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Can Cats Eat Ketchup? Everything A Responsible Cat Owner Should Know

Can Cats Eat Ketchup? Everything A Responsible Cat Owner Should Know

Ketchup has become an important table condiment, especially when the combination includes some fried or greasy dishes like French fries, hamburgers and hot dogs. Many of us like this sweet and acidic taste, but there appears to be a dilemma to cat owners who’restill trying to figure out “Can cats eat ketchup?”

Although a few licks of ketchup likely won’t hurt your cat, you should watch out because ketchup is full of spices and seasonings that aren’t good for your pet. Cats are delicate and their bodies aren’t made the same way as humans’.

While we find pleasure in many sorts of culinary sauces, condiments, and spices that add flavor to our food, the case is different for our little animal friends. 

Therefore, any leftovers coated with ketchup should be under your supervision because it contains a lot of ingredients that could be potentially harmful to your kitty.

Why is ketchup bad for cats?

The main reason your feline companion should avoid ketchup is because of its ingredients. Tomato ketchup contains ingredients such as tomato, garlic, onion, vinegar, sugar, salt, and many others that won’t make your cat any healthier! 

Even though tomatoes are healthy for humans and rich in vitamins and fiber, it’s not the case for cats. Sure, your feline companion needs these nutrients, but not from tomatoes! There are high-quality foods for felines that contain fiber and vitamins essential to your cat’s diet. So, there’s no need for your furbaby to try and fulfill these needs by eating tomatoes or ketchup!

If you’re looking for a short answer to your question of “Can cats eat ketchup,” sadly, the answer is no. While a few licks of it doesn’t pose any serious threat to your pet’s health, larger quantities of ketchup could seriously hurt your kitty. And here’s why.

Other ingredients in ketchup

Can Cats Eat Ketchup? Everything A Responsible Cat Owner Should Know

Because ketchup is so widespread as a condiment to dishes that we’ve been eating since childhood, humans often ignore the product info on the back of the bottle. Having a cat might make you think differently because some items on the ingredients list could be your kitten’s enemies.

Humans are used to consuming a variety of foods, spices, and seasonings, whether they are sweet, spicy, or sour. Cats on the other hand are not and could be in danger of something that poses no threat to us.

1. Garlic and onion

Some of the ingredients hazardous to our four-legged family members include garlic. While garlic is common in the human diet, it’s a no-no for kitties. Garlic contains certain compounds that are toxic to cats and can cause damage to red blood cells.

Even though garlic is five times as potent as onions, onions are still an ingredient you should be wary of. It can also cause major health issues for your cat because it also damages red blood cells and leads to different types of anemia.

We can conclude that garlic and onion are a potential health hazard to your cat in any form, whether it be powdered, cooked, raw, you name it – your kitty is better off without them.

2. Vinegar

Vinegar isn’t really appealing to our nose, so we can be sure that the smell isn’t our cat’s favorite either. It has a high acetic acid content and while it may be useful to humans in regulating blood sugar levels, it’s not the best choice for our cats.

Some cats can be allergic to vinegar and that could cause rashes on their tender skin. Other than that, vinegar, being high in acids, can cause damage to your cat’s digestive system. Vinegar is one of the main reasons the answer is no to the question of whether cats can eat ketchup.

3. Sugar

Another ingredient commonly found in ketchup is sugar. While humans may have a sweet tooth, cats don’t. Cats are unable to taste sugar or other sweet foods in general because they lack the taste buds that allow humans to taste sweetness.

Although sugar shouldn’t pose a serious threat to your feline’s health, it shouldn’t be a part of her diet. Sugar may not be as harmful to her as garlic and onion are, but you should still look out because it can cause damage in the long run.

Sugar intake can cause consequences to your cat’s health such as obesity, diabetes, and tooth problems. Therefore, you should avoid giving sugar to your cat, although not poisonous, it doesn’t do your furchild any favors.

4. Salt

Salt is on the opposite side of the taste spectrum to sugar, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe for your beloved pet. Essentially, salt is sodium chloride and while perfectly safe for humans, it can be dangerous for cats. Humans use salt in the kitchen every day and what other place do cats love to be in more than where food is prepared?

The same goes for ketchup because of its high salt content. The amount of salt in ketchup can be around 150 milligrams per tablespoon. Taking into account that even one teaspoon of salt is poisonous to your kitty, doing the math has got us worried!

Salt intake can make your beloved pet very uncomfortable and sick. It can also result in diarrhea, vomiting, or extreme thirst. Just as with humans, cats are individuals, so what works for one cat may not work for another. While one cat may have these milder symptoms, salt can cause more severe symptoms for other cats such as seizures or even a coma!

Why can’t cats eat ketchup?

Can Cats Eat Ketchup? Everything A Responsible Cat Owner Should Know

Cat domestication has made our fluffy companions dependent on us and therefore, we must take proper care of them in return for all the love they give us.

We need to understand that before domestication, cats survived off of killing smaller prey. Even nowadays, we tend to find some small “presents” at our doorstep. 

These presents allude that our furkids are wired to hunt and kill, which leads to the conclusion that cats are primarily carnivores. And if you’re still wondering what this means and how it’s related to why cats can’t eat ketchup, here is the explanation.

