What Can Cats Eat From the Fridge? Emergency Meals for Your Cats!

Written by

Amy Sawy

Veterinarian. DVM


Joseph M. Plummer

Veterinarian, DVM, MVZ

what can cats eat from the fridge

Cats are obligate carnivores. That means they sustain themselves mainly with meat and cannot get all the nutrition they need from a diet that is entirely plant-based. That is why buying your cat hiqh-quality cat food is important for their health.

But what do we do when we don’t have cat food available and are asking ourselves “What can cats eat from the fridge?”

Fortunately, there are many substitutes for cat food that can be found in our fridge. A lot of our food items, with little preparation, can be used as an alternative food for cats. Here are the human foods that cats can eat daily:

  • Unseasoned and properly cooked Meat
  • Deboned and skinned Fish
  • Boiled or Scrambled Eggs
  • Small Grains
  • Select Fruits
  • Select Vegetables

What Can Cats Eat From the Fridge?


1. Meat


Cats can eat all kinds of meat as long as they are cooked properly. Beef, pork, chicken and lamb are some of the popular options for cat food replacements. These types of meat should be cooked properly and should be deboned, skin removed and fat trimmed before giving to your pet.

Avoid processed meat products that regularly contain a lot of sodium and salt in large quantities. These can be toxic to your cat and typically have a high-fat content that can lead to weight gain.

2. Fish


Cats absolutely love fish and it makes a great meal as it contains Omega-3 Fatty acids which can help prevent kidney diseases and arthritis and make your cat’s coat healthy and looking beautiful.

Like the meats, fish should also be served without bones and skin and thoroughly cooked as well. Cats can eat Tuna, however it contains a lot of calories which can lead to obesity and contains a high amount of mercury as well which can be toxic to your pets.

3. Eggs


Eggs are surprisingly good for your cat. It contains necessary amino acids and proteins that cats require daily, but should be cooked to avoid the risk of salmonella.

Boiled and scrambled eggs make the perfect emergency food for cats that can be done without a lot of hassle.

4. Grains


Grains are wonderful cat food replacements since they are filled with a variety of proteins and carbohydrates that can keep your cats energetic. Feed your cats cooked smaller grains like Millet and Couscous which they can easily digest.

Oats and Rice can also be a viable replacement to feed cats when you are out of cat food since they are easy to cook and prepare. Cats can eat bread, especially whole wheat bread served in smaller pieces like breadcrumbs.

5. Fruits and vegetables


Cats are famously very picky eaters. As such, there are only a handful of vegetables and fruits cats can eat. Here are some of the fruits and vegetables that you can feed a cat without cat food.


  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Cooked Spinach
  • Potatoes


  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Pumpkins

It is important to note that most vegetables require prior cooking and that fruits should be peeled and come in a seedless variety or have the seeds removed before giving them to cats.

Related: What Should You Be Feeding Your Cat for Breakfast?

Things to Consider Before Making an Emergency Meal


There are many factors that can affect a cat’s reaction to food. However there are two important factors you should consider when creating emergency meals when you run out of cat food: their age and if they have any allergies.

Cats of different ages have different dietary requirements. Younger kittens and seniors require a moist to semi-moist meal to help with their digestion and need to be fed at least three times a day with small meals.

Mature and adult cats require only 1 or 2 meals in a day and senior cats need to have their diet monitored.

Allergies are common to cats and can vastly affect their diets. Some cats may be sensitive to certain ingredients that could make them feel symptoms such as stomach discomfort, itching and sneezing.

It is important to talk with your veterinarian to find out any specific dietary restrictions your pet might have.

5 Tips on How to Make Cat Food When You’ve Run Out


Making homemade cat food is easy. You just need to open your pantry and fridge and you will be able to feed kittens when out of food. Here are some tips to make cat food at home.

Tip 1. Chicken liver and heart are an amazing power food for cats. These contain a lot of vitamins A and B, minerals, iron, and protein.

