is cat food edible to humans

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.

Canned Cat Food vs Dry

is cat food edible to humans

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.

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.

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.

Its also important to know that most pet food is labeled “not fit for human consumption.” So if eating pet food does make you sick, either from nutritional deficiency or from a contaminant that got into the food before it reached your house, youd have limited legal recourse, according to a report from VICE.

According to Hunnes, it’s advisable to restrict pet food consumption to a brief period of time, ideally no longer than a few days. Pet food provides a source of protein and calories in an emergency. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that pet food is designed with their specific requirements in mind, not ours. Related mysteries.

Health and environmental journalist Donavyn Coffey is based in Kentucky. She covers food systems, healthcare, and anything CRISPR. Among other publications, her work has appeared in Popular Science, Wired UK, Scientific American, and Youth Today. Donavyn studied molecular nutrition and food policy in Denmark as a Fulbright Fellow. Her master’s degrees in food technology and journalism are from Aarhus University and New York University, respectively. She received her bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Kentucky. More about health.

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.


Is it OK for humans to eat cat food?

Though these ingredients may not be very appetizing, pet food comes from the same sources as human food. So it’s not inherently toxic, and it’s safe to try if you’re curious about kibble or even decide to eat it in an emergency food shortage, Hunnes said.

Is pet food edible for humans?

Dog food isn’t designed for the unique nutrition needs of humans, though it is made from ingredients that are technically safe for humans to eat. Thus, it’s not inherently toxic for humans and may be safe in an emergency situation. However, eating dog food may increase your risk of developing foodborne illness.

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.

What does cat food taste like?

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.