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Can Cats Eat Spaghetti? What You Need To Know

It’s totally normal for loving pet owners to want to share their favorite foods with their feline companions. In many cases, this is a relatively harmless practice, though sometimes, it can be quite detrimental to your cat’s health. Spaghetti isn’t considered one of the most nutritious foods for humans, but it’s definitely delicious and many people dine on it with pleasure.

As you’re enjoying your pasta dish, your cat is eyeing you boldly, seeming to say, “where’s my portion?” It’s hard to deny your kitty, so you start to section off a little of your pasta for your pal before reconsidering. Now, you’re wondering if it’s safe for your cat to eat. The truth is, neither pasta nor tomatoes are toxic for your cat, though they’re also not nutritious for them either. But many of the spices commonly found in pasta sauce could be unhealthy for your pet.

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Is Pasta Safe for Cats?

Pasta is safe for cats to eat. It contains nothing that’s toxic or poisonous to a feline. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy food for them though. Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they get all of their nutrition met by eating other animals. As such, protein is the nutrient they require the most, and carbohydrates the least.

Pasta, on the other hand, is a carbohydrate and contains very little protein. So, it’s not easy for your cat to digest and it doesn’t provide any nutritional value for your cat either. While pasta is safe for cats, it’s not recommended as part of their diet. If you choose to offer some to your cat, it should be in small doses and only on occasion.

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Image Credit: Meriluxa, Shutterstock

Are Tomatoes Safe for Cats?

Of course, pasta isn’t the only ingredient in spaghetti. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But spaghetti also contains sauce, and it’s the sauce that could be questionable when it comes to your kitty’s health.

The main ingredient in most spaghetti sauce is tomatoes. Tomatoes themselves aren’t inherently dangerous for your cat. However, the stems and leaves of the tomato plant can cause some serious side effects in your sidekick. These parts of the tomato plant are high in solanine; a substance that is absolutely toxic for your cat. If your cat ingests solanine, it could be facing tomato plant poisoning.

Tomato Plant Poisoning

While your cat won’t get tomato plant poisoning from eating tomatoes, the other parts of the tomato plant can definitely cause it. Generally, this sickness isn’t fatal, but it’s certainly not something you want to cause in your cat. Some of the most common symptoms of tomato plant poisoning include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Depressed nervous system
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive salivating
Kitten eating food from bowl
Image Credit: Marian Weyo, Shutterstock

Toxic Herbs and Seasonings

It’s not just the tomato plant that’s toxic for cats. Some herbs and seasonings that are commonly found in tomato sauce are also dangerous for cats if ingested. For instance, onions and garlic are both poisonous to a feline. If your cat eats onions, garlic, shallots, scallions, or anything else in the same family of vegetables, it could cause serious sickness, with symptoms like:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Orange or red urine
  • Pale gums

Is Spaghetti Sauce Safe for Cats?

If you were to make the sauce in your spaghetti from scratch, using only whole tomatoes and spices that are safe for felines, then your spaghetti sauce would probably pose no threat to your cat. That doesn’t mean it would be beneficial for them. As obligate carnivores, cats won’t gain any useful nutrition from the tomatoes in spaghetti sauce, but it also wouldn’t be a threat to their health and wellbeing.

The problem is, most people aren’t making their spaghetti sauce from scratch. Instead, it’s far more common to grab a jar of sauce from the supermarket and dump it into your pasta. Many of these sauces contain onion and garlic; usually in a concentrated form that’s extra dangerous for your cat.

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Image Credit: Ben_Kerckx, Pixabay

Granted, you can read the ingredients list and ensure that you choose a sauce that contains nothing toxic. Still, the question remains; how certain are you that only whole tomatoes were used in the sauce? If other parts of the plant made their way into the sauce, then it has the potential to cause tomato plant poisoning in your cat.

How to Feed Your Cat Spaghetti

All of this isn’t to say that you should never feed spaghetti to your cat. If you really want to share your pasta with your pet, then you just need to exercise some caution. Your best bet is to share only plain pasta with your feline. Pasta doesn’t contain anything toxic or harmful to cats, so it’s safe, even if it doesn’t pose any nutritional benefit.

If you made your spaghetti sauce from scratch and are certain it contains nothing potentially poisonous, then you can even feed your cat some spaghetti with sauce on it. But we’d recommend staying away from store-bought spaghetti sauce, as you never really know what it contains.

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Should You Feed Your Cat Spaghetti?

What you feed your cat is ultimately up to you. Spaghetti poses no nutritional value for a cat. Your cat doesn’t need to eat spaghetti and may not even like it. Since cats aren’t great at digesting carbs, it could even cause an upset stomach, though it’s essentially harmless as long as you don’t feed your feline too much. But stay away from sauces unless you know exactly what’s in it. Parts of the tomato plant can cause tomato plant poisoning, even if tomatoes are safe for cats. And flavor additives such as garlic or onions are truly toxic for your cat, and even small doses could have a detrimental effect on its health.

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Featured Image: ponce_photography, Pixabay