Can Cats Eat Donuts? (Solving The Donut Dilemma)

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

Donuts have evolved to be a common sight at the breakfast table and a tasty snack when one is hungry. Walk past any donut shop and your mouth will be watering at all the different and delectable looking donuts.

We all know that donuts aren’t exactly the healthiest of food to be eating but it’s fine as an occasional treat.

What about cats?

Can cats eat donuts as humans do?

How Are Donuts Made?

There are too many variations of the modern donut to cover but let’s take a look at the donut in its simplest form, the plain ringed donut.

Donuts are primarily made from flour dough, various toppings and artificial flavors. The flour dough is deep-fried in hot oil causing the dough to expand and give the donut its signature shape.

One medium-sized donut can consist up to 300 calories.

Can Cats Eat Donuts?

The answer is yes and no. Yes because nothing drastic will happen to your cat if it takes a bite or a lick off your box of Krispy Kreme donuts. Donuts, in general, aren’t toxic to most cats in very small quantities. No, because it is a very unhealthy thing for your cat to be eating. Donuts are very high in sugar and carbohydrates which are very bad for cats.

The Diet Of A Cat

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.

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

In fact, cats do not even need any form of carbs in their diet at all.

The best diet for a cat is one that has lots of 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 this type of cat food contains lots of carbs and fillers that can cause chronic illness in the long run.

Why Sugar And Carbs Are Bad For Cats?

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. Or your cat ate half a loaf of your banana bread.

Too much sugar and carbs can add too many calories to your cat’s diet which 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

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

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.

How scary is that!

Do Cats Like To Eat Donuts?

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. And 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.

Cats Are Curious Creatures

Another reason why you will find your cat burrowing their faces 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.

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.

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

However, please note that chocolate is 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 death.

Grape Or Raisin Donut

Donuts that have grape, 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 their bodies 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.

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.

What To Do If My Cat Eat 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, diarrhea or stomach upset.

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.

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.


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.