Can Cats Eat Jalapeños? 8 Things You May Not Know

Delicious and fiery jalapeos can be enjoyed raw, sautéed, or pickled, among many other ways of preparing this versatile pepper.

People may find these peppers tasty, but do cats really care? Should you indulge your curious cat and feed it a jalapeo pepper?

What you need to know about feeding jalapeos to your cat.

Can Cats Eat Jalapenos?

Even though jalapeos are safe for cats to eat, you shouldn’t give them to your cat.

Cats’ taste buds are missing specific receptors, so they experience flavors differently than humans do. Remember that the peppers can irritate your cat’s mouth and nose if ingested.

They can experience pain and irritation in their eyes if they get jalapeo oil on their paws and then touch their face.

sliced jalapenos on chopping board

Cats and Capsaicin

Capsaicin is the compound responsible for the heat of peppers. It’s also effective against insects and animals.

Capsaicin’s pungent odor should deter feline curiosity. They are not in immediate danger if they eat a jalapeo and accidentally take in some capsaicin. However, there are a few telltale symptoms to look out for if you suspect it’s making your cat ill.

Capsaicin is irritating to cats’ delicate digestive systems. It can cause irritation and burning of the mouth and esophagus while cats are eating it. Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Licking their chops
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Wet nose
  • Having trouble breathing; wheezing

These reactions are unusual and can happen if your cat ate a lot of jalapeo, whether it was cooked or raw, or if it ate the seeds.

Can Cats Eat Jalapeños? Is It Healthy for Them? - Excited Cats

Are Jalapeños Healthy for Cats?

Capsaicin, found in jalapenos, is responsible for the peppers’ characteristic heat. Capsaicin causes severe diarrhea and vomiting in cats.

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Most cats probably won’t notice much of a difference if they eat a jalapeo or two. However, a cat’s digestive system can be easily upset by even a small amount of capsaicin.

Consumption of capsaicin can cause vomiting, nausea, gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in felines. Your cat may require hospitalization and intravenous fluids to help with hydration and gastrointestinal symptoms if they consume a large amount.

If your cat has consumed capsaicin and is wheezing or having trouble breathing, take them to the vet immediately.

Severe reactions to capsaicin are uncommon in cats, though, probably because most cats don’t eat very much of the offending food item.

The likelihood of this happening is further reduced by the fact that most cats dislike the flavor of jalapeos and won’t eat them.

Treatment for Capsaicin Ingestion

cat on a drip in a vet clinic

Small amounts of jalapeo are harmless for cats to consume. Your cat is probably healthy if it isn’t exhibiting any symptoms of illness.

However, if your cat starts acting sick after eating jalapeos, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet. Capsaicin poisoning can be serious for cats if they consume a lot of jalapeos.

The vet will give your cat medication for vomiting and diarrhea if necessary.

In order to rehydrate cats that have become dehydrated due to persistent vomiting and diarrhea, fluids will be administered intravenously (IV) or subcutaneously (SC).

After getting sick from capsaicin, cats can make a full recovery. However, once it is clear that they require medical attention, prompt transport to the veterinarian is essential.

Should My Cat See a Vet for Jalapeño Consumption?

There is no need to worry if your cat chews on a pepper or eats a few jalapeos. A trip to the vet is probably not necessary if you feed your pet jalapeos.

If your cat develops a stomach ache, throws up, or has diarrhea and stops eating or drinking, you should take them to the vet right away.

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Some cats may need extra help, but in most cases these symptoms are mild and go away on their own.

Call the vet’s office if you have any doubts about whether or not your cat needs to be seen. If you take your cat to the vet at the first sign of any serious problems, the vet will be able to walk you through the signs and symptoms to look out for.

If you aren’t sure if you should be worried about your cat’s condition, your vet is the best person to ask.

green jalapeños in a wooden basket

Can Cats Taste Jalapeños?

In contrast to humans, cats lack the taste receptors necessary to experience the full flavor of spicy foods. Jalapeos are very spicy, and cats might eat them without realizing the risk.

Due to their nature as strict carnivores, cats can only eat certain things. They gorge themselves on the kills they make.

Cats kept as pets will eat whatever we give them. This is typically store-bought cat food.

Cats have a refined sense of taste and can tell the difference between flavors. However, they have limited sensitivity to spicy flavors.

It’s likely that the pungent aroma of a jalapeo is enough to deter cats from trying to eat it. The pepper itself is harmless, so they can eat it without worry. Capsaicin is what makes peppers so dangerous.

Other Foods to Avoid

In addition to the jalapeos, your cat may have consumed other ingredients that are harmful to them if they ate the dish.

In addition to the jalapeos, many other ingredients in soups, stews, and sauces can be harmful to your cat.

  • Ingesting onions in any form—raw, cooked, dehydrated, powdered, or dried—can lead to anemia in a cat.
  • Most cats are lactose intolerant, so you should steer clear of feeding them milk and dairy products like cheese. An upset stomach and diarrhea are two symptoms of consuming too much dairy.
  • Many recipes call for a substantial amount of salt. Excessive amounts can cause fatal evaluated sodium in cats.
  • The toxicity of garlic to cats is five times that of onions. Like onions, chives, and leeks, it belongs to the allium family.
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Other Things to Consider

While there aren’t a lot of reasons to worry if your cat eats a jalapeo, you should still be aware that they’re often served with other foods that could be more dangerous.

Can Dogs Have Jalapenos - Pet Friendly House

Anemia and other serious health problems can result from a cat eating garlic or onions.

Although it’s a necessary component of many dishes, consuming too much salt can cause harmful effects like fluid retention and high sodium levels.

Vinegar, which can cause oral and digestive irritation, sugar, which can cause stomach upset and may lead to obesity in the long run, and cheese, which can cause diarrhea and abdominal discomfort, are some of the other ingredients you might find served alongside jalapeos that are mildly concerning.

Final Thoughts

If your cat eats a small amount of jalapeo, it probably won’t hurt them, but if they eat a lot of it, they could get sick. Capsaicin can irritate a cat’s mouth and digestive tract, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

Cats aren’t big fans of jalapeos because they don’t like the way they smell. However, this is possible if your cat comes into contact with jalapeo-containing foods.

Cats shouldn’t eat the other ingredients in most dishes that include jalapeos. Jalapeos and food prepared with them should be kept out of your cat’s reach.

Be on the lookout for any signs of illness in your cat after it has consumed a jalapeo, and be prepared to take it to the vet immediately if necessary. Your veterinarian can provide treatment that will be sure to alleviate these signs.

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