Mushrooms are a basic ingredient in several dishes, but you might wonder whether cats can eat mushrooms. The answer depends on some factors and it might surprise you to hear that some cats actually crave mushrooms.
Being a cat owner, you should first consider cat food for your feline friends, as it is specifically formulated for them, but it’s okay to share some other items of your food with your pet.
And here’s where you ask, what about mushrooms? Is it safe for cats to eat mushrooms? Generally speaking, mushrooms are not safe for cats, but some store-bought mushrooms are an exception. They can be safe for felines in small amounts, and you can occasionally serve them as a treat.
However, you should be careful about wild mushrooms and never let your pet consume them as many are toxic to humans and animals alike. To be safe, it’s better to avoid adding any fungi at all to your cat’s diet.
Being obligate carnivores, a meat-based diet is an important requirement for felines. Although cats can enjoy fruits and vegetables now and then, they are not essential in fulfilling the felines’ daily nutritional needs.
Now, let’s find out a little more on this topic and decide once and for all, can cats eat mushrooms?
Why Cats Like Mushrooms?
You might be wondering why cats like mushrooms since they are strict carnivores. The fact is that our feline friends enjoy the taste and texture of mushrooms.
That’s because mushrooms contain a high level of an amino acid called glutamate, which provides them a unique savory flavor called umami. Although cats can’t taste sweet foods, they can taste umami flavors.
Cats can detect these savory flavors and enjoy them, and these flavors are similar to those of the amino acids present in meat protein. That’s why your cat craves mushrooms–because of the protein and the savory meat-like flavor.
How Are Mushrooms Good For Cats?
Let us answer this question for you. Mushrooms contain various nutrients and vitamins that are good for your cat’s health. Riboflavin, niacin, zinc, pantothenic acid, copper, and potassium are all present in mushrooms.
These components are useful for felines in boosting their metabolism and maintaining their cells in better condition.
Are Mushrooms Safe for Cats?
It’s not good to add mushrooms to your cat’s food too often. However, it’s safe to feed your cat store-bought mushrooms in small amounts. Cooked mushrooms with no seasonings are a good option for felines if you want to offer them mushrooms as a treat.
If you share mushrooms with your cat, they probably like their taste and texture, but mushrooms provide no nutritional value more than a cat’s food. Rather, it’s better to buy or make them some delicious treats specifically for your cat.
What About Wild Mushrooms?
Generally, you should avoid giving any kind of wild mushroom to cats as many are toxic, so keep your feline friend away from wild mushrooms.
As mushrooms appear in the fall, it’s advisable to check your backyard and remove these wild mushrooms if you find any. However, if your kitty stays indoors, wild mushrooms aren’t a problem.
Here are various wild mushroom species that are toxic, and you need to keep your cat away from them. These include:
- Death Cap (Amanita phalloides)
- Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)
- Panther Cap (Amanita pantherina)
- Sickener (Russula emetica)
If your cat has consumed any of these mushrooms, she might become sick or die. This depends upon how many and what kind of wild variety your cat ate.
You should be aware of four main types of toxins found in mushrooms, which are:
As the name indicates, if your cat has eaten a mushroom containing the gastrointestinal toxin, it can lead to an upset stomach in your feline friend. There are different varieties containing this toxin; one of them is the muscarinic mushroom.
This toxin can cause diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and weakness in cats. Depending upon the severity of the symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately.
Mushrooms having nephrotoxic toxins can badly affect feline kidneys. You might observe their illness after a week from consumption, which can be quite dangerous.
If you live in the United States, you don’t need to be worried about such mushrooms as they are rare in North America.
Mushrooms belonging to this category can affect your cat’s health and damage the feline’s liver. Amanita muscaria is the most common mushroom containing this toxin.
After consuming such poisonous mushrooms, your cat might become lethargic, weak, and jaundiced. As liver failure is fatal, you need to seek medical help for your pet immediately in case of consuming amanita muscaria mushrooms.
Mushrooms like isoxazole, psilocybin, and hydrazine have neurological consequences. In case of eating any of them, your cat might experience tremors, lack of coordination, disorientation, or seizures. Most mushrooms containing neurotoxic toxins are found in your backyards, so it’s better to watch your pet and make sure any mushrooms growing are removed.
What About Store-Bought Mushrooms?
If your cat eats mushrooms cooked as human foods, you should not be worried. Not all mushrooms pose harm to your cat. Some commercial mushrooms sold in grocery stores can be fine for our feline friend, but in a moderate amount. These include button mushrooms, portobello, and cremini mushrooms.
Ensure that these mushrooms are cooked properly and serve them with no spices or seasoning. These spices can irritate the feline’s stomach, so adding them is not a good idea.
What are Some Edible Mushrooms For Cats?
Just like humans, cats can eat some edible mushrooms, but in a small amount. These mushrooms, which are safe for cats to consume, include:
Button mushrooms are low in fiber and protein. So, your cat can easily digest them and does not cause any harm to them.
