As a pet parent, you always have to make sure that what you’re feeding your cat is safe and healthy. Cats have highly sensitive stomachs, and many kinds of food are dangerous for them to eat.
Potatoes are one of the most common food staples in a kitchen, be it in a home or commercial kitchen. They’re packed with carbohydrates and nutrients, and of course, they’re delicious, too.
But can cats eat potatoes? What happens when you feed your cat a french fry, or maybe mashed potatoes? Or how about sweet potatoes?
Let’s find out.
Can you Give Your Cat Potatoes?
The answer is yes; you can feed your cat potatoes. If you’re eating french fries, potato chips, or mashed potatoes, it’s perfectly acceptable to feed them to your cat. But, just like any other carbohydrate-rich food, it doesn’t mean you should feed it to your cat.
Potatoes are not toxic to cats, and if your kitty has licked off the leftovers of your mashed potatoes on the kitchen sink, you don’t have to panic. Potatoes do not pose any health dangers to cats, as long as they’re cooked and in small amounts.
Do Cats Need to Eat Potatoes?
Cats do not need to eat potatoes, as it is a carbohydrate-rich food. Cats are obligate carnivores and get their nutrients from meat. Cats need protein and fatty acids, which they can’t get from eating potatoes.
When a cat eats potatoes, it only serves as a tasty treat and does not offer anything in terms of nutrition. Just like bread, potatoes are empty calories, and when consumed in large amounts, can lead to protein deficiency in cats.
A ten-pound cat would need around 200 calories per day, and if she consumes large amounts of potatoes, this doesn’t leave plenty of room for proteins and fats that your cat needs.
Potatoes are okay to give as a treat or side dish. Still, they should never be used as an alternative to meat or commercial cat food, which are packed with vitamins and minerals that give cats their complete nutritional needs.
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Can Cats Eat All Kinds of Potatoes?
The answer is no. Let’s break down the different kinds of food that are made of potatoes, as well as uncooked potato, and sweet potato.
1. Raw Potato
Raw potatoes should never be given to cats. This is because raw potato contains glycoalkaloid solanine, an active compound in raw potato that protects it as it grows. Solanine is poisonous to humans and felines.
Raw potato is also hard, which could become a choking hazard for cats. When ingested, the hard potato can also become a digestive block inside the cat’s stomach, which can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as indigestion, vomiting, gas, and even diarrhea.
2. Sweet Potatoes
While sweet potatoes do not contain solanine, cats cannot tolerate them well. They can’t digest sweet potatoes in their stomach, which means it could lead to symptoms of the upset stomach such as vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, and excessive gas.
3. Cooked Potatoes
4. Potato Chips
Cats can eat potato chips as long as it doesn’t have a lot of salt, spices, or herbs. Plain potato chips with a little salt are okay.
5. French Fries
Cats can eat french fries but should they? French fries are not toxic, but their high salt content can be risky for cats who are suffering from heart conditions, kidney or liver disease, and hypertension.
How to Feed Potatoes to Your Cat
The cooking process is essential when you want to feed potatoes to your cat. The heat gets rid of solanine, and it also ensures that your feline friend easily digests them.
It is important to note that you should not add spices, herbs, and other ingredients to your cooked mashed potato. Remember that garlic and onions are highly toxic to cats. Some herbs and spices can also be dangerous to your cat.
When cats eat mashed potatoes, it must be plain as possible, with no added ingredients. You can add the mashed potatoes on top of your cat’s wet food, or mix it well. Or you can also put it in a bowl.
The Bottom Line
Yes, cats can eat potatoes, as long as they’re cooked well, and have no added ingredients. Raw potatoes are incredibly poisonous, not just for cats but also for humans. If you have curious cats, you should keep your raw potatoes inside hard-to-reach areas or in sealed containers.
Giving the occasional treat to your cat is okay in small amounts as long as you know the risks. The most important thing for you to do as a responsible cat parent is to know which kinds of food are safe for your cats, and which ones are highly toxic.