You may have wondered why some cat food manufacturers include tomatoes in their recipes. and you may have heard some people claim that tomatoes are bad for cats, if not poisonous.
So why do some cat foods include tomatoes? Can cats safely eat tomatoes?
Unfortunately, this is one of those questions that has both a yes and no answer. it depends on numerous factors, including your own pet’s tolerance for acidity, as well as the type of tomatoes.
but don’t worry, I’ll explain everything you need to know in more detail below.
what about tomatoes in cat food?
Some cat foods are based on a limited ingredient recipe, while others use a large number of different ingredients. you may find tomatoes in the latter.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
all of these are essentials for kitties of all breeds and ages. however, there are better (ie more nutritious) sources of these crucial nutrients than tomatoes.
cats benefit much more from other vegetables when it comes to dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
I’m not a fan of tomato cat food. they’re a little too acidic and the tomatoes are piled on there as filler instead of actual nutrients.
Fats have different nutritional requirements than humans. as such, tomatoes are not as healthy for them as they are for people.
my advice? stick to high-quality cat food that is meat-based and gets fiber from green vegetables or fruits with antioxidant properties.
but are tomatoes safe for cats to eat?
in some cases, tomatoes are perfectly safe for cats to eat, while in others they pose a toxic hazard.
The following factors play a key role in defining exactly how safe tomatoes will be for your cat. Of course, keep in mind that they cannot be universally applied to all hairballs out there.
- the part of the plant (stem, leaves, fruit)
- the type of tomato (raw or cooked, ripe or immature, less or more acid)
- your cat’s tolerance to acidity and fiber intake
- any current health complications
- tomato sauce
- tomato soups
- prepackaged tomato juices
- store-bought tomato-based sauces
- moderate amounts
- fresh fruits without seasoning
- no current health complications
as I said, the answer is not a simple yes or no. there’s a chance your kitty’s digestive system won’t tolerate tomatoes, whether raw or cooked. however, there’s also a chance that this popular fruit (yes, a tomato is a fruit) won’t harm your furball.
When are tomatoes toxic to cats?
Tomato plants, like potato plants, pose some health risks to cats and other animals. some toxins found in the tomato plant can cause gastrointestinal complications and other problems.
If your pet is trying to eat the leaves or stems of a tomato plant, you need to intervene immediately. the same goes for the fruit of green tomatoes.
in general, cats will not like green tomatoes or tomato plants.
Unfortunately, kittens are curious and unpredictable. if they happen to ingest some of the toxins, they could suffer from some health complications. Diarrhea, dilated pupils, vomiting, loss of appetite and other symptoms will occur depending on the severity of the toxicity.
The same toxic reactions can occur in dogs. The Pet Poison Helpline has a short article on the subject. I would take his advice and call the vet immediately if your cat has come near a tomato plant.
In addition to the green fruit, leaves, or stems, tomatoes can also be harmful to cats in the following ways:
never give your cat any of the items listed above!
Ketchup and other tomato sauces are heavily processed and preserved with tons of chemicals. In addition, they often contain seasonings that could trigger an allergic or toxic reaction.
the tomato juices from your local store are just as bad. nothing in them is 100% natural, contrary to what you read on the label.
and lastly, tomato soups are bad for cats too, even if they’re homemade. Let’s face it, you’ve put some herbs, spices, and seasonings in there, haven’t you? plus, that tomato soup can’t offer anything beneficial to meet your pet’s dietary needs.
When are tomatoes safe for cats?
The fruit of ripe red tomatoes is safe for cats under the following conditions:
If your pet has an illness or a sensitive stomach, you shouldn’t push your luck with tomatoes. however, if kitty is generally healthy, eating a slice or two won’t hurt.
Keep in mind that there are much more nutritious fruits and vegetables (spinach, squash, blueberries, peas, green beans, etc.) that offer a healthy dose of vitamin c, potassium, dietary fiber, and all the other benefits that tomatoes. they are healthier options that will not upset your pet’s stomach. And hey, they’ll be tastier than a slice of raw tomato!