Rich, flavorful textures are especially appealing to felines, especially if their owners also find them delicious. Spicy cat food, like all cat food, has a distinct aroma that attracts hungry felines.
Cats may be tempted by the smell and taste of spicy food, which typically contains meat.
Capsaicin, a component of spicy foods, is toxic to cats and can lead to stomach distress, gastrointestinal distress, and vomiting.
Furthermore, spices can cause nasal congestion and eye irritation. Cats’ tongues aren’t equipped to handle the complexity of spices, so they have no ability to taste them.
Many cats show interest in spicy food despite the fact that it is harmful to them because they mistakenly believe that they will enjoy it.
This could be due to the alluring scent or the fact that cats enjoy pretending to be human. No matter the motivation, you shouldn’t give your cat any spicy food.
Can Cats Taste Spicy Food?
We don’t have any hard evidence that cats can detect spicy foods, but we do know that their taste buds work very differently from ours.
For instance, research has shown that, unlike dogs, cats can detect and avoid sweet flavors but not bitter, salty, or sour ones.
A cat’s taste is also significantly less refined than a human’s. When compared to humans, cats have only a few hundred taste buds.
While this likely means they don’t get the same kick out of spicy foods as we do, it does raise concerns about gastrointestinal distress and irritation.
Bringing The Heat: Spicy Food And Your Cat
Your cat’s digestive system was never intended to process heat. After all, the wild ancestors they descended from never ate anything that had been seasoned with a dry spice rub first.
This means that they may experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after consuming spicy foods.
Capsaicin, the compound in peppers responsible for their heat, can give your cat the same burning, irritating sensation it gives humans.
It could be very painful for your cat if spicy food got into their eyes or nose. This is why it’s best to avoid giving your cat any spicy foods, especially since they shouldn’t be eating too much human food to begin with.
When Spicy Food Turns Toxic
If your cat isn’t eating raw hot peppers, it’s likely eating a spicy dish that also contains a number of other ingredients. Some of those components could be far more harmful than any chili or similar spice.
Onions, garlic, leeks, and spice blends containing onion and garlic powder are some of the most common sources of toxicity for your cat.
Your cat should not eat anything containing these substances. Cats can get anemia from eating onions and garlic.
There are other common cooking spices that are harmful to cats as well. Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg are examples of such spices. Your cat may also be at risk if it consumes excessive amounts of salt.
Bland But Safe: The Right Diet For Your Cat
What should you feed your cat if they can’t have any of your spicy tuna roll or green curry?
A high-quality, age-appropriate commercial feline diet is best for your cat. Canned versus dry, grain-free, or raw diets get a lot of attention, but what really matters is whether or not the food is nutritionally balanced for long-term feeding.
Because of their specialized digestive systems, cats can only properly nourish themselves by eating other animals. They thrive on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet with moderate fat.
Make sure your cat needs no additional supplementation with vitamins and minerals by consulting with your vet before giving your cat any multivitamin products.
What Happens When a Cat Eats Spicy Food?
Capsaicin is found in chili peppers. Capsaicin is released when a cat chews chili, and it binds to the area of the mouth that is sensitive to heat. A cat’s eyes and nose will run if you feed it very hot chili.
When a cat consumes spicy food, it will feel the effects all over its body, not just in its mouth. The capsaicin in spices can also irritate a cat’s stomach.
The pain caused by the Capsaicin compound will prompt your cat to either swallow or vomit up the spicy food.
A cat will not be harmed in any way if it vomits up its food. Capsaicin, which is found in spicy foods, irritates the lining of the cat’s throat and stomach. The result will be nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that won’t stop until the chili wears off.
If your cat has diarrhea, it could become dehydrated.
Why Do Cats Like Spicy Food?
National Geographic claims that only Chinese tree shrews have a taste for spicy foods. Why do some cats enjoy eating foods that contain spices if they are unable to taste them and doing so is harmful?
A cat’s sense of smell is as important as its sense of taste because cats use more than just their mouths when eating. This explains why so many cats will reject their usual fare if the aroma is off.
Your cat will be enamored by the potent and distinctive aroma of spicy food. Your cat will be even more determined to join you for dinner if it sees how much you’re enjoying it.
It’s not too hot or too cold to eat, and even the spiciest dishes won’t burn your mouth because of how the food is served.
Texture of The Food
Tender, meat-based dishes are on the menu. Meats like lamb, beef, and chicken are staples in a cat’s diet, and you’ll find them frequently in Indian takeout.
Even something as simple as chili con carne will have meat that is tasty, moist, and warm, just like the prey your cat eats in the wild.
