Some cats seem to get into your meals every now and then, especially if they are highly motivated by snacks or food, in general. But occasionally, every person is likely to have a less healthy dish, such as French fries, which brings up the question — can cats eat French fries?
In today’s article, we’re not only giving you the answer, but we’re also looking at some potentially dangerous ingredients in French fries, and what types of potatoes are safe to give to cats. Read on to find out more!
French Fries Are Not Made for Cats
The short answer to the question that’s the title of this article is no, cats are not supposed to have French fries. There are several reasons for this, but we will go into more depth in the sections below.
But the most important reason of all is that cats are obligate carnivores. This means that most of their diet should be composed of protein and fat, as well as carbs from healthy sources such as pumpkin (no grain, no standard potato).
French fries are very rich in calories. In fact, they are the most calorie-heavy ‘guilty’ meal that people can have. One hundred grams of fast food French fries have 312 calories although their homemade counterpart stands at just 164 calories.
There are 266 calories in one hundred grams of pizza and 295 calories in 100 grams of double-patty hamburgers, in comparison.
It goes without saying that most cats are likely to get bored after having just one or two French fries, so they’re not going to eat 100 grams, but even so, with some of the ingredients that are added to them or the types of oils that they are cooked in, French fries do not make healthy food for cats.
Potentially Dangerous Ingredients in French Fries
Homemade fries are usually safer and lower in calories because people don’t tend to add as many seasonings and spices to them. They might even use less oil or cook them in an air fryer or in the oven, which automatically makes them healthier.
Here are some ingredients in French fries that you might want to prevent your cat from eating.
Any responsible pet parent knows that dogs and cats are not supposed to have sodium or at least the lowest amounts possible. In humans, a diet rich in sodium can lead to the development of high blood pressure and cardiac health issues — and the same applies to our furry friends.
But the worst thing is that cats are particularly sensitive to sodium, and just 4 grams of the stuff can cause death. Unseasoned homemade fries are safer in this respect, but those that you get from a fast food chain are most certainly not.
Too Much Fat
Deep-fried food is unhealthy for people and pets alike, and it’s common sense to avoid giving it to a species that’s an obligate carnivore. Not only will fatty foods raise the risk of your cat becoming obese, but with that, there are other risks involved, such as diabetes.
Potato skins contain a substance called solanine that can be found in raw potatoes, raw tomatoes, as well as eggplant, and that’s effectively produced by all of these plants as a natural insecticide.
Its highest concentration is in the skin of these veggies, and in some pets, it can cause symptoms such as difficulty breathing, digestive upset, or heart problems. Even more, potato skins have high amounts of oxalates, which can cause severe urinary problems, especially in cats who already don’t drink enough water and always have a risk of kidney pathologies.
Carbs are an essential nutrient of a well-balanced diet and even cats are supposed to have a low amount, but they should come from healthy sources, not potatoes — which are just pure starch and don’t do anything in the way of aiding your pet’s digestion, for example.
Garlic or Onion Powder
In this case, too, homemade French fries are better as you have complete control over what you add to them. But most of the French fries you can get from restaurants or fast food chains contain a variety of spices and seasonings, and garlic and onion powders are the most dangerous of all.
Garlic can cause hemolytic anemia in cats, whereas onion can cause lethargy, digestive distress, and other symptoms related to blood toxicity.
Can Cats Eat Frozen French Fries?
It mostly depends on the type you have purchased and whether or not they have added ingredients such as oil or any condiments or other additives.
In general, they are best to be avoided but giving your cat a plain, unseasoned French fry that you have baked in the oven, and that doesn’t contain any skin, either, will probably not cause any symptoms other than a mild stomach upset.
Can Cats Eat Raw Potatoes?
Skinned raw potatoes aren’t the worst, so if you’ve cut your French fries and your cat somehow got a hold of a small piece, you probably do not have anything to worry about. They are not digestible, though, so they might cause some digestive symptoms.
If the potato part was next to the skin or if you hadn’t peeled the potato, it might be better to go to the vet rather than wait for any symptoms to show up.
Can Cats Eat Bland Cooked Potatoes?
Boiled and unseasoned potatoes are usually safe for cats in that they aren’t going to cause any health problems, but they are not a healthy food source since cats should eat their species-appropriate diet instead of potatoes.
Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Yes! Plain, unsalted, and unseasoned sweet potatoes that have been cooked in the oven are safe to give to your cat and might even provide her with a bit of extra fiber for healthy digestion, too.
Pumpkin is a little healthier, though, and it’s in the same plant family as sweet potatoes. Like any other food that does not seem to be made for cats, sweet potatoes shouldn’t make up a big part of your pet’s diet – but a very small sample is safe.
Deep-fried sweet potato fries are not safe, though.
French fries are heavy in calories, oils, and seasonings that your cat doesn’t need. However, a small piece of a French fry once a month might not be harmful, so do keep that in mind.