Eggs are delicious, healthy and have an irreplaceable role in tons of recipes for a huge variety of homecooked meals.
They are an excellent source of protein, minerals and many vitamins, including A, D and B12. Moreover, eggs contain essential amino acids, which our bodies cannot synthesize on their own.
Many cat owners out there will probably ask the question – if eggs are so good for us, can we give them to our feline pets? Are they safe?
As carnivores, cats thrive primarily on protein. Their bodies need the natural proteins, fats and vitamins derived from real meat. But since eggs are rich on protein and their yolks are high on natural fats, can cats eat eggs safely?
Yes, cats can eat eggs! That’s why many cat breeders will add the occasional egg to their cat’s diets to give them shiny coats and keep their claws healthy.
Cat food manufacturers add eggs into their cat food formulas, as well as cat treats, to increase the protein percentages and add in the many health benefits.
Eggs pack a nutritional punch that rivals other protein sources, and here’s why:
The benefits of the egg:
- Animal Protein: Eggs are entirely animal protein. This is important for obligate carnivores that lack the liver enzyme necessary for metabolizing plant proteins or dairy products.
- Amino Acids: Cells are made up of proteins, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Cats need 11 essential amino acids and 10 are found in eggs. (Fun fact: Humans only need nine essential amino acids.)
- Taurine: Taurine is necessary for maintaining a healthy heart and eyes, and can only be found in animal proteins. Cats can’t manufacture taurine themselves, so it’s added as a supplement to all cat foods. Eggs are an excellent source of taurine, so adding them to your cat’s diet is a great boost.
- Thiamine:This nutrient supports a healthy carbohydrate metabolism for high-energy organs like the brain.
- Vitamin A: This vitamin supports the health of your cat’s skin, coat, heart, and nervous system.
- Vitamin D:This vitamin manages bone growth and the role of calcium in the body. Cat’s don’t manufacture this on their own, making it an essential vitamin added to cat food. Humans synthesize this vitamin in our skin (the sunlight vitamin), but cats can’t do that.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell damage. It’s also an essential vitamin added to cat foods.
- Iron:This is an essential nutrient cats need to keep their blood-producing red cells to remain healthy. If it’s not present in their diets (pet food manufacturers add it to the foods), your cat can become anemic.
- Selenium: This is a powerful antioxidant that protects your cat’s cells from free radical damage.
- Riboflavin: Also known as vitamin B2, this nutrient helps in the red cell production and antibodies your cat needs to fight disease.
- Zinc: This nutrient improves the quality of your cat’s skin, hair, and reproductive system.
As you can see, there are so many nutrients essential for your cat’s health wrapped up in one mighty egg!
First things , Don’t give raw eggs:
Cooked eggs are the only way to feed an egg to your cat. Raw eggs can carry e. coli or salmonella, which can cause serious gastrointestinal problems for your cat (abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fever). Even cats who are fed raw diets should not be given raw eggs.
Raw egg whites contain avidin. Avidin is a protein in the egg that, when raw, interrupts the absorption of biotin and complex B vitamins. However, cooking the egg white significantly reduces the avidin, making it safe for cats to consume.
What is the best way to feed eggs to my cat?
The best way to feed eggs to your cat is by boiling, poaching, scrambling, or frying, no seasonings should use.
Since cats are finicky eaters, the first time you offer cooked egg to your cat, put it into their normal food in small pieces. That will disguise it enough for them to get accustomed to the taste and readily accept it later.
Cats can have food intolerances or allergies, but it’s not common for a cat to have an egg allergy. But, just to make sure, watch your cat’s health once you start feeding eggs. Any itching, ear infections, or digestive upset could signal an intolerance or allergy.
How much egg is a healthy amount?
Your cat needs a healthy, well-balanced diet, and eggs should only be given as a supplement. Even though the egg is packed with essential nutrients, it should only make up 10% of your cat’s diet. Feeding your beloved kitty an egg only diet may cause them to suffer from malnutrition since they need many essential vitamins and minerals found in commercial cat foods.
One egg a day for a 10 lb. kitty is equal to 15 eggs a day for 150 lb. human; so feeding an egg a day to your furry friend would be way too much. Cats should receive eggs once or twice a week, and never a whole egg. Breaking the egg up and offering a few small pieces at a time is best.
What about eggshells?
Eggshells have been shown to be a great source of protein and calcium for cats, leading to strong and healthy teeth and bones. To prepare, crush the eggshells and serve about 1/2 a teaspoon into your cat’s regular kibble. If you are particularly worried about your cat contracting salmonella, be sure to boil the shells first. After boiling, allow them to dry completely before crushing into a coffee grinder, food processor, or using a mortal and pestle. Crushing the eggshells will also allow you to store the pieces in bulk instead of repeating the method everyday. Speaking of which, when storing the eggshells, use an airtight jar or bowl to keep them dry and avoid mold. Alternatively, you can transfer the shells into a bowl or baggy and then store them in your refrigerator until you’re ready to crush them.
It is safe to offer your cat a small amount of cooked egg; your cat will probably enjoy the taste and they are healthy and high in nutritional value. The two important points are that the egg must be cooked and you must moderate the portions. Cats often need to be rationed and portion controlled as they will easily overeat. By offering a small portion, your cat can enjoy the benefits without becoming nutritionally deficient in other areas or overweight.