Can Cats Eat Donuts?

There is no doubt about it, donuts are delicious, but are they safe for cats? Do cats even like sweet things like donuts? We look into the subject and find out if cats should be eating donuts.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: January 22, 2024 | 7 min read

The cat catches a donut with its paws owner holds it in hand

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There are some foods that humans indulge in, knowing full well that they do not hold the most nutritional value. One of these foods that can be hard to turn away from is donuts. Because we humans also love to share our food with our feline friends, it is possible that a cat might eat a bite or two of a donut. This can lead owners to wonder: can cats eat donuts?

Donuts are certainly not a conventional choice of a treat to give a feline. As most feline owners can attest, it is extremely easy for cats to get ahold of things that are not intended for their consumption. These colorful sweet dough rings, like other human foods, may intrigue kitties. Simply watching their human eating something new might be enough for a kitty to want to come over and investigate.

Should cats eat these? Do these sweet indulgences hold any nutritional value for felines? Are these delicious human foods bad for cats? There are a lot of questions owners might have about the subject of cats eating donuts. We have the answers and more in this quick guide.

Can Cats Eat Donuts?

This question has both a yes and no answer. Donuts are something that cats “can” consume, but they are not something that they should consume. A kitty eating a bite or two of a donut will not be a medical emergency, but they hold absolutely no nutritional value. Additionally, the ingredients can be challenging for kitties to digest and harmful when ingested in large quantities. Baked goods and sweet treats like these are not something recommended or healthy for kitties to be fed. In general, felines should not be fed foods that are high in fats and sugar.

Cats do not taste sweet flavors. They are not attracted to sweet flavors, nor do they avoid them. It is thought that they lack taste receptors for sweet things. In research, felines show no reaction to the taste of sucrose or other sugars but do respond to sour, salty, and bitter flavors. Felines are obligate carnivores, so they must eat meat to survive and love the taste of meat and animal proteins. A feline is unlikely to ever seek out a bite of a donut because they want the sweet flavor. Instead, they are more likely to be interested in it because it is something their human is eating or is focused on.

Are Donuts Bad For Cats?

While a bite or two will not cause immediate harm or cause them to need medical attention, donuts are not good for cats. In truth, they are not good for humans either. There may be some cases where they are specially made with more healthy ingredients. However, these delectable sugar-laden goodies do not provide any nutritional benefits.

According to The Cleveland Clinic, donuts are one of the worst breakfast options or foods in general for humans to eat. They usually have between 250 to 350 calories and 15 to 30 grams of sugar. This elevated level of sugar will cause a sugar spike and then a major crash. The body will crave more of it and have no fuel to go on, leading to feelings of increased hunger.

Donuts are high in carbohydrates, sugar, and fats but completely void of nutritional value. They do not have any quality protein, vitamins, or minerals and include all the wrong kinds of fat. Some varieties, like chocolate, are incredibly harmful because they will contain caffeine and theobromine. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats. Darker chocolate is more dangerous. Ingestion of chocolate can cause seizures, heart arrhythmia, body tremors, stomach upset, and even death if kitties consume too much.

Some donuts will contain cinnamon which can be toxic to felines. Cinnamon is added to various donut varieties, so this is another reason to avoid giving your pet human baked goods.

Filled ones can include ingredients that are harmful to felines, including artificial sweeteners like xylitol which is toxic to them. They should also not eat raisins or grapes, which can sometimes be used in these foods.

High quantities of sugar can be extremely hard for kitties to digest. They may start to feel uncomfortable and have stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Too much sugar consumption over their lifetime can cause long-term issues like dental disease, diabetes, and weight gain. Table sugar and other sweeteners we use regularly are not natural to a cat’s diet and are not easy to digest.

Can Cats Eat Glazed Donuts?

Cats should not eat glazed donuts, especially not those that are covered in extra glaze and sticky sweet like the popular Krispy Kreme variety. Though we humans may not be able to get enough of these sweet treats, they are awfully bad for felines. They include higher than usual levels of sugars and are incredibly hard for kitties to digest.

Can Cats Eat Powdered Donuts?

These are coated in powdered sugar and are not easy for cats to digest.

Powdered is another variety that should not be fed to felines. They may be a choking hazard. Felines will not appreciate the sweet flavor, and there is no reason they should be fed powdered sugar-covered dough. A bite or two will not be a problem, but owners should avoid sharing sweet foods with their felines.

Can Cats Eat Plain Donuts?

Plain ones may be better for felines than donuts glazed, filled, or adorned with chocolate. Despite that, they are still not made of ingredients that provide nutritional benefits to kitties. Avoid giving kitties any kind of donut. Even the plain ones are full of sugar and bad fats and cooked in oils. They do not offer anything felines need and can clog up their digestive systems and give kitties a sugar crash.

Do Cats Like Donuts?

Kitties will not like these for the sweet flavor. These treats are incredibly high in fat and can make bellies feel full quickly. Kitties may appreciate this, but nothing about this food is healthy for them.

What To Do If My Cat Ate A Donut?

