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Can Cats Eat Takis? Vet Approved Facts & Safety Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

a package of Takis chips

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

BVSc MRCVS (Veterinarian)

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

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We’ve all seen the curious twinkle in our cat’s eyes as we munch on our favorite snacks. But what happens when those snacks are something particularly spicy like Takis? Can cats eat Takis? If you’ve ever considered giving your cat some Takis or they’ve taken a bite without your permission, you’re in the right place.

Although most Takis are not strictly toxic to cats, they are not healthy for them either, and some flavors can be harmful. In other words, if your cat takes a bite out of a Taki, they will probably be okay, but you shouldn’t purposely feed Takis to your cat, even if they like them.

What’s All the Fuss About Takis?

For those unfamiliar with the snack sensation that is Takis, let’s start by shedding some light on these popular treats. Takis are rolled corn tortilla chips known for their fiery spice levels. They come in a variety of tongue-tingling flavors that range from the non-spicy nacho cheese, through mild to extreme spicy varieties. While they might be a crowd-pleaser at parties, the question remains just how safe they are for our four-legged friends.

Can Cats Eat Takis?

If your cat were to steal a sneaky piece of dropped Taki, there is no real cause for concern. However, depending on the flavor and how much they’ve eaten, your cat may suffer some mild gastrointestinal distress or even need a visit to the vet. Let’s take a look at why:

Spicy Flavors

Our furry friends have a drastically different digestive system compared to us. They’re obligate carnivores, and their bodies are designed to process meat, not corn or spices. The capsaicin found in chili peppers, a key ingredient in Takis, can cause stomach upset, discomfort, and even pain in cats.

chili peppers on a wooden surface
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Garlic and Onion

Some, not all, flavors of Takis contain garlic and onion powder. We know that garlic and onions are toxic for cats and dogs, but in the concentrated powder form, this is even more of a risk. Although the amount contained on a single chip is unlikely to have a toxic effect, it is not a risk worth taking.

Sodium Overload

Another significant concern with Takis is their high sodium content. While some salt is essential for your cat’s diet, an excess can lead to salt poisoning. Your cat is not likely to suffer from salt poisoning unless they consume large amounts of Takis and other salty foods. However, they still don’t need the extra salt in their diet.

colorless salt in a wooden container
Image Credit: Marina Tumanova, Shutterstock

Unnatural Additives

Takis also contain various additives, preservatives, and artificial colors. These unnatural ingredients can be difficult for cats to digest and may lead to gastrointestinal problems and weight gain as well as long-term health problems such as obesity.

What Happens When A Cat Eats Takis? Real Stories from Cat Owners

Beyond the scientific research and expert advice, anecdotal evidence also suggests that Takis are not a cat-friendly snack. There have been instances where cat owners have shared stories of their pets experiencing discomfort after sampling these spicy treats. One cat owner reported their cat “freaking out” after licking a Taki, indicating a negative reaction, likely to the more potent heat of the spicy flavors. Sneezing, runny noses, and watery eyes have also been reported.

woman took her maine coon cat to the veterinary clinic
Image Credit: Gorodenkoff, Shutterstock

What To Do if your Cat Eats Takis

If they’ve just had a tiny bite, you will likely not see any effects unless your cat has a particularly sensitive stomach. If they have managed to sneak more than just one chip, you will need to be more cautious.

If they appear to be showing any signs of a reaction right away, phone your vet and try to get the packaging so you can check the ingredients

If they are okay immediately after eating the Takis, keep a close eye on them for the next 48 hours, and feed them a bland diet.

If the flavor they have eaten contains onion and garlic powder, you should contact your vet. The type of poisoning that these ingredients can cause can take 2-3 days to appear, so safe is definitely better than sorry. Your vet may recommend that you bring your cat in to try to flush out the toxin, or give them treatment to reduce the risks of damage.

Conclusion

If you have a cat that likes to sample party food, Takis are one you should keep them well away from. Although many of the flavors shouldn’t cause any major issues, the risks of gastrointestinal distress or toxicity are enough to put them on the restricted list. If you are worried that your cat may have eaten Takis, especially those containing garlic and onion powder, contact your veterinarian for advice.

There are plenty of cat-safe treats out there, or you can even make your own, so there is no reason for your feline friend to be dipping into yours.


Featured Image Credit: Takis, camknows, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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