Updated: August 11, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
Tomatoes are delicious for us and we use them as fresh vegetables in salads, put them in many dishes and also use them for sauces as the beloved ketchup. You might have heard that some vegetables are quite dangerous for cats but can cats eat tomatoes? Let us find out together!
This is quite a debated subject and arguments are brought from both sides. Let us start with the ASPCA, which is the first organization you should check to see what is safe for your pets. They state that tomatoes are toxic for cats, dogs and even for horses.
The thing is that this is true only for certain parts of the tomato while others are quite safe. If you properly washed the tomatoes, remove the seeds and chop them into bite-sized pieces your cat will probably be able to eat them.
Solanine and Tomatine
Tomatoes belong to the Nightshade family and they contain alkaloids such as solanine and tomatine that are considered very toxic for your cat and they can lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms. The stems and the leaves contain the most amount of poisonous elements for your cat and thus you should always keep the cat away from them.
If you grow tomatoes in your garden it is recommended to put a fence or try to raise the plant our of the cat’s reach since if they nibble on too many leaves this can lead to poisoning. The symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, general weakness, lethargy and confusion. In this case it means that you cat has been poisoned and you should rush to the vet since they need to purge the stomach and prevent any possible side effects.
Tomatine is another even more toxic element found in the tomatoes that haven’t yet ripened and this is why cats should stay away from unripened tomatoes. These also contain nicotine which is also quite bad for your cat.
In small quantities they can be safe either cooked or served fresh but make sure you cut them into small pieces since they can pose a choking hazard for a cat. Don’t serve tomato paste from a can or other sources made for cooking because those contain a lot of salt and always think very well of the risks you are exposing your cat to.
Tomatoes have a high acidity and thus can hurt your cat’s stomach. Another risk you have to consider is the possible allergy some cats have to tomatoes. When cooking tomatoes remember that the alkaloids mentioned above aren’t destroyed through this process so you shouldn’t feed your cat parts that are harmful (green parts) even if you cooked them before.
No they shouldn’t eat tomatoes. Even if some parts are safe the nutrition they offer is too insignificant when compared to all the risks you are exposing your pet to.