Cats are carnivores, which means they have a specific digestive system that is simply just not built for eating plant-based foods. Cats can’t get the needed nutrients and energy from eating plants or vegetables, and this is one of the reasons cats can’t eat ketchup.

Meat is their primary food choice because of their physique as well. Their teeth aren’t made for chewing down on grass or tomatoes for that matter. If you want your kitty to thrive, you should stick to its usual meaty diet and skip ketchup and other foods not intended for cats. Especially those that are harmful to your pet.

When can cats eat ketchup?

We all know that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to be a responsible cat owner. Being the sneaky little creatures they are, these little purrers can sometimes give us a hard time. 

Oftentimes we can find them doing stuff they are not supposed to and this includes counter surfing. As it’s bad for our kitchen where mess is inevitable, counter surfing is also bad for kitties because they can ingest some food without us knowing.

Let’s say you have pizza leftovers on your counter. While salami can be attractive to your cat’s nose, a bit of ketchup or tomato sauce is present as well. This doesn’t mean there is instant cause for panic because tiny amounts won’t likely harm your pet, but still, it’s not the best thing to eat.

We can say that your cat may be caught red-handed in eating ketchup, but we hope it doesn’t happen too often. Due to the above-mentioned reasons, we can conclude that your cat can eat a bit of ketchup without any real threat to her health. But bear in mind that larger amounts can be harmful and it’s definitely not recommended.

Ketchup or tomato sauce?

Have you ever wondered if there’s any difference between ketchup and tomato sauce?

Yes, there is. But not enough for your cat to taste it. 

Although tomato sauce is usually made without spices unlike ketchup, it’s still made of tomatoes, right? That means it’s still not the safest thing to feed your cat. Tomato sauce also contains meat and vegetable broth, which your pet might find delicious. But, it also has other ingredients such as oil. 

While oil doesn’t pose a potential threat to your feline friend, it’s not something to recommend. Oil consumption can easily lead to stomach ache, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Just like humans, consuming too much fat, including oil, isn’t good for your pets because it can cause mild gastrointestinal problems in cats.

It’s not just tomato sauce and ketchup you should be wary of. We know this might sound terrifying and it may seem that ketchup is all around us! Other types of sauces such as barbecue sauce are also not the best option for your kitten.

You should never leave any food with BBQ sauce unattended because those sneaky little paws could easily pilfer your lunch. Even though it may appear that cats enjoy the taste of barbecue food and sauce, the reality is different.

Barbecue sauce contains similar ingredients as tomato sauce and ketchup, and is equally as harmful to your pet. It can leave her with potentially serious digestive problems that can result in dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea.

These symptoms are certainly not welcomed and reinforce the negative answer to whether cats can and should eat ketchup. While these symptoms may occur as a result of a smaller intake of barbecue sauce, if your kitty can’t hold her horses, it might get even worse than a case of belly ache.

Can Cats Eat Ketchup? Everything A Responsible Cat Owner Should Know

Is tomato soup safe for my cat?

Well, there might be some slight disagreement between cats and tomato soup because tomato soup demands certain ingredients that cats aren’t fond of.

Unfortunately, tomato soup is not good for your feline because it contains onions, olive oil, tomatoes, and salt, which are all known to cause them health problems. 

Needless to say, it’s best to avoid tomato soup as it can lead to digestive problems. Also, due to the presence of onion in tomato soup, it can be very toxic for your pet.

Can cats eat sardines in tomato sauce?

Just like milk, all cats are expected to show interest and have a liking towards sardines. But again, just like milk, not all cats will actually feel that way about them.

However, if your cat is happy and curious every time you open a can of sardines, don’t worry because they’re perfectly safe for your pet.

Sardines are fish that are rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins that are nutritious for your four-legged-companion and can benefit her health in many ways.

Yet, have you ever witnessed a feral cat fishing for food in the river? No, because that is not their main source of food. Of course, sardines are delicious and a great source of energy, but because meat is their first choice, you shouldn’t be feeding your cat sardines every day. 

The recommended fish intake is a couple of times a week, perhaps two to three times. While sardines can be a treat for your kitty, sardines in tomato sauce are something else. 

While tomatoes are not toxic for your cat, the ingredients in the sauce might be if the sauce includes onions and garlic, as well as chili. These ingredients are known to be very poisonous to your feline and it’s best if you avoid them.

In conclusion, your pet will be thankful for the plain sardines, no sauces added whatsoever.

What if my cat already ate ketchup?

If there’s a case where your fluffball can’t resist stealing a bite of pizza, you don’t need to panic. But you should look out for any potential signs of distress. 

If your cat is having stomach problems because has eaten ketchup, you should expect vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. These are the common symptoms that are a result of gastrointestinal irritation. If these symptoms occur, we highly recommend taking your kitty to your vet’s office!

We know how expensive vet visits can be and how stressful it is for our furry companions to be taken away from their cozy home for a couple of shots. So, let’s try to avoid that situation by monitoring your kitty’s diet closely, fulfilling her nutritional needs, and staying away from ketchup.

Make sure to enjoy some cuddles with your kitty while snacking on some pizza, all while keeping in mind what you’ve learned today. Cats can’t and shouldn’t eat ketchup.

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