Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes? Is it Toxic to Cats?

When February comes, many of us tend to bring a sack of sweet potatoes. We eat sweet potatoes by adding various delightful toppings. Besides that, there are many dog foods with sweet potatoes as the primary ingredient. Due to this, you might be wondering if the cats can also eat sweet potatoes or not.

Cats can eat sweet potatoes, and they are non-toxic to your cat. This underground tuber is a fantastic source of vitamins, fiber, potassium, and other crucial nutrients. You can feed cooked, boiled, steamed, and baked sweet potatoes to the cats. But do not include the sweet potato in the regular diet of cats. Consuming excessive amounts of sweet potatoes might result in some health risks in cats.

Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes? Is it Toxic to Cats?

There are a few things you need to learn before feeding sweet potatoes to the cats. We will cover various topics like benefits, nutrition, health problems, and more.

Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes? 

Yes. You can feed sweet potatoes to your cats as occasional treats. Besides that, they are not harmful to pets if eaten in moderation. As long as you give cooked, boiled, mashed, steamed, or baked sweet potatoes, they are safe for cats. Plus, make sure not to add other ingredients such as sauces, toppings, spices, salt, herbs, or sugar.

Many cats enjoy eating sweet potatoes and stay healthy. Sweet potatoes help to improve the metabolism, and due to this, cats can have free movement. Due to the plenty of fiber levels in sweet potatoes, you can feed them in small pieces to the cats. It helps them with constipation. Remember, sweet potatoes are hard to digest for cats.

Solanine is a toxin, and it is present in ordinary potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), tomato, eggplant, and others. Raw sweet potatoes do not contain this solanine chemical. In some cases, cats will suffer from intestinal havoc and diarrhea if they eat raw sweet potatoes. Some cats would not like raw sweet potatoes and will find it difficult to absorb them.

Cats are obligate meat-eaters or carnivores. They depend on various kinds of meat to get essential nutrients. The cat’s body and stomach are made to handle meat. Cats do not have the necessary enzymes to break down plenty of sweet potatoes. Due to this, they might suffer from diarrhea and vomiting.

As sweet potatoes have high carbohydrates content, feeding them in excess amounts to the cats will result in stomach discomforts and diarrhea. Besides that, your cat can become obese in the long run.

Information About Sweet Potatoes 

Ipomoea batatas, commonly known as sweet potatoes, belong to the morning glory or bindweed family. It is necessary to understand that sweet potatoes and typical white potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) belong to different families. Sweet potatoes are an underground tuber.

For eating purposes, the vine leaves, roots, and shoots of the sweet potatoes are edible. Sweet potatoes can be boiled, baked, steamed, roasted, fried, grilled, and mashed. With sweet potatoes, it is possible to prepare chips and soup as well.  

Sweet potatoes come with crucial nutrients. They have vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, K), carbs, limited protein, and fats. Besides that, you can find calcium, sodium, iron, selenium, potassium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc in the sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes have plenty of crucial plant compounds like beta carotene, anthocyanins, and chlorogenic acid. 

Raw Vs. Cooked Sweet Potatoes 

Some pet owners allow the cats to eat occasional pieces of raw meat. The cats are carnivores and have a history of eating raw meat. Does it mean cats can eat raw sweet potatoes?

Cats should never consume raw sweet potatoes or other types of raw potato. These are harmful to cats and might result in severe damage to the digestive system of cats. Cats can not digest raw sweet potatoes easily. If your cat has eaten the raw sweet potato, keep an eye on it for 24 hours. If it shows any stomach upset symptoms, consult the veterinarian.

Cooked sweet potatoes are the best way to feed them to cats. Eating them plenty at once can cause many digestive problems in cats. Giving tiny pieces of sweet potatoes to your cat can reduce constipation. If you want to feed sweet potatoes to the cats, make sure it is fresh, cooked, not raw, and unseasoned.

Can I Feed Seasoned Sweet Potatoes To Cats? 

It is better not to feed seasoned sweet potatoes to your cats because they are unnecessary and harmful. If you want to give sweet potatoes to the cats, only offer cooked and plain ones without adding other ingredients.

Below are a few ingredients that are used for seasoning sweet potatoes. Besides that, they are not safe and healthy for the cats.

  • Butter seasoning has high amounts of fat.
  • Marshmallows have excess sugar content.
  • Walnuts might result in gastrointestinal distress in cats.
  • Garlic and onion are very poisonous to cats in almost all forms.
  • Table salt will cause dehydration in your cat.

Nutritional Value Of Sweet Potatoes 

Sweet potatoes are one of the best nutritional foods and are safe for cats. They have many vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes are a great source of provitamin, which is beta-carotene (antioxidant).  