You can offer some shiitake mushrooms to your pet as they are safe for them. These mushrooms are popular in Asian cuisine and are rich in vitamin B2, also called riboflavin.
This type of mushroom is safe for your cat to consume. Portobello means “large door,” so their caps are large enough to fit a human hand.
Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning in Cats
If your cat has eaten any wild mushroom, it can be potentially harmful to the feline’s health. The symptoms that your pet shows after eating poisonous mushrooms depend on the type of mushroom. In such a situation, you need to observe the following symptoms:
Vomiting and diarrhea within a few hours of consumption are quite alarming, and you need to consult your vet, wasting no more time.
Usually, mild cases aren’t a problem and can resolve themselves in time. However, severe cases lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance in felines.
Some mushroom varieties harm the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to a decrease in heart rate and severe drooling. Besides, we might also observe some gastrointestinal problems.
Neurological effects include instability while walking, tremors, depression, sensitivity to touch or sound, anxiety, and depression. In addition, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.
This symptom of mushroom poisoning is commonly related to the death cap mushroom. Symptoms usually appear after 24 hours of consumption.
These include gastrointestinal problems, low energy, and loss of appetite. Moreover, your feline friend’s skin appears yellow, and their eyes become white.
If these symptoms are not treated on time, liver failure can occur, leading to death.
Treatment For Mushroom Poisoning
After observing any of the above symptoms, the first thing to do is to contact your veterinarian immediately. Also, if possible, collect a sample of the mushroom type which your cat ingested in a moist paper towel.
If your vet visit gets delayed, we recommend you induce vomiting in your pet because there are more chances of liver damage if poison stays in the feline’s stomach for a longer time.
In addition, you should administer orally three percent of hydrogen peroxide to your pet. The dose should be 1 milliliter per pound of body weight. You can see the effect in 10-15 minutes. Your vet may want to give IV fluids or other supportive post-treatment care to better your pet’s health.
What Other Foods Are Safe For Cats?
If you want to give felines some food items other than cat food, here are a few things that you can offer them occasionally in small amounts as a treat:
- Meats like cooked chicken, beef, or turkey
- Cooked eggs
- Cooked or canned fish
- Whole grains such as brown rice
FAQs About Cats Eating Mushrooms
Can Kittens Eat Mushrooms?
No, kittens can’t eat mushrooms. Other than mushrooms, you should not let them eat anything except their traditional kitten food.
Because young kittens are not well developed and have sensitive internal organs, eating things like mushrooms will hurt them. Therefore, you should opt for food that is specifically made for them.
Can Cats Eat Turkey Tail Mushrooms?
The answer is yes; cats can eat turkey tail mushrooms because they are not toxic but healthy for felines. Being medicinal mushrooms, they offer plenty of benefits not only to humans but also to pets.
Maitake, shiitake, and cordyceps are some other medicinal mushrooms. These mushrooms contain proteins, polysaccharides, and glycoproteins that boost the pet’s immunity. They also have anti-cancerous and anti-inflammatory properties.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Mushrooms?
Yes, you can share some of your cooked mushrooms with felines. Cooked mushrooms are perfectly fine for your pet but serve them with no seasoning that can be harmful to them. And just like raw mushrooms, feed your cat plain-cooked mushrooms but in a moderate amount.
Can Cats Eat Mushroom Soup?
Yes, cats can eat mushroom soup, if it is prepared properly and does not contain any kind of bacteria. But make sure to serve it in a moderate amount as an excess of anything is bad.
Can Cats Eat Raw Mushrooms?
Cats can eat raw mushrooms, but make sure that the mushrooms are not kept near meat or dairy products. Your cat’s food might get contaminated and cause harm to felines. Raw foods such as beef or chicken contain Salmonella bacteria that make cats sick.
Can Cats Eat Dried Mushrooms?
Cats can eat dried mushrooms, but they find a hard time digesting such mushrooms. That’s because dried mushrooms are harder than fresh or canned mushrooms. So it’s better to avoid them.
Can Cats Eat Oyster Mushrooms?
Yes, cats can eat oyster mushrooms as they are soft than dried mushrooms. So your pet can easily digest them.
Can Cats Eat Morel Mushrooms?
Cats can eat morel mushrooms but make sure to give them a moderate amount. Because of their nutty flavor, morel mushrooms are used in soups and stews. These mushrooms are also rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, selenium, iron, and fiber.
Can Cats Eat Enoki Mushrooms?
Yes, cats can eat enoki mushrooms. These mushrooms are long and white, having small caps. Enoki mushrooms have a mild flavor and are low in calories. So they do not cause such harm to your pet.
Can Cats Eat Psychedelic Mushrooms?
Cats can eat psychedelic mushrooms, but these mushrooms can cause illness and hallucinations in cats. The reason is that these psychedelic mushrooms have psychoactive compounds which can interfere with felines’ nervous systems.
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