If your cat ate a donut, observing her for any signs and symptoms of sickness or poisoning is essential. It is best to contact your veterinarian for further advice and instruction if it is a chocolate donut. Your kitty will usually be okay but may experience stomach distress, pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your pet devoured an entire donut or a large amount of chocolate, it might be necessary to take them to the vet for an examination.

Donuts can include things like nuts and raisins. These can be choking hazards, as well as may be toxic to kitties. Raisins can cause serious issues like kidney failure and can cause kitties severe long-term medical issues, including coma, seizure, and heart attack. If your kitty ate a donut, make sure to do your best to find out what is in it, and reach out to your vet if you are concerned your pet may have consumed a toxic substance. This is a situation that could be profoundly serious or may just be a few days of discomfort. It all depends on the specific ingredients of the donut and how much of it the kitty ingested.

Feline Nutritional Needs

Felines are obligate carnivores and natural-born hunters. They need nutrients that are only found in animal proteins and products to survive. These animals should have a high-protein diet with low carbohydrates and a moderate amount of healthy fats. They also need minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and amino acids. Most commercial cat foods will contain the appropriate level of balanced, healthy ingredients to provide everything a kitty needs to survive. They do not need sweet treats like baked goods or fried dough. Cats must maintain a healthy weight. Feline obesity is a noticeably big problem, as are arthritis and diabetes. Owners should collaborate with their veterinarians to keep their kitty at a healthy body weight and make sure they are feeding them an appropriate diet.

Donut Alternatives

There are plenty of healthier, tastier options to give a kitty that will not pose as much risk and have some actual nutritional value. They love meat, so try to stick to meat-based treats. There are plenty to choose from. Freeze-dried treats are an excellent, tasty alternative with nutritional benefits. Kitties also love catnip, and there are plenty of scrumptious catnip-filled treat options to try. you can also try cat-safe ice cream or make your own as a fun treat.

Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Treats

Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Treats
  • Freeze-dried turkey giblets.
  • No preservatives or fillers.
  • Great taste.
  • High-protein.

These tasty, freeze-dried treats by Vital Essentials are highly rated and made for all life stages. No additives, artificial fillers, or preservatives. These have a pure chicken giblet taste. Grain-free and far better than carb-heavy fried dough. Your cat can have a full, meaty taste. Freeze-dried products are prepared raw, with all the moisture removed, and are shelf-stable for several weeks. The process removes a good amount of the risk and bacteria from raw food. Be sure to handle it with care and wash your hands after contact.

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Dinner

Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Dinner
  • Cooked in small batches.
  • Responsibly sourced meats.
  • Raw meat flavor.
  • No artificial ingredients.

Stella & Chewy’s makes several freeze-dried cat food products. These features duck and are great for all life stages. This kibble is served as a full meal, a treat, or mixed in with regular kibble. It gives that raw meat tastes kitties love taken from responsibly sourced meats and nutrient-rich organs and bones.

Cats may be fed fresh food instead of sugar-laden donuts. Stick to ingredients safe for felines, and try to avoid human foods. There are some human foods that are safe for kitties to eat. However, they must be explicitly prepared for feline consumption. Humans use a lot of spices and seasonings, including onion and garlic, which are toxic to kitties. Just like sugar, elevated levels of sodium can cause long-term and very serious health conditions for felines.

If owners have a kitty that seems particularly obsessed with these sugary rings, they can try to make a treat shaped like a donut from feline-safe ingredients. Owners can also try puzzles, slow feeders, and maze feeders, which provide pets entertainment and a challenge while they work to get treats or food out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my cat eat a jelly donut?

No. A jelly donut is incredibly unhealthy for kitties and will contain higher levels of sugar due to the filling. This is not a good choice for them, nor are those filled with chocolate, custard, or sugary cream.

Can a kitten eat a donut?

The kittens should never be fed these or other baked goods. Along with being empty of nutritional value and high in unhealthy calories, they are tough to digest. Kitten’s digestive systems are still developing and are simply unprepared to handle an influx of sugary carbohydrates.

Are there any donuts safe for cats?

No. Though a bite or two of a plain donut may not cause much harm, donuts of any variety are unsuitable for kitties to eat. They do not offer anything they need nutritionally and introduce things like high sugar and carbohydrates, which are tough to digest.

Final Thoughts

Cat owners love their feline family members and want to do what is right for them. Sometimes, it may seem like the right thing to do when they are giving us that cute look or trying to sneak a bite of our food. Not all human foods are safe for feline consumption, and baked sweet treats are one of them. These treats do not hold nutritional value for humans and certainly do not have any benefit for felines. Try to avoid giving your cat these sweets if possible. If a kitty does eat a bite or two, this is not a medical emergency but is not something that owners should allow to happen often. Donuts contain a variety of ingredients, some of which can be incredibly toxic and harmful to animals. For this reason, it is best to avoid sweets and offer your kitty a tasty meat-based treat alternative instead.

1 Comment

  1. It’s interesting to me that while talking about how a bite of a donut is so potentially dangerous that there’s no mention of the very high rate of salmonella contaminated raw food. Statistically it’s a very much higher risk of getting a good borne severe illness than eating an occasional bite of a donut. I realize these are your sponsors and pay your bills but with no significant warning about raw food, it’s a bit of a sell out that smacks of hypocrisy

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