Yummy, delectable and irresistible – these are the three words that aptly describe pizza.
Indeed, a pizza date is something we always look forward to. Well, that’s as far as humans go. When it comes to our feline friends, the question might be a little different. Or more accurately, a lot different.
You’re tucked in some corner relishing your pizza and all of a sudden, you realize your cat is standing right next to you, hoping you’ll throw some her way.
So, you may be wondering “Is Pizza Safe for Cats?” Or “Can Cats Eat Pizza?”
The plain and simple answer is “NO,” cats cannot eat pizza. And the main reason why vets discourage pizza for cats is that the ingredient makeup of most pizzas contains at least one ingredient that’s potentially harmful to cats.
As caring as we are, we often find the temptation of offering human foods to our cats irresistible. So, you give in to the temptation and before you know it, your cat develops strange gastrointestinal symptoms.
Yes, the events will almost always follow this pattern if you offer pizza to your cat. So, right off the bat, let’s emphasize that pizza is a no-no for cats. Read on to find out why.
What Kinds Of Food Should Cats Eat?
Even before we delve deeper into cats and pizza in a bid to examine how potentially dangerous this food can be for our feline friends, we should first understand the types of food experts recommend for cats.
Cats are obligate carnivores. That implies they derive most of their nutritional elements strictly from a diet of meat.
But what of dietary elements that are missing in meat but are abundantly present in plant matter?
Well, a cat’s body is designed to manufacture such compounds on its own. However, that doesn’t mean greens are explicitly harmful to cats.
Indeed, you must have observed that your cat occasionally nibbles on some grass in your courtyard. Due to their abundance in fiber content, plant matter help relieve an upset stomach. That’s why offering veggies to cats occasionally is an excellent nutritional practice.
However, most pet owners don’t understand the difference between greens and typical human foods.
When it comes to human foods, the emphasis is always on how the food is prepared. So, you may offer spinach or cabbage to your cat, thinking you’re doing it a favor. While in essence, you may be exposing the cat to potentially toxic substances.
Now, a typical pizza contains almost all ingredients that experts discourage for cats. There might be a few redeeming ingredients alright. However, how pizza is prepared causes those otherwise beneficial components to lose their nutritional value.
Pizza is generally made up of two parts – the pizza crust and the toppings. And sadly, each of these parts contains potentially harmful ingredients. Let’s examine them in detail and see why you shouldn’t offer the food to your feline.
Can Cats Eat Pizza Crust?
First off, what’s pizza crust? Basically, it’s the dough portion that usually forms the base of the pizza.
When it’s rolled into defined shapes, the dough is now known as rolls. So, you may be wondering, can cats eat pizza dough? What of the rolls, can cats eat pizza rolls?
👉 Well, it’s more or less the same thing. However, the fact that pizza dough and rolls are actually raw crust makes them even more harmful for cats.
The pizza crust is normally baked but before that, the dough must be prepared and cut into the desired shapes. After the crust is baked, it’s then topped with various ingredients that we shall discuss later on.
So, why is pizza crust discouraged for cats?
First and foremost, pizza crust is made up of high carbohydrates, and the baking flour used is normally refined. That means it’s significantly low in dietary elements.
It’s important to note that while the crust is high in calories, it’s surprisingly low in all the other nutrients that your cat could possibly benefit from.
Due to their small size, cats require little amounts of calories to stay in shape. The last thing you want is to see your furry, little friend packing up extra pounds, as that comes with a host of debilitating conditions.
Examples include diabetes and obesity. Even worse, these two common weight-related diseases are major risk factors for depression and cardiovascular disease.
Besides, obesity is characterized by decreased activity, breathing problems, mobility issues, and generalized fatigue. It’s a sure way of subjecting your cat to its early death. Therefore, your first line of defense is to avoid pizza crust at all costs.
Besides their high calorie content, most pizza crusts also contain salt, garlic, and butter. We’ll discuss these further in the next section and examine how potentially dangerous they can be.
However, the most harmful ingredient commonly used in pizza crust is sodium. And the worst part is, this highly toxic ingredient is normally used in very large quantities.
Ingesting high amounts of sodium might lead to sodium poisoning in felines. And if you do not take the cat for urgent examination and treatment, the effects of sodium poisoning could easily degenerate into life-threatening situations.
