Potatoes, classified botanically as a root vegetable, are enjoyed throughout the world by all of us. As our feline friends are usually around us near mealtime, it’s tempting to share a little bit with them, but should we do it? Can cats eat potatoes?
Can cats eat potatoes?
The answer is yes and no. Although cooked unseasoned potatoes are safe for cats, raw potatoes can pose a big risk to your kitty. Uncooked raw potato or raw potato peels contain solanine, which is a toxic chemical. This chemical is a natural defense mechanism of the potato to protect it from being eaten. Cool, right? Well, it is, but not for us! Solanine is highly toxic for humans and animals, including our feline friends.
What are the signs of toxicity?
Ingestion of raw potatoes in cats can cause:
Besides, since potatoes are so hard to digest, they may get stuck in the gut and cause a blockage.
It’s always important to remember that even cooked potatoes can cause problems. If they are cooked with added butter, oil or seasonings, they can cause stomach upset or pancreatitis.
What to do if my cat eats raw potatoes?
If you’re keeping raw potatoes in your home, make sure they’re out of your cat’s reach. Regardless, if you think your cat might have eaten raw potato or raw potato peelings, you should always contact your veterinarian immediately.
If your cat ate cooked seasoned potatoes, you should be aware of any upset stomach signs. If that’s the case, you should also contact the vet.
On the other hand, if you really wish to offer some potatoes to your cat while making sure you’re doing it safely, the first thing to keep in mind is moderation. As you may have read, treats should account for no more than 10% of the daily calories intake. With that in mind, the safest way to proceed is to ensure the potatoes are well cooked, without any cooking fats or seasonings. Boiling is a good cooking method.
Even so, remember that potatoes do not offer enough in the way of beneficial nutrition for the feline’s diet. So in general you should avoid the idea of feeding potatoes to cats – even the cooked unseasoned ones as a treat.
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