Skip to Content

What Can I Feed a Stray Cat? (And What Not to Give Them)

What Can I Feed a Stray Cat? (And What Not to Give Them)
The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

So many people love cats and you might even have a pet cat of your own. Taking care of cats can be a lot of fun, and people seem to grow so attached to their feline companions.

You might be so attached to cats that you will feel heartbroken when you come across a stray cat outdoors. There are a large number of stray cats living in North America and it isn’t always a good idea to try to take them inside.

These are feral animals that won’t necessarily be easy to tame and turn into pets. This doesn’t mean that you don’t want to help the stray cat out, though.

You might decide that you would like to start feeding the stray cat that you’ve seen poking around your property. The only problem is that you might not be sure what you should even feed the cat.

Keep reading to learn what you should feed strays cats. This will help you to get the best results and you’ll feel good about helping your stray feline friend.

1 – Cat Food

Perhaps the most obvious thing to do will be to feed the stray cat some cat food. Cat food is a good option because it has been specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of cats.

It’s very likely that a stray cat will be interested in eating cat food if you leave it out. However, you might not want to leave cat food out too long since other animals can also come by and eat the food.

You might see a raccoon or a squirrel come by and eat the cat food instead of the stray cat that you intended to feed. Regardless, cat food is something that can work out fine and you can try to put some cat food out when you notice that the stray cat is in your yard.

Some stray cats might be more likely to eat “wet food” than they will dry food. This doesn’t mean that a stray cat will turn its nose up at kibble, but the appealing smell of the wet cat food is more likely to pique the interest of a stray cat.

If you have cat food that you can try to feed the stray cat, then that’s pretty much always going to be the best thing. You don’t need to feed the cat other types of food, but you can if you don’t have access to cat food.

2 – Tuna

Tuna is something that has a reputation for being able to attract felines. Cats do indeed seem to love the smell of tuna and will be interested in eating it if you offer it to them.

The fact that it has such a strong smell is one of the reasons why cats seem to be so drawn to it. If you’re feeding a stray cat for the first time, then this might be a good option since the cat will be very likely to eat the tuna.

However, tuna isn’t necessarily the best thing for the cat to eat from a nutritional perspective. This is something that should only be given to cats occasionally and this means that you shouldn’t go overboard.

Don’t get into the habit of feeding stray cats tuna every single day. Just use the tuna as a once in a while thing to get the best results.

You can turn to tuna when you don’t have anything else to feed a stray cat. Otherwise, you might be better off exploring some of the options below.

3 – Chicken and Beef

Chicken and beef will also be fine to feed to stray cats. It’s very likely that you’ll have some chicken and beef that you can feed a stray cat, assuming that you aren’t a vegetarian or a vegan.

A standard type of cooked chicken with no spices will be just fine for stray cats to eat. They’ll love it and will likely come running when they smell it if they’re hungry.

You can do the same thing with beef so long as you don’t put extra flavorings or spices in the dish. Some people choose to add plain boiled rice to the chicken or the beef as well.

Stray cats can definitely benefit from this type of food and they respond well to it. Try to remember to cook any meat that you give the cat to avoid the potential of exposing the cat to harmful bacteria.

Of course, it’s going to be best to only feed stray cats things such as this sparingly. Some cats might have touchy stomachs and won’t react as well to eating meat dishes such as these.

4 – Scrambled Eggs or Plain Rice

Another idea is to make something such as scrambled eggs to give to a stray cat. This is generally going to be fine to give to cats and they’ll like eating it.

You just want to make the scrambled eggs as plain as possible with no spices, salt, or flavorings added to the dish. If you make generic scrambled eggs, then a cat will be able to eat and enjoy the dish without it being a problem.

As mentioned above, plain rice is also going to be just fine. You don’t have to mix plain rice with meat to get cats to eat it.

A stray cat will usually be very interested in plain rice if you try to give it to them. This is safe for cats to eat and it should help a cat out when it is obviously in need of a meal.

Avoid Processed Foods

Avoid giving stray cats processed foods because you’ll be harming the cat if you do that. Cats don’t have the ability to digest and process the things that are in processed foods that humans like to eat.

You might feel bad for a stray cat and will want to give it something to eat. If you don’t have any of the recommended types of food above, then you’d be better off ignoring the cat.

Making the cat sick with processed foods will be a very bad thing. You don’t want to do that, and there isn’t any point in wasting your own food either.

Just try to remember that some foods are bad for cats. You aren’t supposed to give pets such as cats and dogs processed foods, and this extends to any stray animals that you encounter as well.

Say No to Milk

Milk might seem like a very good thing to give to a stray cat. Cartoons always seem to show cats enjoying milk.

Cats might like the milk if you give it to them, but they can’t digest it properly. They lack the ability to properly digest cow milk and this means that they’ll wind up having stomach issues if you give them bowls of milk.

Avoid the urge to give a bowl of milk to a cat. The fact that the cat likes it doesn’t mean that it’s something that is actually beneficial to the cat in any way.

Try to tell your friends to avoid feeding stray cats milk as well. It’s important for people to learn that milk is actually not so good for cats despite what they’ve seen on TV over the years.

Final Thoughts

You have many options when it comes to feeding stray cats. If you have a stray cat on your property, then you should be able to use the information above to find it something appropriate to eat.

Cat food is usually the best thing, but you can also feed a stray cat other types of food. Tuna is fine to give to stray cats on occasion, but it’s better to use plain cooked chicken or beef.

Stray cats will also benefit if you choose to feed them plain scrambled eggs or plain rice. You just need to remember to avoid processed foods and things such as milk.