Can Cats Eat Potatoes? (Are They Good for Cats?)

Posted in: Cat Health - Last Updated: September 11, 2023 - Author: Mayurii Rajvanshi
Posted in Cat Health 
Last Updated: August 18, 2022  
Author:  Mayurii Rajvanshi

Do you love eating potatoes? Well, who doesn’t? They are a staple part of most cuisines around the world. Potatoes are tasty and full of nutrition, making them a favorite food for most people. You can boil them, mash them or fry them, and they would still be equally tasty. 

Potatoes are a solid source of,  vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium, water, potassium, and iron.

can cats eat potatoes

What’s more, they are also packed with antioxidants that protect you from oxidative stress and keep you full for a longer duration to help manage your weight. But what about your feline friend? 

Your furry pet may very well be rubbing itself against your legs and purring while you make your potato dish. But should you succumb to their tricks and give them a piece of the potato?

Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

There is no easy answer for this. Some kinds of potatoes are safe to give to your kitty while some can be toxic.

 For instance, if your cat eats a piece of raw potato or raw potato skins, then you may need to rush them to the vet immediately. 

If you boil the potatoes and don’t use any seasoning, then you can give them to your cat. You should cut them into small pieces before you give your feline companion so that it gets easy for them to eat and digest. 

But make sure you only give them a small amount of cooked potato, like a treat, rather than making it a meal in itself. 

You can also give them mashed potatoes. But even here you need to ensure no seasonings are added. 

Also, if your recipe for mashed potatoes includes dairy products such as milk or cheese and butter, then avoid them if you intend to feed them to your cat.

Can Cats Have Potatoes Safely?

As mentioned above, giving raw potatoes to your cat would be toxic. Raw potatoes are poisonous to your cat because of the presence of a compound called solanine. 

They will need immediate attention if they even eat a small bite. 

When you cook the potatoes, only boiling them without any seasoning will work. If you fry your potatoes, don’t give a piece to your cat. 

can cats have potatoes

Similarly, if you roast your potatoes, then avoid including your cat in the meal.

Raw potato plant contains the toxic chemical solanine

This chemical is a defense mechanism for a growing potato plant and is poisonous to all humans and animals, including felines. 

This chemical can also be found in green potatoes and the green skin of the ripening potato vegetable.

Just to note, French fries are also not good for a cat's digestive system.

So take care! 

Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes don’t have solanine in them, so they are not toxic for your cats. But this does not mean you don’t give them to your cat without monitoring. 

Sweet potatoes can cause other health-related issues to your feline. 

Although sweet potatoes have a high amount of nutrients, they won’t be beneficial for your cat. Felines have trouble digesting potatoes and so won’t be able to take the advantage of the nutrients present in sweet potatoes. 

Also, cats are obligate carnivores, which means they get their protein and nutrient needs from meat. 

Giving them plant food as a substitute meal won’t be healthy for them. 

can cats eat sweet potatoes

At best, you can give sweet potatoes as a treat every now and then.

Are Potatoes Toxic to Cats?

Solanine is a chemical in potatoes that works as a defense mechanism for the plant to prevent it from being eaten. This chemical is present in the peels as well. If your cat eats a raw potato or the potato peels, they will ingest their solanine. 

When this happens, they can vomit and also suffer diarrhea. Solanine also affects your cat’s nervous system. 

If your cat is not used to eating potatoes and you give it too much, it can cause gastrointestinal issues. Pancreatitis is also another issue that your cat will have to endure when they eat too many potatoes. 

Your cat will face these issues even if you give them potatoes that have been made with seasonings and butter. If you use too much oil or if there is too much fat, your cat can end up getting pancreatitis. 

can cats eat mashed potatoes

You should also make sure that the potatoes you do give your cat are small pieces. If the pieces are too big, your cat might choke on them. 

Although it is uncommon, it won’t hurt to be careful about the size of the chunks you’re feeding your cat.

Preparing Potato For Cats

There are a few things you would need to do before giving your cat a bit of the potato. Firstly, you need to check with your vet if your feline friend should be allowed to have the vegetable. If they give the green signal, then you can start by giving them a small taste of the potato. 

Before you start cooking, wash the potatoes thoroughly to make sure all the pesticides and any other chemicals are removed. 

Peel the potato and remove any roots or discolored areas you see. 

These could contain solanine and be toxic for your cat. 

Cut the potato into small pieces, which would be easy enough for your cat to eat and digest without choking. Boil them or mash them, but don’t add any additional seasonings.

Let the potato cool down completely before offering it to your cat. 

Once your cat eats the potato, look for any signs of distress for the next few hours. This needs to be done without fail if it’s the first time your cat is eating a potato. If your cat shows signs of an upset stomach such as vomiting or diarrhea, it’s best to visit your vet

Even if you notice anything unusual with the way your cat is carrying about, it would be a good idea to contact your vet. 

Can Cats Eat Potatoes? The Verdict

Can cats eat potatoes? In short, no. Steer clear

Cats are curious in nature and would want to eat the food you’re gorging on. But it doesn’t mean you need to succumb to their demands. 

You should be aware of what foods are ok for your cat to eat and which ones you should keep them away from. 

Cats don’t need potatoes in their diet. So, don’t substitute this vegetable for an actual meal, even if your cat seems to like eating it and doesn’t show any discomfort. 

You should stick to a good quality cat foods diet and give a potato piece, in moderation, as an occasional cat treat.

About the author

Mayurii Rajvanshi takes pride in being a content ninja, who is an avid animal lover. She has fostered numerous cats and developed in-depth knowledge of feline facts so she can write about cat health and cat care to help dispel myths with authentic information. Her aim is to encourage responsible pet parenting and cat adoption.