Can Cats Eat Tamale? 7 Facts About It

Tamales, a popular Mexican dish, are made from an intriguing corn dough mixture.

It’s common in Mexican kitchens because of its popularity and delicious flavor. It has evolved into a globally celebrated delicacy.

Is tamale, which is delicious, safe for pets? Can a cat eat a tamale?

Tamales are inedible for cats because they are tough to chew, lack nutritional value, and are difficult for cats to digest. Most cats that eat tamales will develop digestive issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.

Tamales are not something you want to feed a cat.

These are harmful to cats and will not produce the desired outcomes when introducing a new food to your cat at home.

This article will discuss the harmful effects of tamale on a cat’s body and why it should not be fed to a cat.

Can Cats Eat Tamale?

There may not be any hard data to back this up, but anecdotal evidence suggests that some cats enjoy tamales.

Some tamales’ spices may be responsible for luring in curious felines. The best course of action is to check with your vet before feeding your cat a tamale.

Tamales, a traditional Mexican dish, are typically made with a flavorful corn dough mixture. Vets recommend that felines abstain from meat to prevent gastrointestinal distress and lethargy.

This article’s goal is to detail the ways in which eating tamale can be dangerous for cats.

Cats have a hard time processing tamale. The risk of intestinal blockage increases if you feed a tamale to your cat.

Cats shouldn’t consume tamales because they aren’t as nutrient-dense as other foods. Better alternatives exist for feline companions.

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Reasons To Not Give Cat Tamale

1. Causes Indigestion

One of the main reasons is that it can cause indigestion in cats.

While this Mexican dish is delicious, it may be difficult for a cat to digest. Indigestion in a cat can cause a wide variety of uncomfortable side effects.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain are all possible side effects.

Because cats can’t digest foods of this nature, you won’t want to subject it to unpleasant symptoms like these. Therefore, you should exercise caution when giving your cat corn husks of any kind.

You still need to exercise caution, even if it has been steamed like a tamale.

It’s not the best idea to feed tamales to a cat. It won’t be healthy for the cat and will just provide empty calories because it lacks essential nutrients.

Because of this, it’s ideal to find alternative foods for a cat to consume.

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2. Difficult To Chew

It’s not uncommon for cats to try to eat tamale if you give it to them.

This is a normal response to the tamale’s delicious aroma. The cat will be intrigued by this and willing to give it a try.

Tamale dough is tough for cats to chew through.

If this occurs, the tamale will either become lodged in the cat’s esophagus or the feline will have a difficult time swallowing it.

Doing this will only cause stress for the cat and should be avoided.

3. Can Cause Blockage

If you feed a tamale to a cat, it increases the likelihood that the cat will develop an obstruction in its digestive tract.

The difficulty of swallowing the tamale is not limited to the oral cavity. It becomes an issue that affects the cat’s entire body.

It’s important to consider how well the tamale will be chewed. If not, the intestines will become blocked by the steamed corn husk.

The cat will be in so much pain that it will stop eating and moving around as a result of this. If the cat is sick, you must take it to the vet immediately.

4. Unhealthy

You’ll eventually figure out that tamales aren’t a good idea for cats to eat.

They lack the beneficial nutrients a cat needs to thrive and are therefore unhealthy. This is why we think it’s not a good idea to feed tamales to cats.

A cat would be much healthier if it ate something else.

You need to look for options that are both nutritious and healthy. Because of their low nutrient density, tamales should not be fed to cats.

Can cats eat tamale husk?

Steaming tamales in corn husks, as opposed to a banana leaf, can be more dangerous for your kitten.

Street-Style Mushroom Tamales - The Washington Post

Your cat would be better off eating the tender meat inside the tamales rather than the tough husk, and there are good reasons for this.

Your cat or kitten is safe from harm when exposed to tamale corn husks. What they are, however, cannot be denied: indigestible. Imagine having a husk or pieces of a husk in your stomach or intestines. Gross stuff, huh?

Whether or not a tamale husk is harmful to your cat depends on how much they ate, how big your cat is, and how well they chewed it down.

Don’t be shocked if your cat vomits up the tamale husk it accidentally ate. When I was doing research for this guide, I talked to a cat owner on Facebook whose cat had vomited a tamale husk after visiting a county fair for the day. She had no idea her cat had picked it up off the floor and eaten it.

If the husk isn’t vomited up, your cat may experience gastrointestinal distress and excess gas. If you suspect that the husk is large enough to cause a blockage, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Indicators that your cat may have a corn husk lodged in its digestive tract include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Having trouble defecating.
  • Lack of hunger.
  • Pain in the stomach.
  • Restlessness.
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If any of these things happen, it’s time to call the vet.

How the calories in tamales can be bad for your cat

While I’ve established that the majority of ingredients inside a typical tamale are not particularly bad for your cat, the calorie implications… and I believe that it is significant.

