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Can Cats Drink Soy Sauce? What You Need to Know!

Sophie Herlihy

By Sophie Herlihy

Dish of soy sauce on the wooden table

We, humans, have an incredibly varied diet. We get to eat foods of all kinds, flavors, and textures that stimulate our senses in a new way. On the flip side, our cats eat some pretty basic food. It’s common for pet owners to want to share their “people food” with their cats to offer them some variety, but it’s not always the best idea.

Today, the question is can cats drink soy sauce?

Soy sauce is not toxic to cats, and a very tiny amount won’t harm them, but any significant amount can be extremely harmful to your cat. The main risk is that soy sauce is very high in sodium, which can disrupt the delicate balance of salts in your cat’s body.

Furthermore, there are some other risks from your cat consuming soy sauce. We’ll go over all these risks and answer a few related questions that may be burning in your mind.

Risks of Your Cat Drinking Soy Sauce

british short hair cat eating
Image By: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock

Sodium Poisoning & Dehydration

Soy sauce is extremely high in sodium. Just one tablespoon can contain around 900mg. Cats only need a little bit of sodium, which is present in commercial diets. Anything over 790g is considered over the maximum safe limit. This number is much higher than needed but it is the safe upper limit; any excess sodium will be excreted in the urine. By these numbers, even a tablespoon of soy sauce could cause harm to your cat.

Sodium poisoning occurs from sodium ions drawing out moisture from cells, resulting in dehydration; severe cases may even cause kidney failure.

Other sodium risks for cats for you to be aware of include:
  • Salt lamps
  • Saltwater
  • Baking soda
  • Playdough
  • De-icing salts
  • Bath salts
  • Table salt


Regular brands of soy sauce are reasonably limited in ingredients, and the main ingredients are soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. The fermentation process of the soybeans and wheat creates the distinctive flavor of soy sauce.

Both soy and wheat are behind animal proteins as common food allergies. Both wheat and soy are often found in many commercially produced cat diets, and they make for cheap and dense “filler ingredients” added to bulk up a diet.

Because cats on these diets are continuously exposed to these compounds, they are at higher risk of developing a food allergy in response to them. In these cases, cats who consume soy sauce may suffer from unsettled gastrointestinal irritation, which may cause vomiting and diarrhea.

My Cat Ate Soy Sauce, What Should I Do?

veterinarian feeds the cat using a syringe
Image Credit: frantic00, Shutterstock

A slight lick of soy sauce is not going to do a great deal of harm to your cat. But if your cat has consumed a large amount of soy sauce, you may be feeling a great deal of concern.

If you are worried about your cat’s health, your first action should be to call your veterinarian for advice. Monitor your cat closely for any signs of illness, including:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

These are general symptoms of illness, not an exhaustive list. You know your cat better than anyone, so you will be able to tell if something is not right. Trust your best judgment and get help as soon as you think you need it.

As you monitor your cat, ensure they have access to plenty of fresh, clean drinking water. In the future, ensure that your food, including soy sauce, is not accessible to your cat. Don’t leave food out on the counter, and ensure all ingredients are secured.

Do Cats Like Soy Sauce?

Each cat has individual preferences. One cat may turn their nose up at soy sauce, while another might be highly attracted to it and attempt to drink as much as they can. Naturally, cats are drawn to salty things.

Unlike omnivorous dogs, cats are complete carnivores. Cats associate saltiness and savory flavors with food sauces; as such salty foods may be very appealing, even if they are bad for them! This is thought to be why our cats like to lick us after sweating or crying; they enjoy the salty taste.

Cats are social animals, and if left to be wild, they congregate in groups. Your cat at home sees you as part of their pack, and as such, it tends to be curious about what you are eating. They see you as another (enormous) cat, like them, and think whatever you’re consuming must be safe.

Final Thoughts

It’s tempting to want to share the foods that we eat with our cats. We consider them family and want always to make them happy. But sometimes, you must deny them the things they think they want to keep them healthy, and soy sauce is one of those things! Cats are obligate carnivores and need a nutritionally balanced diet. A commercial diet will cover all your cat’s needs, or you can opt to create a homemade raw diet under the guidance of a vet.

Featured Image Credit: koosen, Shutterstock

Sophie Herlihy

Authored by

After an early start in the veterinary industry and as a conservation educator at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, Sophie has since been a successful Zookeeper and Conservationist, specializing in native New Zealand species. When she’s not bird watching in native forests or crawling through the underbrush at midnight searching for rare frog species, she can be found with her farmer husband on their sheep and beef s...Read more

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