You're having a delicious dinner that includes some form of potato, whether it's mashed, french fried, or otherwise, and your cat has decided to eat a rogue potato that has fallen from your plate to the floor. You're pretty sure the potato is safe, but you ask Google anyway: Are potatoes safe for cats?
The answer depends on the potato your cat has eaten. When it comes to cats eating potatoes, the type of potato and the way they are cooked make all the difference between a happy cat and a sick one.
When are potatoes safe for cats?
Cooked potatoes are safe for cats to eat. However, raw potatoes contain an alkaloid that is toxic to cats called glycoalkaloid solanine. Once a potato has been cooked, the heat destroys the toxins rendering it safe for kitty consumption. So don't worry if your cat has eaten a bit of mashed potato from your plate, but if she has eaten raw potatoes or even potato peel, consult a veterinarian immediately.
While cooked potatoes are safe, they should be served without any seasonings, which can cause digestive issues for your cat. Potatoes prepared for humans are often accompanied by onions or garlic, both of which should never be eaten by a cat.
Garlic belongs to the allium family along with onions, chives, shallots, and leeks. If a high dose of these vegetables are given to cats or dogs, the results could be poisonous. Garlic in particular, is considered to be five times more poisonous to both cats and dogs than onions.
Boiled and steamed potatoes are preferred for cats, as fried potatoes contain too much fat from unhealthy cooking oils. Also, avoid leaving potato chips near your cat. The salt and fat aren't healthy for humans, let alone a much smaller feline.
The other key to serving potatoes to your cat is moderation. Eating too much potato, or any human food for that matter, will lead to weight gain for your car. This can, of course, lead to a myriad of other health issues for your furry friend. A small spoonful of cooked, mashed potato is fine every now and then, but should by no means become a regular staple in your cat's diet.
What about sweet potatoes?
According to the ASPCA, sweet potato is non-toxic to felines. While this may be true, it is still important to be cautious and knowledgeable when feeding any sort of human food to your pet.
Cats do not digest food like we do, and sweet potatoes may irritate their stomach. Unfortunately, cats do not benefit from the nutritional values of sweet potatoes like humans do. In all, a small serving of mashed sweet potatoes may be a nice occasional treat for your cat, but be sure to monitor their behavior in case you see any symptoms of a reaction.
What to do when a cat eats potatoes?
If your cat does ingest some raw potato or you introduced cooked potato, they may have a bad reaction. If your cat is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea, seel veterinarian assistance immediately.
Cooked potatoes are fine to serve to your cat if they are prepared and served properly. We recommend serving cats potatoes that are peeled, thoroughly cooked, and unseasoned.