Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

When it comes to our feline friends' diet, cat owners often question which human foods are safe and beneficial for their pets. Potatoes, a common kitchen staple, might catch the interest of a curious cat.

So, can cats eat potatoes? Yes, cats can eat potatoes, but with several important caveats.

Potatoes must be cooked thoroughly to be safe, as raw potatoes contain solanine, a toxin harmful to cats.

However, while potatoes are not toxic to cats once cooked, they offer little nutritional value for them and should only be given occasionally and in small quantities. Let's take a closer look. 

Are Potatoes Good For Cats?

Potatoes are a common staple in human diets, but when it comes to cats, the rules are a bit different. Potatoes are not toxic to cats if they are cooked properly. However, raw potatoes contain solanine, a compound that can be toxic to cats. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure that any potatoes fed to your cat are thoroughly cooked and have had the skins removed to minimize any health risks.

Nutritional Benefits and Risks

While potatoes are a common component in many human meals, their nutritional impact on cats is minimal and potentially problematic. Below are key points outlining both the benefits and risks associated with feeding potatoes to cats:

Nutritional Benefits:

  • Vitamin Supply: Cooked potatoes provide vitamins such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. However, these are not as crucial for cats who naturally derive their necessary nutrients from animal-based sources.
  • Mineral Content: Potatoes contain minerals like potassium, which can support overall health but are not a necessary part of a cat's diet.

Potential Risks:

  • Solanine Toxicity: Raw potatoes contain solanine, a toxin that can be very harmful to cats. Solanine is reduced in cooked potatoes, but the risk highlights the importance of proper preparation.
  • High Carbohydrates: Potatoes are high in carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain and diabetes in cats, especially if they consume them regularly.
  • Digestive Issues: Cats are carnivores, and their digestive systems are not designed to process high amounts of carbohydrates effectively. Feeding cats potatoes can lead to digestive discomfort or other gastrointestinal issues.
  • Nutritional Imbalance: Regular consumption of potatoes can disrupt the nutrient balance in a cat's diet, which should be primarily composed of proteins and fats suitable for a carnivore.

Given these points, while small amounts of cooked, unseasoned potatoes can be safe for cats, they do not provide significant nutritional benefits and carry risks that make them less ideal as a treat or dietary component. Instead, focusing on high-protein, low-carb foods that meet the nutritional needs of cats is advisable.

If you want to give your cat the occasional piece of potato here's how to do so safely:

  1. Cook Thoroughly: Never feed your cat raw potatoes. Always cook potatoes thoroughly to eliminate solanine, which can be harmful.
  2. No Seasonings: Cook potatoes without any added seasonings, butter, or salt. These additions can be harmful to cats.
  3. Small Quantities: Only offer small amounts of potato. A few small bites are enough for a cat and should not replace their regular, balanced diet.
  4. Infrequent Treats: Potatoes should not be a regular part of your cat's diet. Treat them as an occasional treat. 

How Much Potato Should You Feed Your Cat?

Cat Weight Indoor Cat (Amount of Potato) Outdoor Cat (Amount of Potato)
2 kg 1 small cube (1 cm³) 1 small cube (1 cm³)
4 kg 1-2 small cubes (1 cm³ each) 2 small cubes (1 cm³ each)
6 kg 2 small cubes (1 cm³ each) 2-3 small cubes (1 cm³ each)
8 kg 2-3 small cubes (1 cm³ each)

3 small cubes (1 cm³ each)

After feeding your cat potato for the first time you need to monitor them closely to ensure they are not displaying signs of a food allergy or intolerance. 

Can Your Cat Be Allergic To Potatoes?

While it's not common for cats to be allergic to potatoes specifically, cats can indeed develop food allergies, typically to protein sources like chicken, beef, or fish. Potatoes, being a carbohydrate, are less likely to cause an allergic reaction but it's not impossible.

Food allergies in cats can manifest as skin irritations or gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea or vomiting. The development of allergies can occur at any age and might appear even if a cat has been consuming the same food for years without previous issues.

The best way to diagnose a food allergy is through an elimination diet administered, where potentially allergenic foods are removed from the diet and then gradually reintroduced to pinpoint the allergen​ (Great Pet Care)​​. 

However, an elimination diet is time consuming to manage and most importantly can be unpleasant for your cat. That's why we developed our cat food intolerance test. To offer you piece of mind when introducing new foods into your cats diet in a fast and effective way. You can test your cat for intolerances to 300 cat food items and get their results in 3 days. 

Alternatives to Potatoes

Considering the limited nutritional benefit and the risks associated with feeding potatoes to cats, you might consider safer, more suitable treats for your feline. Cooked meats like chicken or turkey are great alternatives, as they provide the protein that cats need without the unnecessary carbohydrates.

In conclusion, while potatoes are not toxic to cats once cooked, they offer minimal nutritional benefits and pose potential health risks if not prepared properly or if fed in large quantities. It is best to keep potatoes as a rare treat and focus on providing a balanced diet tailored to meet the specific nutritional needs of cats. This ensures that your cat enjoys a healthy and balanced diet optimized for their carnivorous needs.