As pet owners, we are responsible for every element of an animal’s welfare. One of the primary factors is what we can safely feed our cats, such as pasta. Cats imitate their owners, so they’ll likely show interest in the human food on your plate.
Pasta has no nutritional value to a feline. It contains virtually no protein, but lots of carbohydrates. These can be hard for your cat’s digestive tract to break down, and some pets are sensitive to gluten. Pasta could cause abdominal discomfort for an adult cat or kitten.
This guide will look closely at the health risks of a cat eating pasta. It can be difficult to resist the wide eyes of a curious feline at meal times. As you’ll see, it may be better for them if you do.
- 1 Is Pasta Safe for Cats to Eat?
- 2 Can Cats Eat Raw Pasta?
- 3 Can Cats Eat Pasta Sauce?
- 4 Can Cats Eat Cooked Pasta?
- 5 Do Cats Like Pasta?
Is Pasta Safe for Cats to Eat?
Pasta is not a dangerous food for cats, in that it’s not toxic or poisonous. At best, pasta is just empty calories for your pet. If they enjoy the taste and are not allergic, small amounts are fine as a treat.
There are caveats to this, however. Firstly, there’s the fact that some felines are sensitive to gluten. Note that we use the term sensitive here, as outright gluten allergies are rare in cats. As Wag Walking explains, common symptoms of a gluten allergy include:
- Chronic and recurrent vomiting and diarrhea
- Itchy skin, potentially breaking out in hives
- Weight loss
- Asthma, and other breathing difficulties
If your cat does show a reaction to gluten, they must be kept away from it. This should not be difficult, as gluten is not part of any feline’s core diet.
High-quality cat food from a pet store will not result in any symptoms. If your cat is in visible distress, see a vet. They will be able to prescribe a topical treatment to ease any skin ailments. Also, see a vet if your cat struggles with vomiting or diarrhea for over 24 hours.
Another thing to consider is the addition of herbs and spices. Pasta, in and of itself, is quite bland. This leads to us often adding a variety of kitchen spices to a dish. Some of these spicy additions, such as garlic, may be harmful to your cat.
With this in mind, it’s best to avoid pasta as a meal. If your cat needs an emergency meal using traditionally human ingredients, plain boiled rice is safer.
Finally, cats are not built to process carbohydrates and starch. Let’s take a look at this in more detail.
What Happens When Cat Eat Carbohydrates?
As obligate carnivores, cats need substantial quantities of protein and few carbohydrates. This does not mean that cats subside on a feline variation of the Atkin’s diet.
As PetCoach explains, all pet foods contain at least some carbs. Just how much is a source of much debate, though.
A cat that lives in the wild would subside on a diet of small animals and other prey. This means that an undomesticated feline would have less than 5% carbs in their total diet.
They would be a secondary energy source, absorbed from the content of the prey’s stomachs. Dry pet food, meanwhile, could contain up to 70% carbohydrates.
Now, when a cat eats carbs, the process is – on the surface – similar to a human. These carbohydrates are processed by the body, and turned into energy.
This keeps your cat mentally sharp, and physically active. However, a cat’s body processes carbs exceptionally slowly, especially those that are high in starch.
The presence of carbs may override your cat’s energy needs. A cat will not be active unless it’s necessary, as they like to retain energy.
An indoor feline will often find that their carbs stop generating energy and turn to fat. Obesity, and the associated risks, will often follow – as will potential stomach upsets.
Feeding your cat a high-protein diet – or snacks – will alleviate this issue. Just like carbs, protein turns to energy in a cat’s body. Unlike carbs, however, this happens quickly and efficiently.
Cats that feast upon lean meats will be less likely to gain excess weight.
Can Cats Eat Raw Pasta?
Pasta expands in a saucepan, and we always end up with more than we planned. If you plan to offer some to your pet, it’s tempting to feed it raw. After all, this will contain the quantities. Surely crunching on something tough will be good for their teeth, too?
The truth is, raw pasta is dangerous to cats and should never be offered. There are numerous reasons why:
- Raw pasta is even harder for cats to digest. Stomach issues are inevitable.
- It is tough, but brittle. Your cat may hurt or damage their teeth crunching it.
- It shatters into small pieces. This could be a choking hazard for your cat.
- Uncooked pasta does not contain any water. This means that it’s devoid of nutrition. Your cat will not even enjoy any hydrating properties.
If you must offer your cat pasta, cook it thoroughly first. We’ll discuss the suitability of several pasta recipes later on in this guide.
Can Cats Eat Pasta Sauce?
