Potatoes in any cooked form are a great nutritional source of various vitamins, proteins, and fiber for humans. But is it safe to give potatoes to your cat? Are they good or bad?
Felines are natural carnivores. As such, their main nourishment comes from meat and meat by-products. Some high quality dry or wet cat foods offer not only meat, but also plant-based ingredients such as oils and other vegetable by-products. However, when your kitty comes pleading for a spoonful of your frozen yogurt, a chunk of your chocolate, or a bit of your tasty bag of chips, how can you say no to that precious furball’s hungry stare?
So, can cats eat potatoes?
Yes and no.
It actually depends on the type of potatoes and the way they are cooked. For example, cats are quite intolerant towards sweet potatoes. French fries also pose threats to your kitty’s digestive system. And raw potatoes are absolutely lethal to cats.
Let’s review the various types of potatoes and the way they benefit or harm your feline furball.
1. Raw potatoes
Raw potatoes can be just as poisonous for cats as they are for humans.
The raw potato plant contains the toxic chemical solanine. This chemical acts as a defense mechanism for the growing potato plant and is poisonous to all humans and animals, including felines.
Apart from being present in the plant, this chemical can also be found in the green skin of the ripening potato vegetable. Thus, raw potatoes and the peelings of a raw potato are absolutely lethal to your kitty.
So, if you’re keeping raw potatoes in your home make sure they’re out of your cat’s reach for safety purposes, otherwise you may find yourself rushing to your vet’s office.
2. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes, even green plants, don’t have the solanine chemical. The ASPCA has labeled the sweet potato vine as non-toxic to felines.
Nevertheless, the sweet potatoes can lead to various health-related issues when it comes to cats. Felines have more difficulty digesting potatoes than humans do, and the nutritional values of sweet potatoes aren’t as beneficial to cats as they are to humans.
High quality cat food offers all the beneficial nourishment cats require, so you don’t need to treat your feline furball with potatoes to give it additional nutrients.
A small bite of mashed sweet potatoes won’t hurt your kitty, but if you serve it as an occasional treat, it may result in obesity, digestive problems, and other health-related issues including vomiting and diarrhea.
3. Cooked potatoes
If raw and sweet potatoes are bad for kitties, can cats eat cooked potatoes?
Mashed, baked, or boiled potato meals are perfectly safe for your pet to eat. Some cat foods even contain potato ingredients. Cooked potatoes are safe because the toxins are destroyed during the cooking process.
You can add some mashed potatoes to your cat’s dry or canned food every now and then to give it an extra protein and fiber boost, even though this shouldn’t serve as a substitute for vitamin supplements.
However, you should always remember that the cooked potato treats must be rid of harmful spices and herbs, artificial additives, and toppings. Sweet and sour toppings pose lethal danger to cats, so no toppings are allowed.
Fried potatoes aren’t as safe as boiled, mashed, or baked potatoes. They contain unhealthy oils, acids, and fats which will harm your kitty. The same goes for chips and fries – the artificial flavors, herbs, salts, and other additives in a bag of chips will have nasty consequences for your precious kitty.
So, let’s sum it up.
Cats can eat potatoes, and they may find them tasty. A treat or two of sweet potatoes or fried chips won’t harm your feline pal if it’s a one-time thing, but it can be fatal in the long run. Cooked, baked, and boiled potatoes are safe for cats, but not on a daily basis.
Last but not least, try not to share your food with your kitty too often as this will spoil its appetite, make the cat more demanding, and ruin its balanced cat food diet.