Spicy food is usually accompanied by some form of meat. People all across the world love to eat spicy foods at mealtime. Spicy food is usually cooked with beef, turkey, and other forms of meat. With cats being true, or obligate, carnivores they are naturally drawn to the smell of meat. What they don’t know though, is that the spices cooked into the meat can be extremely harmful to them. Can cats eat spicy food? Or is it only certain dishes that they can’t eat?
Can Cats Eat Spicy Food?
It is no secret that spicy food contains, well, spices. These spices can really disrupt your cat’s digestive system. Spices can be really harmful to people so it would be no different on the delicate digestive systems of cats. Spices can cause your cat to be in a lot of pain. After even a slight taste, your cat may run over to its water bowl to try to cool its mouth down. It can also cause severe damage to their stomachs and cause gastrointestinal problems.
The Effects of Spicy Food
Spicy food can be made with a variety of spices, with chilies being one of the most popular. Usually, if you enjoy spicy food then you wouldn’t mind the addition of chili to your dish.
What most people don’t know, though, is that chilies harbor a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is an extract of chili pepper and can be used in many different things.
When you bite into a chili pepper or a meal prepared with them, the capsaicin is released. It can cause a burning or stinging sensation as it travels through your body. This burning sensation will affect any tissue that it comes into contact with.
This is usually why your eyes start to water or your nose starts to run. Capsaicin is actually an irritant to mammals, which would include cats. Capsaicin can also be found in cayenne peppers and tabasco peppers.
Spices To Keep Your Cat Away From
Garlic- Garlic is considered an herb. Although, if you mix salt with garlic is can be considered a spice. You should keep your cat away from it as it can upset your stomach.
Cinnamon- Cats have thin skin and lack the liver enzymes necessary to properly break down cinnamon compounds. Cinnamon toxicity can cause skin irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Because of the lack of liver enzymes, cinnamon ingestion in high levels can also cause liver failure.
Nutmeg- Nutmeg contains myristicin which is a toxin. Myristicin in low levels may cause an upset stomach when ingested. High levels of nutmeg ingestion can cause high blood pressure, seizures, and dry mouth.
Turmeric- While turmeric has been known to be very helpful to people, it may not be the same case for your feline friend. Many cat health officials have gone back and forth about this particular spice. With that being said, it is best to consult with your cat’s vet to see if there may be a potential allergy.
Spicy Foods To Avoid
Any spicy foods that contain one of the above spices should be avoided giving your cat. Especially dishes that contain onions or capsaicin. Spicy dishes usually have a strong smell that may make your cat want to try them but that is a big no-no.
You can tell what is spicy or not, your cat cannot. Spicy foods such as Curry should be avoided while around your cat. Also, eating jalapenos around your furry companion should be avoided because they do contain capsaicin as well.
Even though spicy food may be very harmful to your cat, that may not be a deterrent for them. They are naturally curious and have no inclination towards harmful food.
Although there might be some spices that will not really be harmful to them, it is still never encouraged to actively give them any. All animals act differently to everything that they are exposed to.
Additional Information About Spices
Cats are very delicate creatures, so it is best to keep these particular spices away from your cat. With that being said, there really isn’t a spicy food or spice that would be recommended to give your cat. You should always check with your veterinarian.
Onions should be avoided. Onions contain thiosulphates which are a compound of sulfur. These dangerous compounds can cause red blood cell damage in cats.
It is best to do everything in your power to keep your cat away from spicy food. Of course, you may be looking for information because your cat already ate some of your spicy food. More than likely your cat would be ok overall, but they would be very uncomfortable.
Spicy food can cause your cat to have diarrhea and can also cause vomiting which is both very unpleasant symptoms. In some cases, your cat may not even show any symptoms and will be completely fine. With that being said some spicy food can contain ingredients that are very toxic to cats such as onions, as stated before. In more cases than not, spicy food will cause your cat to have an upset stomach and that would be the least of your worries out of all the possible problems.