If you enjoy cooking and rely on your spice rack to bring your dishes to life, as I do, then you’re right to question what you can and can’t let your cat taste.
In this article, I’m looking at one of my favorite species – paprika – and answering – “Can cats eat paprika?”
And more so, what the risk and health implications are of cats eating paprika.
If your cat is always eyeing up your spices or nibbling on leftovers, here is everything you need to know about whether or not they should be eating food seasoned in paprika.
What Is Paprika?
If you’ve ever wondered what paprika is and where it comes from, I can fill you in.
Paprika is a ground spice, as I’m sure you’re well aware. What you probably didn’t know is that it’s made from a mixture of peppers in the Capsicum annum family of peppers.
This includes cayenne peppers (effective at keeping cats off cars), Aleppo peppers, hot chili peppers, sweet peppers, and some others. A few spicy peppers in there, which is why paprika has a nice hot kick to it.
The heat and flavor of paprika can vary though depending on what peppers have been used to make it. But it does have a distinctive smell and taste in my opinion.
Personally, I love paprika, how about you?
Can Cats Eat Paprika? Is It Safe for Them?
Paprika is not toxic to cats, so most cats will be able to eat a small amount of paprika without showing any ill effects.
However, I would not allow my cats to eat paprika as there is no benefit to doing so and it is likely to cause them some discomfort. As explained above, paprika is available in various heats, and even the mild heat is likely to be too spicy for a cat.
I have no doubt that a cat would be willing to eat the paprika if it’s the seasoning on some cooked meat. But as a responsible cat owner, it’s up to us to make sure they aren’t eating paprika. If you’re sharing some leftovers, don’t give them meat with paprika seasoning.
The Problem with Cats and Spicy Foods
You’re probably aware that cats shouldn’t be eating spicy foods. Even if you haven’t read or heard about the dangers of cats eating spicy foods, it’s fairly obvious that spices are far from the kinds of foods they eat.
One of the main ingredients in a lot of spices that cause some serious gastrointestinal and digestive issues for cats is capsaicin. Capsaicin is the component that causes that burning sensation when we eat spicy foods, and regardless of how much you enjoy that sensation – cats don’t like it.
Interestingly paprika is one of the few hot spices that doesn’t contain capsaicin. But, it’s still too hot for cats and will irritate their mouths and digestive tract.
My cats have had the opportunity to try paprika when I’ve left it out, but they were sensible enough to not lick it. I’ve never deliberately given them cooked meat seasoned in paprika either, so I can’t say I’ve seen the effect first hand (fortunately).
Are They Any Health Benefits for Cats Eating Paprika?
Like most spices, paprika is packed with good nutrition for us – but not for cats.
Paprika is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins A, B6, C, and E, niacin, riboflavin, iron and potassium. All good vitamins and minerals for us to consume as part of a balanced diet, but cats don’t need to get these from spices.
Cats are obligate carnivores. In the wild, they survive just fine eating almost exclusively prey they catch. They don’t season their prey with spices and seasoning, so it’s fair to say they don’t need paprika in their diets.
It’s more likely to cause your feline friend an upset stomach and abdominal pain than it is anything beneficial. And worse, it could lead to a case of diarrhea or vomiting, which is never pleasant to be on the cleaning up end.
Like most human foods, there is no real reason to be feeding your cat paprika. Cats don’t need the nutritional content in this spice, neither will they appreciate the taste. That’s if they can taste it at all, as some studies suggest cats can’t taste a lot of spices.
My advice is to avoid letting your cat eat paprika, even in its raw powder form or as a seasoning on cooked meat. Paprika doesn’t contain capsaicin, the ingredient in most hot spices that can cause cats some serious discomfort. But it’s still not advisable.
As cat owners, I think we should always err on the side of caution. Don’t give your cat spices, herbs, or any other foods that don’t do them any good. If you want to treat them, give them a cat treat – they’ll be just as happy and you’re not risking an upset tummy!
If your cat has been nibbling on foods with paprika seasoning in the past, don’t panic. It’s not toxic or poisonous, and in small amounts will have little to no effect on them. They’re just fine.
Doesn’t your cat like investigating your spice rack? Have they eaten paprika in the past, what was their reaction?
Any stories, advice, or feedback always welcome. Just drop me a comment below, thanks.