Are Cats Allowed to Eat Tomatoes?
We all love our furry companions, and want to ensure that they live long and healthy lives.
Most cat owners have experienced their cat sniffing at their dinner plate, hoping to get a taste.
As a result, many owners wonder what foods are safe for cats.
Tomatoes are one of those foods that humans adore, and they are also full of rich vitamins and minerals.
Understandably, a common question many cat owners ask is whether or not cats can safely eat tomatoes.
While tomatoes are beneficial to humans, they are not recommended for cats. Tomato leaves and stems contain a substance known as solanine, which can be toxic to cats and some other animals. However, small quantities of tomatoes are safe for cats.
In this article, we’re going to look closely about the benefits of giving tomatoes to your cats, as well as what to avoid.
If you’re curious about what parts of a tomato your cat can safely ingest, as well as how often you can safely give your cat tomatoes, read on!
What Happens If My Cat Eats Tomatoes?
Tomatoes are very beneficial to humans, but are they beneficial, or even safe, for cats?
Unlike humans, cats are carnivores, meaning they get all the nutrients they need from meat.
As a result, cats don’t really need to eat any plant-based foods. However, that doesn’t mean some fruits and vegetables can’t be beneficial.
If your cat eats some tomato, a few things can happen. Tomatoes are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, all of which are nutritious to cats.
However, tomatoes are also acidic, which can cause some gastro-intestinal distress on your poor cat.
It is best if you don’t give your cat tomatoes at all.
Furthermore, while tomatoes do contain some nutrients, they aren’t as nutritionally dense as other fruits and vegetables, such as spinach or blueberries, which are far better for your cat.
A cat that is perfectly healthy should have no issue digesting a tomato, but if your cat suffers from health complications, you should avoid this food altogether.
The green part of the plant is dangerous for them though, so it is a very fine line you must walk if you want to risk it!
If your cat is prone to stomach issues or is sensitive to a lot of foods, you should not feed your cat tomatoes.
When Is Tomato Safe for Cats to Eat?
A ripe tomato is safe for cats to eat, so long as the cat does not suffer from other health problems. However, tomatoes that are unripe are dangerous, because they are potentially toxic to cats.
Green tomatoes that aren’t ripe are the thing that is really dangerous to cats as it is then when they are toxic to them.
Cats tend to not like to eat green tomatoes anyway so they won’t be wrestling you trying to get some, but I would rather not risk it at all, when it comes to cats and tomatoes.
It is not worth it trying to give your cat some food if there is even the slightest chance it might be bad for them.
Give them something else instead and just don’t give them tomatoes if you can help it, they need meat and protein foods.
Furthermore, you should never allow your cat to eat the stems or leaves of a tomato or a tomato plant. These parts of the plant contain solanine, which is poisonous to cats, dogs, and other animals.(1.)
If your cat happens to ingest enough of a tomato plant’s leaves or stem, or an unripe tomato, it will likely start displaying symptoms of poisoning.
Common symptoms include dilated pupils, vomiting, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite. If you have tomato plants in your garden, make sure your cat is never allowed near them.
If your cat happens to be exposed to an unripe tomato or its plant, keep a careful eye on it until you are sure your cat has not been poisoned.
If your cat does begin to display symptoms of poisoning, take it to the vet right away for treatment.
In general, it is safe to give your cat the ripe fruit of a tomato, and it can be fed either cooked or raw.
If you feed your cat a ripe tomato, however, and it begins to display symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting, it is likely your cat is allergic to tomatoes.
If you suspect your cat might be allergic to tomatoes, you should, of course, avoid feeding your cat this food altogether.
Do Cats Like Tomatoes?
Thankfully, the most dangerous parts of a tomato (the leaves, the stems, and the unripe fruit) are unlikely to be ingested by your cat.
They usually are uninterested or even actively dislike these parts of the plant, and most cats will leave them alone altogether.
Still, it is important to remember that cats are curious creatures, and you should never leave your cat alone around the dangerous parts of a tomato plant.
While cats are usually disinterested in unripe tomatoes, many enjoy eating ripe tomatoes.
