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Can Cats Eat Tortillas? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore, MRCVS (Vet)

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When you’re busy preparing a feast in the kitchen, your cat probably licks its lips in anticipation. Aromas from your cuisine are tempting to your pet, but can cats eat tortillas? Yes, cats can eat small pieces of tortillas without any adverse effects, but you should avoid regular feedings of tortillas to keep your feline healthy.

Some of the base ingredients, such as baking soda and flour, are not toxic to cats, but some brands contain large quantities of sodium and fat that should not be part of the feline diet. A primarily carnivorous diet is ideal for cats, but your pet can enjoy a starchy treat from time to time.

The Nutritional Content in Tortillas

Most processed food and snacks for humans are loaded with artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, sugar, salt, and spices, but commercial tortilla products are relatively safe for your pet. Flour tortillas typically include flour, baking soda, salt, and vegetable oil or lard. If you examine the ingredients and nutritional information of Mission Tortillas, you can see that the only concerning figure is sodium. A human that finishes a tortilla with 400 milligrams of sodium has only reached 17% of the daily allowance, but that amount exceeds the recommended sodium intake for a cat.

Sodium is an essential mineral in the feline diet, but cats should only consume 42 milligrams of sodium every day. An entire tortilla contains almost ten times the daily allowance of sodium for cats. The healthiest tortilla treat is one that you prepare yourself. Commercial tortilla makers add several hundred milligrams of sodium in their recipes, but you can make a low sodium version with vegetable oil for your pet to sample.

Tortillas
Image Credit: Pixabay

Food That Cats Should Avoid

Cats are safer eating high-protein cat food than gourmet food for humans, but some foods are more harmful to your pet than others. According to the veterinarians at PetMd, you should avoid feeding these items to your feline.

1. Seasoned Snacks

tortilla chip
Image Credit: Pixabay

Like tortillas, a single tortilla chip or Cheeto is not going to harm your cat, but an excessive amount could disrupt its digestion. If you treat your cat to a chip snack, give it a plain chip that’s only seasoned with salt. Garlic powder and onion powder are common snack food ingredients, but in large amounts, they are toxic to your pet.


2. Garlic and Onions

onion and garlic_monicore_Pixabay
Image Credit: monicore, Pixabay

Onions and garlic are part of the Amaryllidaceae (lily) family. Although an onion or garlic flavored chip consumed by your cat is not a cause for concern, cats should stay clear of any food in the lily family. Eating onions can cause anemia in cats.


3. Grapes and Raisins

grapes and raisins in the vine
Image Credit: Pixabay

Grapes and raisins are toxic to cats, but researchers have not identified which compound in the fruit is harmful. A mild reaction to grapes can cause hyperactivity and vomiting, but a more significant one can cause kidney failure.  This is not related to the number of grapes or raisins eaten but to individual pet reactions, of which there is know way to know if your pet will suffer catastrophic problems beforehand, so it is advised to avoid them.


4. Baby Food

Bowls with healthy baby food
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

The primary ingredients in baby food are generally safe, but many brands include garlic and onion seasoning in their formulas. Since the consistency and aroma of baby food are similar to some cat foods, felines will undoubtedly be attracted to a bowl of baby food on a high chair.


5. Raw Meat and Fat Trimmings

raw beef meat
Image Credit: PDPhotos, Pixabay

Several companies offer raw meat diets for cats and dogs, and their meals are safe and nutritious for your pet. However, raw meat sold for human consumption is not suitable for your cat. Humans are not vulnerable to contaminated meat when it’s cooked above the recommended internal temperatures, but raw chicken and beef that contain E. coli or Salmonella can contaminate food preparation areas and food bowls when served to a cat. Cats that regularly munch on fat trimmings are also susceptible to weight gain, diabetes and therefore pancreatitis.


6. Caffeine

coffee beans and grounds
Image credit: Couleur, Pixabay

Your cat is unlikely to be drawn to coffee or energy drinks, but it’s a good idea to keep any caffeinated beverage away from your pet. Caffeine can cause muscle tremors, heart palpitations, restlessness, and rapid breathing.


6. Dairy

After kittens are weaned, they lose the ability to tolerate lactose. A sip of milk or a small piece of cheese is not harmful, but too much dairy can cause diarrhea and vomiting.


7. Chocolate

spoon and chopped chocolate
Image Credit: Pixabay

Cats that consume chocolate products are vulnerable to seizures, muscle tremors, and heart arrhythmias. The theobromine in chocolate is poisonous to cats and dogs, but the highest levels of the substance is present in baking chocolate and dark chocolate.


8. Alcohol

 Alcohol Bottles
Image Credit: Pixabay

An intoxicated feline in a cartoon is amusing, but alcohol can be deadly to cats in the real world. A spoonful of alcohol can put your cat in a coma, and a larger amount can kill your pet.

Conclusion

When cooking homemade tortillas with a skillet, it’s alright to give your furry friend a tiny morsel. Tortillas are not a nutritious snack and should not be substituted for high-quality cat treats, but a bit of the tortilla will not harm your cat. It’s tempting to periodically serve human cuisine and snacks to your pet, but cats are healthier when their diet consists of protein-rich food and meaty treats formulated for cats.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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