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The holiday season is just around the corner, and we all know what that means – good food! One ingredient that’s amazingly universal in its application is tomatoes, and there are barely any recipes that don’t make use of it in some way. That brings us to the question that gains popularity around these times without fail – can cats eat tomato sauce?
Cats can’t eat tomato sauce. Tomato sauce contains tomatoes containing solanine and is toxic to cats. Aside from that, tomato sauce also has high sodium levels, leading to salt poisoning in felines.
If you’re worried about keeping your cat’s diet clean and healthy around the holidays this year – we can help! Go through our guide to understand why tomatoes and kitty cats aren’t a good combination and what feline dietary options you should stick to.
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Are Tomatoes Toxic To Cats
Tomatoes contain the compound solanine, which is toxic to cats. Tomato-enthusiasts might find it difficult to believe there’s anything harmful about the mysterious vegetable. And you can’t exactly blame them.
Tomatoes have a lot of benefits to offer. For example, they’re jam-packed with minerals, vitamins and taste spectacular to boot.
This savory member of the fruit family also includes potassium, folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, and, of course, lycopene. If you’re not aware, lycopene is a powerhouse of an antioxidant and can help protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. It can also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
However, for felines, tomatoes are a definite no-no. As we stated earlier, the compound solanine is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. While experts point out that a minimal quantity of ripe tomatoes is safe for cats and is used in some commercial pet food brands – it’s best not to take chances with your pet’s health.
Additionally, if you have tomato plants at home, it’s best to keep your cats away from them. Ingestion of the leaves of stems of the tomato plant can cause stomach upsets, lethargy, vomiting, slow heart rate, etc., among felines.
Can Cats Eat Tomato Sauce
Seeing as how tomato sauce is made from ripe tomatoes (which also include solanine), feeding it to your feline is not a good idea or recommended. Commercially sold tomato sauce also consists of a handful of ingredients that can be dangerous for kitties. These include garlic, onion, citric acid, or sodium benzoate (as preservatives) – all of which are toxic to cats.
If you’re into using homemade sauces and whip up a fresh batch of tomato sauce each time you need it – you’re aware that components like onions, garlic, bay leaves, and other seasonings are essential for the sauce.
Onions, garlic, and bay leaves are the triple whammy of toxic ingredients to felines. For example, bay leaves contain eugenol (and other essential oils) that can damage a feline’s liver cells and cause them to die off.
Garlic can cause hemolytic anemia, and ingesting onions can result in the destruction of a feline’s red blood cells. In short, these ingredients aren’t to be taken lightly concerning kitty cats – at all.
And that’s also why feeding your cat homemade tomato sauce is not an option either.
Aside from that, tomato sauce can be pretty high in salt content, and salt intake over 21 mg in a day can cause your pet to suffer from symptoms like excessive thirst, lethargy, excessive urination, vomiting, among others.
Is it Okay For Cats To Eat Spaghetti Sauce
More often than not, tomato sauce is used to create the base of spaghetti sauce. Even if your spaghetti sauce of choice doesn’t include a tomato sauce base, it will still include ingredients like onions, garlic, and similar Italian seasonings (also present in tomato sauce).
Now, at this point, we may resemble a broken record when we say, please avoid feeding your feline spaghetti sauce (or anything that includes the sauce) because it contains elements that are toxic to cats and can cause poisoning.
What To Do If Your Cat Eats Tomato Sauce
If your cat has licked off a spoon dipped in tomato sauce or some equally small quantity of the stuff, it’s unlikely it will suffer from ill effects. At most, your feline might face loose stools or flatulence until its system goes back to normal.
However, if your cat has eaten something with plenty of tomato sauce in it and is exhibiting symptoms like disorientation, lethargy, excessive drooling, poor coordination, or vomiting – take it to the vet asap. That’s because your pet is likely reacting to one of the toxic ingredients in the tomato sauce.
If, for whatever reason, you can get through to your veterinarian, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center or the American Association of Poison Control Centers for immediate medical advice and attention.
Things To Consider
We know pet parents can feel a little guilty leaving their adorable furry loved ones out of the dietary festivities around the holidays. But, instead of trying to make your cat feel included with human food, why not try and prepare a delicious and nutritious kitty meal?
Felines love chowing down on treats like baked chicken liver or fish, and what’s more, there’s no effort involved in making these snacks for your pet. All you need to do is unwrap the meat, give it a good wash (we’re hygiene-obsessed), lightly coat the meat with oil, and put it in the oven to bake.
What better way could there be to show your cat you care than to feed it a meal that’s full of benefits and has no harmful ingredients whatsoever.