Cats will try to eat anything we feed them as long as it appeals to them.
Additionally, cats are big fans of snacking on any dish that’s rich in flavor, especially if it’s something they see us, humans, enjoy, too.
But they can’t eat every single thing we eat. Some form of limitation must be there.
If we’re such big spicy food enthusiasts, can our furry little ones be the same, too?
Can cats eat spicy food?
Well, if that question is something you’ve been dying to hear an answer to, you’re in luck. This post will talk about just that.
Even though some spicy dishes can be harmful to cats, a few of them are an exception.
There are usually two reasons cats would eat spicy food: Dedication to copy us or an innocent quirk they enjoy taking on.
Whatever you think a cat’s case is, one thing’s for sure: letting your four-pawed baby eat spicy food isn’t encouraged.
Can cats eat spicy food?
Studies say that cats can significantly enjoy the bitter flavor, although they cannot process the taste of spices.
In other words, no matter how delectable your curry is, your cat is bound to find it mundane.
The “Use It Or Lose It” Mentality.
Felines have adapted to the use-it-or-lose-it mentality in that they’ve lost their ability to savor sweets because there is no need for them to.
A simple Google search will tell you immediately that cats are obligate carnivores.
That said, all they ever need is meat with loads of protein.
Wild cats are no different—and no, we’re not talking about Troy Bolton and his friends over at High School Musical. We’re talking about those who grow up in the jungle.
Because cats have zero access to sugar, their tastebuds have evolved so much that they don’t regard sweets.
Here’s a fun fact: Dozens of bitter-tasting plants in the wild are deadly, so the capacity to process bitterness is understood to be a survival mechanism for all cats.
Similar to the lack of sugar tasting abilities, cats also lack the tasting ability of the complex variety of spiciness in meals.
Because humans can mix and experiment with food, the concept of hot and spicy dishes is ours to share.
The whole idea of mixing food varieties, tastes, and spices can be foreign for our furry little ones.
3 Reasons Why Cats Can’t Eat Spicy Food.
Cats are unable to taste the spiciness of a meal. However, that doesn’t mean that cats cannot feel the impact of zing. Please don’t take it the wrong way.
Spicy food is always associated with heat. Spices bring a hot sensation due to a compound called Capsaicin.
Capsaicin is found mainly in chillis and other spices. For instance, cooked chili unleashes a lot of Capsaicin.
Cats, like humans, encounter the same flame-y-like experience when they sink their teeth into anything spicy.
The heat from the spicy food can cause cats to experience:
- Severe stomach upsets
- Red, watery eyes
- Excessive sneezing
- Runny nose
Spicy herbs like onions contain thiosulphates which are very toxic and harmful to cats.
Thiosulphates destroy the red blood cells in cats causing them to become anemic.
As much as you would love to share your spicy food with your cat, the chances of you poisoning your adorable kitty are high.
Signs of food poisoning in cats include; dry heaving. Diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, excreting blood, nausea, and vomiting.
Feeding your cat spicy food can cause different stomach disorders like; heartburn, stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux, and duodenal ulcers.
As we all know, due to the small body size of cats, handling such abnormalities is hard, especially in older cats.
The chances of a cat with stomach disorders surviving are low. So, instead of losing your cat to spicy food, it is advisable not to feed them such meals.
After all, prevention is better than cure.
What Happens When Cats Eat Spicy food?
When your cat eats something spicy, the impact goes beyond the cat’s mouth to the digestive tract and can cause severe damage.
Firstly, once cats feel the heat burn from a spicy meal, they can spit or swallow the dish.
Should they choose to digest it, they’ll be prone to experiencing the same heat in their stomach lining and severe throat irritation.
Secondly, the cat’s body tries to fight the sudden heat burn by inducing the cat to vomit the food or excrete it by instant diarrhea.
The eyes become watery, and the nose runny.
The most awkward and challenging phase is this one because the cat’s immune system instantly takes over to remove the toxins in the body.
Lastly, after the cat excretes these toxins from its body, it goes back to normal body functioning, and healing occurs.
Should my cat eat spicy food?
The truth is straightforward with this one: there isn’t anything that’s both spicy that’s safe for cats.
Just like you would not dare eat something that gives you severe allergic reactions, you should serve your cat food that’s well within a healthy feline diet.
If, by any chance, they munch on a spicy leftover, make sure to give the cat enough drinking water. Water enables them to excrete the toxic food as soon as possible.
Keeping water bowls in several areas of your home is strategic and helpful for your adorable little kitty. It helps cats to have access to water anytime they need it.
If symptoms persist, a quick visit to the vet would be the best solution.
Always bear in mind that cats are carnivores, so incorporating meat in their meals and little amounts of vegetables is the best and most efficient way to keep them healthy.
While not the best for humans, Premium canned meat is an excellent source of protein for cats.
You can find several protein meals like canned tuna in all pet stores. But asking your vet what YOUR cat should eat is essential.
Also, remember that your cat’s diet depends on how big and old they are.
Overall, cats are different from each other. Spicy food can affect cats varyingly, depending on the cat breed.
Some cats experience mild reactions, while other cats experience severe reactions.
And while there may be universal rules about what cats should and shouldn’t eat. Nothing beats doing your research and asking the experts.
Purrfect n’ Pawesome is the brainchild of Amanda, who has been into researching and writing about pets to help other pet parents in nurturing their adorable pets. Currently, she runs Purrfect n’ Pawesome along with her team of experienced and dedicated pet experts. Along with being an awesome writer and entrepreneur, Amanda is a cat mom to two innocently spoiled cats, Balanca and Scruffy.
She has been writing about pet care and nurturing and wants to share her readers’ experiences, learnings, and knowledge.
Over the years, she had the opportunity to work with various pet owners having multiple breeds, and that exposure gave her experience and the lessons of a lifetime.
Her family, her entire universe revolves around her two cats, who give her endless support and inspiration to move ahead with her objectives in life. Amanda is a live example of a balanced approach to all parenthood questions we all face in life.