Can Cats Eat Spicy Food? Find Out Here

When you are eating spicy food, sometimes you might have noticed that your cat is tailing you. At that moment, you may want to give a spoon of spicy food to the cat, but do you know if it is a good thing or not.

Cats enjoy eating strong and delicious tastes. As the spicy food has a rich aroma, cats show interest in it. When your cat eats spicy food, there are high chances that it will suffer from many gastrointestinal and digestive problems. It is because of the capsaicin present in spices, like cayenne pepper.

Can Cats Eat Spicy Food? Find Out Here

Even though spicy food is dangerous to cats, a few felines enjoy eating it. Keeping aside everything, feeding spicy food to cats is never a good idea.

Can Cats Eat Spicy Food 

Yes, cats can eat spicy food. But the consequences vary from mild to severe depending on the amount of spicy food it has eaten. Researches explain that cats can enjoy the aroma of bitterness but could not process the flavor of spices. No matter if the food tastes awful or delightful, the cat can not recognize it.  

Cats can not taste spicy things. Several professionals assume that kittens lost their potential to identify a sweet taste. It is because cats, being carnivores, depend on meat for food.   

Cats living in the wild do not come across sugar. Over time, their taste buds developed, and cats do not consider sweets that much. But they can recognize bitter taste because many poisonous plants in the wild have bitter spice.

In the wild, cats do not have access to spicy food. Due to this, cats can not identify the taste of spicy foods.

The Effects Of Eating Spicy Food 

The hot sensation given by the spices is because of the capsaicin compound. Capsaicin compound shows massive effect in mammals, and it includes cats as well. You can also find the capsaicin in tabasco peppers and cayenne peppers.

When the chili is nibbled, capsaicin releases. After it unleashes, the mouth encounters an ordinary and bearable kind of discomfort. It is the reason why eating particular spicy chilies causes watery eyes and runny noses.

Cats are also the same. When the cat bites on spicy food, it also suffers from the same blazing experience. After eating capsaicin, cats tend to stay away from it.

Every spicy food has one or more spices. They can irritate the digestive system of the cat when your pet eats them. These spices are dangerous to the sensitive digestive systems and tracts of cats. They make the feline suffer from severe pain.

Even if the cat has only a small bite, it might go to its water container and attempt to cool down its mouth. Spices also pose severe dangers to the cat’s stomachs and result in many gastrointestinal risks.

When the kitten eats spicy food, the impact is shown in its mouth, and later it will feel a burning sensation in its digestive tract. Cats will either cough up or gobbles down the food.

If the cat swallows and digests the spicy food, it will feel vulnerable and encounters irritation in the stomach lining and throat.

Besides the above incidents, cats can also get dehydrated when they eat spicy foods. It is because cats hardly gulp water, and consuming spicy foods worsens their condition. Plus, spicy foods manage to remove the traces of remaining water in the body. Due to this, dehydrated cats might encounter respiratory distress.  

Do Cats Cry When They Eat Spicy Food? 

When your cat puts spicy food in its mouth, the typical reaction is watery eyes. It looks like the cat is crying due to the spicy taste.

Cats have an enriched taste, and the capsaicin smell or the spice tends to go into their eyes and nose. If your cat eats any spicy food, it will have a runny nose and watery eyes. These symptoms are the general reaction of cats to spices.

Because of this, many owners keep spices such as cayenne pepper in the gardens and other private areas to keep away cats.

Can Spicy Food Kill Cats? 

If your cat eats only a tiny amount of spicy food, there would be no problem. But if the cat consumes plenty of spicy food, its life is in danger.

By eating some bites of spicy food, the cat will have a runny nose and moist eyes. Offering more than a few bites makes your cat suffer from stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Till now, no reported case about the cat dying because of eating spicy food. In spite of this evidence, some severe signs like vomiting and other problems can cause death. If you want to keep your pet safe, it is better not to give spicy food and particularly spicy chips.

Why Do The Cats Show Interest In Spicy Food? 

