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Can Cats Eat Goldfish Crackers

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Cats can eat goldfish crackers, but only in small quantities (2-3 pieces) and it should be monitored for digestive issues.
  • Goldfish crackers are nutritionally deficient for cats and should not be a regular part of their diet.
  • Goldfish crackers contain ingredients like cheese, dairy, and high sodium content that can be harmful to cats.
  • Overconsumption of goldfish crackers can lead to health issues such as chronic vomiting and allergic reactions in cats.
  • If your cat has consumed a large amount of goldfish crackers, it is recommended to consult a vet and consider temporary diet changes, medication, or steaming to treat any possible issues.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Veterinarian and veterinary microbiologist working as a veterinary science lecturer at the UVAS, Lahore.
Published on
Friday 15 March 2024
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
Can Cats Eat Goldfish Crackers
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Fish crackers for Feline snacks? It’s a purr-plexing question that has many cat owners wondering whether cats can eat goldfish crackers. So, put those paws up, and let’s dive into the sea of information to find out if it’s safe to add some Goldfish crackers into your cat’s diet.

Can Cats Eat Goldfish Crackers?

Yes, they can! Although the salt in goldfish crackers can be dangerous for cats if consumed in large quantities, two to three pieces won’t hurt. However, you should monitor your cat’s stools afterward to ensure it is experiencing no digestive issues. 

While most cats love trying out human snacks, some prefer to sniff and simply pass. It all comes down to choice. But the main reason cats come for more crackers after their first nibble is addiction.

Goldfish crackers feature some proportion of autolyzed yeast extract. According to research published in the Animal Science Journal, it is not suitable for cats. Cat foods containing yeast extracts make them addictive which is why it is necessary to not feed goldfish crackers regularly to your cat. 

What’s more, goldfish crackers are nutritionally deficient for cats, with only 4% carbohydrates and 2 grams of protein. According to Cailin R. Heinze, VMD, a growing kitten’s diet should contain 15% carbs and 6.5 grams/100kcal of protein while an adult cat needs 7.5 grams/100kcal. 

On the contrary, dry snacks like flavored chicken, tuna, and turkey treats are rich in animal protein and carbohydrates and are more suitable for a cat’s diet. Unlike goldfish crackers, these treats usually have a sufficient amount of carbohydrates and protein which can fulfill your cat’s nutritional requirements. 

Similarly, the per day fat requirement is about 9% in a cat’s diet, which goldfish crackers such as the ones made by Pepperidge Farm offer at a 6% ratio. Cat foods or dry treats offer 9% fat, ideal for a normal cat with average activity and weight levels. 

Thus, goldfish crackers are okay for cats only when 2-3 pieces are consumed. Excessive gorging shouldn’t be allowed because it comes with several health risks. 

When Are Goldfish Crackers Bad for Cats?

Now you know that goldfish crackers aren’t the healthiest snack option for cats but are crackers bad for cats? Goldfish crackers are not nutritionally balanced for cats and should not be a regular part of their diet. Eating a small amount of Goldfish crackers is unlikely to cause serious harm, but it’s best to stick to cat-specific food and treats. The high salt content and lack of essential nutrients in Goldfish crackers can cause digestive problems and long-term health issues if fed regularly to cats.

Large consumption

Even six to seven pieces of goldfish crackers can leave your cat with a heavy stomach. Goldfish crackers do not have high quantities of protein or carbs, but they are packed with cheese. 

Dairy products like cheese or milk are often intolerable for the sensitive digestive system of cats. According to a 2017 research paper written by Anton C. Benyen, adult cats are often able to digest 6 grams of lactose daily. Anything over that, which usually would amount to binge feeding, could lead to diarrhea and bloating in your cat.  

Over-consumption of goldfish crackers can lead to chronic vomiting among cats, which can lead to dehydration and even prove to be fatal if not treated correctly. 

Allergic reactions

Goldfish crackers are bad for cats with allergies. Not all cats have food allergies, but kittens or those with a weak immune system are often more intolerant. Even if your cat regularly consumes small amounts of goldfish crackers, it can cause severe allergic reactions. 

This is because of the autolyzed yeast in goldfish crackers that might trigger allergic reactions like diarrhea, coughing, or dehydration. 

Weak immune system 

Goldfish crackers are on the red list for cats with weak immune systems. Kittens or cats born with immunodeficiency disorder can get easily sick by eating goldfish crackers. If your cat has a sensitive stomach with constipation or gastrointestinal disorders, goldfish crackers can be extremely harmful. 

