Cats, as we all know to our detriment, are incredibly curious beings. They will stick their noses into practically every meal we have, and sometimes look at us with such pleading eyes that we feel we have no choice but to share.
What can we give cats from our own table? How bad is the food that comes from our own plate? For example, can they have a french fry or two, or should they really be kept away from anything salty?
Can Cats Eat French Fries?
While cats can in theory eat french fries, in the sense that one fry won’t harm them, they really shouldn’t be eating them. French fries are full of salt and carbs which are ultimately bad for cats.
Cats need protein in their diet, not carbs, so there is nothing in french fries they require to stay healthy. Since fries are also very salty, and cats can’t eat salt as it is toxic to them in higher quantities, you would do well to keep your feline away from the fries.
Uncooked french fries are also toxic, but your cat is pretty smart and probably wouldn’t eat them anyway, so you don’t have to worry too much about that. Unless of course they love to steal a fry or two as you are preparing them and play with them: don’t let them take a bite, not even by playfully chewing on them.
Frozen french fries are slightly less dangerous, as they have already been somewhat processed, but you still don’t want your cat eating them raw. Or cooked, really.
If your cat sneaks a couple of cooked fries in while you are not looking, don’t worry: they should be just fine, perhaps have a bit of an upset stomach. Don’t feed your cat french fries on purpose though, as they will lead to obesity and heart issues.
Are French Fries Bad For My Cat?
Yes, french fries are bad for cats, since they contain too much salt and fat that cats don’t need. If eaten raw, they can also cause potato toxicity.
White potatoes contain something called solanine, which is toxic to both cats and dogs. It is however destroyed when cooking, so a fried fry (pun intended) won’t be as harmful as a raw one.
However, excessive consumption of potatoes in any form will ultimately lead to health issues, as your cat will start to put on weight and develop heart and joint issues.
Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat French Fries
The main issue with french fries is their sodium and carb content:
Cats Don’t Need Carbohydrates
Cat bodies have evolved to turn protein into energy, and they don’t require carbs at all. Given cats’ predatory nature, this is not a surprising fact: the meat they would eat in the wild is all protein and no carb.
Since they have been domesticated, cats have learned to digest carbs, but this has only brought them obesity and all the diseases that accompany it. It is our job as responsible owners to give our cats foods high in protein, and eliminate carbs from their diet. Hence, no fries.
Cats Don’t Need a Lot of Fat
Cats need some Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids in their diet. These are however not contained in fries. What they are high in are saturated fats, which are completely the wrong kind of fat.
They will lead to heart disease and obesity in the long run, so it’s best not to expose your cat to any unhealthy fats.
Salt is Toxic to Cats
Cats need a minimal amount of salt. This is roughly 10.6 mg of sodium per kilogram per day. Anything over that limit is toxic to cats and can even be fatal.
Since fries come with plenty of added sodium, you definitely don’t want your cat munching on them, as about 3-4 fries are enough to provide their daily requirement of sodium. And that won’t be the only salt a cat eats in a day, since there is a bit in their food too.
Can French Fries Kill Cats?
It is unlikely that french fries will kill a cat, however, overfeeding them will certainly lead to all kinds of health issues, and can ultimately lead to their untimely death.
Cats can get sodium poisoning from eating fries, which can lead to renal damage, excessive thirst, kidney damage, even seizures. Untreated, it can cause further complications, ultimately even be fatal.
Raw french fries can also cause potato toxicity, which can also be deadly. In that sense, potatoes can kill cats, but this is extremely unlikely.
Can Cats Eat Uncooked French Fries?
Cats should never eat uncooked french fries, as they contain solanine, an alkaloid that is highly toxic.
If I were to tell you solanine is also found in deadly nightshade, you’d rethink your potato consumption, wouldn’t you?
However, luckily it’s only toxic when uncooked, which is why we don’t eat raw potatoes either.
Cats shouldn’t get their paws on any bits of raw potato, skin included. If you find them munching on some, you should take them to the vet.
Can Cats Eat Cooked French Fries?
While cooked french fries are not toxic to cats, they are not a good snack either. There are just no ingredients in them your cat would benefit from.
Fried fries are full of saturated fats which are unhealthy. If you put salt or any type of sauce or condiment over them, they will become an ever worse snack, as you may also be adding onion or garlic into the mix, which are also both toxic to cats. The salt content alone can over the long term cause serious health issues for your cat.
Can Cats Eat French Fries With Salt?
Cats should not eat french fries with salt, as they are highly susceptible to sodium poisoning, which can even be fatal if left untreated.
Cats need a very moderate amount of salt in their diet, which is contained in their cat food. Even the smallest portion of fries will exceed it roughly three times, so all you could in theory safely give your cat is a couple of fries at a time.
Are McDonald’s Fries Safe For Cats?
McDonald’s fries contain a lot of salt, which makes them unsafe for cats, who are highly susceptible to sodium poisoning.
A small portion of McDonald’s french fries contains around 134 mg of salt. This is three times more than a cat should be having on a daily basis, on average. In theory, you could give them a quarter of a portion and they would be fine, but there is the sheer amount of fat and carbs you are adding to their diet, which they definitely don’t need.
Wrapping It Up
French fries are just not the right snack for your cat. If they are looking at you lovingly while you are eating yours, find a better protein-rich snack for them to enjoy.
Cats can eat sardines, which can be a good occasional choice. Cats can eat tuna as well, albeit in moderation, so you can try that too. Take a look at some of our other guides on cat diet to make sure you are giving your feline just the right kind of food!