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Cats are food-driven creatures and show great interest in the food they see their humans eating. Quite often, one would not naturally include what we eat in a feline diet. However, that certainly does not stop a curious kitty from snagging a bite or two of whatever is on their owner’s plate. This raises many questions for cat owners about what foods are safe for felines. Believe it or not, a commonly asked question is, “Can cats eat graham crackers?” Is this classic snack even safe for felines?
These sweet crisps are a classic childhood snack, a camping staple, a commonly used ingredient, and a variety of desserts and snack foods. So, should you feed your cat a graham cracker? Do they have any benefits to feline health? Let’s find out!
Can Cats Have Graham Crackers?
The simple answer is yes. Cats can technically eat graham crackers but should not be fed them regularly. This snack contains some ingredients that can be mildly beneficial to felines, but also some to watch out for. While they may be ok for an occasional treat, there is much more to cats eating this crunchy cracker than meets the eye. One thing to remember is that cats are obligate carnivores who need to eat meat-based diets. These sweet crisps contain high levels of plant-based material, which can sometimes be tricky for kitties to digest. Because of that, felines should only ever occasionally eat a small amount of this food.
While cats might be interested in this snack for its texture or simply because they are curious about what owners are eating, it is essential to note that felines do not taste sweet flavors. They do not have the same taste receptors as humans and therefore do not crave or respond to sweetness. If your cat is after this snack, it is not because they crave its flavor. It is hard to say if kitties like sweet snacks or not. They likely have a mild flavor, though they may enjoy the crunchy texture.
What Are Graham Crackers?
These are wheat-based sweet crackers made with whole wheat flour. This simple snack food originated in the mid-19th century in the United States. These sweet biscuits have been commercially produced since the 1880s. They are a necessary part of the favorite dessert dish, s’mores, and are available in plain, honey, and cinnamon. Some manufacturers even make a chocolate variety.
These sweet crackers are named after their inventor, the Reverend Sylvester Graham, who was heavily focused on healthy living, believing it could cure physical and moral ailments. He believed a specific, plant-based diet was the key to cleansing one’s body and soul. Avidly against refined white flour, he made bread using unrefined wheat flour. This led to a distinctly bland flavor and texture. Eventually, the graham cracker followed. Today the snack is a classic and commonly served in places like schools, hospitals, and homes, as well as an ingredient in other dishes.
An unusual fact, the reverend believed that eating plant-based foods would prevent people from being exposed to sinful thoughts. Specifically, he believed this bread made from whole wheat flour would prevent sexual thoughts and desires. While this has proven not to be the case, the idea of making food with whole wheat flour has remained popular. Today’s products are now far from the bland bread they originated from and have become a commonly found and widely liked food.
Are Graham Crackers Safe For Cats?
In minimal amounts, these can be safe for cats. However, feeding this crunchy snack to your purr baby has several potential hazards. These concerns include being a choking hazard and sharp corners having the potential to cause injury. They are high in sugar, artificial sweeteners, and sodium. Additionally, they may also use artificial additives like flavorings and preservatives.
Risks To Cats
- The high sugar content is one of the most significant concerns. These products often use sugar or other artificial sweeteners. Feline bodies do not digest sugar well. What is considered a high sugar level for them is much smaller than one would think. Regularly eating foods with added sugar can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, digestive issues, and physical discomfort.
- Some manufacturers use artificial sweeteners like xylitol. Xylitol can be harmful to felines and is toxic to canines. Though a cat would need to eat a considerable amount to experience poisoning or xylitol toxicity, it is still a grave concern. You can try options that contain honey instead of sugar or artificial sweeteners. However, for some kitties, honey is even harder to digest.
- These products often use baking soda. Baking soda contains sodium, and felines must be careful about consuming too much. If they have diets that are high in sodium, this can lead to heart issues, including hypertension.
- These snacks use whole wheat flour, and wheat-based plant materials are not the wisest choice for felines. Plant-based proteins do not provide them with the same benefit as animal proteins and are much harder to digest. Some pets may be gluten intolerant, and eating such foods may cause severe discomfort.
- Cinnamon is often used as a flavoring, and while it is not poisonous should not be fed to these animals in large quantities or regularly. Kitties who overeat cinnamon are at risk for toxicity, including low blood sugar, lethargy, low energy, and even liver damage.
