Can I Give My Cat Pizza?
Well, not everyone. There’s one family member who you’re not sure you should include in the festivities—the cat. Is it okay to share this tasty treat with your feline friend? Can cats have pizza?
The answer probably doesn’t surprise you: no, pizza is not recommended for cats. While a bite of pizza probably won’t send your cat into cardiac arrest within five minutes, this junk food is full of everything that is terrible for cats—and completely empty of all the things that are good for cats. In addition to the whole host of ingredients that are damaging to your cat’s health in the long term, many pizzas may be topped or cooked with ingredients that may actually be poisonous to your feline friend. If you’re looking to give your cat a treat on a Saturday night, it’s better to pass on the pizza.
Why You Should Avoid Giving Your Cat Pizza
As it pertains to feline nutrition, there is not a single redeeming quality in the typical pizza. The three main ingredients in your standard pizza are all on the ‘avoid’ list for cats: bread, cheese, and tomato sauce. And no, there are no such things as healthy pizza toppings! The fatty sausage, salty pepperoni, and even the green vegetables on top of your pizza are not nutritionally adequate for cats. And, even if the scant amount of vegetables on the typical pizza could provide any nutrition, it would not be enough to offset the disastrous effects of dairy and refined flour.
Pizza crust made from refined flour is considered junk food for humans, but it should be avoided if at all possible in the feline diet. Biologically speaking, your sweet little calico cat is designed to eat one thing and one thing only: the flesh, bones, and fur of whole prey animals. This means more than just a taste for meat!
Cats, as obligate carnivores, have evolved differently from humans and dogs, and can only meet their nutritional needs by eating meat products. They have no need to eat bread or cheese. In fact, many cats have difficulty digesting high-carbohydrate foods like pizza crust—if your cat eats more than a tiny amount, they are likely to suffer from vomiting or bloating. If your cat makes a habit of eating white bread, it may even contribute to constipation. After all, pizza crust is not renowned for its high fiber content!
Things to Keep in Mind
Eating high-carb, refined flour foods like pizza crust can wreak havoc on your cat’s health in the long term. Since pizza is high in calories but low in all of the nutrients your cat’s body craves, it can be easy for them to take in too many calories. Cats are small animals who need far fewer calories than we do, which means that it is much easier for them to pack on the pounds. Though it may be cute or funny to watch a pudgy cat waddle across the kitchen floor, feline obesity is a serious health issue. Obese cats often lose their enjoyment of exercise, which can contribute to depression, behavioral problems, and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems and diabetes. Fat cats often suffer from breathing problems, decreased mobility, and fatigue. Just as obesity shortens the human lifespan, it can dock months or years off your cat’s life expectancy.
In addition to the generally unhealthy nature of pizza, there are two common pizza ingredients that can pose an immediate threat to your cat’s life: garlic and onions. Both of these common pizza components contribute to a disease known as Heinz body anemia, which reduces your cat’s red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen throughout the body. Symptoms of Heinz body anemia include fever, pale mouth and gums, extreme fatigue or weakness, labored breathing, and discolored skin. Left untreated, this illness can be fatal. If you think your cat has eaten garlic or onions, the best thing you can do is take them to the vet’s office. Your veterinarian may be able to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to minimize the amount of poison your cat’s body absorbs.
In conclusion, there is really no good reason to give your cat pizza—ever. In addition to the risky ingredients like garlic and onions, pizza is loaded with fat, calories, and refined carbohydrates that will do nothing good for your cat’s health. If your cat needs a treat on pizza night, opt for something more feline-friendly.