When you factor in the following, you’ll see why this is a fascinating subject for debate.

  • Each day, a cat should consume only 25 calories for every pound it weighs.
  • The 90/10 rule states that a cat’s total daily food intake, including treats, should not exceed 90% of that amount.
cat eating outside

Then, I combined the two most well-liked types of cats, Maine Coons and Ragdolls. Using the average weight of each breed, I determined how many calories they should be fed per day.

  • Maine Coons, which typically range in weight from 8 to 20 pounds, require no more than 325 calories per day.
  • If your Ragdoll weighs between 15 and 20 pounds, its daily calorie intake should not exceed 425.

Tamale recipes vary widely. Whether they are homemade, store-bought, canned and tinned, or from a take-out or restaurant, the number of calories in them will vary depending on the recipe.

So, I have to exercise some faith here, but I did research the average calorie content of some of the most popular tamale flavors.

I did the math to see how a cat’s daily caloric intake would be affected if it ate one of these regular tamales. This is how it manifests itself:

  • Calories in a beef tamale (250) equal 40% of a Maine Coon’s daily intake and 14% of a Labrador’s.
  • Three-and-a-half percent of your daily value for Maine Coon in a 230-calorie can of tamales; thirteen percent of your daily value for a Labrador.
  • With 270 calories, a cheese tamale is 43% of a Maine Coon’s daily allotment and 15% of a Labrador’s.
  • A serving of chicken tamale (210 calories) accounts for 34% of a Maine Coon’s or 12% of a Labrador Retriever’s daily calorie needs.
  • Two hundred and fifty calorie pork tamale: 40% Maine Coon / 14% Labrador daily intake.

This means that while a large cat like a Savannah might consume a tamale and only burn up 12–14% of its daily calories, it has a much greater impact on smaller breeds. If my British Shorthair ate a pork tamale, she’d expend 40% of her daily caloric intake.

Even though 40% may not seem like a lot, it is because it breaks the generally accepted 90/10 rule on kitty treats. Your cat needs 90% of its daily calories from food, not 10% from treats.

Tamales are more like a snack to me than a replacement for regular or raw cat food because of their lack of nutritional value.

What about just the meat from inside a tamale?

If your cat only eats the meat from inside the tamales, though, isn’t that fine?

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I see it as the better of two bad options. Again though, this is recipe dependent. Your cat may be fine if it eats pork, chicken, or beef tamales, or even a little of the corn masa, provided they are simply filled with a meat mixture and contain no seasoning and very little cheese.

I wouldn’t recommend giving your cat canned tamales because of the high levels of salt and preservatives commonly found in canned foods.

My kitten ate a tamale – what should I do?

Keep a close eye on your kitten if they ate a tamale. Kittens’ digestive systems are notoriously sensitive, so it’s not uncommon for them to throw up or have diarrhea after eating something novel or particularly flavorful.

cat eating inside



Since kittens of that age are so vulnerable to illness, you should always check with a vet if they consume something they shouldn’t.

Can cats eat hot tamales, the candy?

While we’re discussing feline gourmandism of tamales, how about the sweet variety? It may come as a surprise to learn how many people knowingly or accidentally feed their cats sweets.

We share our home with a British Shorthair and a young son, and the latter is prone to dropping candy wrappers and other tasty morsels on the floor.

Is it possible for cats to eat Hot Tamales? Hot tamales are not safe for cats to eat. Cats shouldn’t eat them because of the sugar and other ingredients they contain. Their mouth and throat may be burned by the spicy flavor.

Is it necessary to worry if your cat consumes a sizzling tamale?

If it were me, I’d be worried to the point where I’d want to call a vet. Regularly feeding your cat even a small amount of refined sugar can increase the risk of dental disease, metabolic disruption, and diabetes.

Check out what goes into making Hot Tamales down below. What makes you think a cat would want to eat these?

Sugar, corn syrup, modified food starch, dextrin, medium chain triglycerides, fruit juice from concentrate, sodium citrate, pectin, citric acid, malic acid, fumaric acid, confectioners glaze, carnauba wax, white mineral oil, artificial flavors, artificial color, sodium citrate, magnesium hydroxide, tartrazine, and so on and so forth are all found in Hot Tamales.

The bottom line is that cats shouldn’t eat Hot Tamales because they can cause stomach upset and even more serious health problems. Keep your cat or kitten away from them at all costs.

Final Thoughts

Will a cat eat a tamale?

Tamales are not good for cats to eat because they are hard for them to digest and may contain harmful ingredients. Stomachache, bowel obstruction, nausea, and vomiting are all possible side effects.

You should seek out foods that are less difficult to digest and won’t cause severe symptoms down the road.

Note that no variety of corn husk is safe for consumption by felines. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, they may also experience stomach pain.

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