Pasta sauce is frequently a very strict no-no for cats. Picture a typical jar of pasta sauce. It will contain ingredients that are dangerous for cats.
Pasta sauce is usually tomato-based. Tomatoes were once thought to be toxic to cats, though this has since been dispelled. The ripe, fruity element of a tomato is sometimes used in cat food.
However, it’s possible that elements of the leaves and stem will make their way into the sauce. Seeds are also dangerous, and can slip into any sauce undetected. These ingredients could result in the following symptoms:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Uncontrollable drooling
- Loss of motor function and muscle weakness
- Mental confusion and aggression
- Dangerously slow heart rate
It’s possible that your cat will be allergic to tomatoes. Felines don’t need to eat these ingredients, so why take the risk?
Even leaving tomatoes aside, there are other, highly toxic, ingredients in many pasta sauces. The most notable of these are onions and garlic. When eaten in extremely small and measured doses, onions and garlic can boost feline immune systems. Any substantial quantity, however, will lead to digestive upset.
What’s more concerning is the potential for feline anemia. Anemia can be fatal. Even if you catch it early, your pet will likely require an intrusive blood transfusion. Onion can be a common cause for anemia in cats, and really should be avoided.
Many pasta sauces also contain mushrooms. Now, again, small amounts of mushrooms will not impact your cat. They won’t boost their health, but they won’t necessarily harm them either. Where the problem lies is that your cat may develop a taste for mushrooms. This means an outdoor cat may start nibbling on wild mushrooms. Naturally, these are frequently toxic and could do serious harm.
Pasta sauces are designed to appeal to human taste buds. This means they’ll include various herbs and spices, some of which harm cats. Even if this is not the case, jars of pasta sauce will be loaded with sugar. Even worse, they may contain toxic artificial sweeteners, such as xylitol.
If you use jars of pasta sauce in your kitchen, keep them out of the reach of cats. Never feed them to your pet, either on a spoon or as part of their meal.
If your cat licks a plate clean, it’s unlikely to cause significant problems. Keep an eye on your pet’s health. If they show any signs of physical upset, see a vet ASAP.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Pasta?
If you insist on giving your cat pasta, it must be cooked. You should not fill a cat’s bowl with pasta, though. That’s just empty calories, and could lead to a protein deficiency.
Equally, however, very few pasta-based recipes are suitable for felines. Let’s look at some of the most common examples, and their impact on cat digestion.
Can Cats Eat Spaghetti Bolognese?
Spaghetti bolognese is possibly the most popular pasta dish of all. It’s quick and easy to make, and always tasty. Unfortunately, it’s of no benefit to a cat’s diet.
On paper, bolognese is the best pasta dish to offer a feline. After all, it’s firmly meat-based. If you use lean mince, this could actually be good for your pet. Sadly, bolognese is doused in sauce. Rest assured, however, that covering a cat’s meal in such a condiment would not end well.
Making a feline-friendly spaghetti bolognese is possible. Just make it as unappealing as possible to human sensibilities. That means a very small quantity of cooked pasta.
Naturally, spaghetti is the typical choice here. That will be fun for your cat to eat, as they’ll enjoy tackling the stringy ingredient. You could use penne or something similar instead, though. Consider picking up a wheat- or gluten-free pasta to avoid aggravating any stomach sensitivities.
The meat is the most important thing for your cat. That’s where they’ll get their essential protein fix. Pick a mince that’s low in fat, and gently fry it up. Then serve this to your cat straight from the pan.
That means no herbs, spices, salt or pepper. Sure, this sounds very dull to the human palate. It’s the only way to ensure that your cat enjoys the meal safely, though.
Can Cats Eat Mac and Cheese?
Mac and cheese is a favorite throughout the nation, and for a good reason. Although they’ll lick their lips at the idea, mac and cheese will cause your cat distress.
Many felines are lactose intolerant. This means that vomiting and diarrhea will quickly follow the consumption of dairy. In addition to milk, cheese also contains high quantities of fat and salt.
Throw in the empty calories of the macaroni, and you have a deeply unhealthy recipe for a cat. Your pet will gain weight, and feel wretched.
There is a time and a place for offering cats cheese as a treat. If you need to give your pet an oral medication, wrap it in cheddar. This will often be enough to tempt your cat.
Don’t make a habit of it, though. It will upset your pet’s stomach, and they’ll gain weight. If your cat has a fondness for cheese, many cat treats simulate the flavor for them.
Cat Cats Eat Stir-Fried Noodles?
Noodles are mostly the same as spaghetti, as far as your cat is concerned. If you offer plain stir-fried noodles to a feline, they won’t be poisoned. They won’t gain anything from the food either, though. There is no nutritional benefit, and they’ll gain weight due to the high carb content.
