A bowl of steaming, buttery mashed potatoes is one of the ultimate comfort foods! This creamy side dish pairs well with many different foods and is a familiar sight in many households.
But can cats eat mashed potatoes too? Or are mashed potatoes toxic to cats? Let’s find out!
Can cats eat mashed potatoes?
Yes, cats can eat mashed potatoes… But only if they have been prepared by roasting the potatoes rather than boiling them. Potatoes that have not been prepared correctly for cats can contain solanine, which is toxic to cats.
When prepared for your cat correctly, mashed potatoes are a tasty treat that can be added to your cat’s dinner on an occasional basis.
What are the health benefits of mashed potatoes?
Although cats can eat mashed potatoes, they are not a particularly nutritious source of food for cats.
This is because cats are obligate carnivores, and they require a balanced meat-based diet to meet their nutritional needs. Carbohydrates such as potatoes are considered to be ‘empty calories’ – they can cause your cat to gain weight, but also lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Some veterinarians may recommend feeding mashed potatoes to help weight gain in underweight cats. However, if your cat is losing weight, it is a good idea to seek veterinary advice before feeding your cat mashed potatoes.
What should I be aware of when offering mashed potatoes to my cat?
You should only ever feed mashed potatoes to your cat that have been roasted in the oven first, rather than boiled potatoes.
This is because raw potatoes contain a substance called solanine, which is toxic to humans and most mammals, including cats.
So, we cook potatoes to reduce the levels of solanine, but high temperatures are required to cut down solanine to levels where it is safe for cats. Boiling potatoes is enough to make them safe for humans to eat, but not our precious cats.
To prepare mashed potatoes for cats, peel them first and cut them into smaller pieces. Roast the potato chunks at a high temperature, without any oil, salt, or spices.
When cooked, mash the potato chunks until soft and fluffy. Serve a small spoonful to your cat with its usual evening meal.
Mashed potatoes can cause weight gain, so never feed them to cats that are overweight or suffering from weight-related conditions such as diabetes.
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