Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
Spaghetti, lasagna, macaroni, penne, farfalle… You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy these pasta delights. Gourmets from all over the world savor countless varieties of pasta. While cats can be quite finicky, some food must be delicious and irresistible to them. So, the question of the day is: can cats eat spaghetti and do they even like it?
If cats enjoy spaghetti half as much as we do, it would be a shame not to provide them with such a pleasure, right? It is hard to resist thoughts like this, but it is wrong and might be dangerous for your cat. Always remember that cats have very different nutritional needs and our food can be harmful to them. So, let’s get our facts straight. However, if you are impatient, I will give you the short answer first. Cats can eat moderate amounts of spaghetti occasionally, but they shouldn’t. Keep reading if you want to know why.
Healthy and Not So Healthy Food for Cats
First of all, cats are obligate carnivores. This means that they need meat to meet their nutritional needs. It is not like the meat is all they need, but without a large percentage of animal source food, they can’t thrive. Their stomachs are adapted to use vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids almost exclusively from meat sources.
Actually, all food can be divided into three groups considering benefits for cats. The first group consists of any food that is high in protein of animal origin, and low in carbs. This is an essential healthy diet for your Fluffy. Obviously, meat and fish make the largest chunk of these formulas. Spaghetti don’t belong here because they are a carb-high and protein-low ingredient.
Food that neither helps nor harms is in the second group. Most of the plants will end up in this group. This is a sort of ‘filler’ food that is acceptable as an addition to high-protein main food. However, larger amounts of these ingredients will cause stomach upset or some other discomfort. Your cat might be sick a little bit, but it will go away by itself in most of the cases. Spaghetti and other pasta belong to this group.
Finally, toxic food is in the third group. It may surprise you, but some veggies and fruits can be poisonous for our felines. Garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol all belong to this dangerous group.
So, make sure that you learn which food you need to keep away from your Fluffy. Provide a healthy protein-rich diet for your cat. You can feed your cat with most of the veggies and even spaghetti, only occasionally and in small quantities.
Are Cats Gourmets?
As for savoring the food, cats and humans are very different. We have around 9,000 taste buds on our tongues, while cats have less than 500. And believe it or not, cats don’t have a sweet tooth. They have just a couple of sweet taste buds, but they are pretty much inactive, or in other words – useless. However, they have a much stronger sense of smell to help them choose and feel the food. The texture and temperature play part in cat’s food preferences, too. The bottom line is that we taste things quite differently, so ‘delicious’ for humans and ‘delicious’ for cats are two totally different things.
So, you don’t have to feel guilty if you don’t share your favorite spaghetti recipe with your cat. Fluffy might find it yucky anyway.
Spaghetti and Sauces
Another problem with cats and spaghetti is that spaghetti never come alone. Marinara, bolognese, pesto… I feel strong cravings already. However, most of the sauces contain onions, garlic, spices, and salt. Some of these ingredients are toxic, while others are ‘just’ harmful to cats. So, all of our mouthwatering pasta recipes are strictly forbidden for our kitties. Cooked plain spaghetti is the only way your cat should eat it. You can add some cooked meat, though. Even then, your Fluffy might just eat the meat and leave the spaghetti.
I am a cat person, but I am a spaghetti person as well. Regardless of my love for cats and pasta, the answer to can cats eat spaghetti would be: these two don’t match well. It won’t be a crime if you offer your feline companion a munch of plain spaghetti. But, it won’t meet any of your cat’s nutritional needs. And it is not very likely that your cat will find it appealing anyway.
With many healthy options on the table, I wouldn’t bother trying to feed your Fluffy spaghetti. Eventually, it is up to you. But, if you choose to give her an occasional morsel of spaghetti, make sure you avoid all spices, sauces, and additions that can be harmful to your cat.