Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
If you ask me, pasta, pizza and formaggio constitute a ‘holy trinity’ of Italian cuisine. Actually, the term holy trinity exists in Italian cuisine terminology but refers to onions, celery, and carrots. Anyway, it seems like Italians were the masters of marketing since forever and we credit them for spreading delicious and iconic food around the world. I like Italian food so much that I have almost forgotten that this article is about cats. The question of the day is: can cats eat pasta?
Cooking and eating Italian food is my passion. And I love to share some of my passions with my cats. While we love our fluffy friends, sharing food with them is not a good idea. I know it is hard to resist when you hear that begging ‘meow’. Not to mention rubbing against us and applying other enchanting techniques that compel us to indulge them. While some of the human food is safe for cats, as a rule of thumb, don’t feed your cat human food. At least not until you confirm that it is safe. Let’s see how it is with pasta.
Is Pasta Safe for Cats
The shortest possible answer to this question is sort of. Yes, pasta is safe for your feline because it doesn’t contain anything toxic for your cat. But, there are many reasons to think twice before you feed your Fluffy pasta. While it isn’t all that bad, pasta doesn’t have anything useful for cats. It is just empty calories. If you are wondering how is it possible, here comes the explanation.
Cats have eaten prey animals almost exclusively for millions of years. So, their natural selection didn’t provide possibilities to adapt to carb-rich food. Pasta is a starchy food with lots of carbs and virtually no protein. Cat’s digestive system is designed to take almost all necessary nutrients from meat. Cats lack most of the enzymes needed to digest carbs. Several amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins A and D are essential for cats development and health. Unfortunately, cats can’t use these nutrients from plants. The only way to get these valuable and absolutely necessary nutrients is through animal sources. There are synthetic supplements, though.
Whether you like it or not, your cat can’t be a vegan. Not a healthy one, anyway. But, what about commercial cat food? Many of those contain carbs, so does it mean that they are harmful to your cat? Those are good questions. But, the answer is simple. Commercial food must have meat to meet cats needs. Carbs should not provide more than 10% of the total calorie intake. But, food makers add more carbs for a very simple reason: it is cheaper. So, basically, carbs are added as fillers to cat food.
Too Much of Pasta Is Bad
Besides cat’s need for a high-protein diet, there are a few more reasons to avoid pasta. Firstly, it is simple math: the more pasta, the less meat, the less important nutrients. While giving your cat some pasta every once in a while won’t hurt her in any way, make sure that you don’t make it a habit. And keep track of the quantity.
Another problem is the way we serve pasta. Usually, it comes with lots of spices and seasonings. Salt, pepper, sugar, onions, and unripe tomato are often found in sauces for pasta. Some of these ingredients are toxic for cats, while all of them are harmful! So, if you really want to give pasta to your cat, it should be cooked plain pasta. If you ask me, it doesn’t sound delicious anymore.
A friend of mine asked me if I was too strict about my cat’s diet. “My cat loves to eat lasagna! If she likes it, it can’t be bad, right?” – she said. I have heard similar questions on numerous occasions. I answer with a counterquestion: “Do we like healthy food only?” Some of the unhealthiest food tastes the best. Cats are curious, and house cats, in particular, will chew on almost all imaginable things. So, don’t test your cat because it can be dangerous.
A lot of people love pasta, and there are so many different recipes and combinations to experiment and enjoy your cooking. However, when it comes to felines there is only one way: cooked plain pasta. This way, spaghetti and macaroni are safe for your Fluffy, although it is neither tasteful nor it has nutritional value. The bottom line is: cats can eat some pasta occasionally, but it isn’t beneficial in any way. So, I don’t see a reason to give it to your cat. Still, if your cat likes plain pasta, it is OK and safe to give it to her. As long as your cat has protein-rich primary source of food, she can enjoy occasional, not so healthy, snacks.