Emergency Cat Food: What can you feed when you run out of cat food?

We never seem to be able to avoid running out of food for our cats, no matter how hard we try. And we often don't know it until the pet store or the veterinarian's office has closed. Even if you make it to either location, they may be out of your preferred food brand. Don't be worried! You do have options, even if you think you don't.




Don't be panic if you've run out of cat food! You probably have a variety of nutritional choices in your fridge, freezer, or kitchen that you can safely feed your cats as emergency cat food. Before raiding the fridge for your furkid, always ask yourself the following three questions:


  1. Is there a lot of salt and/or fat in this food, which might cause thirst and create stomach issues?
  2. Does my cat have any dietary restrictions or allergies which may be affected by this food?
  3. Is this meal on the list of foods that are harmful to cats? If you're not sure, visit the Pet Poison Helpline or look up another internet resource.




Cat food alternatives in an emergency

1) Meat - The following are some good fresh meat alternatives for cats:

  • Raw meat that is fresh and human-grade, such as raw lamb or raw chicken, with no additional preservatives.
  • Lean and plainly cooked portions of beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, and pork.
  • In small quantities, lean, flavorless deli meats.
  • However, keep the following in mind:

i. Processed meats and cooked manufactured meats, such as bacon and sausages, should be avoided.
ii. Stay away from fatty meat parts, skin, and cooked bones.
iii. Avoid leftovers or recipes that contain any of the foods on the harmful foods list—you can watch the article “Foods That Can Kill Your Cat, The Last One Will Frighten You” to know what is dangerous to your cat.
iv. While small amounts of liver are OK, excessive amounts might cause vitamin A toxicity.
v. For further information, you can read the article "Can My Cat Eat Raw Chicken, Fish, and Other Meat? " to learn more.


2) Fish - Tuna or other fish is OK in small amounts, from time to time, or as an emergency cat food option:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids included in cooked fish fillets are beneficial to your cat's heart, kidneys, joints, and vision.
  • Another wonderful alternative is canned fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, which should be washed and drained well after being packed in water and low in salt.
  • Avoid constantly feeding fish. 
  • Avoid sushi and uncooked fish.




Proteins from other sources

1) Eggs — An excellent source of protein, but only serve cooked eggs. Cats should avoid eating raw egg whites.


2) Cheese — Small to moderate amounts of hard, mild cheeses such as Colby, gouda, swiss, or cheddar.


3) Yoghourt — Whether natural, plain, or Greek, is a fantastic source of protein and a probiotic. Moderation is the key. Sweetened kinds, especially those sweetened with "natural" sugars, should be avoided.




Other types of food

It's crucial to remember that cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require meat in their diet and that a vegetarian diet will not fulfil their nutritional requirements. Cat food replacements, in modest amounts or in combination with one of the protein sources above, can include:


1) Grains — A small portion of plain, cooked grains such as mashed brown rice, barley, oats, or whole-wheat breadcrumbs. Cooked grains with a smaller texture, such as couscous, polenta, and millet, are popular with cats. 


2) Vegetables — Sometimes, offer your cat small amounts of finely cut, microwaved, steamed or boiled carrots, peas, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, pumpkin, squash, and spinach. These vegetables are good in fresh, frozen, and tinned forms. Corncobs, tomatoes, and mushrooms should all be avoided. Vegetables with big portions should also be avoided.


3) Fruit —Many cats dislike fruit because they are unable to taste sweet flavors. Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, and peeled apple slices (without the seeds) are all healthful treats and fantastic sources of vitamins if your cat would eat them. Remove all of the seeds, stems, and leaves by cutting them up.


4) Nuts — Peanuts are easily digested by cats, and many of them love the taste. They can eat peanut butter in moderation as well. Nuts are heavy in fat and might induce stomach pain if consumed in excess.


5) Dairy products — While dairy products are not poisonous to cats, they can cause digestive problems and even food allergies. Many cats may accept a modest quantity of lactose-free dairy, such as hard yellow cheeses and plain yoghurt, without experiencing any negative consequences. However, drinking regular milk, especially in large quantities, can cause diarrhoea in cats, so steer clear of cow's milk, soft cheeses, and other lactose-rich foods (with the exception of kittens).

  • A bowl of dairy milk is a totally safe alternative for kittens from time to time. Lactose-free milk should be provided if lactose is a concern.