Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

Last Updated on May 16, 2021 by Julia Wilson

Can cats eat potatoes? 

Yes, cats can eat the flesh of cooked potatoes as an occasional treat. Potatoes are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.

Do not allow a cat to eat any other part of the potato including the leaves and skin which can be deadly if green. This is because green potato skins may contain solanine, a glycoalkaloid neurotoxin. Solanine develops when the potato is exposed to light and has both fungicidal and pesticidal properties, making it a natural chemical defence.  Solanine poisoning induces gastrointestinal and neurological disorders.

Peeled and cooked potatoes are safe for cats to eat as long as they don’t contain additional ingredients that are toxic to cats, including garlic and onion. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must consume meat to survive. Potatoes are nutritionally incomplete and should only be fed as an occasional treat.

Not all cats like potatoes, in fact, I’ve only had one cat who did like them, he was absolutely obsessed with mashed potato. Never force human food onto a cat, and remember that treats should make up no more than 10% of a cat’s diet to avoid excess calories and serving up an unbalanced diet.

Can all cats eat potatoes? 

Not all cats can eat potatoes, which includes:

  • Cats on a prescription diet
  • Cats on a food trial for allergies
  • Cats on a weight-loss diet
  • Cats with known allergies to potatoes

Risks

  • Solanine poisoning from raw, green skin
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances can occur in cats who are not used to eating potatoes
  • Pancreatitis due to ingestion of fats from fried, baked or mashed potato which contains butter
  • Gastrointestinal blockage if the cat consumes raw potato or the leaves  and stem of a potato plant

How to give a cat potatoes

Boiled, mashed or baked potatoes with the skin removed are the best way to give potatoes to cats. Many cats are lactose intolerant, therefore take care of feeding mashed potatoes to cats as they may cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms. If this occurs, avoid potatoes with milk and butter and stick with plain boiled or baked potatoes.

Safety

  • Always peel the skin off potatoes before feeding to cats to avoid solanine poisoning.
  • Avoid potatoes that have been cooked in oil.
  • Do not feed raw potatoes.

Can cats eat sweet potato? 

Sweet potato is non-toxic to cats and is safe in small quantities. But the same rule applies to sweet potatoes, don’t overdo it, and avoid sweet potatoes that contain other ingredients, especially onion and garlic.