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Can Cats Eat French Fries? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

french fries

We know that French fries aren’t the healthiest food to eat, but they’re certainly delicious. Most cats love to investigate what we’re eating, and from time to time, we might offer them a piece of food that we know is safe for them to have.

French fries seem harmless, so it’s tempting to share this tasty treat with your cat because if we love it, they might too. But are French fries safe for cats to eat?

The good news is that if your cat has already eaten a French fry, there’s no need to panic. While French fries aren’t healthy for cats, they’re not dangerous to them in small amounts. However, feeding French fries to your cat should not be a regular or even semi-regular occurrence.

French fries are not toxic, but they can be harmful to your cat in large amounts. That said, while feeding French fries to your cat is not recommended, if they happen to sneak one occasionally, it won’t mean that they are in immediate danger. Let’s find out the reasons that cats should steer clear of this deep-fried snack.

Are French Fries Bad for Cats?

French fries are usually made with potatoes, salt or other seasonings, and oil. When they are prepared in restaurants, they can have up to 19 different ingredients, and not all these are things that your cat should have.

First, French fries are high in calories and carbohydrates. Your cat doesn’t need more of these things, especially if you’re already trying to watch their weight. Cats are carnivores that require animal protein in their diets. If they eat fried potatoes, they aren’t getting any nutritional value from them.

Second, raw French fries can be fatal for your cat. Any raw pieces of potato, the skin, or even the potato plant can be poisonous to your cat. This is usually only a concern when you’re making French fries at home. If you have raw potatoes lying around and your cat likes to sneak food from the counter, this is something to be aware of.

Raw potatoes contain toxic alkaloids, including solanine, that can cause gastrointestinal distress, heart problems, and brain issues. This is especially true if your cat consumes a part of the potato that’s green, meaning it’s been exposed to sunlight.

Frozen French fries that you buy at the market to make at home are usually cooked quickly before they’re packaged, so if your cat grabs one of these, it’s not an emergency. However, if your cat eats a raw potato, bring them to your vet immediately.

british short hair cat eating
Image Credit: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock
Signs the alkaloids in raw potatoes are affecting your cat:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty walking
  • Different sized pupils
  • Muscle tremors
  • Convulsions
  • Stiffness of limbs
  • Seizures

Can Cats Eat Cooked French Fries?

We know that cats can’t eat raw potatoes, but what about cooked fries? Cooked potatoes pose much less risk to your cat’s health, but they still aren’t healthy for them. Aside from potatoes, French fries contain ingredients that your cat should avoid.


Too much sodium in a cat’s diet can lead to high blood pressure, just like with people. Since cats are so much smaller than humans, they can’t tolerate nearly the amount of salt that we can. High blood pressure in cats can lead to kidney disease, vision loss, and heart problems.

white pluffy cat eating
Image Credit: vlad_bil, Shutterstock


Cats require healthy fats in their diets, such as omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. These are usually found in your cat’s food.

The type of oil used for cooking French fries isn’t healthy fat and can lead to weight gain in people and cats.


Cats have no biological dietary need for carbohydrates in their diet. While they can digest them, they shouldn’t have too many. Some cats are allergic to carbohydrates and require a special diet. If this is the case with your cat, they should stay away from potatoes.

Seasonings and Ketchup

People tend to enjoy their French fries with different seasonings and ketchup. These increase the risk of harm to your cat if consumed.

Extra seasonings can contain even more sodium and cause an upset stomach in your cat.

While ketchup is the usual companion to French fries, it also usually contains onion and/or garlic powder, both of which are toxic to cats. Even in powder form, onions and garlic can cause anemia. If the condition gets severe enough, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Any other sauces or condiments may have ingredients like fat, sodium, and acid that your cat should not be consuming.

tomato ketchup bottle
Image Credit: Pickpik

What If My Cat Loves Fries?

Maybe you never knew that cats shouldn’t regularly consume French fries and they’ve been sharing this snack with you since the day that you brought them home. If they’re used to them and like them, it can be difficult to stop offering them completely. Your cat knows them by sight and smell, so they’re going to want them.

If you can’t stop eating fries in front of your cat, which would be the best solution, you can try to distract your cat with healthy alternatives.

Instead of giving them a fry, offer them a bit of plain, boiled chicken or cooked salmon. You can have pieces of these proteins ready to go in your fridge whenever you think that your cat is going to beg for whatever you’re eating. Sometimes, your cat is looking for you to share your food with them, but they aren’t particular about what that food is. Be sure to replace the meat or fish every 3–4 days or store it in the freezer instead.

Low-calorie cat treats are another option. Give them to your cat sparingly, but they can be used to distract your cat while you’re eating your own food.


The occasional cooked French fry won’t cause any harm to your cat. However, cats should completely avoid raw potatoes.

The seasonings, salt, and sauces on French fries can be harmful to your cat. To be safe, cats should not be offered French fries at all. If they happen to find a piece of one or steal it off your plate, though, there’s no need to worry.

Distract your cat with healthy options if they’re constantly begging for food from your dish. By giving them tasty, healthy snacks that won’t harm them, you can still share the eating experience with them and keep them safe too.

Featured Image Credit: Matthias Böckel, Pixabay

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