Common Pizza Toppings
As we’ve already highlighted, pizza crust is terrible enough. But when discussing the possible dangers of offering pizza to cats, more emphasis is often placed on the toppings used.
The following are some of the most popular pizza toppings.
8. Green pepper
9. Black olives
From a casual look, most of these ingredients don’t come across as potentially toxic for cats. Of course, with the exception of onions and garlic. But still, can I give my cat pizza? Let’s examine the ingredients in detail.
Garlic and onions often feature prominently among the most harmful foods for cats, and pets in general. Out of the harmful ingredients in the list above, these two will almost always pose immediate threats to your feline.
Garlic and onion are associated with Heinz body anemia, a debilitating disease that reduces the ability of a cat’s red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout its system. And when the cat’s internal organs and tissues do not receive adequate oxygen supply, their functions are significantly reduced.
Immediate symptoms of Heinz body anemia include generalized fatigue, paleness of the mouth and gums, intense fever, discolored skin, and labored breathing. Heinz body anemia is fatal.
Besides garlic and onions, cheese is another common pizza ingredient that’s generally condemned. And the fact that it’s normally used in large amounts is reason enough to be worried.
But unlike other dairy products, cheese is remarkably low in lactose content. And seeing as how cats are lactose intolerant, you may think it’s okay to offer your cat pizza containing cheese topping.
However, ingesting cheese could still lead to gastrointestinal complications, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and an upset stomach. So, if you’ve always wondered to yourself, can cats eat cheese pizza? The answer is a resounding “NO”.
Questions have also been raised about tomatoes, which is another common pizza topping. Unripened tomatoes, as well as tomato leaves and stems, are high in the alkaloid tomatine, plus another compound known as solanine.
These substances are fatal and though their toxicity diminishes as the tomatoes ripen, most ripe tomatoes still contain traces of the compounds. Therefore if the toppings used on the pizza feature tomatoes that weren’t ripe enough, your cat could be exposed to these deadly chemicals.
It’s almost impossible to discuss pizza toppings without making reference to pepperoni. And you may be wondering, can cats eat pepperoni pizza?
Pepperoni is made up of garlic powder, paprika seeds, mustard seed, and fennel seeds. On its own, pepperoni isn’t toxic to cats. However, experts still discourage it due to its high fat and sodium content. In the same breath, sausage and bacon are also condemned due to their high content of salt and processed fat.
Each of the other ingredients listed above come with its benefits and risks for cats. Individually, they’re generally considered healthy.
But here’s the problem. The manner in which they’re prepared and added as pizza toppings may erode all the dietary benefits they could offer. Worse yet, their potential benefits are easily neutralized by the harmful components used alongside them in pizza toppings.
Is Pizza Safe For Cats?
We’ve highlighted numerous reasons why pizza is bad for cats. And most of these reasons come down to the kind of ingredients used.
If we were discussing any other human food, we could easily conclude that the food is safe for cats as long as the cat only snacks on it.
Unfortunately for pizza, there doesn’t seem to be any redeeming qualities that make it a recommended inclusion into a cat’s diet. And that especially applies to takeaway pizza.
So, the best solution is to not offer the food to your cat in the first place. And that includes making it impossible for the cat to access pizza behind your back.
To do that, ensure you don’t eat pizza in the presence of your cat. Naturally, it will beg, and you’ll be forced to offer some to it.
Any leftover pizza should be tucked away in the refrigerator or other sealed spaces where the cat cannot access. Placing it on top shelves isn’t enough as cats will still access those high places.
But to avoid these situations altogether, only buy pizza that you can finish in one sitting, then clear the table and chuck the wrappings safely in your garbage can.
But what if my cat ate pizza leftovers?, you may ask.
First, examine the ingredients used. If they fall within those classified as deadly for felines, watch out for gastrointestinal complications like vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, or constipation.
Secondly, establish the quantity of pizza the cat has eaten. If it’s alarmingly high, your best bet is to take the cat for further examination at your vet’s.
You may still be wondering how much pizza to feed a cat. Unfortunately, cats shouldn’t have pizza at all. But if you can’t resist the temptation, then prepare the meal at home.
That way, you’ll be able to eliminate most of the toxic ingredients normally used for pizza toppings. Better yet, you can treat your feline to many other human foods considered safe for cats.