It’s quite tempting to feed our cats food that we ourselves love. Spaghetti is one of America's most favorite comfort foods and in fact, spaghetti is a common staple in every household's weekly diet.
But can we feed it to our cats? Is it safe for them to eat? What happens if a cat eats tomato sauce?
Here is a rundown of everything you need to know about pasta and cats.
Can We Feed Pasta to Cats?
As always, before you feed anything to your cat, especially human food, it’s safe to ask your veterinarian first. Your cat may have an allergy to wheat or gluten, and feeding her pasta may cause her significant discomfort.
If your vet gives you the green light, then yes, it’s okay to feed your cats pasta, as long as it doesn’t contain the sauce.
Pasta, in its raw form, is usually made of flour, water, and eggs, which are ingredients that are safe for cats to eat.
While you can feed pasta to cats and they're not exactly bad or toxic, there are a few considerations you need to watch out for.
Is Pasta Healthy for Cats?
As mentioned, pasta is made of flour, water, and eggs and it’s basically carbohydrates or sugar. There’s no nutritional value in pasta, so even if it’s okay to feed it to them, pasta is not necessarily good for cats, either.
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they get their nutrition from protein, such as fish or chicken (consider wet food). When they eat pasta, it’s basically empty calories. When they get full from pasta, they won’t eat as much protein, which can lead to protein deficiency, if you feed pasta to your cat on a daily or frequent basis.
Protein deficiency in cats can lead to serious conditions.
Pasta, therefore, as an empty calorie, can also cause obesity and weight gain in cats, which could lead to weight-related problems such as diabetes and other issues.
It is important to note that cats cannot metabolize complex sugars, which is found in pasta, and thus, making them more prone to obesity.
While feeding pasta to your cat is not necessarily dangerous, the long-term effects can be.
What About Tomato Sauce in Pasta?
Tomato sauce is generally safe for cats, as long as you make sure they only contain ripe tomatoes. The leaves and stem of tomatoes, however, are highly toxic to cats.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the leaves and stems of tomatoes contain solanine, which is toxic to cats. When ingested, this could cause stomach issues, slower heart rate, and lethargy in cats. ASPCA points out that ripe tomatoes, however, are safe for cats to eat.
Aside from tomato, other ingredients present in spaghetti sauce can be toxic to cats, such as onion and garlic. These are members of the allium family, which can cause anemia in cats, as well as damage their red blood cells, causing vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of human foods that are poisonous to cats, but pasta, without the sauce, is generally safe for cats to eat.
Spaghetti sauce containing pure ripe tomatoes is also safe, but just to be sure, it’s best that you refrain from feeding it to your cat, as they may contain other ingredients that are outright toxic to your feline friend, causing serious health problems.
A cat eating spaghetti, with pure tomato sauce is generally safe, but it would be a good idea to feed it to your feline friend only once in a blue moon, just to make sure.