Updated: August 5, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
Humans eat a lot of potatoes. It is rich in nutrients and minerals, but low in calories and it is fat and cholesterol free. Of course, if you prepare it the wrong way you can turn it to unhealthy food.
Mashed potatoes is a very popular side dish. It is a great complement to a variety of dishes. Sometimes I cook too much of it and get tempted to share it with my cats. So, can cats eat mashed potatoes?
Our feline companions are cute and adorable, there’s no doubt about that. We love to share with those that we love. So, that’s what we do with our cats. We share our homes, our time, and our affection. But, what about food? Is it a smart thing to do?
The simple answer is no. Cats have specific and different nutritional requirements than humans. So, specific and balanced cat diet is necessary to keep your cat healthy and happy. However, some of our food is allowed as a treat occasionally. Let’s see how it is with potatoes.
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Cats and Potatoes
Is potato healthy or harmful for cats? Potato is a starchy vegetable. It is a source of carbs and fiber. While this is healthy for humans, cats don’t need it. But, it still doesn’t mean that it is either good or bad. Are carbs harmful or beneficial for your cat? That is the question and subject of an ongoing debate among vets, biologists, and cat specialists. Let’s find out if cats can eat potatoes.
Anyway, one thing is for sure: a small amount of high carb food is not harmful to your cat. Maybe, but just maybe, it has some benefits. So, let’s go back to potatoes. If your cat likes potatoes you can give it to her once in a while. But, not any potato. The way you prepare it is crucial.
Raw Potatoes, Cooked Potatoes, French Fried Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes
Now, you know that your cat doesn’t need a potato, but she may have it on occasion. But, there are many different kinds of potatoes and ways to prepare them — chips, fries, gratin, mash —.
The first potato-rule is that if it’s not good for you it is worse for your cat. So, raw potato is a big no-no. Raw potato contains a toxic chemical called solanine. It is poisonous for cats and even for humans. However, you can get rid of it by cooking or frying. Beware when you cook potato as cooking doesn’t destroy solanine. It just leaves the potato and stays in the water.
A few french fries won’t harm your cat. But, it is a lot of fat and a lot of salt. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend it.
Sweet potato isn’t a potato at all! They are distantly related and don’t even belong to the same family. While the sweet potato isn’t toxic for cats, it is difficult to digest. So, you can give it to your cat on rare occasions in very, very small amounts.
Peeled and cooked potato is the safest potato for your cat. Finally, we come to the bottom of our story. If you mash your peeled and cooked potato you get mashed potato. Go figure!
Mashed potato is safe for your cat, but it is not the whole story. It must be a pure mashed potato! Most of the seasonings, additives, and toppings can be not just harmful, but dangerous for your cat. So, keep it simple, follow the rules and your cat can enjoy mashed potatoes once in a while.
Mashed potatoes are safe for your kitty. If your cat eats enough protein, mashed potatoes can be a nice addition to change the menu occasionally. However, chances are you like your mashed potatoes with all kinds of toppings and sauces. If that is the case you will have to cook your cat’s meal separately. And you won’t share your meal with your kitty-cat.
But, don’t be sad about it. Your cat loves you, but she doesn’t share her meals with you. So, you don’t have to share your food to love her back. Providing a healthy cat diet is one of the ways to show your love. Your cat will know it. Keep your cat healthy and she will keep you happy!