- Some varieties come in chocolate and other flavors. Chocolate is an ingredient that kitties should never eat. It contains far too much sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, and theobromine. Caffeine and theobromine are stimulants and are both very toxic to felines. Even a minimal amount of chocolate can be dangerous. Felines should avoid any kind of chocolate or foods containing chocolate.
Are Graham Crackers Good For Cats?
To put it quite simply, cats are obligate carnivores who do best on diets that are primarily made from high-quality animal proteins. Feeding them occasional bites will not cause long-term harm, but it does not provide much nutritional benefit for them either. Feline bodies run best when fueled by high-quality, natural meat proteins. Overall, this sweet snack does not offer much nutritional benefit, so it cannot be classified as something that is good for our pets to eat.
Along with the health risks of overeating wheat gluten, sugar, sodium, and the possibility of toxic ingredients, some kitties may also experience allergies after consuming this food. Because of this, make sure to monitor your pet if they eat human foods and watch for any signs of distress, discomfort, or allergic reaction.
Felines should not eat foods high in sugar or artificial ingredients or that do not provide them with appropriate nutritional value. Overeating of these foods can lead to weight gain and other weight-related health concerns like joint overuse, overworking the muscles, and heart disease. Weight gain and obesity are big problems for felines, as putting them on a diet is very hard. Obesity can lead to long-term conditions like diabetes, impacting your cat’s overall health and life expectancy.
While some human foods can be safe for kitties to eat when prepared properly, plenty of alternatives will better suit a feline’s nutritional needs. These include freshly prepared meals, freeze-dried treats, and herbs like catnip.
Freshly prepared meals may seem extravagant for some owners, but they are incredibly nutritious. If money were no object, fresh food meals would likely be every cat owner’s top choice. These meals are made from human-grade ingredients in top-quality kitchens. Most are then frozen and delivered directly to your door. Some companies offer only subscription-based services, while others allow for single purchases. There are also some brands available in your local pet store or supermarket. These can be served as a complete meal and occasional treat or mixed with your cat’s regular kibble. They will give your cat a delectable boost of flavor and top-quality nutrients.
Catnip is a popular treat for kitties. For some pets, it acts as a stimulant. For others, it has soothing effects. Those who ingest catnip tend to calm down, while those who roll, sniff, and play in it become a little more energetic and playful. Catnip has a mild effect and only lasts for a short time.
CBD treats are another way to give your cat a flavorful and nutritious treat. CBD can help manage energy and benefit pain management and other medical issues.
Freeze-dried meat treats offer top-quality animal protein without any risk of artificial sweeteners or ingredients. These are often one-ingredient treats made from high-quality whole animal proteins. Along with freeze-dried treats, owners can look for meat sticks and other meat-based foods rather than wheat-heavy snacks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my cat eat cheese crisps or other crunchy snacks?
Owners should take the same precautions with these snacks, including cheese-flavored ones. While some of these products use real cheese, others use chemical and artificial flavorings. Owners should use the same level of caution about other kinds of wheat-based foods. These are high in refined ingredients, which are difficult for felines to digest, and offer minimal nutritional benefits.
Can my cat die from eating graham crackers?
It is highly unlikely that your cat would eat enough to have that severe reaction. They contain some ingredients that can harm animals, even in small doses. Because of this, it’s best to keep this as a very occasional treat or avoid it altogether. There are several other feline-safe alternatives that your cat will prefer.
Do cats like crunchy foods?
Felines can get bored with their everyday food and may seek out new flavors and textures. Our feline family members like to be involved in what we are doing, including eating the same food we do. So, they may be attracted to crunchy snacks for various reasons, including a change in texture.
Although cats can technically eat graham crackers, they are not an ideal or species-appropriate food. Felines are obligate carnivores and need animal proteins in their diets to support their growth, development, and day-to-day activity. Plant-based foods like this are hard to digest and often full of sugars, salts, artificial flavors, and ingredients. These foods often use artificial sweeteners, which are toxic to felines. Though it is normal to want to share your food with your pet, and they may even make a very adorable and convincing case to get a quick taste, regularly feeding your cat this snack is not a good idea.