You’ve probably eaten bran flakes before or used them in baking, or seen other people eat them. It’s a breakfast cereal that is largely made up of wheat or oat bran bound together into flakes and is about as thrilling as corn flakes. You either like them or you don’t. (I like them… in muffins with raisins).
So, if you have bran flakes around the house, chances are you’re not the only one who has gotten into them. A few stories abound in fact of cats knocking the box over and sampling the flakes for themselves (and using them as something to chase).
Sound familiar? If your cat pulled this stunt, should you be worried or glad that they too are getting their fiber? Can cats eat bran flakes?
Short answer: It won’t hurt your cat if they ate some bran flakes, but it’s definitely not something they should be living on or even eating regularly. Cats with sensitive stomachs, in particular, should be kept away from high fibre food like bran flakes as it can really irritate their stomachs and make them very uncomfortable.
Do Cats Like Bran Flakes?
This is really going to depend on your cat. I don’t think my old cat has shown the slightest interest in bran (though she might now – she seems to be back to eating everything in sight) and the young one hasn’t come across it yet.
However, I have heard plenty of stories of cats knocking boxes over and nibbling on what spills out, stealing out of cereal bowls, and sticking their heads in the bags, so clearly some cats like bran flakes (or at least are curious enough to give them a try).
Bran flakes are not something that cats are built to eat or particularly crave though, so they usually eat it out of curiosity and then spend more time playing with the flakes.
Do Cats Hate Bran Flakes?
Most cats probably won’t hate bran flakes as much as ignore them. Bran flakes don’t really have anything in them that would attract cats, so many would give them a cursory sniff and then head off to play or eat something else.
If this is your cat, I wouldn’t worry too much about it – bran flakes are not something that cats need in order to stay healthy, and they can certainly get their fiber requirements met by eating their own food.
Can Bran Flakes Kill My Cat?
There is nothing toxic in bran flakes, so if your cat ate some, it is pretty unlikely that they would kill your cat. That being said, they may make your cat uncomfortable.
Bran flakes are high in fiber, which is why so many people eat them. It’s a quick way to get your intake of fiber for the day and they are pretty affordable as well. But cats have completely different dietary requirements than humans do. They are obligate carnivores, which means that all of their nutrition is meant to come from eating meat.
They need a lot more protein and taurine and a lot less fiber and vegetables. In fact, their digestive systems are meant specifically for meat – it’s much shorter than that of a human’s, so hard-to-digest food simply goes right through them.
In fact, grains and some vegetables are so hard to digest that they can cause your cat to be bloated, gassy, and have stomach pain, none of which is much fun for cats. The amount of fiber in bran flakes is far too much for any cat to ingest, so it will range from useless to painful.
Bran flakes in food aren’t much better. For example, you wouldn’t want to feed your cat bran muffins because of the added sugar and many bran muffins also have raisins in them which are highly toxic to cats.
You certainly wouldn’t want to give cats milk with bran flakes because most cats are lactose intolerant and the milk will give them stomach problems and really nasty litter boxes. So, all around, bran flakes are just not the best thing for cats to eat, in any form.
But if your cat snuck into them and ate some, you probably don’t have to rush off to the vet. Just keep an eye on your cat for symptoms like bloating, gassiness, and discomfort, and offer them lots of water to help move things out again. If you do notice your cat acting very oddly, call your vet.
How Much Bran Flakes Can I Feed My Cat?
Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend feeding your cat any bran flakes. They get nothing out of it for nutrition, and it can make them bloated and too full to eat their normal food. But if your cat snuck some bran flakes, a handful or so probably won’t do any lasting harm.
Maybe keep your cereal behind a closed cupboard door as much as possible to prevent it from happening again! Cats should definitely not be having bran flakes regularly.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Bran Flakes for Cats?
Bran flakes are mostly high in fiber, which is great for us, but pretty useless for cats. Cats only need a very tiny amount of fiber and in the wild, they would actually “fake it” by eating bones and cartilage which act the same way fiber does for us – indigestible and able to push other waste out.
Domesticated cats often have too much fiber even from their cat food because many brands use vegetables and grains as a cheap filler.
Cats have a very short digestive tract, meaning that their body doesn’t have the ability to digest things like bran flakes, so they just go right back out again.
I suppose one could make the argument that they help clean a cat’s teeth since they are so rough, but some dental treats will do that as well (and you won’t have a cat with a sore stomach after). Therefore, bran flakes, even at a stretch, don’t really have any health benefits for cats. They don’t even make particularly exciting treats.
Bran flakes may be good for humans to eat, particularly those who need a lot more fiber in their diet, but for cats, they are basically cardboard. They don’t provide any nutritional benefits, they are pretty much impossible to digest, and they cause stomach aches and gassiness.
They won’t kill your cat or even hurt them in the long term, but there are far better treats for your cat to have. Keep your bran flakes to yourself and let your cat enjoy their own quality cat food.
Does your cat go after bran flakes?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.