try to pack a ton of nutrition into a couple bites. Though the bodybuilders of today sip protein shakes, and the health nuts of today make ‘energy balls’ out of dates, peanut butter, and coconut shreds, our grandparents often relied on something much simpler: boiled eggs.
A breakfast staple in some regions, boiled eggs are often praised for their convenience, portability, and protein content. Anyone who has tried a low-carb diet has probably partaken in a lunch that consisted of a salad with some chicken breast and a hard-boiled egg. Because they are a whole food, eggs are considered by many to be a wholesome, efficient source of nutrition. Many people who have dogs feed them eggs with some regularity, but is this safe for cats, too? Should you drop a hard-boiled egg into your cat’s dish next time you’re meal prepping? Can cats have boiled eggs?
The answer is yes, cats can eat boiled eggs in moderation—some sources suggest that this food may actually be one of the healthier ‘people foods’ to give to your healthy adult cat. They are chock full of animal proteins that contain many of the amino acids cats need to thrive. At the same time, they are extremely low in carbohydrates, which makes them quite feline-friendly.
Though humans do well on a diet that contains starches such as potatoes, fruits, and pastas, cats who eat these foods regularly often struggle with digestive distress, poor insulin sensitivity, and weight gain. Because eggs are primarily fat and protein, they are more suitable for cats than many of our other staples. Just make sure not to overdo it; if your cat eats a diet high in eggs, they will probably suffer from nutritional imbalances.
Many people who have fed eggs to their cats report that they help with skin problems. Though there really has not been any research on the effect of eggs on feline skin health, it is possible that this food may benefit some cats who deal with a brittle, thinning fur coat or itchy, dry skin unrelated to allergies. This is thanks to the perfect combination of healthy fats and protein, which can reduce itching and dandruff while improving the appearance of your cat’s coat. If your cat is a little low on healthy fats, supplementing their diet with the occasional boiled egg may help their skin and fur repair themselves.
Though we often think of eggs as meals on their own, they should only be fed to healthy cats in moderation. Boiled eggs are loaded with healthy fats and ‘complete’ proteins that may give your cat a nutritional boost, but they are not nutritionally complete cat food. A cat who eats a diet consisting mostly of boiled eggs will develop serious and potentially life-threatening nutritional deficiencies. If you want to give Fluffy boiled eggs, use them as decadent treats, not in place of cat food.
There are two other compelling reasons to limit your cat’s egg consumption. Firstly, they are quite high in calories—just one boiled egg provides over 25% of your cat’s daily caloric allowance! This means that cats who make a habit of eating boiled eggs can easily gain weight and become obese, so it’s safe to say that pudgy pets should probably stay away from the eggs.
Things to Consider
Another limiting factor is their high cholesterol content. While our cats are not as likely to develop heart disease as we are—they are obligate carnivores who thrive on diets high in animal products—they can still suffer from cardiovascular problems as a result of eating too much cholesterol. Cats who have heart disease or are at an increased risk of developing heart disease may be better off without boiled eggs.
Finally, while boiled eggs are perfectly safe for cats, raw eggs are not. Any eggs fed to your cats should be fresh and thoroughly cooked. Cats who eat raw or undercooked eggs may suffer from foodborne illnesses like salmonellosis, which can be fatal in severe cases. If you’ve fed your cat boiled eggs and they develop symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, vomiting, poor appetite, or rapid heartbeat, take them to see a vet. If your cat has been exposed to salmonella, they may need IV fluids.
Overall, boiled eggs are safe to feed your cat in moderation, but they should not make up a large part of their caloric intake. Their protein and healthy fats may be beneficial, but their caloric density and high cholesterol content can cause problems. As long as you use boiled eggs as rare treats rather than dietary staples, your cat should be just fine.