Can cats eat french fries? No, it isn’t a good idea. Carbs don’t work for cats and salt can be dangerous to cats. Read on to learn more…
You pull a fresh batch of fries out of the fryer and dash them with salt. They smell so good you start drooling at the prospect of biting into the crunchy golden brown goodness – and it appears your cat thinks it’s a good idea too.
They jump up on the counter and take a curious look at the fries, and a reference glance at you that seems to say, “do you mind if I try a fry?”
While fries might be a yummy snack for you, is it a good idea to give one to your cat? Can cats eat french fries?
The bottom line is no, for several reasons.
Can I Fit French Fries Into My Cats Diet?
Cats are carnivores. Unlike dogs that are scavenging carnivores and can stomach some veggies and fruit in their diet, there’s no place for it in your cat’s dinner bowl.
Cats need to eat meat, but as you know, they have a curious nature. Whatever you’re eating must be good, right? Maybe it’s worth a try? That’s what’s going through your cat’s mind as they stare at that plate of fries on the counter.
The feline digestive system evolved over millions of years, and changes to the gut biome in felines mean they can only survive on nutrients found in meat, namely protein, and fat.
Your cat’s dietary needs include protein from meat, with a touch of fat thrown in. Your cat needs a macronutrient split of 90% protein and 10% fat in its diet.
You can go slightly higher with the fat content, but it might start causing digestive problems.
Nevertheless, they are obligate carnivores, and the cat’s gut biome doesn’t have the genetic evolution to digest fruits and vegetables – like the potatoes in your fries. This is partly why so many dry cat foods are just not right for your cat!
Why Are French Fries Bad For Your Cat?
Humans are omnivores, and we enjoy eating a variety of meat, fish, and vegetables. If we decide to go vegan, we can make up for the protein and fat we need through plant sources.
It’s not the same for cats.
Cats can’t absorb carbs for energy, and that’s why they have no interest in fruits and vegetables. However, slap a plate of fries on the counter, and you suddenly catch their attention.
We’re sure you’re like us, and you get a craving for crispy, greasy, salty fries from time to time. While it’s not good to add them to your daily diet, we can get away with it on occasion without any adverse effect on our health.
Cats aren’t the same way. Changes in their diet, such as feeding them fries, can cause digestive problems like vomiting and diarrhea.
So, what are the ingredients in fries that make your cat’s tummy turn?
Sodium is a big problem with cats, interfering with their natural mineral balance. Excess sodium in their diet causes high blood pressure, leading to hypertension and heart problems – just like it does in humans.
However, your cat has less body weight, and a lethal dose of sodium for your feline friend is only 4-grams. In fact, it is recommended that your cat consumes a maximum of 10.6mg/kg body weight of salt per day. To put this into context 100g of fast-food french fries are usually quoted as containing 210mg of salt. Clearly, your cat is not going to eat 100g, but even one or two fries can take them close to their recommended daily limit!
Carbs are simply not required by cats. Their digestive systems are not fully equipped to process carbs. Cats fed with a mix of protein, fats, and carbs often have elements of undigested carbs in their digestive system. This then undergoes partial fermentation by the bacteria in the cat’s gut biome and the cat ends up with bad gas and diarrhea as a side effect of the undigested fermented carbs in their system. Lovely.
Oil and Fats
Cats need fat in their diet, but only at around 10% of total macronutrient intake. If you up that fat content with a plate of greasy fries results in a runny tummy and vomiting.
Your cat needs healthy Omega 6 and 9 essential fatty acids in their diet, and they get most of it from the meat and fish they eat in their diet. The unhealthy fats in fries cause digestive problems and weight gain in your cat.
We don’t know about you, but we love leaving the skins on our fries for extra crunch and mouthfeel. The skin is great for you but not so good for your feline. It’s full of sodium.
We also love loading our fries with tomato sauce and mayo. Condiments are a must-have with your fries, but they are no good for your kitty. Most ketchup recipes contain onion and garlic powder. These have a lethal effect on your cat, even in small amounts. They bring on a specific type of anemia in your cat which initially exhibits itself as lethargy, shortness of breath, and fever and very quickly results in death. Apart from onion and garlic, ketchup also contains sugar, salt, and other chemical preservatives. We have already discussed why cats don’t need carbs (sugars) and should definitely stay away from salts so needless to say ketchup is a definite no.
Mayo is full of fat, and we already discussed what too many bad fats in your cat’s diet does to their health.
Can Cats Eat French Fries Without Salt?
Although the salt in french fries is undoubtedly the main problem for your cat and a central reason why you shouldn’t be tempted to even offer your cat a french fry you should know having read the above that even offering your cat a french fry without salt is not wise.
Your cat is unlikely to immediately show any unwanted side effects from eating an unsalted french fry but too much is likely to result in a messy litter tray! Carbs in your cat’s diet may well lead to a gassy cat or a cat with runs.
Can Cats Eat Raw French Fries?
Did you know that raw potatoes are potentially lethal for cats? The glycoalkaloid solanine found in the flesh of a raw potato and its peels will create digestive inflammation in your cat that results in death.
Fortunately, we have yet to come across a cat that finds raw potatoes appealing. Cats’ taste buds are responsive to meat. They have no sweet taste buds, and they can’t taste your orange juice, even if it looks like they’re enjoying sipping on it.
It’s the same with potatoes; they don’t have any taste buds that detect the food’s flavor. It might seem strange, but it is a natural evolutionary mechanism built into the cat’s genetics, handed down through its ancestors.
Therefore, your cat won’t find raw potatoes appealing. In fact, they won’t think your fries are appealing either. Cats are simply curious about this food that looks and smells good. The fact you’re interested in it makes it even more appealing.
If you tempt your cat with a fry, you’ll probably find they bite into it and spit it out right away, but let us know in the comments if your cat enjoys them!
Can Cats Eat Potato Chips?
Avoid feeding your cats potato chips. As mentioned, onion powder is toxic to cats, and potato chips come loaded with the stuff.
Some potato chip flavors also rely on chives, and this herb is 5X more toxic to your cat than onion powder – keep them away from the chip bowl. Fortunately, most cats don’t find chips appealing either.
Can French Fries Kill Cats?
French fries are unlikely to kill your cat. The main toxic dangers in french fries for your cat are raw potato – which your cat simply won’t find appetizing, salt – your cat would have to eat a whole serving in one go to really get into serious problems and condiments like ketchup. The biggest danger is likely to come from the ketchup which is not strictly the french fry but a foodstuff in its own rite.
Avoid French Fries For Felines
Tossing a bunch of fries in the fryer makes for a tasty treat for humans. However, keep the fries far away from your cats. Skip the carbs, grease, and salt in the fires, and make sure you feed them a high-quality diet full of protein and healthy fats.