Are cats and babies similar enough to give a cat baby food?
Babies are sensitive, fragile creatures. If there is one type of food that should be carefully monitored for quality and serve nothing but the best ingredients, it is the food we feed our infants.
On top of careful quality control they get the advantage of a ready-to-eat meal in a little pot. The delicious flavors of lamb, turkey, and chicken are only a teaspoon away for a baby.
Their lamb is ready without all the hassle of cooking that usually come along with it, and they don’t even have to chew it. If human babies can eat it, how bad can it be for our cats?
Cats can be given meat-based baby foods. However, there are vegetable ingredients that could potentially be lethal to cats, such as onions and garlic so make sure the baby food does not contain these.
Can I Give My Cat Baby Food? Answer: Only Some Kinds
As pure carnivores they get eat only meat and get all their nutrition from it. Even pure carnivores need some vitamins from vegetables, but cats would normally acquire these from the intestine contents of the kill.
The modern, civilized domestic cat will get the nutrients they need from commercially available cat foods instead. Baby food does not contain enough taurine and if fed to cats as a large part of their diet, it will eventually lead to malnutrition.
Harmless to Humans, Critical to Cats
Babies and cats often have compatible tastes in food. They both like milk and meat, but are not particularly fond of spices. However, what will merely make a baby cry or refuse to eat could be lethal to our feline companions. Onions, garlic, and related root vegetables can be very dangerous to cats, as these damage their red blood cells and lead to a fatal form of anemia and gastrointestinal irritation. Avocados, for all their health benefits to humans have parts that contain persin, a substance that is toxic to cats.
Also raisins, sultana, macadamia nuts, chocolate, coffee, and caffeine have adverse effects on cats. Most cats are lactose intolerant so foods containing milk should be avoided as well. In the U.S. baby foods are required to list all their ingredients, so if it is not listed on the package it should be safe to feed to your cats. Some of the ingredients that cause problems for cats are pretty mundane to humans making it important to check them to be certain they are safe.
Taurine is Essential
Energy drinks are often loaded with caffeine and taurine. Although caffeine is hazardous to cats, taurine is an essential nutrient for them. They are unable to produce it on their own, requiring them to consume it from external sources. Baby food does not contain enough taurine for a cat’s needs, since it is not something babies need in the same amount. Therefore, a long term diet of baby food can eventually lead to health problems.
A cat that lacks taurine will suffer from hair loss, tooth decay and problems with both its cardiovascular and reproductive systems. However, these problems only occur after a long term deficiency, so the occasional treat of carefully selected baby food will not immediately lead to any difficulties.
Cats That Can’t Chew
Not every cat has a Cheshire Cat smile, as they may have problems with their teeth, gums or jaw. Since baby food is pretty much a drinkable meal, it can be a helpful way to provide nutrition to a cat that has problems chewing regular cat food. If they refuse to eat at all the baby food can be given to the through a syringe.
Otherwise, mix the baby food with regular wet food to encourage them to eat. Your veterinarian can recommend an effective diet if your cat has difficulty chewing because baby food alone will cause malnutrition in the long term. It can easily be used as a temporary solution though. Taurine supplements will be required if the baby food diet is kept for a longer period.
Check the Ingredients
As an occasional treat meat-based baby food can be given to cats. However, since baby food might contain certain ingredients that are toxic to cats make sure to check them first. The lack of taurine in baby food can also lead to physical problems in the long term. Unless your cat has difficulty eating, there is no real reason to feed them baby food at all though.