can humans eat cat food

They have different dietary needs than us humans, who are more of the omnivorous type, munching on plants and animals alike. So, while a few bites of cat food won’t harm you, making it a regular part of your diet might leave you with some nutritional gaps that not even a can-opener can fix.

Food from the Same Farms

The majority of the components found in your cat’s food are sourced from the same farms that make our food. But there are significant differences between the ingredients in cat food and human food. Only the finest parts of each animal are used to make food for humans.

By-products are generally not made into food for humans. Your TV dinner won’t contain ground-up bones, scraps, or offal, but your cat’s food will. Manufacturers use animal parts that weren’t used for human food to make cat food. Good cuts like tenderloins and back straps are available to us, but everything else—including many parts you’d probably prefer not to eat—ends up in cat food.

Canned Cat Food vs Dry

can humans eat cat food

Compared to food in cans, dry pet food is more prone to contamination. It’s ripe for E. coli infection and other harmful pathogens. However, because of the canning procedure, cat food in cans is sterile. Generally speaking, canned cat food is preferable to dry kibble.

However, even canned cat food can become contaminated. More than 150 brands of pet food were recalled in 2007 as a result of a Chinese manufacturer including plastic in their protein exports. Many pets in the US died as a result of this, and you might have died too if you had consumed any of that pet food.

Strangely, there’s a greater chance that you will eat tainted human food, which is frequently recalled. Baby formula in China was recalled for the same melamine plastic contamination shortly after the 2007 recall, which led to over 300,000 sick children and over a dozen deaths.

Dana Hunnes, an assistant professor at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a senior dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, says that the short answer is that pet food can be harmful to humans if it is contaminated. Foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli impact pet food, just as they do human food. According to Healthline, this is why it’s crucial to abide by your pet food’s storage instructions in order to keep your animals safe. For instance, the U. S. The Food and Drug Administration advises keeping pet food, both dry and canned, in a cool, dry location that doesn’t get above 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26 6 degrees Celsius).

But uncontaminated pet food is safe, at least in the short term, Hunnes said. Most pet food is made up of food-grade leftovers and byproducts, she told Live Science. Parts like bone meal, meat scraps and offal (such as the stomach, large intestine or tongue) from slaughterhouses, or soybean and grain byproducts from processing plants are the major components of pet food. Though these ingredients may not be very appetizing, pet food comes from the same sources as human food. So its not inherently toxic, and its safe to try if youre curious about kibble or even decide to eat it in an emergency food shortage, Hunnes said. However, where some raw pet foods are concerned, you should steer clear. Thats never a good idea for humans, according to the report from Healthline.

Pet food isn’t harmful to people in the end, but it’s not the best You are welcome to test it out or use it in an emergency. However, from the standpoint of nutrition or food safety, it’s not a long-term solution.

It is customary to give our animal companions scraps from the table. However, is the opposite safe? Is it possible for a human to consume pet food without risk of death?

Over the years, the FDA has issued numerous recalls and withdrawals concerning pet food, including a potential Salmonella contamination from rodent activity at a distribution center in 2022 and dog food with elevated levels of aflatoxins, or toxins produced by certain fungi found on agricultural crops, in 2021.

FAQ

Is it safe for humans to eat cat food?

Ultimately, pet food isn’t toxic to humans, but it isn’t ideal. You can give it a try or even use it if you’re in need. But it’s not a long-term solution from a nutritional or food safety perspective. Originally published on Live Science on Feb.

How many people eat cat food?

It is estimated that 68 million homes in the US own a cat or dog. Converting the study data to real life, this means that more than 5 million U.S. adults and more than 3 million U.S. children have consumed pet food.

How does cat food taste?

Most types of cat food taste very bland to humans. However, once again, this is because our sense of smell diminishes the taste. Cats likely taste much more of the meaty flavor of the food due to their increased smell. Wet food (and fresh cat food) tastes very different from dry cat food, of course.

Can humans survive on cat or dog food?

Pet food is not a long-term survival option for humans. While it does provide nutrition, it isn’t nutritionally complete.