The average American consumes over 55KG of potatoes every year. We love them fried, mashed, chipped, roasted, steamed, stewed and blended. Basically, we’re all potato mad because they are delicious in any form.
As a potato fan, you have probably wondered if your kitty can get in on the tuber action. They can look like a potato often, but can they eat them?
If you have wondered – can cats eat potatoes? You’ve done the right thing checking first. So many human foods are bad for cats, or even dangerous, so it is always a good idea to make sure your kitty can safely nosh on a bit of your meal before offering it to them.
The good news is, we have all the information you need to get an answer to your question – can cats eat potatoes? Keep reading on to find out:
Can Cats Eat Potatoes?
Potatoes belong to the nightshade (Solanaceae) family along with peppers, tomatoes, aubergine, tobacco and many more other cultivated plants. Potatoes are a tuberous, root vegetable first cultivated by the Inca Indians in Peru and in Bolivia between 8,000BC and 5,000BC. The history of tuber cultivation could go back as far as 10,000 years but because records of them aren’t very well preserved there is no real way to know.
When Peru was found, the potato was discovered and brought back to Spain and the British Isles first. Eventually, they spread from country to country over around four decades. Potatoes are now an incredibly important crop central to the global diet.
Of course, potatoes are not central to the diet of cats, but as us humans enjoy them so much it is natural to ask – can cats eat potatoes? The answer is, yes.
Yes, cats can eat potatoes. The real question is, should cats eat potatoes?
Realistically, cat’s probably shouldn’t eat potatoes because cats are obligate carnivores. Obligate carnivores are designed to eat mainly meat and meat products, with little plant matter needed to keep them healthy. Specifically, cats who are diabetic should stay away from potatoes and other cat-suitable plant foods like rice, or carrots. This is because these foods are high in sugar, and could make a diabetic cat very unwell. An overweight cat should probably also steer clear of any potatoes in case the sugar amounts lead them to becoming diabetic. Instead, all cats and especially overweight and diabetic cats should eat the best cat food for their health, weight and age. If you are unsure what to feed your cat, speak to your vet who can advise the best cat foods to suit their individual needs.
How To Prepare Potatoes For Cats To Eat
If you really want your cats to try potato, the best way to prepare it is to steam it, add no seasoning or toppings and offer it to them in small pieces once it is cooled.
Can cats eat potatoes prepared in other ways?
It depends on what is in or on the potato, rather than how it has been prepared:
- Can cats eat raw potatoes? No, cats should not eat raw potatoes as they are indigestible and contain something called solanine, which can be toxic to cats.
- Can cats eat mashed potatoes? No, the seasoning and any added dairy of mashed potatoes is bad for cats. If the mashed potato is cooled and contains only potato and no seasoning or anything else, your cat could eat it safely.
- Can cats eat instant mashed potatoes? Instant mashed potatoes often contain seasoning, dairy and other additives. For that reason, they should not be fed to cats.
- Can cats eat potato chips? Potato chips contain lots of oil and they have seasoning on them, so they should not be given to cats.
- Can cats eat fries? Potato fries are full of oil, so they would be very, very bad for your cat to eat.
As a general rule, it is better overall not to give your cat any potato at all, but if they steal any, if it is cooked, cooled and has no toppings or seasonings, it is likely they will be OK.
Can Cats Be Allergic To Potatoes?
Any cat can be sensitive to any ingredient, even if that ingredient is not toxic to them. If your cat consumes potato and they get diarrhea, they vomit or otherwise respond badly, the chances are they are sensitive to it and you should not let them have it again. If the symptoms are extreme or persistent, speak to your vet for further advice.
Should You Give Your Little Spud Potatoes? You Can, But Probably Shouldn’t
As a general rule cats do not need (and often do not want) potatoes or potato products. Instead, keep them on a feline suitable diet that is right for their age, weight and medical status. This way, they stay healthy, happy and thriving, able to give you many more purrs and prrts for years to come.