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Can Cats Eat Pasta Sauce (Spaghetti Sauce)? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

pasta sauce

It’s entirely reasonable for pet parents to want to share their human food with their beloved pets. Most of the time it’s perfectly okay to share your food with your feline pal. However, that doesn’t mean that you should share all food with your cat.

So, if you’re sitting down to a heaping plate of pasta and pasta sauce, or even a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, your cat is probably going to be eying your plate wanting a bite. So, do you give it to him? Can your cat eat pasta or spaghetti sauce? In reality, these sauces aren’t toxic to cats. However, some herbs and spices in the sauce might not agree with your feline companion.

While that doesn’t answer the question in a definite yes or no manner, our blog on whether cats can eat pasta sauce will help you determine whether it’s okay to give your feline friend a bite or not.

Can Cats Eat Pasta/Spaghetti Sauce?

The question at hand is can cats eat pasta/spaghetti sauce? The answer is no, according to the ingredients in the sauce. There are some ingredients found in these sauces that are okay to give to felines and some that aren’t. If you’re unsure of the ingredients in your sauce, then it’s best to just refrain from feeding it to your feline friend altogether.

Are Tomatoes Safe to Feed Your Cat?

Pasta contains tomatoes, and tomatoes are questionable as a food source when it comes to keeping your cat healthy and happy. The tomatoes themselves aren’t going to hurt your cat, though they carry no nutritional value for him either.

It’s the stems and leaves that are on the tomato plant itself that can be toxic for your feline. One of the substances in the leaves and stems is called solanine, which is highly toxic to cats. If your cat gets ahold of the stems and leaves, or even a bit of it falls off in the sauce, he can end up with tomato plant poisoning.

British shorthair cat and tomatoes
Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

What Are the Symptoms of Tomato Plant Poisoning in Cats?

While your cat can’t get tomato plant poisoning from eating tomatoes, he can get it from eating the stems or leaves. If you grow your own tomatoes or some slips into your pasta sauce, then your feline is at risk.

While tomato plant poisoning isn’t usually fatal, it will make your cat miserable and sick. However, there are a few symptoms you should watch out for when having pasta sauce or if you grow your own tomatoes for your pasta sauce. We’ll list a few of those symptoms below.

  • Weakness
  • A lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • A depressed nervous system
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • The appearance of excessive saliva

These are the most common symptoms of tomato plant poisoning to watch out for in your cat. If you see these symptoms, it’s best to get your cat to your local vet right away, just to be on the safe side.

Cat vomiting
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Herbs and Seasonings in Pasta Sauce Toxic to Cats

Most pasta sauces contain onions, garlic, and other types of seasonings and herbs. Onions and garlic are both toxic to cats, so if you have those in your pasta sauce, then you don’t need to feed it to your feline. This doesn’t just include garlic and onions, but shallots, scallions, and anything else from that family of vegetables also. Some of the symptoms to watch out for in herb or seasoning poisoning in cats will be listed below.

  • A loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Red or orange urine
  • Pale gums
  • Lethargy

Some of these symptoms are the same as tomato plant poisoning, so it’s probably best to just keep your cat away from any of these foods completely for the best results.

cat eating dry food
Image Credit: aleg baranau, Shutterstock

Can Pasta/Spaghetti Sauce Be Safe for Felines?

It is possible that these sauces can be safe for cats if you make your sauce from scratch and avoid the seasonings and herbs that can be toxic. It is important to keep the stems and leaves of your tomato plants away from your cat as well.

The biggest problem is that very few people make their sauces the old-fashioned way, and you can never be sure of the ingredients that are put in jar sauce. Even if you go over the list of ingredients on the back of the jar with a fine-tooth comb, you still can’t be sure that no stems or leaves were used in the sauce or even that no garlic or onions were put in? If any part of the tomato plant slips into the jar sauce, your pet is at risk.

Are There Any Sauces Safe for Felines?

If your cat has a taste for sauces, you can give them organic sauces or a sauce that doesn’t have a tomato base. It’s also possible for you to make the sauce from scratch, but you still need to be careful with the tomatoes themselves. However, there are no guarantees that your cat will even like sauces with no garlic, onions, or tomatoes in them.

There’s also no guarantee that your feline pal won’t have an allergic reaction to the sauces you give him, either.

cat eating out of food bowl
Image credit: PxFuel

What Should You Do if Your Cat Eats Pasta/Spaghetti Sauce?

If you put your plate on the coffee table and your cat licks a bit of the pasta sauce off of it, then he’ll probably be fine. However, if your cat eats quite a bit of the pasta sauce, it’s best to start looking for the above symptoms. Suppose at any point you suspect that your cat is having an allergic reaction or has contracted tomato plant poisoning. In that case, you need to alert your vet and get your cat an appointment right away for diagnosis and treatment.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, pasta/spaghetti sauces are not safe for your cat to eat unless you make them from scratch. Even then, you need to be careful of the tomatoes you put in the sauce. It’s also not a food that your cat needs to stay healthy, meaning it has no nutritional value for them at all.

These sauces usually contain quite a bit of salt and sugar, something that is also not great for your cat. So, in answer to the question of whether cats can eat pasta sauce, the answer should be no. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your feline. Instead, feed him his own healthy treats and keep the pasta sauce for yourself.

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