Cats are obligate carnivores that have evolved to tolerate other things in their diet due to domestication. But just how much human food can they eat? The truth is cats do not need any additional snacks outside of their specific diet, as long as that diet is well balanced, high quality and appropriate for the cat’s life-stage and health.
However, if you just can’t keep your kitty out of your Ritz crackers, are they at least non-toxic? Ritz crackers won’t usually cause any immediate harm to your kitty. However, they’re definitely not something you want to give them regularly. In this article, we will explore why you should keep your cat away from your processed snacks.
Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Ritz Crackers
1. High Sodium Content
Ritz crackers are salty. Each cracker contains 26 mg sodium. While all mammals need salt in their diet to ensure proper nerve and muscle cell functions and to maintain a healthy cellular environment, cats get all that they need from a healthy, balanced diet. The National Research Council recommends that adult cats get at least 10.6 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of sodium per day. In a 3.5kg cat, their daily intake of sodium should be 37.2mg/day. Eating two Ritz crackers would exceed that! While this is really not that problematic on the odd occasion, too much salt over a long period of time may not be beneficial for your cat.
2. Highly Processed
Ritz crackers also contain a lot of processed content that is unhealthy for any animal, even humans! So alternately, whether you have a cheese or cracker platter, a bowl of chili, or you’re making a meatloaf containing Ritz crackers, cats are better off with different snacks.
The bottom line is that Ritz crackers do not hold any nutritional value for your cat. So even though they aren’t toxic, they certainly won’t do anything to help your feline friend.
3. High Calorie
Ritz crackers are jam-packed with empty calories. An empty calorie does not offer any nutritional value, and Ritz crackers offer no dietary upside for any species, including humans!
4. High Carbohydrates
Your cat gets plenty of carbohydrates in their daily diet. Being obligate carnivores, they need very little carbohydrate in their diet. They are able to digest and utilize carbohydrates, despite their altered carbohydrate metabolism (limited enzymes in the small intestine that are able to break down carbohydrates), but they just don’t need them. Our cat’s diets should be heavily protein based and any additional carbohydrates are not needed.
5. Potential Allergens
New foods always have the potential to cause an allergic response although there is nothing in Ritz biscuits that is thought to be particularly allergenic.
Ritz crackers have been found to contain traces of a hazardous chemical called glyphosate. This particular chemical is a herbicide and has been named a “probable human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). That’s just one more reason to keep your cat away from these crunchy crackers!
Why Are Cats Attracted to Ritz Crackers?
Most cats will likely show very little interest in a Ritz cracker. Apart from a few light sniffs, they might get a lick at best. But that does not cover all cats! Each one of them has a different palate and will enjoy certain textures and flavors.
If your cat seems attracted to Ritz crackers, try keeping them out of their reach and offer your cat a more nutritious snack instead, like a small piece of cooked turkey, or some oily fish.
The bottom line is that Ritz crackers are very unlikely to kill your cat, but they have no health benefits and can potentially do some harm.
Rather than giving your cat a Ritz cracker, impress them with a lean piece of chicken or a new species-specific treat from the store.