Almost everyone loves ketchup. If it is not generously drizzled on a piece of toast, you might find a mound of it next to some french fries. You can also find it squirted in the middle of your burger. The point is, ketchup is enjoyed in most common and popular meals. This makes it more or less a staple in the house. No doubt, your furry guy must have smelt this tomato-based condiment every once in a while and is now probably curious about how it tastes. So, can cats eat ketchup?
Cats are curious creatures that may sometimes want to try out new foods that they see you eating. But cats are obligate carnivores, so that means not every food is nutritional for them. However, they may be treated to occasional bites of other foods. So, can cats eat ketchup? Is it safe for them? Keep reading this post to find out.
Can Cats Eat Ketchup?
The simple answer is yes. Cats can eat ketchup. But just because they can doesn't mean they should. Ketchup contains ingredients that can be rather toxic to your cat and for this reason, you should avoid feeding ketchup to your cat. If your cat steals a lick or two of ketchup off the paper of your burger, you shouldn't worry because they will most likely be fine. But the bottom line is cats should not be given ketchup because it is not healthy for them.
Are There Any Benefits of Feeding Ketchup To My Cat?
There have been so arguments about whether ketchup is healthy for cats or not because it is made from tomatoes. But this could not be farther from the truth. This is because although ketchup comes from tomato, it is processed in a way that makes it lose all of its tomato-based nutrients that cats would have otherwise enjoyed.
Ketchup is a highly processed product that is low in fiber and high in salt content. This is dangerous to cats because it can cause dehydration and digestive issues. Cats may experience symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation after having a little ketchup. Depending on the quantity they have had, these symptoms can range from mild to toxic. To be on the safer side, it is best to feed little to none to your pet.
Another major concern about feeding ketchup to your cat is the ingredients. Ketchup contains garlic and onion, both ingredients which are toxic to cats. Continuous consumption of these ingredients can result in Heinz Body Anemia disease which can be life-threatening. Symptoms of this disease include fever, loss of appetite, sudden fatigue or weakness, shortness of breath, changes in urine color, and pale skin, lips, and gums. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, take them to the vet immediately.
Ketchup also has a high salt content. Too much salt at a time or over an extended period can cause salt poisoning in cats known as Hypernatremia. It can also exacerbate cardiovascular problems and increase the risk of a heart attack.
Can Cats Eat Tomato Sauce?
You might be wondering if there is a difference between tomato sauce and ketchup since the latter is made from tomatoes, too. But alas, the two are different.
Tomato sauce is made from tomato and without any of the spices that make up ketchup. Tomato sauce contains meat and vegetable broth which your cat may find delicious. However, there is one cause for concern when feeding tomato sauce to your cat which is the oil content.
Oil is not toxic to cats but it can cause complications for your cats if they feed on it regularly. Too much oil can lead to stomach upset, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. So, even though cats can eat tomato sauce, it is not healthy for them.
Is Tomato Safe For Cats?
Another question that may have crossed your mind is if the base ingredient of ketchup and tomato sauce is safe for cats. Since cats can have a little ketchup sometimes, can cats eat tomatoes?
On the contrary, tomatoes are safe for cats to eat once in a while. Tomatoes contain vitamins and minerals that your cat benefits from. Tomato is also popular for its lycopene content which is a great antioxidant. It helps protect cells from damage.
However, like every other plant-based food, cats should only eat tomatoes in limited amounts because although it is rich in nutrients, it cannot supply your cat with all the nutrients your cat needs. As such, it should only be given to cats occasionally and in small quantities.
What Should I Do If My Cat has Eaten Ketchup?
If your cat stole a lick at your plate of french fries and ketchup, the first thing to do is to watch their behavior over the next couple of hours or days. They may experience symptoms like vomiting, stomach upset, or diarrhea after eating a small amount of ketchup because their system is not designed to digest it.
Usually, these symptoms go away on their own and your cat is quickly back to its normal self. However, if the symptoms persist for longer than a few days, it may be an emergency so the best thing to do is to take them to the vet immediately.
But in case you suspect that your feline has eaten a large amount of ketchup when you were not looking or you are not sure of the amount, the best course of action is to take them to the vet immediately. This is to avoid any adverse side effects. Also, you should not self-medicate or home-treat your cat to avoid worsening the situation.
Cats can ketchup but whether they should or not depends on you as the parent. We may choose to indulge our cats every once in a while but we must ensure that ketchup does not become a regular part of your cat's diet.
You may discuss with your vet what safe snack options are there for your cat. As always, every plant-based food should be given to cats only in small amounts and occasionally.