can cats eat french fries

Can Cats Eat French Fries? Here’s Why Not

French fries are full of carbohydrates, salt and fats which will damage your cat’s health if eaten regularly, contributing to heart disease and obesity-related problems.

The salt on french fries could potentially poison your cat too.

While a one-off snack won’t cause any harm, regularly feeding your cat french fries should be avoided at all costs.

4 Reasons Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat French Fries:

Most cats aren’t interested in eating your french fries, however some cats love to have a bite of whatever it is you’re eating.

If your cat is constantly trying to eat your french fries here are 4 reasons why you shouldn’t give in:

1. Carbohydrates Are Not Needed In A Cat’s Diet

Cats are obligate carnivores, this means that they get everything they need in their diet from meat.

Carbohydrates are simply not needed in a cat’s diet.

cat looking at fries

The ancestors of domestic cats came from the deserts where they lived exclusively on a diet of small prey such as mice, rats and birds.

The best cat foods emulate their historical diets by being high protein and low carbohydrate, this allows them to maintain their muscle mass while remaining very lean.

It is only since cats have been domesticated that we have slowly introduced carbohydrates into their diets, in doing so we have also introduced cats to diabetes and obesity-related conditions.

French fries are packed full of unneeded carbohydrates.

2. Saturated Fats

A small amount of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acid is of course necessary in your cat’s diet, a good quality cat food will contain these.

French fries are packed with the wrong type of fats; saturated fats.

Saturated fats do nothing to improve your cat’s health, instead they contribute to heart disease, weight gain and related conditions.

3. Too Much Salt Can Be Very Dangerous

A (very) small amount of salt in your cat’s diet is needed to support normal development and growth, but too much salt is extremely dangerous; it could poison and kill your cat.

Cat owners have been warned to avoid buying popular Himalayan salt lamps as cats are prone to licking them, this has resulted in many cats ingesting a lot of salt and becoming seriously ill which has sadly even caused fatalities.

Salt poisoning can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Dehydration / extreme thirst

In very serious cases excessive salt consumption can even cause:

  • Seizures
  • Comas
  • Death

So there’s no doubt that too much salt is a very bad thing for your cat.

A study by the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Pet Food Industry Federation into sodium in feline nutrition recommended that adult cats should have up to 10.6 mg of sodium per kg of body weight per day.

So for an average 4kg cat that would equate to 42.4 mg of salt a day, most cats will get this much in their cat food.

Salt levels in french fries will vary depending on where you buy them from and how they’ve been seasoned however lets say you got your french fries from McDonald’s.

The smallest serving (71 grams) of McDonalds french fries contains about 150mg of sodium.

The 71-gram serving contains roughly 50 fries, so if your cat were to eat 13 McDonalds fries they would exceed their recommended sodium intake for the day without having eaten any of their own food.

Based on this you should give your cat no more than three or four fries in a given day as a one-off snack.

That said another study that compared the health of cats on high sodium diets (120mg a day) with cats on lower-sodium diets found that there was very little difference when it came to their risk of kidney and heart-related diseases.

So don’t worry too much if your cat helps themselves to some fries left nearby, just make sure they have access to plenty of water to allow them to rehydrate.

The same is also true of other high salt snack foods such as Cheetos and beef jerky which your cat may be tempted to try from time to time.

4. Onions Are Toxic To Cats

Okay so french fries don’t contain onions we know that, however fried onions often accompany french fries as a side and did you know that tomato ketchup also contains onions?

Why is this a problem? Well onions are toxic to cats.

To be honest you don’t need to worry too much about ketchup as it only contains minimal levels of onion which will have no impact on your cat if eaten.

If your cat were to eat a piece of fried onion this could cause potentially digestive problems including vomiting and diarrhea.

onion rings and fries

Onion contains compounds called disulfides and thiosulphates which are toxic to cats, these compounds can damage your cat’s red blood cells and cause anemia (inability of the red blood cells to carry oxygen efficiently) if they are eaten regularly.

So if you are the type of person that likes a side of onion rings with your fries then here is another reason to avoid sharing your food with your cat.

Can Cats Eat Chips/Crisps?

Cat’s shouldn’t eat french fries and the same is true of chips (as they’re called in the UK or crisps as they’re called in the U.S) for the same reasons.

While chips are different from fries due to their size and the way in which they are prepared they are still a carbohydrate-heavy food that can cause health complications for your cat if consumed regularly.

Chips are much bigger than french fries so one chip contains more carbohydrates than one french fry.

can cats eat crisps-chips

However chips are the healthier option of the two due to their lower fat content.

Chips are usually (but not always) oven-cooked which means they will have far lower fat content than fries.

Even if your chips are fried they will still have lower fat content than the equivalent weight in fries because fries are far smaller meaning there is more total surface area exposed to absorb the fat.

If you have to give your cat either chips or french fries then go with chips as they are healthier, long term both chips and fries are very bad for your cat’s health so avoid giving them either!

…But My Cat Likes French Fries!

If your cat’s behaviour when presented with french fries is anything like the behaviour of the two cats in the video below then it’s safe to say that your cat loves french fries.

It can be hard to deny your cat something that they love however if you want the best for your cat then you should stop feeding them french fries straight away.

As we’ve already mentioned the unnecessary carbohydrate, fat and salt that french fries add to your cat’s diet can cause serious long-term damage including things such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease as well as joint and mobility issues.

If your cat is the type who will steal a mouthful of fries the moment you look in the other direction then best thing you can do for your cat is eat them behind a closed door or simply don’t bring french fries into the house at all!

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