Can cats eat Tomatoes?

Posted by Jun 22, 2016 | Nutrition

cats and tomatoes

Author Amira

Hi there!

I’m Amira, founder and editor at Cattention.

This website is dedicated to share useful but entertaining information and help You understand Your cat’s actions, behavior and needs.

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People often wonder if they can feed their furry little friend from their plate, especially when they see those big cute eyes begging for some food. But just because we can eat particular foods, it does not mean our lovely pet can consume it as well.

For example, let’s take tomatoes. Do you know whether a tomato is safe for your cat to consume or it can be harmful and poisonous? This article will answer these questions.

Can cats eat tomatoes? – No, not at all

The short answer is no; cats should not eat tomatoes. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), a highly reputable organization, has classified it as toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses.

However, some people speculate that some parts and forms are safe for them to consume, but only in a very little quantity. You also may come across videos on Youtube of cats eating tomatoes.

Despite this speculation, I would recommend you to stay on the safe side and avoid any tomato product – be it ketchup, soup or sauce, or even the plant itself – as after a more detailed research, I found that the main reason tomatoes are classified as toxic to cats is because of solanine and tomatine.

About tomatoes, solanine, and tomatine

The tomato plant belongs to the Nightshade family, also known as Solanaceae.

Some of the members of this family contain alkaloids like solanine and tomatine that are highly toxic and can cause violent lower gastrointestinal symptoms. This applies to the tomato plant as well. But which part of the plant is the most dangerous to our little friend?

Tomato plant – stems and leaves

If you have a quite curious feline buddy, you might have noticed your cat smelling, pawing and the worst: nibbling on the tomato plant’s stems and leaves – either grown indoors or outdoor in your garden. But, be careful!

These parts of the tomato are the most toxic to the little pets. These green parts of the plant contain most of the dangerous, poisonous solanine and tomatine, and when consumed, can cause violent gastrointestinal disorders.

If you have tomato plant around your house, please be exceptionally careful and keep your pets away from the tomato plant.

Green tomatoes

Cats do not typically eat or like the raw, green tomatoes because of its taste and texture.

However, the level of tomatine and solanine is generally too small to be poisonous or dangerous in the green, unripe fruit, even if a little is eaten by a cat, it can easily cause critical gastrointestinal discomfort, including weakness, lethargy or even diarrhea or vomiting.

Ripe tomatoes

As it is mentioned earlier, tomato stems, leaves and green tomatoes contain solanine and tomatine that are dangerous to cats. These alkaloids’ levels decrease as the tomato ripens.

However, this does not mean that your cat would not get some mild stomach upset from a ripe, uncooked tomato. In the end, it is the quantity that matters. Even as little as a cherry tomato can cause a gastrointestinal upset, so it is best to avoid giving it to your cat at all.

Cooked tomatoes

Even though many websites claim that the toxic alkaloids can be destroyed by cooking the tomatoes, research shows that these alkaloids cannot be