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Can Cats Eat Tomatoes?

Can Cats Eat Tomatoes?

Can cats eat tomatoes? The simple answer is ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ and there are various factors that are vital in deciding whether they are harmful or healthy for your feline friend. According to Animal Poison Control, your cat can eat ripe red tomatoes in moderation since they are free from toxins, but because of the acidity in tomatoes, they are not good to eat regularly.

Tomato sauce, salads with cherry tomatoes, and different dishes loaded with tomatoes are perfect ways to get healthy nutrients for us, but the same is not true for your carnivore felines. Cats cannot process every food we eat. Some foods are healthy, while others are poisonous for them. Unfortunately, tomatoes lie in both categories.

Read along to know the safe way to give tomatoes to your cat and help them get maximum nutrition out of this veggie.

Are tomatoes a good food for cats?

According to experts, unripe tomatoes are a serious hazard to your cat’s health and these green tomatoes can even disrupt the digestive system of a horse! Red tomatoes, on the other hand, are safe for cats and other pets. Even so, the rule of thumb is to give them only in moderation.

The cat food industry adds tomatoes to its products and many vets and other experts suggest that these cat foods use tomatoes as fillers to give your cat its minimum requirement of dietary fiber. The essential part of their diet is protein and healthy fat, which mostly comes from animal products. Adding tomatoes to the cat bowl every day is a bad idea and will make your cat suffer from diarrhea or vomiting, but in moderation, the nutrients that make them good for humans offer the same benefit to cats:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Minerals

Are tomatoes safe/toxic for cats to eat?

Unripe tomato is toxic for cats, and you should avoid giving it to them at all costs. On the other hand, ripe ones are safe in moderate quantities. However, the plant itself is highly unsafe, according to experts. These plants produce toxic alkaloids, and when a cat eats the leaves or stem, digestive disruption happens resulting in gut flora imbalance and other issues, based on the quantity of the plant the cat has consumed. Tomato plant poisoning is a serious thing, and even if you successfully save your cat from death, the side effects will hamper the quality of life of your favorite fur-ball.

Ripe and cooked tomatoes are safer in every way for your cat, but you should add no spice, sugar, or herb to the dish. You cannot offer your cat any dish you have cooked for yourself. Salt and some herbs are poisonous to your cat and could claim their life if you cannot take corrective measures in time.

Are there any side effects of feeding cat tomatoes?

Although commercial cat food contains tomatoes, it will not cause significant side effects. The cat food companies use red tomatoes as fillers in small quantities. Even if you avoid green tomatoes, giving your cat too many ripe tomatoes can still cause metabolic issues or GI imbalance. The side effects associated with your cat eating tomatoes are:

  • GI issues
  • Gut flora imbalance
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Kidney issues
  • No control over urine

Are tomatoes toxic for cats, and do they cause problems? It is not a tough question to answer, as it depends on the general health of your cat, its type, and the amount of tomato your cat has eaten. To be safe, try to avoid giving this food to your cat.

How many tomatoes can a cat eat?

How many is not the real question, how many grams of tomato a cat can eat is more accurate. The cat should not eat over 100 to 150 grams of ripe red tomatoes and these should preferably be cooked, with no added ingredients or seasonings.

Giving your cat green or unripe tomato is not a wise thing at all. This could lead to tomato poisoning, diarrhea, or vomiting. If your cat is suffering from a pre-existing medical condition, things could become worse with dehydration or low blood sugar level affecting the cat’s vital organs and potentially leading to death.

What are the risks of feeding cats tomatoes?

Ripened fruit from a tomato plant is not an issue, and cats can easily eat these ripe tomatoes, but the green fruit and other parts of the tomato plant can make your cat sick. All the green parts of the plant contain solanine, a toxin present in all plants in this family. It can cause tomato poisoning, and your cat will be at risk of terminal damage to the vital organs. If you are late in taking your cat to the vet in this condition, the result will be a painful death of your cat.

Other risks associated with feeding your cat tomato include:

  • Obesity
  • GI issues
  • Kidney problems
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney stones

Can kittens eat tomatoes?

Kittens can eat only ripe tomatoes, but you shouldn’t force them to do so. Kittens have a sensitive digestive system, and before they are weaned, anything solid can kill them within a matter of hours. Tomatoes are soft, but they are hard on their digestive system, especially when there are seeds. Tomato poisoning is not the only thing that worries cat owners. You never know if your cat is allergic to tomatoes before giving this treat. All foods from the nightshade family are dangerous for kittens.

As a cat owner, you must take corrective measures to care for the cat’s health. If a kitten eats leaves of the tomato plant, the poisoning will kill her within a day. Avoid giving them even ripe tomatoes because excessive vitamin C and sugar will later affect their quality of life.

Tomatoes nutrition benefits for cats

When the fruit ripens, the most hazardous elements for cats are discarded and it becomes safe for them to eat, but that doesn’t mean it can be an essential part of a cat’s diet. Your feline friend shouldn’t eat any of the green parts of the tomato plant at any cost. Pet owners don’t need to consider ripe tomatoes as bad, but they must keep the quantity in a smaller amount.

Tomatoes offer the following nutritional benefits for your feline buddy:

  1. Vitamin C keeps your cat safe from skin diseases like scurvy.
  2. Dietary fiber helps in the food motility in their digestive system.
  3. Potassium helps in absorbing vitamins and minerals from other foods as well.
  4. Magnesium helps the body to secrete different enzymes to live a happy and healthy life.

How should tomatoes be served to your cat?

According to vets, avoid giving tomatoes to a cat suffering from diabetes, kidney problem, or heart condition. When you have a healthy young cat, you can give her tomatoes. The best approach is to offer this in cooked form. When you cook ripe tomatoes, you can fortify their food with them. Red tomatoes as a treat are also good for your cat’s health. Avoid giving green tomatoes to them as they are full of toxins and will affect your cat’s health by prolonged GI imbalance, diarrhea, or vomiting. Cooked ripe tomatoes are also not healthy for your cat, and vets don’t recommend this either.

What about tomatoes tops or leaves?

Tomato tops or leaves contain solanine, and the smallest amount of this toxin is enough to claim the life of your cat within a matter of a week. If kittens eat tomato leaves in any quantity, they will die within two days. When you want to cook tomatoes or offer them to your cat raw, always remove tomato tops and leaves to save them from solanine poisoning.

Can cats eat tomato soup?

Cats can eat tomato soup if it is free from any additional ingredients. Tomato soup is a healthy and tasty treat for humans in winter. This popular dish is loaded with nutritional benefits for humans. Your cat can also take a couple of sips of this food if there is no sugar, salt, or other spices. Various herbs are poisonous to your cat. If you want to give your cat tomato soup, you must make it specially for them with no other added ingredients.

Can cats eat tomato ketchup?

Tomato ketchup is loaded with preservatives, spices, and sugar. Sugar and spices are the arch-enemies of your cat. Preservatives will reduce your cat’s life expectancy by a minimum of 4 to 5 years. You like to add ketchup to different foods to add taste, but your cat doesn’t have these taste buds so they will not notice it missing and adding ketchup to their food will bring them harm.

Can cats eat tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce is a big no for your cat, and you must avoid giving it to your cat. Store-bought tomato sauce isn’t a good option for your kitty and even homemade is not free from additives. There is a simple rule for the foods you want to offer your cat: you cannot add sugar, salt, spices, or herbs to it. Though some herbs are safe to eat for your cat, you must consult your vet before giving anything new to your feline friend. The new food could be problematic for your cat, and tomatoes are no exception.

Alternative healthy snacks

Cats are obligate carnivores, and they need different food than humans and herbivores. A cat needs good healthy protein and good fat from animals. They can eat a couple of veggies, which they do in the wild. You might already have seen cats eating grass from the lawn. Fresh grass is a natural remedy against an upset stomach, but that doesn’t mean they can or should eat grass daily.

The main part of their diet must be protein and fat from animal products. You can add any of the following in their diet occasionally only.

These foods are safe, but they shouldn’t contribute more than 2 to 5% of their daily food intake. Cats do not need sugar and carbohydrates for their digestive system. These foods contain loads of these and make your cat fat and lethargic.

Final Thoughts

  1. Cats can eat red tomatoes, but only in a limited amount
  2. Green tomatoes are hazardous for their digestive system
  3. You should avoid giving kittens red tomatoes
  4. Tomato plant and leaves contain poisonous ingredients for your cat
  5. If the cat is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, because of eating tomatoes, consult your vet at once

FAQs for cats eating tomatoes

Is tomato sauce a good way to feed tomatoes to the cat?

No, it is not a good way to feed cats tomatoes. Commercial products are loaded with preservatives, and almost all the human-friendly preservatives are poisonous to cats. Store-bought tomato sauce is a big no for cats, and the sauce you make at home also contains salt and spices which are poisonous to them.

What other fruits and vegetables can cats eat?

Cats can eat different fruits and vegetables, such as:

Do tomatoes cause obesity in cats?

Cats do not need sugar and carbohydrates in large amounts. If you give tomatoes to your cat, you are giving them a sugar-loaded treat that will increase their weight and make them suffer from obesity.

Do tomatoes cause digestive issues in cats?

If you think cats can eat tomatoes regularly without damaging their digestive system, no, they cannot. To keep them safe and healthy, you must give tomatoes only in moderation.