Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Raw sweet potatoes on wooden kitchen board top view. Organic food.
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Sweet potatoes are a healthy food filled with crucial vitamins and nutrients for us humans. Whether we eat them plain or throw some marshmallows on top, sweet potatoes serve as a health staple as well as a tasty, holiday treat. Sweet potatoes are great for dogs, but are they good our feline friends? Here is everything you need to know about cats and sweet potatoes.

What's the verdict?

Cats are obligated carnivores, which means they require meat-based diets, but this doesn't mean they can't enjoy an occasional vegetable. As long as a sweet potato is unseasoned and has been cooked — boiled, baked, or steamed — it is safe for cats to eat.

Raw vs. Cooked

Some pet owners let their cats indulge in the occasional slice of raw meat. As obligate carnivores, cats have a history of hunting their prey and consuming it raw. Does this apply to other foods as well? Can cats eat raw sweet potatoes? Like humans, cats should never eat raw sweet potatoes or any kind of raw potato. Raw potatoes are toxic to cats and will cause extreme damage to their digestive system. If you're going to feed your cat sweet potato, make sure it is cooked, unseasoned and provided in small amounts.

Cat showing tongue
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Does sweet potato cause or cure digestive issues?

High concentrations of cooked sweet potato can cause digestive problems for your cat like diarrhea and vomiting. In extreme cases, too much sweet potato can also lead to obesity.

Because of the fiber found in sweet potatoes, however, small, bite-size pieces can actually help your cat with the occasional constipation. Consult with a veterinarian before providing your cat with any home remedies.

Homemade Sweet Potato Casserole
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Can kitty have a marshmallow?

Humans often spruce up their sweet potatoes by baking them in yummy, sugary pies or topping them with cinnamon and marshmallows. Although these recipes make for quite the human delight, the added toppings are not safe for your cat. The sugar content is entirely too high for your cat's small body. Savory recipes may include ingredients that are downright toxic for your cat like onions or garlic. Any sweet potato fed to your cat must be completely unseasoned.

Sweet potato put on ground
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Are potato vines poisonous?

That's right. If you grow sweet potatoes in a garden, make sure to keep your cat away from the sweet potato vines (or any potato vine). There is debate as to whether or not these vines are indeed toxic to cats, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Potato vines could potentially poison your cat if ingested and lead to hallucinations and diarrhea.

Conclusion

Make sure your cat never eats raw sweet potatoes or sweet potato vines. These are potentially toxic and are sure to cause tummy troubles. If your cat consumes raw sweet potatoes or vines, consult your veterinarian immediately for further instruction.

It is not toxic for your cat to consume a small, bite-size piece of cooked sweet potato that was broiled or baked. Make sure the sweet potato is fresh and completely unseasoned.

Sweet potatoes are not necessary for your cat and can cause digestive problems (but small amounts here and there should not hurt). As always, use discretion and speak with your cat's veterinarian if problems arise.