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Can Cats Eat Soy? Vet-Approved Health Facts

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

Can Cat Eat Soy

Vet approved

Dr. Luqman Javed Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Luqman Javed

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Soy has been a popular substitute for folks searching for a dairy alternative for decades. It’s a nutrient-dense protein source that offers humans all nine essential acids our bodies cannot make independently. So, if soy is so good for humans, the same benefits must extend to our cats, right?

While soy isn’t toxic for felines, it’s not recommended for them. A little taste of soy milk won’t usually be an issue, but because it doesn’t provide the same nutritional benefits for cats as humans, there is no point in offering it to your pets.

Keep reading to learn more about why soy and cats don’t mix.

Why Shouldn’t Cats Eat Soy?

Soybeans are a great source of protein, which most cats need to thrive. However, the focus for feline nutrition should be on protein from meat, not just any kind of protein.

Cats are obligate carnivores with specific nutritional needs that can only be supplied through eating animal meat. They need proteins and nutrients in their diets that plant sources cannot provide. Generally speaking, non-meat items shouldn’t consciously be added to a cat’s diet. Your kitty may sample plant-based foods out of curiosity, not because they want to fill a nutritional void.

In addition, cats metabolize soy differently than humans.

One short-term feeding study looked at how dietary soy impacts a cat’s thyroid function. Researchers took young and clinically healthy cats and randomly assigned them to receive a soy-inclusive or soy-free diet for three months. The study shows that the cats fed the soy diet had slightly higher serum T4 and free T4 concentrations. These results suggest that short-term administration of dietary soy can have a modest effect on thyroid homeostasis in cats.

food poducts from soy, including tofu, soy milk, and soy meat
Image Credit: Ermak Oksana, Shutterstock

What About Soy Protein Supplements?

Soy protein is sourced from soybeans and is occasionally recommended as a dietary supplement for pets. However, very few studies have been performed on soy protein’s effectiveness in pets.

We do not recommend providing your kitty with soy protein supplements unless recommended by your veterinarian.

Can My Cat Eat Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce is one of the oldest condiments in the world, having been created during the Western Han Dynasty in China over 2,500 years ago. The sauce is produced by fermenting soybeans and wheat and is commonly used while preparing meats, vegetables, soups, marinades, and, of course, on rice.

Your kitty might show interest in soy sauce, especially if you’ve used it to prepare a meat dish. But can they safely eat soy sauce-covered food?

Though it is non-toxic to cats, it’s not recommended to give soy sauce to them because it offers no nutritional benefits at all. Even if your kitty has taken a liking to the sauce, the other ingredients and preservatives used in its preparation could be toxic.

Not to mention that soy sauce is extremely high in sodium which can lead to dehydration in cats.

Soy sauce
Image Credit: preecha2531, Shutterstock

What Cat-Safe Treats Can I Offer My Pet?

There are many cat-safe treats you can offer your feline pal that are tasty and healthy, too.

Commercially manufactured treats are easy for cat owners to get their hands on and often have added nutrients that will benefit your pet. We like PureBites Chicken Breast Freeze-Dried Raw Cat Treats as it only contains one ingredient: real chicken breast.

If you like, you can offer your cat human foods such as:

The focus should be on providing a healthy source of animal protein. As a rule of thumb – any vegetarian-based foods will either be toxic for cats, require excessive caution when feeding, or be safe but nutritionally void.

Please ensure the protein you’re offering is cooked first and contains no potentially toxic seasoning or additives like garlic or onions.

You can also make your own treats at home. Check out our blog for recipe ideas.

Now that you know what you can safely feed your cat, it’s just as important to find a bowl that supports their health and well-being. With whisker-friendly bowls and a wide tray to catch any spills, our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite option.

hungry white cat hepper nom nom bowl licking lip

Final Thoughts

While soy is a non-toxic food for cats, it is not recommended as it provides no nutritional value to your feline friends at all. Cats need animal protein in their diet to thrive, so while it’s okay for you to follow a vegetarian lifestyle, you must be willing to feed your little obligate carnivores the meat protein they need to live a long and healthy life.

Featured Image Credit: 1989studio, Shutterstock

Chantelle Fowler

Authored by

Chantelle is passionate about two things in her life – writing and animals. She grew up on the prairies in Canada surrounded by animals. As an adult, she chooses to share her home with five cats, two guinea pigs, and a bearded dragon. Chantelle, her husband, and their child take great pride in being THOSE kind of animal parents - the ones who spend a thousand dollars on wall-mounted cat shelves so that their cats can ha...Read more

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