Can Cats Eat Spicy Food?

Can Cats Eat Spicy Food
4 minutes to read

Cats hate missing out on what we humans do. When they see you nibbling on spicy Thai chicken they will want a piece of the action. They even prefer this to their usual kibble which makes you wonder, do cats like spicy food that much?

 

Cats can eat spicy food though they will not taste the spices per se. However, cats can feel the effects of spices like humans do. Unfortunately, spices like cayenne pepper, which contain capsaicin, can cause a cat to vomit, diarrhea or suffer other gastrointestinal issues.

 

💡 Did you know

Cats don’t have taste receptors for sweet foods? Sadly, they cannot enjoy the taste of ketchup like humans.

 

 

So why are cats drawn to spicy foods?

cats drawn to spicy foods

Truth is, your feline will be drawn to any type of food or snack you eat. Cats can tell if you are enjoying something and they will always run over to have a taste. They also know that a bowl or takeout bag means something delicious for humans.

But sadly, cats cannot enjoy spicy foods as we do. When a cat gobbles up that spicy chicken wing, it is the meat they are relishing. Cats cannot taste or smell spicy food. But they can smell proteins and fats which is what most spicy foods contain.

 

Sugar and spice and everything nice hold no interest to a cat. Our feline friends are only interested in one thing- meat.

-David Biello, Scientificamerican.com

 

Besides that, cats are drawn to spicy food because of its

  1. Interesting aroma
  2. Perfect texture
  3. Inviting temperature

 

The aroma of spicy foods

Cats interpret everything through scent. Their strong sense of smell allows them to be intrigued by every new whiff they come across. Most spicy foods have unique smells that will draw a cat closer. Some cats refuse kibble for human food because, well, human food smells nicer.

And if they notice you enjoying that aromatic meal, they believe they can enjoy it too.

 

Perfect texture

Alongside smells, cats also love the texture of different foods. That spicy Thai basil chicken has a unique texture to the garlic naan you had for lunch. To a cat, all these textures are open invites to nibble alongside you.

 

Inviting temperature

Spices mean nothing to a cat but the warm temperature of food makes them come calling. Most of the members of the cat family enjoy their meal when it’s warm. So, if the spicy food is warm enough for your feline, they will heartily dig in.

 

What happens when a cat eats spicy food?

cat eats spicy food

Mild spices may not have any effect on your cat when eaten in moderation. But hot spices like chili and cayenne pepper may cause your cat’s tongue and throat to burn. Once your cat bites into the chili or cayenne, an ingredient known as capsaicin is released.

 Capsaicin is not poisonous to cats, but it still harms your feline’s health. If Whiskers indulges in a lot of hot spicy food, he is likely to have an upset tummy. This will be followed by vomiting and diarrhea to flush the spices out.

If a spicy meal is too hot, it can cause your cat’s eyes to water and their nose to get runny. Besides your feline’s throat burning, they will also get extremely thirsty. Since cats don’t drink that much, they are likely to suffer dehydration from eating spicy food.

Keep your cat away from hot spicy food or any food that contains capsaicin in it. You are doing their health a favor

 

Which spices are safe for cats?

Which spices are safe for cats

Spices are meant to add flavor to human food alone. Veterinary nutritionists do not recommend spices for cats or any pet for that matter. Here are some common spices in human foods that are not safe for cats.

  • Jalapenos
  • Pepperoni
  • Chili con carne
  • Onions and garlic
  • Ginger

 

Can cats eat Jalapenos?

Jalapenos belong to the chili family so they contain high amounts of capsaicin. Cats are likely to be drawn to jalapenos because of the strong smell and chewy texture. But too much jalapeno can cause instant vomiting and diarrhea in your cat.

 

Can cats eat Pepperoni?

The meaty flavor of pepperoni will attract any cat to you. But pepperoni is prepared with chili and cayenne which both contain capsaicin. Other versions of pepperoni may contain garlic which is toxic to cats.

 

Can cats eat Chili con carne?

This is a meat delicacy that is spiced with lots of chilies. It is not good for a cat.

 

Can cats eat Onions and garlic?

Vets warn against feeding your cat onions or garlic. These two spices contain an ingredient that destroys the red blood cells of cats. Too much garlic and onions can cause anemia in cats.

 

Can cats eat ginger?

Ginger is not toxic to cats. However, ginger can irritate the digestive tract of your cat if they eat too much of it.

 

Video: Can cats eat spicy food

 

Final thoughts

Cats can eat spicy food if served in moderation. But do not give your cat hot and spicy foods or any spicy food containing capsaicin. To be safe, do not allow cats to eat any spice.

 

Resources

  1. Can Cats Eat Spicy Food? By Richard Parker, seniorcatwellness.com
  2. Strange But True: Cats Cannot Taste Sweets By David Biello, scientificamerica.com
  3. Common Human Foods Poisonous to Cats By Orlaith O’Mahony, vets-now.com

See Also


Frequently Asked Questions

Ice cream contains sugar and milk which are harmful to cats. Ice cream can cause instant diarrhea and vomiting in a cat. Ice cream can also cause brain freeze which is painful to a cat.

Human foods that are toxic to cats include dairy products, chocolate, grapes and raisin, raw eggs, onions and garlic, and alcohol. Cats should be kept away from caffeinated drinks as well.

Jalapenos are not safe for cats as they contain capsaicin. Too much jalapeno can cause vomit and diarrhea in your cat.

Cats cannot taste capsaicin but they can feel its burning effects. Capsaicin is a common compound in chili spices and it can cause gastrointestinal issues in your cat.

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