Pet Consider

Can Cats Eat Spaghetti?

Can I Give My Cat Spaghetti?

There are a handful of dinners that are almost universally loved, and spaghetti is one of those dinners. No matter where you live, what your dietary restrictions are, or how concerned you are about eating foods that are both delicious and wholesome, you probably have a soft spot for a big bowl of spaghetti with a side salad and a slice of garlic bread. This warm comfort food can be as spicy, saucy, or cheesy as you want it to be, so it’s easy to tailor to anyone’s tastes. Spaghetti is also so versatile that it can be as healthy (or unhealthy) as you need to make it, with some people preferring whole wheat pasta while others make noodles out of zucchini.

Because pretty much everyone likes spaghetti, we are comfortable serving it to any and all dinner guests, but should we give a scoop to our furry roommates, too? When we were kids, many of us dropped pieces of dinner underneath the table for our pets to consume, but we’re older and wiser now. Besides, cats have very sensitive stomachs, and, as grown-ups, we have to clean up any messes that come about as a result of our cats’ tummy troubles. So, can cats have spaghetti?

The answer is no, cats cannot eat spaghetti. While a tiny portion of spaghetti every great once in a way may not cause any serious or lasting health problems for your cat, most sources agree that this food is best avoided completely. Most spaghettis are made using at least two ingredients that are extremely poisonous to cats, which means that consuming enough spaghetti sauce can actually result in life-threatening toxicity. Any spaghetti sauce spills should be wiped up before your cat can lick them up off the floor.

Health Benefits?

SpaghettiEven without the sauce, spaghetti would still be harmful for cats. While growing kids and human athletes often benefit from eating complex carbohydrates like whole grain pastas, but even 100% whole grain spaghetti is not a suitable food for cats. In order to stay fit and healthy, cats should avoid eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread and pasta.

Unless you are in an apocalyptic situation and the only food available to you is spaghetti, there is no good reason to give this food to your cat. Whole grain pastas are great energy sources for active humans when consumed in moderation, but they have no role in the feline diet. Unlike humans, who are omnivores who have evolved to eat diets high in starchy plant foods, cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they are ‘obligated’ to eat carnivorous diets.

People run quite well on complex carbohydrates. For us, spaghetti made with whole wheat pasta is a great source of energy. Cats, on the other hand, have evolved to eat diets that are rather low in carbohydrates.

Your housecat would not eat pasta if they were running around in the wild. Actually, your cat would not eat anything we recognize as a source of carbohydrates—cats have evolved to subsist almost entirely on meat. Because cats and other carnivores have eaten whole prey animals nearly exclusively for millions of years, natural selection has not given them many of the biological adaptations that would allow them to eat starchy plant foods such as pasta.

Humans have special enzymes that are designed to help break down the complex carbohydrates in foods like pasta and bread, but our cats do not. Cats have digestive systems that are designed for processing protein-rich meat, not high-carbohydrate pasta.

Things to Consider

For your cat, pasta is empty calories. It does not have any of the vitamins, minerals, or amino acids that they need to survive, so the best it can do is increase their risk of nutritional deficiency and weight gain. If your cat is already overweight or obese, they definitely shouldn’t have any pastas or starchy carbohydrates. In the long term, feeding your cat too many carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. If your cat becomes obese, they can also develop arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer.

Finally, spaghetti sauces containing garlic and onions should be avoided entirely. Both of these foods can be extremely toxic to cats even in small quantities. If your cat is exposed to spaghetti sauce and gets sick, seek veterinary care as soon as possible. If your cat eats a substantial quantity of spaghetti sauce, you may want to be proactive—it is much easier to treat a cat who isn’t showing symptoms yet than it is to try to stabilize them after symptoms have set in.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, spaghetti is not a safe food for cats to eat in any quantity. Spaghetti sauce often contains toxic ingredients, pasta offers no nutrition for your cat, and all of those carbohydrates can contribute to obesity and chronic illness. Find another treat for your cat!

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1 Comment

  1. Akimbojoe

    March 24, 2019 - 4:37 pm

    The “toxic” ingredients, in case you are wondering, are onions and garlic… which is like, meh. Are they toxic to cats? Sure. Are trace amounts of either going to kill your pet? Naw. Would eating a few slivers of onions kill your cat? No way. Would eating a whole clove of raw garlic kill your cat? I don’t know, but it would give me terrible indigestion so I wouldn’t dare give it to a cat.

    It’s sort of like dogs and chocolate. While you wouldn’t want to give them *ANY* baking chocolate (it’s fatal in extremely small quantities) or any dark chocolate it’s going to take more than a pound of milk chocolate to kill a 20 pound dog. A tiny little taste likely won’t kill them just as a little spaghetti sauce isn’t going to kill your cat. Should Garfield be eating so much lasagna? I dunno, it depends on how badly Jon wants to keep living I guess.

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