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Can Cats Eat Potatoes? Vet-Reviewed Facts to Know

Vet approved

	Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are obligate carnivores. This means that for them to survive, they require nutrients that can only be found in meat. But domestic cats have evolved over the years and can benefit from non-meat items such as fruits and vegetables-including potatoes. So, can cats eat potatoes? While potato flesh is non-toxic for cats, you should only feed this to your cat sparingly, if at all.

The issue of feeding human food to pets remains contentious. While a little treat here and there is welcome, human food might pose health and behavioral problems for your cat. For example, starchy food such as potatoes can lead to obesity and digestive problems. Common ingredients used in cooking, such as garlic and alcohol, can also be toxic to cats.

There is also the possibility that your feline will become a picky eater. Human food can be addictive. Once your pet gets started, they might not want to go back to eating their food.

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Problems With Potatoes for Cats

Potatoes are a source of carbohydrates, and because obligate carnivores like your cat require a minimal amount of carbohydrates in their diet, feeding them potatoes is not ideal. Moreover, raw or undercooked potatoes might even be toxic for your cat. Butter or excess oil from fried potatoes can result in diarrhea or stomach upset in your feline.

When cooking, ensure not to add salt or spices such as onions or pepper as these can lead to serious health issues.

While sharing a tiny pice of your boiled or baked potato with your cat will not harm them, this should be avoided. 

For cats with weight issues, practice moderation, because overindulgence can lead to obesity. Obese cats are more predisposed to health issues such as diabetes or joint disease.

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Types of Potatoes to Avoid Feeding Cats:

In some instances, the consumption of potatoes can lead to serious illness and even the death of your pet. You must, therefore, be careful when dealing with this food.

You must be careful when dealing with the following types of potatoes. 

If you must, start with tiny portions and see how your animal reacts. But generally speaking, you are better off giving them dry cat food.

Raw Potatoes

Image Credit: Wounds_and_Cracks, Pixabay

Unlike raw tomatoes, which are a good treat for your cat, raw potatoes are laden with a toxic chemical called solanine. This compound could cause poisoning and may result in the death of your pet if consumed in significant quantities.

Raw potatoes are also tricky to swallow and could cause choking or cause a blockage in the cat’s digestive system resulting in medical emergencies.

Of course, not many people are likely to feed their felines raw potatoes, but cats are a curious lot and could decide to experiment. The best thing, therefore, is to keep raw potatoes out of reach.

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French Fries

Photo credit: Ande_Hazel, Pixabay

Everyone loves fries, and cats aren’t left behind. It doesn’t help that French fries smell so good; cats will start begging even before you open the bag. While you might feel guilty about denying your pet the pleasure that comes with partaking in a piece of deep-fried potato, it is the best thing to do.

Besides being incredibly high in calories, French fries are laden with fats that are difficult to digest. This can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or a host of other health issues. Of course, one or two pieces won’t kill your cat, but the potential side effects aren’t worth the risk.

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Potato Chips

potato chips
Image by Werner Weisser from Pixabay

These contain oils, preservatives, spices, and other chemicals that might be harmful to your cat. It is best to steer clear of these when it comes to snacks for your kitty.3 cat face divider

Must Cats Eat Potatoes?

The answer is a plain no. Cats are designed to get their primary nutrition from meat or meat products. This means that more than anything else, they need a high protein diet and require fewer carbs than animals that are not true carnivores.

cat eating food in the bowl
Image Credit: Okssi, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Potatoes might be good for you, but your cat does not require them. If you wish to share them, please ensure that you practice moderation and that they are boiled or baked to make them safe for consumption. Never feed your cat potato chips, fries, frozen tater tots, or other processed potato products, as these can cause harm. The good thing is that it is easy to remember that you don’t have to include potatoes in your cat’s diet.

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Featured Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay