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Can Cats Eat Sweet Potato? What You Need to Know!

Sweet potatoes seem to be gaining traction in the pet food world. You may see lots of dog foods advertised with sweet potato as a main ingredient. That’s great for dogs, but it may make you wonder—can cats eat sweet potatoes?

The short answer is—of course! Sweet potatoes are non-toxic to cats. But that doesn’t mean your cat needs to have this veggie in their diet consistently. Sure, we have all heard about the wonderful benefits of this orange potato, but those may not pertain to your cat. Let’s explain the details.

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Are Sweet Potatoes Nutritional for Cats?

Cat with Sweet Potatoes_shutterstock_MNkmal
Image Credit By: MNkmal, shutterstock

It’s important to understand that cats only need meat and water to survive. Unlike dogs, who are omnivores, cats are strict carnivores. That means that some ingredients found in cat food aren’t necessarily required, and your cat doesn’t really need any plant-based protein to help them along.

But, if your cat is a sweet potato connoisseur, there are a few nutrients that won’t be terrible for them to have occasionally. Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber and full of vitamins and minerals.

Of course, your cat can get these perks from their daily diet, so there’s no need to add sweet potato just for these nutritional benefits.

Is Any Part of a Sweet Potato Dangerous for Cats?

Unlike some other plants, the vines, shoots, and stems of sweet potato are non-toxic to cats—according to the ASPCA. At most, it may cause an upset belly or diarrhea.

Raw vs Cooked Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Halved
Image Credit By: Suanpa, pixabay

Cooked sweet potatoes can cause digestive issues if your cat overeats in one sitting. However, small amounts can relieve constipation and keep your cat regular since they’re so high in fiber.

Cats should never eat raw sweet potatoes—or any raw potato for that matter. Raw sweet potatoes can be hard to digest and can wreak havoc on your cat’s insides. If you caught them munching on a raw sweet potato, watch for symptoms of general upset.

Seasoned Sweet Potatoes

Seasoned sweet potatoes are both unnecessary and dangerous for your feline. If you ever give your cat sweet potato, always make sure to serve it plain without any extras. If you have it in your head that this starchy veggie is fine, you may overlook what else is in the recipe.

These are common ingredients used to season sweet potatoes. Let’s find out why they’re bad news.

  • Marshmallows — high in sugar content
  • Garlic or onion highly toxic to your cats in all forms
  • Table salt — causes dehydration
  • Walnuts — can cause gastrointestinal distress
  • Butter — high in fat

It’s always best to keep human-favorite seasonings out of your cat’s food bowl.

Do Cats Like the Taste of Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet Potatoes on Plate

We all know cats can be weird, especially about what they eat. They might even be picky about expensive food or different types of treats. The same sentiment extends to sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are essentially a non-food item for cats since it isn’t in their natural diet. So, your cat can decide for themselves if they even want anything to do with them in the first place. Most felines will pass at the chance to eat a sweet potato without hesitation.

But, if you find your cat stealing a sweet potato fry from or licking some baked sweet potato off of your fork, they might just enjoy the taste. That’s not really a big deal, especially if there are no seasonings added to it.

Are Sweet Potatoes Used in Traditional Cat Food?

Some companies do use sweet potatoes as an ingredient in their cat food recipes. A few of these formulas include:

  • Purina Beyond Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Pate Recipe
  • Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • I and Love and You Lovingly Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon & Sweet Potato
  • Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Organic Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Solid Gold Touch of Heaven Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

As you can see, many fabulous nutritional options on the market offer this ingredient. Mainly, it’s used to smooth digestion and regulate the body.

When in Doubt, Call the Vet

If your cat ate a sweet potato and you still aren’t convinced of its safety—always contact your veterinarian for medical advice and guidance.

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Cats & Sweet Potatoes: Final Thoughts

So, now we know that cats can have small amounts of cooked sweet potatoes. Is it the healthiest choice for cats? Nope—cats only benefit from animal protein-based diets. But that doesn’t mean the occasional bite or two will do any harm.

Plus, it may just help with pesky issues like constipation or sluggish digestion. That’s only if you can even convince your cat to eat it in the first place, of course.

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Featured Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay