Can cats eat sweet potatoes?
Can Cats Eat Sweet Potato? (Raw, Cooked; Toxic or Not?)
If sweet potato is one of your family’s favorite side dishes, you may have found yourself wondering can cats eat sweet potato? The short answer is sweet potato is safe for cats, however cats don’t digest sweet potatoes well which can lead to problems. Read on to find out what to watch out for when feeding sweet potato to cats.
Can Cats Eat Sweet Potato Raw?
Cats are by nature carnivorous. This means that most of their diet consists of meat or by products of meat. Some commercial cat foods may contain other vegetable based ingredients. Do not feed cats raw sweet potatoes or any kind of raw potatoes. Just like with people, raw potatoes are highly toxic and will wreak havoc on your cat’s digestive system.
Can Cats Eat Sweet Potato Cooked?
Cats are typically intolerant of sweet potatoes in any form, including cooked. One bite or two of mashed sweet potatoes won’t kill your cat but if cats eat sweet potatoes regularly, it can lead to digestive issues, obesity and other problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. Cats can eat regular Idaho or russet potatoes if they are mashed, boiled, or baked. Some pet owners even choose to add a spoonful of mashed potatoes mixed in with their cat’s dry food on occasion as a boost of fiber and protein.
Can Sweet Potato Make Cats Sick?
As we said one or two bites of cooked sweet potato on special occasions isn’t harmful to your cat by itself. But keep in mind that cooked sweet potatoes are frequently combined with added ingredients like brown sugar, butter, nutmeg. Some of these added ingredients can be problematic for a cat’s digestive system. If you notice your cat exhibiting symptoms of toxicity including vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, or erratic behavior seek assistance from a veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Can Cats Eat Sweet Potato Vines?
If you’re garden includes potatoes or sweet potatoes, you’ll want to make sure your kitten or cat steers clear of the vines. Potato vines and their leaves are highly toxic for cats. I found mixed advice concerning the toxicity of sweet potato vines for cats and other animals. Symptoms of potato vine poisoning include hallucinations and diarrhea. In my opinion, it’s just not worth taking the chance so keep your cat away from any kind of potato vines.
Overall Verdict for Whether Cats Can Eat Sweet Potatoes
The best advice is to never let your cat eat raw potatoes of any kind and to think twice before you decide to share your sweet potatoes with your cat. Although you may enjoy the gratitude they show you when they get a taste of delicious sweet potato, it could be short-lived if they later experience problems. Share regular potatoes sparingly with your cat and only if you’re sure they weren’t mixed with other ingredients.
Watch them carefully for any signs of distress after eating potatoes and seek assistance of a veterinarian as soon as possible if you suspect your cat has eaten potato vines.
Survey Results: Which Human Foods Do Veterinary Professionals Feed Their Cats?
Cats might not be known to beg as much as their canine counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they never snag a special «people food» treat from their owners. And why not? Some human foods are actually good for our kitties. (Just make sure you’ve got the all clear from your vet that the snack you’re offering isn’t unsafe for cats.)
Veterinary professionals also occasionally share their food with their cats. In a recent Vetstreet survey, 153 cat-owning veterinary professionals (including veterinarians, vet techs and office managers) revealed which foods they let their cats eat. They chose from 22 foods in five categories: Fruits, Veggies, Meats, Dairy/Other Protein and Junk Food. See how their answers compare to yours below!
The Top of the List
There were two foods that received far more votes than any others on the list, with 55 percent of respondents saying they let their cats eat chicken, and 50 percent saying fish/seafood is allowed. After that, the numbers fell somewhat dramatically. Interestingly, milk — often considered a common treat for cats — didn’t even make the top five (although there’s a good reason for that). And are we the only ones surprised by the fact that fish/seafood wasn’t No. 1? Tuna, anyone?
We didn’t ask for clarification on why these veterinary professionals allowed their cats to eat some foods more than others, so there are many possible explanations for why, say, chicken ranked higher than beef. It could be that the respondents themselves were more likely to eat chicken and, therefore, share it with their cats, or maybe it’s because it’s easy to prepare chicken in a way that’s fairly bland and safe for cats.
How the Categories Stack Up
Given that the top five foods were from just two categories, it’s not surprising that those two categories ranked the highest overall. To determine the category rank, we averaged the «yes» percentages of all the foods in each category. No. 1 was Meats (chicken, beef, pork, fish/seafood) with a 37 percent «yes» average. Dairy/Other Protein (cheese, peanut butter, eggs, yogurt, milk) had the next highest percentage with 20 percent.
However, there were some surprises to be had! Junk Food (chips, pizza, ice cream, cookies) had a 10 percent «yes» average, which was more than Veggies (carrots, green beans, sweet potato, broccoli) with 5 percent or Fruits (apples, bananas, berries, melon) with just 4 percent.
The Bottom of the List
Ten of the 11 least commonly allowed foods all came from the bottom three categories: Fruits, Veggies and Junk Food.
Eating Like Cats and Dogs
We also asked veterinary professionals about what human foods they fed their dogs. The food lists we offered were not identical: Dogs had five extra foods on theirs (zucchini, French fries, peas, oranges and nuts), and cats were the only ones with milk and melon on their list. But the remaining options were the same for both. A few foods were popular among both species: Chicken, cheese and beef made the top seven for cats and dogs. But there were some notable exceptions: Fish/seafood ranked No. 2 for cats but No. 19 (almost at the bottom) for dogs. Peanut butter, which came in at an impressive No. 4 for canines, didn’t fare so well with the felines — it ranked in the bottom half of the chart at No. 12.
Do you feed your cat any of the foods on this list? Let us know in the comments below.
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