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Can Cats Eat Ketchup – All About It

Can Cats Eat Ketchup – All About It

Cats are known to be curious and they’ll often stick their noses into our things, that includes our food. When they decide to do it, we, as cat owners, immediately worry, because we don’t know if it’s safe for them or it might be toxic. 

We want to be responsible owners and we want to know everything about them. So maybe your cat tried to eat ketchup. Can cats eat ketchup or it can harm them? 

Let’s see why cats should avoid ketchup. 

Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Ketchup

 ketchup and tomatoes placed on a wooden background

If your feline friend has a lick or two of ketchup, it will be just fine, even though cats should avoid it. The harm of it can be made only if your cat has eaten more than just a taste, but why is that? 

As we all know, ketchup is mostly made of tomatoes, but of course it will include other ingredients, and unfortunately those ingredients can be harmful for cats. 

For example, ketchup can contain onion and garlic powder, which is both toxic to our felines. If your cat ingests onions or garlic, it can harm their red blood cells and lead to Heinz body anemia.  Symptoms of this anemia can be weakness, loss of appetite, fever, skin discoloration and a lot of others.

Ketchup will probably contain salt which can harm felines. If your cat ingested too much salt at once, she can become dehydrated which will make cats drink more and more water and can get sick. 

Along with that cats can develop a condition called hypernatremia, Which means salt poisoning that can lead to seizures, confusion, vomiting and increased thirst. 

If you notice that your cat has consumed more salt, you need to get them to the vet check up.

But what else in ketchup can harm our feline friends? Let’s see sugar for example,  sugar isn’t toxic but since they are carnivores and they don’t eat carbohydrates their digestive systems are not developed to break down sugars. 

Logically as with, humans consuming too much sugar can lead to diabetes. Another thing we need to say is that ketchup is a processed food, which means it can contain  artificial flavoring sweeteners and none of that is healthy for cats. 

The xylitol is another sweetener found in ketchups but gladly it doesn’t have the same toxic effect to cats as it has to dogs. 

All of that mentioned can only tell us that ketchup is not healthy for cats in the end because it contains potential toxic treats for cats that can develop illnesses if they consume too much.

You shouldn’t worry if your cat has licked some ketchup off your plate or off the counter,  because it isn’t harmful if it’s a minimal dose, however you need to worry if your cat managed to get a large amount of ketchup. 

However, If your cat has ingested any ketchup be aware of symptoms like diarrhea, stomach upset reduction in appetite or dilated pupils. And of course to watch for signs of anemia such as fever , skin discoloration or weakness. 

If you spot that your cat isn’t feeling well, go straight to the vet so they can evaluate the situation. 

Why Is Ketchup Not Suitable For Cats?

Plastic container with tomato ketchup sauce with raw tomatoes on kitchen background.

There is a possibility that your cat has ingested ketchup many times but in small amounts and was completely fine after it. But, this means that your cat has a behavior you need to stop. 

We talked about ingredients in ketchup that cats shouldn’t eat since it can cause health problems, but let us show you more in detail.  

Salt And Acid

We already mentioned salt, and ketchup alone contains too much salt to be honest. It is bad for cats there is no doubt, since it will cause them to be dehydrated if they consume it. Therefore, they’ll seek more water and it can lead to vomiting and sickness. 

If your cat consumes too much, it can lead to hypernatremia, which is a salt poisoning that will manifest in swelling, extreme thirst, vomiting, loss of appetite, motor coordination loss and low energy overall. If the case is more serious, there can also be stumblins, tremors and seizures. 

If you notice these signs, take your cat to the vet so your cat can have a proper treatment for this salt poisoning to avoid kidney damage or death. 

RELATED: The Most Effective Home Remedies For Cat Vomiting

Onions And Garlic

Many ketchups, if not all of them, contain onion and garlic powder, and we don’t talk about small amounts of it!

Onion and garlic in any form are extremely toxic to cats because they can damage red blood cells and cause anemia called Heinz body anemia as we already said. 

This type of anemia can do serious long-term damage to the cells. But we must note that the name of the anemia has nothing to do with the famous brand of ketchup “Heinz”. 

Symptoms of this condition are fatigue, fever, discolored urine, paleness in the skin, gums and lips of cats, loss of appetite and shortness of breath. As this can be life-threatening to our felines, you need to take these symptoms seriously and act accordingly. 

Onion and garlic powder will have short-term effects if cats consume it like weakness, lethargy and loss of appetite. 

RELATED: Cat Urine Color Chart: Everything You Need To Know And More

Other Things In Ketchup That Are Bad For Cats

We talked about primary ingredients, but what about secondary ones?  Ketchups also consist of many synthetic chemicals which are harmful to us let alone cats. 

For example, corn syrup, an ingredient in ketchup, is not usually toxic to cats but it can cause cats to be obese and due to that cause other health problems such as cancer that thrive on sugar.

Some ketchup can be acidic and cats can have gastrointestinal problems. That’s why it is best that you keep ketchup out of your cat’s reach.

When Is Ketchup Okay For Cats To Eat?

A hungry cat is sniffing and want to eat dumplings

As tomatoes are the main ingredient for ketchup to exist, it isn’t harmful if your cat had a lick or two of it. That alone won’t cause damage to your cat’s health. 

A small amount of ketchup won’t do any harm and cause side effects, but you need to keep an eye on your cat, just in case. 

Can Cats Eat Tomatoes?

So if the ketchup is off the list, could cats eat tomatoes then? 

Well, tomato plants are toxic to cats but ripe tomatoes aren’t, even so they contain minerals and vitamins that can do good to your cat.

However, you should consider the fact that your cat should be fed with cat food that will supplement their nutrition and all their dietary needs. 

If you want to give your cat a bit of a ripe tomato, make sure to check it out first with the vet. 

Can Cats Eat Tomato Soup?

red soup with sour cream and greens

Since cats are allowed to eat ripe tomatoes, in small amounts of course, tomato soup is also on the menu? Ooor? We can say yes only if you check other ingredients of the soup. 

If you bought a tomato soup, chances are low that the soup will be suitable for your feline. Since those soups bought in stores will probably contain ingredients and additives that are not for the cat’s little stomach.  

But, if you are to make the soup at home, specifically for your cat, then it should be fine. Boil ripe tomatoes and without any additives like salt, sugar and other spices, give it to your cat. 

When Is Ketchup Bad For Cats?

If a large amount of ketchup has been consumed by a cat, then the ketchup is bad for cats. Due to onion and garlic powder and salad and acid ingredients, cats can have digestive problems and serious health issues if they consume too much. 

Many ketchups contain high levels of sodium which your cat should definitely avoid because it can lead to dehydration. 

Always look for these symptoms if you suspect that your cat has eaten ketchup:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stomach irritation
  • diarrhea

If you spot any of these, do your cat a favor and contact the vet immediately to help it and avoid any severe problems. 

Closing Words 

Tomato ketchup sauce with garlic, spices and herbs

So, in conclusion, to repeat, can cats eat ketchup? No, cats should avoid ketchup.

But, don’t panic immediately, if your cat has licked a small amount of ketchup, you should not have to worry about it, everything is going to be okay, just observe your cat just in case.

As we said, cats and ketchup do not get along because the ketchup is full of ingredients that harm cats like salt, acid, sugar, garlic and onion. 

Even though the symptoms can be mild and severe, it is best to not let your cat consume it at all. If by any chance you notice that your cat has some symptoms of consuming ketchup, contact the vet and the problem will be easily solved. 

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