Can Cats Eat Donuts? (Solving The Donut Dilemma)

can cats eat donut

Do you know that in the United States alone, 10 billion donuts are produced every year?

A donut’s tempting aroma and myriad of flavors make it hard to resist.

But what should you do when your cat starts pestering you for a bite when you are enjoying a donut?

How safe is it for your cat to have a bite of your donut?

A small nibble or lick from your donut won’t immediately harm most cats as donuts aren’t typically toxic to cats. However, it’s not a good idea to let your cat indulge as donuts are packed with sugars and carbohydrates. Some donuts can even contain ingredients that can be toxic to cats. 

While donuts may taste sweet to us, they contain certain elements that can be a feline’s worst enemy. Do you know what they are?

The Diet Of A Cat

“The best diet for a cat is one that has lots of animal meat, some organs and bones.”

To understand why sweet treats like donuts are very bad for cats, cat owners need to fully understand the dietary needs of a cat.

Cats are obligate carnivores which means that they need a high-protein diet from a meat source to survive and thrive.

Feeding your cat treats such as banana bread or pizza won’t do it any good.

Cats do not have the necessary enzymes like humans and dogs to break down plant matter and carbohydrates.

This means that cats do not even need any form of carbs in their diet at all.

In fact, cats are not able to taste sweetness at all.

The best diet for a cat is one that has lots of animal meat, some organs and bones.

This is why every cat owner should try feeding their cat a raw meat diet as it is the most natural diet for cats.

Dry cat food or kibbles is widely used to feed cats due to cost and convenience.

But dry cat food contains lots of unhealthy ingredients that can cause chronic illness in the long run.

Are Donuts Bad For Cats?

At a glance, donuts might seem like a harmless treat for your cat but they’re far from ideal.

It’s essential to understand the implications before sharing human foods with our cats.

Now, let’s delve deeper into the specifics.

High In Carbs And Sugar

“Too much sugar and carbs in your cat’s diet can lead to feline obesity.”

A small amount of sugar and carbs in your cat’s diet won’t cause any harm to it.

What is more worrying is if your cat has a constant supply of sugar and carbs in its daily diet.

One donut can easily contain 31g of carbs and 15g of sugar.

This is because donuts are made from flour and doused with sugar which explains such high figures.

Too much sugar and carbs in your cat’s diet can lead to feline obesity.

A cat that is obese is at risk of many health issues:

  • Diabetes
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Liver failure
  • Pancreatitis

Even though some sugar is ok for most cats but if it is taken in large quantities, your cat might experience stomach upset.

It’s best to err on the side of caution and steer clear from offering these sugary delights to your kitty.

Your cat’s health and well-being are paramount and there are many safer treats tailored for its dietary needs.

High In Fat

Donuts are delicious due to the high fat content in them, particularly unhealthy saturated and trans fats.

But why does this matter for our cats?

Cats do need fats in their diet but the type of fat and the amount matters greatly.

Cats are obligate carnivores which means that their main fat intake should come from animal fat.

This provides the cat with essential fatty acids and aids in the absorption of certain vitamins.

However, the fats found in donuts aren’t the same.

The fats in donuts come from ingredients such as butter and vegetable oil that are used to make the donuts.

These types of fats are not part of the cat’s natural diet and can do more harm than good.

These unhealthy fats can contribute to a range of health issues that are similar to that of a diet that is high in sugar and carbs.

Fat also is a dense source of calories, 2x more than protein and carbohydrates.

Even a small piece of donut can contribute to a significant portion of your cat’s daily caloric needs.

What Donuts Are Toxic To Cats?

Although donuts are safe in general, there are many donuts that come with various toppings and fillings some of which can be toxic for your cat.

Chocolate Donut

chocolate donut

Chocolate donuts are very commonly found these days. Donuts can be made with a chocolate topping or filling.

However, please note that chocolate donuts are very toxic to cats and should not be consumed in any quantity.

There is a compound in chocolate called Theobromine. It is even found in white chocolate but has the highest concentration in semi-sweet and dark chocolate.

Theobromine toxicity in cats can cause, vomiting, seizures and even death.

Grape Or Raisin Donut

Donuts that have grapes, raisins or anything grape-related can make your cat sick.

Grapes and raisins are toxic to cats and even a small amount can cause kidney failure.

There is still no certainty as to why cats are so adversely reactive toward this fruit but it is best to keep them away from it.