In addition to this, your cat may not be interested in noodles. After all, to keep them safe, you won’t be able to add any seasoning. You could try mixing in some vegetables to boost your pet’s health. This will certainly give them some fiber. A little chicken will add protein, too.
However, you’re just creating work for yourself. All the health benefits that would be gained through this meal are also available from commercial cat food. The latter will often be healthier.
You must also never take a short cut with noodles and your cat. If your pet shows interest, you may be tempted to pick up some instant noodles. This is a mistake.
They will be full of sodium and other preservatives that could do all kinds of harm. Noodles can make a fun game as an occasional treat, but no more. There is little point in making a meal of them.
Cat Cats Eat Carbonara?
Carbonara is arguably the tastiest pasta dish of all, for both humans and cats. Pasta, chicken, eggs, bacon, and cheese. What’s not to love? Well, in the case if your cat, plenty in the aftermath. While they’ll undoubtedly eat carbonara with glee, your pet will suffer for it afterward.
That will be loaded with salt. Cheese and will disagree with your cat’s stomach. If you use parmesan, that will also be yet more sodium. We haven’t even factored the use of various cooking oils and butter, either.
Carbonara, while appealing to the palate, will wreak havoc on your cat’s digestion. There is no way of making a safe alternative for your feline; the dish is too rich.
Cat Cats Eat Beef Stroganoff?
Beef stroganoff is a dish that cats are likely to find very appealing. They’ll have fun with the linguine or spaghetti that you use as pasta. The juicy meat content will also be appealing. Your cat will love nothing more than tucking into a piece of sirloin steak or similar.
Sadly, what your cat wants and what agrees with them are very different things. A typical stroganoff will be loaded with unsuitable ingredients.
Consider the presence of red wine or sherry. Alcohol is very toxic to cats. Then, we have onions and garlic – both dangerous, as we have previously discussed.
Mushrooms can lead to dubious habits for a cat, and place them at risk. Crème Fraiche and sour cream are loaded with dairy. Stroganoff also contains all kinds of herbs and spices, many of which will harm your cat.
You could make a plain stroganoff equivalent for your cat. Just set aside a little plain, unseasoned beef. Sure, this isn’t stroganoff at all – it’s just meat and pasta.
Can Cats Eat Lasagna?
Lasagna contains thick sheets of pasta. There’s nothing directly wrong with that, except it’s loaded with empty calories.
Lasagna also has vast quantities of meat. Great – protein aplenty. The trouble is, this meat will be seasoned to no end. Herbs, spices, salt, and additives will coat the meat in your lasagna. All of these ingredients could potentially harm a cat.
Then, there’s the cheese. Lasagna is loaded with cheese, and that’s a negative. Your cat will load up on sodium, gain weight and generally have all kinds of health problems.
Your cat is likely to be interested in your lasagna. The varied ingredients will pique every one of their senses. To be safe, consider setting aside a little of the mince while you cook. Keep this free of seasoning, and your cat can share the experience without harming their health.
Do Cats Like Pasta?
Some cats will still develop a taste for pasta, despite these warnings. This is understandable. Pasta is hardly healthy for humans either, and yet it remains a favored comfort food.
If your cat begs and pleads for pasta, stick to these ground rules.
- Pasta must be cooked thoroughly.
- Pasta must NOT be seasoned with herbs and spices. This includes salt and pepper.
- Pasta must be a snack only. Never let your cat fill up on pasta as a meal.
- If your cat shows any adverse reaction to pasta, stop feeding it at once.
- Only offer pasta occasionally as a treat, never a meal.
It’s still far from ideal, but sometimes it’s impossible to resist a pet’s pleading eyes. Like all things, moderation is key. Provided you keep pasta as a treat, your cat can enjoy small, occasional servings.
Just ensure that they also enjoy a balanced, healthy diet. And maybe step up their exercise regime a little to burn off those excess calories.
Pasta is a strange food where cats are concerned. It would be too much of a push to call it bad for felines. We prefer to reserve that label for foods that are actively toxic. It is, however, useless at best – and slightly dangerous at worst.
Cats that eat pasta will struggle to maintain their weight, and fill up on empty calories. This could lead to them rejecting healthier food choices that benefit their bodies. This, in turn, can lead to protein deficiency.
If you are going to bring pasta into your cat’s diet, do so in small doses. Pasta should never be a focal point of a feline’s eating habits. It may be necessary to keep your cat happy, though. If nothing else, small portions of pasta may keep those pleading eyes at bay during mealtimes.