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.
But potatoes aren’t that bad, and a little indulgence might actually be beneficial. Read on for a full explanation.
Benefits of Potatoes for Cats
When cooked properly, potatoes can actually be good for your cat. When preparing them, ensure that you peel properly because potato peels are toxic to cats, especially when raw or not well cooked. 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.
Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and can be very beneficial to cats with weight loss problems. For cats without weight issues, practice moderation because overindulgence can lead to obesity. Obese cats are more predisposed to health issues such as diabetes or joint disease.
On the brighter side, potatoes also contain minerals such as magnesium and potassium and nutrients such as vitamin B6 and Vitamin C, which are essential for the well-being of your cat. They also contain a healthy dose of fiber, which is great for gut health.
The Problem with Potatoes
In some instances, 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. In particular, be careful when with the following:
Sweet potatoes do not contain solanine — the harmful chemical in potatoes. In fact, they contain more nutrients than Irish potatoes. But this doesn’t make them good for cats. Most felines will not tolerate sweet potatoes because they can’t digest them well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Potatoes might be good for your cat but ensure that you practice moderation and that they are boiled or baked to make them safe for their consumption. But you must absolutely not feed your cat with potato chips, fries, frozen tater tots, or other processed potato products as these can cause harm. The good thing is that you don’t have to include potatoes in your cat’s diet.
Featured image credit: JamesHills, Pixabay