What’s in Goldfish Crackers That Makes Them Bad for Cats?

Goldfish crackers are packed with ingredients that hold little nutritional value for cats. The star ingredients of goldfish crackers are flour and cheddar cheese and as mentioned earlier, many cats struggle to digest cheddar cheese or any dairy product for that matter. Similarly, some cats have allergic reactions to wheat flour as well. 

Milk is another harmful ingredient in goldfish crackers that can cause problems in cats that struggle with digesting dairy. Another problematic ingredient in goldfish crackers is high Sodium content. Although it is an essential mineral for cats, overdose can result in tremors, seizures, comas, or instant death. According to research published in the Journal of Animal Nutrition, cats can safely consume 740 milligrams per 1000 kcal, so make sure you compare that with the nutrition label of your goldfish crackers pack.

Since goldfish crackers are baked in sunflower oil, their over-consumption can lead to diarrhea and diabetes in cats. It is also the key ingredient causing obesity and low life expectancy in cats as well. 

Goldfish crackers feature lactic acid and citric acid as chemical preservatives, which have health consequences for cats. Excessive citric acid buildup in cats can lead to a slowed heartbeat and reduced lung performance. 

Citric acid can also boost cortisol levels in cats, resulting in central nervous system depression. As for lactic acid, it is a toxic ingredient that can be responsible for heart problems and organ failure among weak felines. 

What Should I Do If My Cat Ate Goldfish Crackers?

Cats can sometimes be sneaky and nibble on your goldfish crackers no matter where you hide them. It’s wise to go straight to your vet if you find that your cat has consumed half a bag of goldfish crackers or more.

Temporary diet change 

If your cat had an allergic reaction, it will take around 2 to 4 weeks for a minor allergy to fade away. Your vet will likely prescribe a specialized bland diet for a while until your cat recovers.

A hypoallergenic diet featuring white chicken cooked without oil and seasonings is a common diet that is recommended to settle a cat’s digestive tract. You can boil the chicken and shred it to make digestion easier for your cat. 


Goldfish crackers can often trigger asthma in some cats, which can be hard to handle without professional help. The best way to alleviate the symptoms of asthma in cats is by taking them to a vet and following the prescribed dosage regimen. 

You can contact your vet and stock up on oral or injectable asthma medicines to avoid panic in such a situation. Dust and mold can worsen asthma, so keep your cat in a clean room with proper ventilation until it starts breathing normally. 


Violent coughing is another common reaction after consuming goldfish crackers. The ideal way to treat coughing at home without medication is by steaming. 

The steam helps move and alleviate your cat’s congestion. Simply expose it to steam and regularly wipe away any nasal discharge for fluid and oxygen exchange. 

What Human Foods Are Safe For Cats To Eat?

Although feeding your cat excessive amounts of goldfish crackers isn’t recommended, it doesn’t mean that you can’t share human food with your pal. If your cat is as much a foodie as you are, keeping it away from food can be challenging. A few human foods are perfectly safe for cats to eat and can satisfy their taste buds. 

Salmon, boneless chicken, and turkey are common protein sources that both humans and cats can consume. The key is to boil them with a tiny pinch of salt to meet your cat’s sodium requirements. 

You can also incorporate fruits like blueberries, watermelon, and apples into your cat’s diet. These fruits are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, potassium, and magnesium, which can be beneficial for your cat if taken in the right amounts. Just make sure to deseed the fruit before offering it to your cat to avoid choking. 

Oatmeal is another balanced food option for cats as it is rich in vitamin B. Experts recommend feeding cats raw as well as cooked oatmeal as an occasional treat or a proper meal.

However, even though you may like it for breakfast, don’t add milk to your cat’s oatmeal and cook it in water instead because cats can be lactose intolerant. You can add a tiny portion of cooked rice to the oatmeal to add fiber, but it is not suitable for kittens. 

According to Dalal Hares, DVM, eggs are another great and affordable protein source that is safe for cats. Most animal nutritionists recommend them as a supplement protein source because eggs prevent many food-borne diseases. Just sneak in one tablespoon of well-cooked egg whites in your picky feline’s food bowl, and it won’t even notice. 

So if someone asks, “can I give my cat goldfish crackers?” you know what to say. Yes, it is safe for most cats to eat goldfish crackers but not regularly. Frequent or regular consumption can lead to addiction and nutritional imbalances in cats. The key is to maintain balance and use these as occasional treats. 

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