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Can Cats Eat Tortillas? Is It Healthy for Them?

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	Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo

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Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

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

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It’s Mexican night, and you’re in the kitchen fixing tacos when your cat brushes up against you and asks for a snack. You rip off a bit of tortilla to give him and then pause. Can cats eat tortillas? Is it safe? Healthy?

Of course, you only want what’s best for your furry friend, so here is all the information you need to allay your fears. Yes, cats can eat tortillas, but only in small quantities due to the sodium and other ingredients that shouldn’t be a large part of their diet.

Keep reading to find out if your cat can have both corn and flour tortillas, what foods are safe, and how much snacking is healthy. By the end, you will be prepared the next time Tiger comes asking for an appetizer.

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Can Cats Eat Corn Tortillas?

Yes. Processed corn can be a quick source of energy that is easily digested. However, it shouldn’t replace any part of your cat’s diet, since they are carnivorous and primarily need protein.

A couple of bites of a corn tortilla or chip won’t hurt your cat, though. They will most likely enjoy it as a rare treat. Just don’t give them a handful of chips because the high sodium can cause serious health issues like confusion, coma, and seizures.

The healthiest option is to make your own chips or tortillas, so you can control the salt and other ingredients.

tortilla chips
Image Credit: viarami, Pixabay

Can Cats Eat Flour Tortillas?

Yes, but again in very small amounts. Your cat’s digestive system is not meant to process large amounts of white flour. A bit of plain, unseasoned tortilla as an occasional treat is fine, but flour-based products shouldn’t be fed on a regular basis.

Your cat is most likely already eating some white flour every day because it’s a common ingredient in cat food. This is something to keep in mind the next time you want to share your taco.

flour tortilla
Image Credit: micheile.com || visual stories, Unsplash

What Ingredients in Tortillas Are Harmful To Cats?

Salt

As already mentioned, the high sodium levels in tortillas and tortilla chips can be bad for your cat’s health. Their sodium requirements are much lower than ours and are met much more quickly.

A medium-sized cat only needs 21 mg of salt each day and shouldn’t have more than 42 mg in one day. Compare that to the 150 mg of salt that is in 1oz, or roughly 15, of Lay’s BBQ potato chips. As you can see, it takes very little (just two chips) to meet your cat’s recommended sodium intake.

Too much salt will lead to an imbalance of electrolytes and affect your cat’s cells’ ability to function.

Saturated Fat

An ingredient that is more prevalent in chips, saturated fat can affect cholesterol levels and artery health. Saturated fat shouldn’t be a major part of your cat’s diet. Too much can lead to serious health problems. They also need essential fatty acids for good health.

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What Foods Are Good for Cats?

The best step towards feeding your cat a healthy, balanced diet is a high-quality cat food that has the basic nutrition they need. But if you want to share your food with them, you first need to know what is safe for them to eat.

Below is a list of human foods that you can feel good about adding to your kitty’s bowl.

Meat

As we’ve said before, cats are carnivores. They need protein to stay healthy. A bit of cooked beef, chicken, or turkey is an easy way to bump up their protein and give them a treat at the same time. Any meats offered to cats should be unseasoned and not cooked in oils or fats.

Just make sure the meat is not spoiled or raw because that could make your cat sick. Remember, if you won’t eat it, don’t feed it to your cat.

cat eating chicken meat
Image Credit: Irina Kozorog, Shutterstock

Whole Grains

Certain whole grains like oats, corn, and polenta are perfectly fine, as long as they are cooked. You can even offer couscous or millet, which are smaller grains and therefore more appealing to cats. Oats are a great option because they are high in protein and easy to make.

Fish

Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent arthritis and heart disorders and are also good for your cat’s eyesight. Just don’t hand them a bite of sushi. Always make sure the fish is cooked before sharing.

Eggs

Another good source of protein, cooked eggs are a great snack option for your cat. Raw eggs are off-limits though. Just like raw meat and fish, they can make your cat sick.

Vegetables

Although vegetables aren’t appealing to some cats, they contain vitamins and have fiber and water that help with digestion. You can offer fresh cucumber or steamed broccoli and asparagus.

Cheese

Cheese is another good source of protein, but only in small amounts. The protein in cheese is different from the complete protein in meat, fish, and eggs. Your cat’s stomach may not digest dairy as well, so go light on the cheese and pass on the milk.

cat eating eggs and veggies
Image Credit: Anastasiya-Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

How Often Can I Give My Cat Snacks?

Now that we’ve covered what your cat can safely snack on, it’s helpful to know how much snacking they can do.

A general rule is that snacks and treats should only make up 10% of your cat’s daily calories. That means if your cat eats 200 calories a day, any extras should only add up to 20 calories. When and how often you hand them out doesn’t matter as long as you are within that limit.

Overfeeding leads to kitty obesity, which can cause multiple health issues. As much fun as it is to see your cat come running for a snack, it’s better to enjoy their good health for years to come.

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Conclusion

It’s fun to give your cat a treat and share your food with them, and the good news is you can. As long as you are careful about the amounts, you and your kitty both enjoy a tasty treat.

Your cat can snack on a bit of tortilla while you eat your tacos, just don’t feed them a whole one or a bowl of chips. Being aware of the dangers of excessive salt intake will make it easy to say no to his meows.

There is an array of healthy foods that you both can enjoy with peace of mind. From vegetables to meat to fish, you can feel good about supporting your pet’s health when you give them an extra snack. As long as the treats don’t exceed 10% of their daily calories, they can happily and healthily enjoy them.

A little mindfulness and preparation will pave the way for both you and your feline friend to enjoy many meals together.

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Featured Image Credit: rafasuarezfoto, Pixabay

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