Cinnamon Donut

I have a soft spot for cinnamon donuts especially those with a generous cinnamon sugar glaze or topping.

But too much cinnamon can be toxic as cats don’t have the enzyme to break it down.

Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin which can cause liver failure in cats.

Coffee Donut

As great as the donut sounds, anything coffee is bad news for cats. Coffee contains caffeine which cats are very sensitive to.

Imagine the sensation after drinking three large cups of coffee.

Your cat will feel a lot worse as its body cannot handle caffeine well.

Caffeine in cats can cause an increase in blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, loss of muscle control and eventually death if no treatment is given.

Sugar-Free Donuts

“If cats eat donuts that contain artificial sweeteners, it can lead to very serious health issues.”

If you told me that sugar-free donuts existed 10 years ago, I would find that hard to believe.

But given that many of us are more health conscious these days, donut manufacturers are doing what they can to make their donuts more ‘healthy’.

A sugar-free donut might not consist of sugar but artificial sweeteners are still used to make it taste sweet.

If cats eat donuts that contain artificial sweeteners, it can lead to very serious health issues.

This is because most artificial sweeteners contain a compound called Xylitol which is toxic to cats.

Xylitol can cause your cat’s blood sugar to drop drastically which can be fatal.

What To Do If My Cat Ate A Donut?

Two important things that you will need to ascertain:

  • How much of the donut did my cat eat?
  • Are there any toxic ingredients in the donut?

If your cat took anything more than a small bite or lick of a donut that has toxic ingredients, immediately bring your cat to the vet for treatment.

It might be too late when the symptoms start to kick in.

If you managed to stop your cat in time from taking anything more than a nibble or a lick, make sure to monitor your cat closely for the next few hours to see if there’s any vomiting or stomach upset.

Even if the donut does not consist of any toxic ingredients, a large amount can still cause issues to your cat’s digestive system.

Ultimately for me as a pet owner, I would rather just take my cat to the vet for peace of mind.

Better to be safe than sorry.

Do Cats Even Like Donuts?

“Cats on the other hand are strictly carnivores and don’t need any carbohydrates to survive.”

Very unlikely.

Otherwise, we would be seeing stray cats hanging outside your local donut shop waiting for free handouts.

More importantly, in order to like sweet treats, one will need to taste sweetness. Cats don’t have the biological ability to taste sweet flavors.

When it comes to tasting food, this ability comes from having tastebuds on our tongues. Our taste receptors will then send the message to the brain.

The ability to taste sugar in our food is important for creatures that need carbs in their diet to know what foods are high in carbs.

Cats on the other hand are strictly carnivores and don’t need any carbohydrates to survive.

Therefore a cat’s body has evolved to do away with the need to taste and digest carbs.

Your cat won’t be able to experience the sweet taste of a donut.

Why Does My Cat Still Have A Sweet Tooth?

If you have a cat that has the bad habit of stuffing its face in junk food and sweet stuff, it isn’t the sugar in these foods that your cat is drawn to but the fat in it.

Cats can easily detect fat which is why they are drawn to food like milk and butter.

Fat from dairy products isn’t recommended for cats as most cats are lactose intolerant. They should be getting animal fat from their cat food instead.

Keep Your Diabetic Cat Away From Donuts

For pet owners with diabetic cats, please keep them away from donuts, especially those with lots of powdered sugar or glaze on them.

Cats with feline diabetes can’t manage their blood sugars well. And eating too many sweet foods, it can cause their symptoms to get worse which can be fatal.

Cats Are Curious Creatures

Another reason why you will find your cat burrowing its face in places where it doesn’t belong is due to its curious nature.

In their waking hours, cats like to go around the house and ‘investigate’.

If you have a box of donuts sitting on the counter, your cat might get a whiff of it and want to check it out.

Even though it might not smell delicious to your cat, it might still be tempted to take a bite to test it out.

Can My Cats Eat Glazed Donuts?

If your cat ate a small piece of a glazed donut, it shouldn’t cause any health issues.

Glazed donuts that contain any toxic ingredients like the above should be a cause for concern.

When in doubt, please bring your cat to the vet ASAP.


As cat parents, we tend to spoil them and give them human food as treats.

But my advice is not to as we do not know how it can affect our cats.

Cats are like kids and they don’t always know what is good for them.

Make sure to keep such foodstuff away from your cat and feed them a healthy and balanced diet.

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