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Can Cats Eat Potatoes? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove


Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that the majority of their diet should come from animal protein. However, an occasional fruit or vegetable treat is fine for your cats, provided it is prepared properly and your cat actually wants to eat it. Sometimes cats can be quite finicky about what they will eat. However, if they are interested, cats can safely eat potatoes—but hold all condiments and seasonings, and make sure they’re cooked. We’ll get into more of the details below.

Cats and Potatoes

Some cats will turn up their noses at anything that isn’t kibble, while others will only eat canned or wet food. Then there are the cats who are curious about everything you eat and want to share your dinner with you. The good news is that there are many fruits and vegetables that your cat can enjoy with you, including potatoes. So, if your feline friend wants a nibble of your baked potato, it is fine to share with them, as long as you moderate their consumption.

Benefits of Potatoes in a Cat’s Diet

Cats do not need many carbohydrates in their diet, but around 10 percent of their total caloric intake should come from high-quality carbohydrate sources. Potatoes can be a good source of carbohydrates and fiber for your cat in moderation.

Potatoes are also a good source of several important vitamins and minerals for your cat including:
  • Vitamin B – necessary for metabolizing carbohydrates
  • Magnesium – needed for enzyme function and metabolism of nutrients
  • Potassium – required for proper nerve function, heart rhythm, and muscle contraction
  • Phosphorus – helps promote healthy bone and teeth growth
mashed potato
Image Credit: Hebi B., Pixabay

Related Read: Can Cats Drink Cranberry Juice? Everything You Need to Know

Important Tips for Preparing Potatoes for Your Cat

If you want to share your potatoes with your cat, there are some important things you need to know to ensure that you are keeping your cat safe.

These include:
  • Cook them – Potatoes must be fully cooked. Uncooked potatoes contain solanine which is toxic to both cats and humans.
  • Plain only – We like a little salt, butter, and chives on our potatoes. However, your cat should only be given plain, unseasoned, cooked potatoes.
  • No fries – You should also avoid giving your cat potatoes that have been highly processed or fried in oil, like potato chips or French fries. The salt and oil are not good for your cat and can cause an upset stomach.
  • Don’t overdo it – Like any other treat you like to give your cat, potatoes are fine in moderation. Too much of any treat will lead to weight gain in your cat. Overweight cats are susceptible to many health problems.

Different Types of Potatoes

Your cat might show an interest in both white and sweet potatoes. Both are fine as occasional treats, but there are some differences you should be aware of.

White Potatoes

Plain steamed, boiled, or mashed potatoes can be given to your cat on occasion without any problems. They provide beneficial vitamins and minerals and can be a tasty treat. Some cats may not have any interest in them, and that is just fine! Your kitty can get the nutrition it needs from other sources.

Sweet Potatoes

Small amounts of sweet potatoes are fine on occasion. However, they have a higher sugar content than white potatoes. Consuming too many excess sugars can lead to weight gain in cats. Sweet potatoes also contain more vitamin A than white potatoes. Cats do need vitamin A in their diets, but too much vitamin A can be problematic for them.

sweet potatoes
Image Credit: Beverly Buckley, Pixabay

Other Vegetable Treats for Cats

If your cat enjoys potatoes, they may also like to try other vegetables. Keep in mind that they do not actually need vegetables in their diet to be healthy. Most high-quality cat foods will get them the nutrition they need. However, if your kitty is an adventurous eater, it’s okay to occasionally give them a vegetable treat.

Some good options include:
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin (pureed, steamed, unseasoned)
  • Green beans (cooked)
  • Carrots (steamed only)
  • Spinach
  • Winter squash (cooked, steamed)
  • Asparagus (steamed)
  • Cucumbers

Related Read: Can Cats Eat Broccoli? What You Need to Know!

Vegetables You Should Never Feed Your Cat

You should never feed your cats any vegetables from the onion family, including onions, garlic, shallots, and chives. Even a tiny amount of any of these vegetables can damage your cat’s red blood cells, causing anemia and other prolonged issues. They should also never eat green tomatoes or avocados as both can be toxic to cats.

garlic and onions
Image Credit: Shutterbug75, Pixabay

Final Thoughts

If you have an adventurous eater on your hands, it is fine to occasionally give them properly prepared vegetable treats. Your cat can safely consume fully cooked, unseasoned potatoes from time to time. You should be careful not to overdo it. Unnecessary calories will lead to weight gain and an unhealthy kitty. Just as is the case for humans, moderation is the key!

Featured Image Credit: Christos Giakkas, Pixabay

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