Common tubers eaten by humans include sweet potatoes, potatoes, cassava, yams, jicama, sunchokes, and arrowroots. What kinds of tubers can cats eat, and which ones should they avoid?
Can cats eat potatoes?
Baked, boiled, steamed, or mashed potatoes without any added salt, spices, herbs, or other potentially harmful ingredients are safe for cats to eat.
Potatoes are included in grain-free foods like Rachael Ray’s Nutrish Zero Grain Dry Cat Food for Indoor Cats. Commercial foods, in contrast to the cooked potatoes you prepare, are nutritionally balanced, so it’s fine to give them a small amount occasionally as a treat.
Avoid feeding them potato products like French fries, potato chips, or tater tots that may contain harmful ingredients like unhealthy oils, seasoning, onions, chives, leeks, or garlic.
Finally, because solanine is toxic to cats, you shouldn’t feed your feline friend raw potatoes or any part of a potato, including the leaves, stem, skin, flowers, or fruits.
Can cats have sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes, both raw and cooked, are perfectly safe for your cats because they are a member of the morning glory or bindweed family, unlike potatoes. But raw sweet potatoes could be problematic for their digestive systems.
Several brands of dry and wet cat food, including Castor & Pollux Organix and “I and love and you” Lovingly Simple, as well as Purina’s Beyond Grain-Free, Natural, Adult Wet Cat Food, feature sweet potatoes. Any concerns about the safety of this tuber vegetable have been dispelled.
Since sweet potatoes are high in fiber, you should only give them a small slice of one occasionally as a treat or snack, or to help encourage bowel movement to help deal with occasional constipation.
Last but not least, if your cat is experiencing digestive issues (diarrhea, vomiting, or stomach upset), you should avoid feeding them sweet potatoes.
Can cats eat yams
Yam is a tuber that is eaten for its starchy roots and is common in Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Herbaceous vines produce them, and in uncultivated areas, these plants are treated as invasive weeds.
Yams can be dried and ground into flour, or eaten as a vegetable by boiling, mashing, pounding (fufu), sun-drying and eating raw, using as an ingredient in soup, and so on.
Can yams be fed to a cat? Yes. Small amounts of cooked yams are safe for cats to snack on. Edible, fully mature, cultivated yam “do not contain toxic compounds,” as noted by Wikipedia, and are thus non-toxic. Never give your cat a raw yam, especially a young one.
In addition, the Pets Poison Helpline warns that the ingestion of large quantities of certain wild varieties can cause toxicity symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, incoordination, a drop in blood pressure and heart rate, and seizures. This is because these varieties contain alkaloids, specifically dioscorine.
Is yam healthy to eat? Yes. Yams are rich in minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc in addition to dietary fibers and trace amounts of fats and protein.
However, as a starchy food, it’s not great for your fluffy friend and feeding them too much of it can lead to tummy troubles and even feline obesity.
Despite the widespread use of the term “yam” in North America, it should be noted that the terms “oca” (Oxalis tuberosa), “taro” (Colocasia esculenta), “konjac corms” (Amorphophallus konjac), and “purple sweet potatoes” (Okinawa) refer to varieties of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) that are not actually yams.
Can cats eat tapioca and cassava
Cassava is a starchy tuberous root that can be used to make food and alcohol. It is also known as yuca, manioc, mandioca, aipim, and tapioca. Yucca (Yucca L.) is not to be confused with this plant.
Cassava: safe for cats? No. Cassava leaves, peel, and roots contain cyanogenic glycosides, including linamarin, which is toxic to cats when broken down by the linamarase enzyme.
“proper preparation and cooking of cassava roots, bamboo shoots, and other plants usually render them safe for consumption,” claims a Royal Canin Technical Bulletin published on Selkirkvet.com, making them appropriate for consumption by cats, dogs, humans, and other animals.
Some grain-free cat foods use tapioca as a binder and carb source because of how easily it is extracted and dried, but one source dismisses tapioca as a filler because of how quickly it is converted to sugar.
Cassava is a good alternative for grain-free feline foods, and it can be found in high-quality brands like Purina Beyond Grain-Free, Natural, Adult Dry Cat Food and Purina ONE True Instinct Grain Free High Protein, Natural Formula Adult Dry and Wet Cat Food.
However, cats can safely consume tapioca at the levels typically found in cat food. Therefore, you should not feed your cats cassava unless you are fully prepared.
Since they are carnivores, they need only a small amount of carbs and sugars, so foods like tapioca and cassava should be avoided.
Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes
The Jerusalem artichoke, also known as sunroot or sunchoke, is a type of tuber that can be eaten or used to make spirits, ethanol fuel, and other alcoholic beverages.
In contrast to other tubers like potatoes, they are versatile enough to be roasted, fried, steamed, grilled, pureed into soup, mashed, baked, used in soups, etc., or even eaten raw.
These sweet-tasting tubers are low in calories and high in protein and dietary fiber (inulin), thanks in part to the presence of the carbohydrate fructose.
They also contain the minerals and vitamins calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and niacin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, and vitamin C.
Can cats eat artichokes?
Yes. Cats can occasionally enjoy a treat of sunchokes because they are completely safe for them to eat. In addition to the various nutrients, they also contain prebiotics in the form of inulin fiber, which can help your cat’s gut bacteria flourish.
Wellbeing.com.au confirms this, saying that “prebiotics (found in Jerusalem artichoke, asparagus, bananas, chicory root, and whole grains) act as food for the healthy bacteria in the gut,” so that the “microflora balance” can be restored. Some of these can be incorporated into your pet’s regular diet.
“Dogs, hogs, pigs, and even cats may dig them up to eat them,” as one source puts it.  Raw ones should be avoided because of the discomfort gas and bloating can cause.
Can cats eat arrowroots
In addition to being safe for cats and dogs, the ASPCA also says it’s fine for horses to eat the Canna, Achira, or Queensland arrowroot.
Chestofbooks.com also suggests “sprinking a pinch of dry arrowroot or prepared chalk on the food once a day” for cats with diarrhoea.
Cats can safely consume jicama, also called Mexican turnip or Mexican yam bean. It is an excellent source of energy and nutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins (especially B and C), and minerals.
As Petnet.io points out, jicama is a good source of dietary fiber and a source of Inulin, which can be used as a prebiotic to aid digestion, so including a small amount is often recommended.
However, rotenone, a naturally occurring pesticide and insecticide, can be found in the “seeds and stems of several plants, such as the jicama vine plant,” as well as the roots of several members of the bean family Fabaceae.
According to Science Direct, rotenone is used as a powder in veterinary medicine to treat parasitic mites on chicken and other fowl, as well as lice and ticks on dogs, cats, and horses.
Small amounts of rotenone are harmless, but larger quantities can be harmful to animals, fish, and humans. Therefore, keep your pets away from the seeds and stems of this Mexican vine.
While we’ve established that cats can safely consume tubers like tapioca, arrowroots, jicama, sweet potatoes, and potatoes, remember that felines are obligate carnivores, and these foods do not naturally occur in their diet.
Dry cat food, which is typically higher in starch and carbohydrates than wet cat food, is unnecessary for cats.