If you are a cat parent, chances are you have been in a situation of lacking cat food. You are always planning and cat food shopping in advance, but this time, you completely forgot that the stored reserves are running low, and because of the holidays, all stores will be closed, so not cat food for at least a couple of days.

Well, do not worry, there are many cat food alternatives you can give your cat until the stores open, and you can restock. Feeding your cat is not just a matter of providing food; the offered meal needs to be nutritionally balanced and offer healthy, wholesome ingredients.

Luckily, we will give you some tips on what to feed your cat while out of cat food.

good substitute for cat food

The best cat food alternatives

What is a good substitute for cat food? Well, you no longer need to wonder. Here is a shortlist and review of the most popular healthy cat food alternatives.


Your little furry feline is a true carnivore that thrives on meat. And you must have some poultry or beef in your refrigerator or freezer. Meat is a great cat food alternative.

You just need to be mindful about how you prepare it – plain and well-cooked. Adding oils and spices, same as feeding it raw, can make your cat sick.

Deli meat products like cold cuts and hams are loaded with sodium and should never be offered to cats.

Whole grains

Although classified as carnivores, cats need a small amount of plant-sourced foods in their diet.

Oats make a healthy cat food alternative and are particularly easy to prepare. Cats also enjoy eating corn and polenta, wheat berries, brown rice, and barley.

Other whole-grain alternatives to cat food include smaller grains that cats enjoy specifically, like couscous and millet. Even whole wheat breadcrumbs are a cat-friendly food alternative.


What is better suited for cats than fish? Fish like tuna, salmon, or mackerel are excellent cat food alternatives. They are rich in proteins, fats, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Fish are beneficial to cats because they promote impeccable vision, prevent heart and kidney issues, and alleviate arthritis symptoms.

When serving fish, make sure it is well-cooked. Canned fish is not the ideal healthy cat food alternative but can be used if it is the only option.

You can offer even fish sticks and fingers to cats – just scrape the breading, and instead of frying, boil the meat.

It goes without saying that raw fish and fish delicacies like sushi are not suitable for cats.

fish cat food alternatives


Eggs are another excellent protein source. Plus, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fats (the good type). Cooked eggs are a healthy cat food alternative.

However, keep in mind they need to be cooked before serving. Raw eggs pose a Salmonella infection risk, and the raw egg white is hard to digest and likely to cause a tummy upset.


Do cats even like spinach? As surprisingly as it may sound, cats like spinach, but this leafy green makes a healthy alternative to cat food. In fact, many reputable cat food manufacturers add spinach to their formulas.

Spinach is an excellent protein source and rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron, and calcium.


Cats can benefit a lot from eating pumpkin. Pumpkin is low in calories while rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Pumpkin is a healthy cat food alternative for cats with abnormal stool.

You can get a raw pumpkin, boil it, and mash it into a nice pumpkin puree. Alternatively, you can use a canned pumpkin puree. Just read the ingredients and makes sure the puree is not additionally sweetened.

pumpkin cat food alternatives


As a green legume, peas make a terrific cat-friendly food alternative. They are loaded with dietary fiber and boost overall health due to their vitamin and mineral content.

Peas are particularly rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B1 and several minerals, including copper, iron, potassium, and manganese.

Peas are the only legume cats can eat in their raw state. Canned are also acceptable if they are free from salt and artificial preservatives. However, the best preparation method is cooking and mashing into a puree.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a healthy cat food alternative. Peanuts contain several vital vitamins and minerals and are rich in good kind of fats. Plus, most cats enjoy the unique peanut flavor.

However, you should only offer your cat high-quality peanut butter types free from added sweeteners and potentially harmful preservatives.


Yogurt is a cat-friendly product. Cats love dairy products but are usually lactose intolerant. Luckily, yogurt does not contain lactose which makes it an excellent cat food alternative.

You can feed your cat low-fat and plain yogurt that is not artificially sweetened or salted.

healthy cat food alternatives


Even if feeding healthy cat food alternatives, you need to be mindful about the length of use. Cat food alternatives are a good solution for when you ran out of regular healthy cat food, but they are a temporary solution.

You can use these alternatives for cat food for a couple of days and head to the nearest pet food store or supermarket as soon as the stores open.

Keep in mind that these alternatives might not be suited for sick cats.


These healthy cat food alternatives are real-life savers. They are dense nutrition-wise and will make your cat feel satiated. Plus, they are readily available, and chances are you have them in your kitchen.

However, cat food alternatives are just alternatives. Meaning they are practical and can really help feel the void, but they are not supposed to be fed long-term. Cats have specific dietary needs which are best met with cat food formulated and produced specifically for cats.