Cats can not eat plenty of chili peppers like Chinese tree shrews. Besides that, there are assumptions that cats cannot identify spicy food. You might be wondering about how some felines show interest in spicy food. This issue is quite controversial, and professionals are still struggling to determine the exact reason.

Coming back to our primary question, your cat shows interest in every food and snack you eat. It can know when you are enjoying the food and come towards you to get a bite. But, your cat can not taste the spicy aroma. When the feline eats the spicy fried chicken, it is enjoying the meat.

Keeping them aside, cats tend to be interested in spicy food because of the following reasons:

1. The smell of spicy foods 

Cats can recognize almost everything through smell. They have an enhanced sense of smell which lets them show interest in all the new aromas.

Many spicy foods come with different scents which pull the cat’s attention. A few kittens are very interested in human food because it has a pleasant smell. When they see that you are enjoying the food, cats think they can also relish it.

2. Excellent texture

Besides the scents, cats like the different textures of foods as well. All these textures draw the attention of the cat closer.

3. Inviting temperature 

Cats do not have anything with the spices, but the warm temperature of the spicy food picks up their attention. They like to eat food when it is warm.

Spices To Avoid Feeding Your Cat 

Garlic. Garlic is toxic to cats. In general, garlic comes under the herb category. But, by mixing salt in the garlic, it becomes a spice. It is better not to give garlic to your cat because it can cause an upset stomach. Keeping your feline away from this spice is the best thing.

Cinnamon. Cats do not have thick but thin and pale skin. For breaking down cinnamon compounds, cats do not have essential liver enzymes. The toxicity from the spice can result in vomiting, diarrhea, itchiness, and skin irritation.

Due to the absence of liver enzymes, eating plenty of cinnamon will lead to liver failure. In general, many cats show allergic reactions to cinnamon. It is because cinnamon contains coumarin, which is a dangerous compound and is used to infect rats.

Nutmeg. Nutmeg has a toxin compound which is myristicin. When your cat eats a tiny amount of myristicin, it might suffer from stomach pain. But, consuming plenty of nutmegs can result in convulsions, increasing blood pressure, and a dry mouth.

Turmeric. You might know that turmeric is beneficial to people, but it is not the same with cats. Several cat health specialists did a lot of research on this particular turmeric spice. It is better to talk with the veterinarian to check if there is any possible allergy.

Onions. You have to make sure to avoid onions near the cats. Onions have thiosulphates, and it is a sulfur compound. It is a harmful compound and leads to damage of red blood cells in felines.

Other spices that are dangerous for cat’s health are Chili con carne, Jalapenos, and Pepperoni. 

Healthy And Safe Spices And Herbs For Cats 

Here is a list of safe and healthy spices for cats. But, do not give excessive amounts of these spices to the cats.

Thyme. It is an essential herb on many spice shelves. Cat thyme gives off a catnip-like effect on cats, and it is germander.  

Licorice. This spice clears up the airways, calms allergic reactions, improves liver function, and reduces arthritis inflammation.

Chamomile, Peppermint, and Rosemary. All these three ground spices help in softening itchy skin. You can mix them in water and brush them on the itching areas.

Bottom Line 

Try your best to keep away the spicy food from your cat. When your cat eats spicy food, it will suffer from vomiting and diarrhea, and both are very horrible outcomes. However, in a few cases, your cat looks fine without showing any symptoms.

Besides spicy food, you have to keep away a few spices from the cat, such as garlic, onion, nutmeg, cinnamon, and turmeric. By eating these spices or spicy food, your cat will get an upset stomach.

It is natural for your cat to show interest in the spicy food because of the rich aroma, but do not feed it! Give your feline a standard cat food so that it can get crucial nutrients.


  • John McQuaid. (2015). Finickiness, Explained: Cats Can’t Taste Sugar, But They Can Taste Bitterness 
  • P. A. Doris and M. A. Baker. (1981). Effects Of Dehydration On Thermoregulation In Cats Exposed To High Ambient Temperatures 
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (2021). Garlic 
  • Charlotte Flint. (2021). NUTMEG AND CINNAMON TOXICITY