Tip 2. Break some eggs and make a vegetable omelet. Combine eggs and vegetables of your choice to create a meal that is packed with protein, fiber and vitamins that help with digestion.

Tip 3. Chicken soup for the feline soul. Keeping your cat hydrated with this easy dish can help prevent a lot of health issues. Make sure to use minimal sodium or salt in your dish.

Tip 4. You can’t go wrong with bread. While it might not contain a lot of nutrients, bread can be a filling meal in emergencies and will help your cat maintain its weight.

Tip 5. Spinach can be your cat’s new favorite. Spinach are leafy green vegetables that are packed with fiber and water that can keep your cats full and hydrated. They also contain Omega-3 fatty acids that are important to your cat’s health.

Foods That Cats Cannot Eat and Why


Although cats have a lot of options when it comes to meals, there are some that you should almost always avoid. Here are some foods that cats can’t eat:

  • Alcohol

Alcohol is extremely toxic to cats and can cause concerning symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and breathing issues. If not treated early, alcohol can also cause coma and death.

  • Chocolate

While these treats are absolutely amazing to us humans, cats do not take too well to chocolate. This is caused by methylxanthines which can lead to high body temperature, increased heart rate and body tremors.

Methylxanthines are also present in caffeinated beverages. So coffee and certain sodas should be avoided as well.

  • Dairy

Although some cats can enjoy a bowl of milk, most of them as they grow older become lactose intolerant. This can upset their stomach and can cause diarrhea, vomiting and other symptoms.

  • Dog Food

While it is not exactly toxic, Dog food does not have enough nutrients that can be beneficial to cats. Cat food has a high amount of taurine since cats do not produce them naturally like dogs.

Cats that eat dog food for a long time can develop heart diseases, vision and dental issues.

  • Grapes and Raisins

Even the smallest amount of grapes or raisins can cause trouble for your cats. Typically, after 12 hours of consumption the cat can exhibit symptoms of kidney failure.

It is advised that you should bring your cat to a veterinarian immediately if they have eaten food containing them.

  • Peanut Butter

Peanut butter can be a tasty treat to cats, but owners should avoid letting their beloved pets eat them regularly. Peanut butter can contain sodium, fats and sweeteners that can be detrimental to the health of your cat.

  • Xylitol

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is usually found in candies and gum. Xylitol can make your cat feel tired and can lead to liver failure.

Frequently Asked Questions


What can I feed my cat if I don’t have cat food?

You should remember that cats are carnivores that get most of their nutrients from meat. As long as you prepare the following items well cats should be able to eat different kinds of meat, fish and eggs.

Cooked smaller grains with fruits and vegetables can also feed cats besides cat food. Cheese can also be used as a treat but keep in mind that most cats are lactose intolerant and should only eat them in small quantities.

Can cats eat refrigerated foods?

Cats can eat refrigerated foods as long as they are prepared and kept in a clean place. However it is advisable to reheat frozen or cold food as cats have lower tolerance to bacteria compared to humans.

What leftovers can cats eat?

Some leftovers are safe for cats. Meats like pork, chicken and beef are safe for cats to eat so long as they are unflavored and unseasoned. It is advisable that you heat up left overs that have been left in the fridge.

Can cats eat ham slices?

Ham and other processed food can be harmful to your cats since it contains sodium and has a high fat content. Regularly taking these kinds of food can make them unhealthy and overweight.


There is no need for concern when you’re missing cat food. There are many alternatives like meat, fish and egg for your cats that can be used as a substitute as long as they are unseasoned and cooked properly.

Grains, certain fruits and vegetables can be used as well but make sure that they are clean and will not cause an allergic reaction.

Also, remember that there are certain foods that are toxic for cats like chocolate and grapes. These should be avoided and kept in hard to reach places.

Always remember these points the next time you find yourself  asking the question: “What can cats eat from the fridge?”

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