Can Cats Eat Eggs? Everything You Need To Know
As one of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods, yes, your cat can eat eggs. However, there are a few precautions that you must observe whenever thinking of feeding this food to your feline friend. Moderation is key. Observing the correct preparation of eggs also matters.
Egg, the Superfood
There is no denying that eggs are one of the world’s superfoods. On the average, a large piece of egg can contain about 6 to 7 grams of protein. It is not surprising why many pet food manufacturers include eggs in their formulations because of its protein content.
Eggs are also good sources of essential fatty acids, especially DHA and EPA. These can translate to a healthy immune system, coat, and skin for the cat. These essential fatty acids are also vital for the normal functioning of the eyes and brain.
This food also contains a number of vitamins. It includes the antioxidant vitamins A and E. It is also rich in the B-vitamins, except niacin. Eggs contain modest amounts of betaine, choline, and folate. These can help aid the cat’s body in many of its metabolic processes.
There are also minerals in eggs, like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. Eggs also contain trace minerals like selenium, fluoride, zinc, iron, and manganese. All of these can support a cat’s physiologic processes.
Considerations When Giving Eggs to Cats
Eggs are packed with nutrients that can help your cat stay healthy. However, there are some things that you have to consider whenever giving your pet eggs.
A large hard-boiled egg contains 77.5 calories. A scrambled egg contains 102 calories. If you have a 15-lb cat, it will need about 295 calories as its Resting Energy Requirement. If the cat is already neutered, then you will have to multiply this by 1.6. As such, this 15-lb neutered cat will need about 472 calories per day.
Given that eggs should never be a cat’s main meal, it should not be more than 10 percent of the cat’s calorie intake for the day. In our example, 10 percent of 472 calories is 47.2 calories. This also means that you can only give this cat less than two-thirds of a hard-boiled egg or less than half of a single piece of scrambled egg.
A single piece of hard-boiled egg can deliver 5.3 grams of fat, 1.6 grams of which are saturated fats. Having the egg scrambled will deliver more fat to your cat. This can account for about 7.4 grams, 2.2 grams of which are saturated fats.
While it is true that eggs also contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, the mere fact that it has saturated fats can be bad news for your cat. This can increase the feline’s risk of heart disease and other saturated fat-associated health conditions.
Almost everyone is concerned about microorganisms present in raw egg. This is despite the fact that many of us love raw eggs in our steak tartare. The problem with microorganisms is that you need a microscope to identify them. One cannot determine the presence of these microorganisms by only looking at a raw egg. Examples of microorganisms that can be present in eggs are Salmonella species, Campylobacter species, and Escherichia coli.
The good news is that cooking the egg can also help kill these microorganisms. If you do not cook the egg, then there is a chance that you will also be introducing these germs to your cat. This can lead to gastrointestinal complaints as well as other health problems.
- Biotin Deficiency
Egg whites contain avidin. This is a special kind of protein that binds to Vitamin B7 or biotin. Because of this bonding, avidin prevents biotin from exerting its physiologic effects. This vitamin is essential for the optimum health of the skin, the hair, and the nails of the cat. Because avidin binds to biotin, it can no longer perform these important roles.
Cooking leads to the coagulation of the proteins in egg white. This neutralizes the binding capacity of avidin. Giving raw egg white to your cat and in excessive amounts can increase the risk of biotin deficiency.
How to Feed Your Cat Eggs
Based on what we have discussed so far, there are two very important takeaways when giving eggs to pet cats. The first one is to observe moderation. While eggs are nutritious, you should still view them as an occasional treat or snack. In no way should eggs replace your cat’s regular meals.
It is important to recognize that the calorie and fat content of eggs is more than the 10% limit of pet treats. As such, one has to be very careful in measuring the amount of eggs to give to one’s pet cat. It is easy to adjust the amount of pet food to compensate for the high calorie content of eggs. However, one should never do this as eggs do not contain ALL the nutrients that felines need. All pets deserve food that has a balanced and complete set of nutrients.
Second, eggs should always be cooked. This will help you avoid giving your cat microorganisms like Salmonella and E. coli and make them sick. Moreover, cooking the eggs will help neutralize avidin and prevent biotin deficiency in your pet cat.
When cooking eggs, it is best to boil it. You can fry it or cook it as a scrambled egg. However, it is a must that you use as little oil as possible. You do not want to add more fat to the already-fatty egg. An alternative will be to use healthier versions of oil. Choose those that have lower proportions of saturated fats and more unsaturated fats.
You can mix cooked eggs in your cat’s main meal. It is also possible to serve it as a snack. However, pay close attention to the amount that you give.
Cats can eat eggs but because of their high fat and high calorie content, one should be very careful in the amount given. It is also a must to never serve raw eggs to cats.