Here is a brief list of the nutrients in 100 grams of sweet potatoes.

  • Calories – 86
  • Sodium – 55 mg
  • Water – 77%
  • Potassium – 337 mg
  • Dietary fiber – 3 g
  • Sugar – 4.2 g
  • Protein 1.6 g
  • Cholesterol – 0 mg
  • Total Fat – 0.1 g
  • Saturated fat – 0 g
  • Polyunsaturated fat – 0 g
  • Monounsaturated fat – 0 g
  • Total Carbohydrates – 20 g
  • Vitamin A – 283% of RDI
  • Vitamin B-6 – 10% of RDI
  • Vitamin C – 4% of RDI
  • Iron – 3% of RDI
  • Calcium – 3% of RDI
  • Magnesium – 6% of RDI

Do The Traditional Cat Food Use Sweet Potatoes?

There are a few brands that have sweet potatoes as one of the ingredients in their cat food. Some of these recipes include:

  • Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Organic Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Fussie Cat Premium Wet Cat food
  • I and Love and You Lovingly Simple Limited Ingredient Diet Salmon & Sweet Potato
  • Merrick Purrfect Bistro Grain-Free Real Chicken + Sweet Potato Recipe
  • Pure Balance Limited Ingredient Wet Food Dinner
  • Purina Beyond Grain-Free Chicken & Sweet Potato Pate Recipe
  • Solid Gold Touch of Heaven Chicken & Sweet Potato Recipe

From this list, it is evident that many nutritional choices in the market use this ingredient. In general, sweet potatoes are good for treating constipation and allows smooth digestion.

Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes 

The antioxidants of Vitamin C boosts skin health. The potassium content in sweet potatoes is crucial for blood pressure control. It reduces the chances of heart disease. Eating potassium-rich foods such as sweet potatoes keeps the cardiovascular system healthy.

Beta-carotene stimulates decent muscle tone, clear vision, and active, healthy bones. Sweet potatoes lessen the chances of getting lung cancer and many other kinds of cancer.

Beta-carotene helps to prevent cellular damage induced by dangerous free radicals. Eating sweet potatoes from time to time reduces the risk of vitamin A deficiency.

The fat-soluble Vitamin E in sweet potatoes helps in preventing oxidative damage. Purple sweet potatoes have more anthocyanins and contain strong antioxidant properties.

The fiber content in sweet potatoes reduces the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating sweet potatoes increases insulin resistance levels. Consuming plenty of insoluble fibers decreases the risk of diabetes and enhances gut health.

Sweet potatoes have sporamins. These are unique proteins that take up to 80% of the total protein content in sweet potatoes. These sporamins promote healing in case of any physical injury.

Potential Dangers Of Sweet Potato  

Due to the presence of high carbohydrates, feeding sweet potatoes constantly to cats will make them obese. Obesity leads to severe health risks in cats. Providing more sweet potatoes to a diabetic cat is dangerous.

Raw sweet potatoes can be toxic to your cats and are hard to digest. Sweet potatoes have some excess content of oxalates substances, which pose a threat to the kidneys.

The sweet potato casserole is dangerous to cats as they have brown sugar and milk. Your cat will face digestive tract problems if it eats sweet potato casserole. Besides that, this dish is one of the harmful foods you need to avoid feeding the cats.

Related Questions 

Can I Feed French Fries To My Cats? Is It Safe?  

It is never a good idea to feed french fries to cats because they have high sodium levels. French fries contain excessive fat content, high levels of calories, and deep-fried oils. All these are not healthy for cats and might cause severe health issues.

Are Potato Vines Poisonous? 

If you are planting sweet potatoes on your lawn, it is better to keep the cat away from that area. Potato vines can be toxic for cats if eaten. If your cat has eaten the potato vines, it might result in diarrhea and many hallucinations.

Can I give baby food made from sweet potatoes to kittens? 

Yes, it is safe for cats to eat baby food made of sweet potatoes. Besides that, baby food with carrots and prune are also healthy for cats. It is better to avoid foods with onion, high salt content, garlic, vegetable oil, chives, dairy products, and added sweeteners.

Outline 

It is crystal clear that sweet potatoes are safe for cats and are the healthiest foods if eaten at moderate levels. Sweet potatoes have rich fiber content, vitamins, and minerals.

You can boil, cook, steam, bake or mash the sweet potatoes and all of these methods are safe for the cat’s health. But cats can not digest them properly, and sometimes leads to vomiting, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.

References

  • Tim Newman. (2017). All you need to know about beta carotene 
  • J Chiropr Med. (2018). Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses 
  • Natalie Stilwell. (2019). 11 Holiday Food Scraps That Are Dangerous for Your Cat