Can Cats Eat Ketchup? Safety Precautions

By Phil / March 4, 2020
Can Cats Eat Ketchup

Cats love licking scraps left on plates. It’s not the nicest thing, neither is it something I encourage, but I know that if I leave my plate unattended it’s getting licked.

So, it’s a good idea to check what cats can and can’t eat. Being obligate carnivores most of their diet must come from meat, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t eat other foods too.

In this article, I’m answering a question a lot of cat owners ask; can cats eat ketchup?

Let’s take a look at what’s in ketchup, what cats can and can’t eat, and whether or not you should be hiding the tomato sauce from them in the future.

What’s in Ketchup?

Whats in Ketchup

To get a better idea of how bad ketchup is for cats, we need to take a closer look at what its ingredients are. Spoiler – It’s not just tomatoes!

The main ingredients used to make ketchup are:

  • Tomatoes
  • Sweeteners
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Onion/garlic
  • Flavorings

Not only did some of those ingredients come as a surprise to me. It’s fairly obvious that most of them are not ideal for cats!

The exact ingredients will vary from brand to brand, too. I recommend checking the brand you’re using so you’re completely aware of what your cat has been licking off your plate.

Here’s a link to Heinz tomato ketchup ingredients for example, which is the favorite in our household.

Can Cats Eat Ketchup?

The answer to this question is the same for a lot of human foods that cats like to nibble on.

Yes, they can eat ketchup in small amounts. But, no they shouldn’t really be eating it at all.

Based on the ingredients in ketchup, the only one that really stands out is the onion or garlic powder that is known to be toxic to cats.

The trace amount in a few licks shouldn’t be enough to cause them any issues though. But it does raise the question, why let cats have any ketchup at all?

Sweeteners, additives, salt, and all the stuff that goes into a lot of our foods (that isn’t that good for us either) aren’t good for cats.

Simply put, they would not ingest any of these ingredients in the wild or as part of their optimal diet. So, as responsible owners, we shouldn’t be letting them eat any.

It’s just going to lead to weight gain and health issues in the long run. For this reason, I don’t let my cats eat any ketchup.

As I said already though, a little isn’t enough to do any harm. It’s up to you if you let your kitty have some on occasion.

You certainly don’t need to feel bad if they’ve been helping themselves without you being aware of how bad it is for them.

What Foods Are Dangerous to Cats?

What Foods Are Dangerous to Cats Onions and Garlic

If you have a scrap happy cat that likes to eat anything you leave on your plate, you need to be aware of foods that are potentially harmful.

This isn’t a complete list, but according to Hill’s here are some of the most dangerous foods for cats:

Garlic and Onions – These can cause damage to a cat’s red blood cells which can lead to anemia. In small amounts, a cat will experience stomach issues, be lethargic, and have a reduced appetite.

Coffee and Chocolate – Two things that I wouldn’t share with anyone, let alone my cat! Two compounds that are harmful to cats are caffeine and methylxanthines, both are found in chocolate and coffee.

Related – Coffe may be bad for cats, but here’s a list of coffee-related names that are awesome for cats.

Milk and Dairy – One of the most over-publicized things of all time has to be pictures and images of cats drinking milk. Kitten’s do drink their mother’s milk, but as cats age, they become lactose intolerant.

Raisins and Grapes – This is probably the most deadly of fruits for cats, and dogs for that matter. They are extremely toxic to cats and even a small amount can cause some unpleasant symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Alcohol – There’s nothing funny about seeing a cat helping itself to your wine glass and imagining a drunk cat staggering around. Alcohol is like poison to cats and will cause some serious health issues.

In Summary

Like a lot of foods we eat, there aren’t any nutritional benefits for cats to eat ketchup.

In fact, the additives, spices, onion and garlic powder, and sugars are not good for cats. These ingredients can cause excessive thirst, stomach issues, or worse.

A little bit here and there won’t do much harm, but if I were you I would avoid letting your cat lick your plate or help themselves to ketchup in future.

There are so many better options if you want to share some treats with your cat. Pick up some kitty treats, or share a little fruit that’s fine for them to eat.

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