, April 22, 2024

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Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?


  •   5 min reads
Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?
by Niko Gabriel Salgado

Sweet potatoes, distinct from regular potatoes, offer a wide range of culinary possibilities. With more than six thousand varieties found globally, these starchy vegetables are highly adaptable. In addition to their versatility, sweet potatoes are incredibly nutritious, containing ample moisture, fiber, and a unique sweet scent.

Sweet potatoes are renowned for their health benefits, making them a popular choice among humans seeking a nutritious diet. Moreover, they are frequently included in dog food recipes, emphasizing their suitability for canine consumption. But can cats eat sweet potatoes?

The answer is yes. Sweet potatoes are non-toxic to cats.

“Small amounts of sweet potato can provide a valuable fiber source, which can benefit the digestive system and prevent constipation,” said Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, veterinarian, in “Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?” in Cats.com.

They are also a good source of certain vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, Woodnutt added.

Virgo is one of the children of then pregnant stray cat Tigra who was rescued by Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL one rainy night in Quezon City. He is one cat who eats anything. His fur is soft and silky because he finishes his boiled fish with pumpkin, or carrot, or sweet potatoes. He loves the fish broth which hydrates him. (Save ALL file photo.)

Is sweet potato good for cats?

Sweet potatoes, specifically the sweet type, possess fiber that can be beneficial for cats who are experiencing digestive problems. They are rich in essential vitamins and nutrients like antioxidants, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, beta-carotene, and vitamin B6. While sweet potatoes can offer a modest amount of protein and carbohydrates, it is important to note that they should NOT be consumed frequently by felines.

Cats are obligate carnivores, and not very well adapted to eating veggies. This means that they should only be given vegetables in small amounts, Woodnutt said.

Can cats eat the sweet potato’s skin?

The fibrous skin of a sweet potato can pose challenges for a cat’s digestion. It may lead to an upset stomach, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Therefore, it is advisable to peel off the skin of the sweet potato either before or after cooking

What’s the best way to prepare sweet potatoes for your cats?

“Cat owners can safely give the cooked product, such as steamed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, or baked sweet potatoes in small amounts, without any added seasonings,” Woodnutt said.

Too much sweet potato can cause an upset stomach, Woodnutt said. Raw sweet potato should never be given as it will lead to digestive issues, Woodnutt added.

To introduce sweet potatoes to your cat, the recommended approach is to steam the vegetable using unseasoned water. Here is a step-by-step guide for the cooking process:

There are many varieties of sweet potatoes. All are good and beneficial to cats in small amounts. It is important to remove the skin before boiling. Never give raw sweet potato to your cat. (Photo from zeleno / iStock)

Take a large pot and fill it with water, ensuring that no salt, herbs, or seasoning is added.

  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into pieces that are approximately two inches in size.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and carefully add the sweet potato chunks.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-high and allow the vegetable to cook for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Drain the cooked sweet potatoes and let them cool before serving.
    It is important to note that fresh produce may contain insecticides or other potentially harmful pest control substances. By boiling the sweet potatoes, any chemical residues can be eliminated, making it the safest method of preparation.

How much sweet potato can you give your cat?

“Sweet potato, and other veggies or starchy food, should not form a major part of your cat’s food, and should only be fed on an occasional basis,” Woodnutt said.

Given their high fiber and sugar content, sweet potatoes should be given in moderation, making up only about 5 to 10 per cent (%) of a cat’s daily food intake. To prevent issues like overeating, obesity, and diabetes, it is important to factor in the calorie content. It is advisable to offer other healthy treats alongside sweet potatoes to ensure a balanced diet.

“Sweet potatoes are known for their high level of carbohydrates, which can cause obesity in our cats, so potato treats should not be given often,” Woodnutt stressed.

Can sweet potato help settle my cat’s stomach?

If your cat is experiencing symptoms like vomiting, bloating, or diarrhea, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian as a first step to rule out any underlying serious conditions. The vet may suggest a bland diet to allow the stomach and intestines to recover until the situation normalizes.

Sweet potatoes can be a beneficial addition to a bland meal for several reasons. Not only do they enhance the flavor, but their fiber content helps regulate intestinal issues such as constipation or diarrhea. Moreover, sweet potatoes can help soothe upset stomachs. Additionally, sweet potatoes contribute to the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, promoting intestinal health.

Do cats like the taste of sweet potatoes?

“Cats are carnivores, so their favorite tastes and smells are usually meaty or fishy,” Woodnutt said.

However, many cats are curious creatures and love to try out new tastes and textures, and may well enjoy sampling a small amount of potato, even if they do not get much nutritional benefit from it, Woodnutt added.

What other food help a cat with fiber?

Aside from pumpkin, other high-fiber food you can give to cats are peas, broccoli, carrots, apples, lettuce, and spinach. Owners can also look for a high-fiber cat food formula.

Meat is still best for cats

As obligate carnivores, cats require meals rich in animal meat to meet their nutritional needs. However, unseasoned and cooked sweet potatoes can be occasionally included in their meals and treats to add variety. Raw sweet potatoes are difficult for cats to digest and can result in stomach discomfort, pain, and diarrhea. Additionally, the starchy nature of sweet potatoes may help alleviate constipation in cats.

About the Author: Niko Gabriel Salgado is a graduate of Consular and Diplomatic Affairs and worked at the House of Representatives. He is an entrepreneur and a volunteer of Save Animals of Love and Light- Save ALL.

This article also appears in the Manila Standard



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