However, cats are usually picky eaters.
The way many cats determine whether or not they would like to eat a certain food is through smell. If your cat does not find the scent of a tomato appealing, it is unlikely they will eat it.
What Types of Tomatoes Can Cats Eat?
Cats can eat any kind of tomato, so long as they are ripe and have been thoroughly washed.
Keep an eye out for small tomatoes, which can be choking hazards if you aren’t careful.
How Much Tomato Can I Give to My Cat?
While it is safe to give your cat tomatoes in small amounts, you should not feed your cat large quantities of tomato.
Half a tomato every so often is perfectly safe for cats.
You should not be feeding your cat tomato every day, as they don’t really have many benefits, and the acidity can cause some gastro-intestinal problems.
You can give your cat tomato that is ripe or cooked, and you can even turn it into a paste or a sauce, although we will take a closer look at what kind of sauces are safe for cats in a bit.
Before you give your cat tomato, however, make sure every part of the stem has been removed, and wash the tomato very well.
Can Cats Eat Tomato Sauce?
While cats can safely eat ripe tomatoes, tomato sauce is not at all safe to give to cats.
Actually, the reason tomato sauce is unsafe for cats has nothing to do with the tomatoes themselves; it’s all about the other ingredients
Tomato sauce contains large amounts of salt, which is not healthy for cats.
Tomato sauces also contain large amounts of preservatives, chemicals, and other ingredients which are potentially unhealthy or even dangerous for cats.
The same can be said for any other tomato product you might find at the store.
Ketchup, tomato soup, and tomato juice are all unsafe to feed to your cat. If you want to feed your cat tomato, you should only feed it a tomato that you have prepared yourself.
Of course, if you would like, you can cook a ripe tomato into a paste or sauce to feed to your cat, so long as you don’t add any other ingredients like salt, garlic, onions, or other unsafe ingredients.
Why Do Some Cat Foods Contain Tomatoes?
While reading the ingredients of your cat’s food, you may have noticed that it contains tomatoes.
While tomatoes do contain small amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, cat food companies don’t actually use tomatoes because of these benefits.
Rather, tomato is usually included as a cheap filler ingredient.
If you have noticed that the cat food you buy contains tomatoes, it might be time to get a new cat food.
Tomato is a common ingredient found in low quality cat foods, which means it likely does not contain as many nutrients as your cat should be eating.
Instead, you should gradually switch to a high quality cat food to ensure your cat is as healthy as possible.
Also read: can cats eat bananas?
What Are Some Good Alternatives to Tomatoes?
As we mentioned earlier, while tomatoes do contain some nutrients, they really aren’t that beneficial to cats.
The main benefits that can be found in tomatoes are potassium, fiber, and vitamin C.
However, tomatoes do not contain large quantities of these nutrients, and the negatives seem to outweigh the benefits in most cases.
As a result, you’re better off finding healthier alternatives to help your cat get the same nutrients.
If you would like to give your cat more fiber in its diet, consider feeding your cat pumpkin instead. This is a common food used to boost fiber in your cat’s diet, and this can help with constipation.
Spinach is a great food that is high in vitamin C, and it also contains vitamins A and K, as well!
Some other vegetables that are safe and beneficial for cats include celery, zucchini, broccoli, peas, and green bell peppers.
These are all great foods to help supplement your cats diet, and they are both safer and more beneficial than tomatoes.
However, you should also be wary of foods that are even more dangerous than tomatoes.
Grapes and raisins, citrus, onions, garlic, chocolate, and many other foods are incredibly toxic to cats. Always do plenty of research before giving your cat any human food.
We all want what is best for our cats, which is why it is crucial to learn which foods are safe for them to eat.
Many curious cats will sniff and beg for human food, which can make it tempting to give them whatever they want! However, not all foods are safe for cats.
Tomatoes can offer some benefits to cats, and some cats might even find them to be tasty.
However, you should only ever feed your cat the ripe fruit of a tomato, and avoid giving it any part of the tomato plant, stem, or leaves.
Finally, you should only feed your cat a little tomato every so often as a treat.
Also read: What breed are black cats?