What Spicy Foods are Safe for Cats to Eat?
In no circumstances should you ever feed your cat anything spicy.
Your cat may help itself to the food you leave out on the kitchen table, which is unfortunate. A pet sitter might let a cat finish off their dinner. Your cat might find some takeout containers in or near a trash can if it happens to venture outside.
Can Cats Eat Curry?
The potent aroma of curry will entice cats, but they shouldn’t eat it.
Rice is commonly served with curries, but it is merely a source of empty carbs. The ingredients used to make the curry itself are of greater concern. A traditional curry will have onion, garlic, and a wide range of spices.
Can Cats Eat Pepperoni?
A pepperoni pizza, please. The pizza meat must be safe for your cat to eat, right? Cats may be nosy and always want to know what you’re eating, but unfortunately many human foods are harmful to them.
Disulfides are present in pepperoni because it is seasoned with garlic and onions. Causes red blood cell damage and diseases like hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, and methemoglobinemia in cats.
Can Cats Eat Jalapenos?
The large size and chewy texture of jalapenos make them an ideal snack for a feline friend.
This may indicate that your cat is attempting to steal a snack from you. Capsaicin in jalapenos is toxic to cats, so keep your feline friend away from them.
Is Chili Con Carne Poisonous to Cats?
While a bowl of chili con carne won’t kill your cat, it will make it very sick.
Red kidney beans, like any bean, are bad for cats in large quantities because they are difficult for cats to digest and can cause bloating and gas.
Cats will not benefit nutritionally from the chili con carne’s carbohydrate accompaniments.
Is Cinnamon Bad for Cats?
Cinnamon is a spice that is safe for cats to eat in small amounts. Licking a dropped teaspoon probably won’t do much harm.
However, your cat will quickly feel ill after eating a cinnamon-heavy, spicy dish. Coumarin, found in cinnamon, is a compound commonly used to poison rodents.
Toxic effects of cinnamon on cats include:
- Dehydration and throwing up
- Weak, wheezing, and hacking coughs
- Heart rate that is low and weak
- Cinnamon powder can irritate the skin.
Your cat may develop liver failure without veterinary care.
Is Nutmeg Toxic to Cats?
Because it contains myristicin, nutmeg is toxic to pets, says the Pet Poison Helpline.
The following issues may arise when nutmeg is consumed:
- Painful spasms in the abdomen
- Rapid beating of the heart
These negative effects wouldn’t show up unless your cat ate a lot of raw nutmeg.
Will Onions and Garlic Make a Cat Sick?
Onions and garlic, when consumed in large quantities, can lead to anemia.
Is Hot Sauce Bad for Cats?
To get a picky cat to eat, most people will try anything. You shouldn’t ever try to spice up your cat’s food by adding hot sauce.
Spicy food may be enjoyed by some cats for the initial pain it causes, but it usually makes them sick afterward.
Our cat can lick a spoonful of hot sauce and not suffer any long-term effects. In moderate amounts, this substance is not toxic or dangerous, but it may cause nausea and vomiting.
Herbs and Spices That Are Healthy for Cats
The following herbs, when used in moderation, can have positive effects:
- Thyme. Similar to the effects of catnip, cat thyme is a germander.
- Licorice. Inhaling licorice spice can help with congestion, allergies, liver health, and arthritic pain.
- Three of my favorite herbs—peppermint, rosemary, and chamomile. Ground spices have anti-itch properties.
- Ginger. When consumed in moderation, it alleviates nausea and stomach upset.
Even if your cat seems curious about the curry or chili con carne on your plate, it’s not a good idea to introduce these flavors to him or her. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are to be expected.
What About Treats?
If you’re determined to feed your cat table scraps, the healthiest option is to give it human treats that are safe for consumption.
Just remember that your cat shouldn’t get more than 10–15% of his or her daily caloric intake from treats. Both store-bought and homemade cat treats, as well as table scraps, fall under this category.
Your cat may enjoy human foods such as cooked meat, canned or cooked fish, cooked grains like oats, and cooked fruits like cantaloupe and banana. Raw meat, fish, and eggs can contain harmful bacteria, so you shouldn’t feed them to your cat.
In addition to the ones already mentioned, the following are also toxic to cats and should be avoided:
- Bread flour
- Raisins and grapes.
Your cat probably won’t enjoy spicy food even if you try to feed it to it. If they are, though (and stranger things have happened), you should still limit their intake because of the risk of gastrointestinal distress.
It’s not great for your cat’s health to consume excessive amounts of any human food, spicy or not. Choose a commercial cat food that your cat enjoys eating and make that the bulk of their diet.