Can Cats Eat Tomato Sauce? What You Need To Know!

can cats eat tomato sauce?

Tomatoes, the primary ingredient in tomato sauce, offers a plethora of health benefits. Tomatoes are loaded with essential minerals and vitamins that perform several crucial functions in the body. Notable mentions include folate, potassium, ascorbic acid, and vitamin K1.

As with most vegetable fruits, tomatoes are also rich in antioxidants, including the powerful lycopene.

Lycopene is noted for its role in guarding against skin damage caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. This compound may also lower the incidences of various chronic diseases, including heart disease and some cancers.

Evidently, there appears to be more than enough reasons to consume tomato sauce. But can we say the same about our feline friends? Can cats have tomato sauce?

No, cats shouldn’t eat tomato sauce. Tomato sauce is usually made from various ingredients that cat’s shouldn’t eat, such as spices and salt. Besides, the tomatoes used in preparing of tomato sauce contain a chemical known as solanine, which has proven harmful to cats and other pets like dogs and horses.

If you’ve always considered giving your cat tomato sauce, note that experts strongly advise against it.

Read on as we shed more light on the potential risks of tomato sauce for cats.

More About Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce goes by several other names, depending on region. For instance, the sauce is known as salsa di Pomodoro in Italy and salsa Roja in Spain.

But what constitutes tomato sauce and why do pet nutritionists discourage sharing this sauce with cats?

Now, tomato sauce is a name for a variety of sauces made with tomato as the primary ingredient. The sauce is commonly served as a side dish alongside meats, vegetables, Mexican salsas, pastas, etc.

In some regions, tomato sauce may also serve as a condiment, such as ketchup.

Although tomatoes are the core ingredients in tomato sauce, the dish can contain a wide range of other ingredients. Examples include;

  • Salt
  • Spices like garlic, onion, pepper, and oregano
  • Sugar
  • Wine

Tomato sauce boasts a rich flavor and incredible water content. The dish is also remarkably easy to digest.

But perhaps the biggest benefit of tomato sauce is its dense nutritional profile. That’s because the dish typically comprises all-natural ingredients.

So, why is tomato sauce considered bad for cats then? The following sections expound further on that.

What Happens If A Cat Eats Tomato Sauce?

A lot of things could go wrong if your cat eats tomato sauce. As already indicated, the basic ingredient in tomato sauce – tomatoes – contain solanine.

Solanine is highly toxic to pets, including cats, dogs, and even horses. It only takes little exposure to this chemical for cats to come down with severe solanine poisoning.

The following are some of the side effects of solanine toxicity in cats to watch out for;

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain
  • Neurological symptoms like headache and drowsiness
  • Cardiac dysrhythmia
  • A burning sensation on the throat

Besides solanine, most of the other ingredients in tomato sauce can also cause toxicity to cats.

For instance, exposure to spices in the Allium family (such as garlic, onion, leeks, and chives) may trigger a life-threatening blood disorder in cats known as hemolytic anemia. This severe form of anemia can induce a wide range of symptoms, including;

  • Pale gums
  • Labored breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Appetite loss
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Lethargy

Without urgent medical intervention, hemolytic anemia can result in severe organ damage, coma, and even death.

Salt is another common ingredient in tomato sauce that cats shouldn’t have. Excess salt consumption can lead to a potentially deadly disorder in cats known as salt poisoning or sodium ion poisoning.

Signs of salt poisoning include;

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea
  • Kidney-related symptoms, such as excessive drinking followed by excessive urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Incoordination
  • Trembling

In severe cases, sodium ion poisoning may cause seizures, coma, and eventually death.

cute cat eating food

Sugar is just as potentially toxic for cats as salt is. Sugary foods are associated with weight gain, feline diabetes, and blood circulation disorders like hypertension. Besides, cats do not require carbohydrates in their diets.

Last but not least, some tomato sauces may be prepared with wine. Unfortunately, cats shouldn’t have alcohol or any intoxicating compounds. That strikes wine right off their safe foods’ list.

Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Tomato Sauce?

Based on the numerous potential risks of tomato sauce for cats, it’s logical to infer that tomato sauce is unsafe for your feline friend.

It’s also important to note that the degree of tomato sauce toxicity in cats will depend primarily on the quantity consumed. The higher the amount, the more severe the side effects.

Also, the ingredients in tomato sauce, besides tomato, may determine how adversely your cat reacts to this dish. For instance, tomato sauce containing high amounts of onion and garlic will undoubtedly be more toxic to cats than that prepared without these spices.

Is Tomato Sauce Bad For Cats?

Tomato sauce may be yummy and nutritious for humans. But the sauce contains compounds that could prove dangerous for cats.

Therefore, it’s important to adopt preventive measures to ensure your cat doesn’t access tomato sauce behind your back. That includes wiping the dinner table clean after every tomato sauce meal and tightly sealing all trash cans containing tomato sauce leftovers.

You might also want to store all remaining sauce in the refrigerator or other tight spots that your kitto will not access.

Remember, it’s safer to prevent than cure the medical complications associated with tomato sauce in cats.

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Is Tomato Sauce Poisonous To Cats?

Tomato sauce contains solanine, a naturally-occurring chemical that’s poisonous to cats.

But as we’ve already indicated, solanine isn’t the only compound in tomato sauce that could harm your cat.

Other deadly ingredients include salt, sugar, wine, and all spices in the allium family.

Can Tomato Sauce Kill Cats?

It’s not every day that you hear reports of feline fatalities resulting directly from tomato sauce consumption.

However, that doesn’t mean tomato sauce won’t kill your cat. Death could still occur if the associated symptoms aren’t managed effectively.

Therefore, it’s important to move with speed if you suspect that your feline friend has snacked on tomato sauce behind your back.

Does It Matter How The Tomato Sauce Is Prepared And Served?

Plain tomato sauce is bad enough for cats. That’s mainly due to the presence of solanine and other components like spices and salt.

That said, you could be wondering if the manner in which tomato sauce is prepared and served to cats makes the dish any less toxic.

Can cats eat fish in tomato sauce?

Seafood boasts powerful minerals that your cat could benefit from. That includes omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both of which can keep your cat’s coat healthy.

However, the inherent risks of tomato sauce for cats makes any seafood served in this sauce potentially harmful to your feline companion. That includes fish.

Can cats eat sardines in tomato sauce?

Sardines are another type of seafood that cats do enjoy. But as with any seafood, sardines may become toxic to cats if served in tomato sauce.

That also begs the question, can cats eat canned sardines in tomato sauce?

Again, sardines in tomato sauce is bad for cats, whether canned or otherwise.

Can cats eat mackerel in tomato sauce?

Not only is mackerel delectable. It’s also chockfull of essential nutrients and vitamins.

Unfortunately, serving mackerel in tomato sauce renders this otherwise safe seafood potentially harmful to cats.

Can cats eat pilchards in tomato sauce?

As you may have gathered by now, pilchards served in tomato sauce are bad for cats.

And the potential danger doesn’t lie in this seafood but in the ingredients used in the tomato sauce.

Can cats eat meat with tomato sauce?

Meat is perfectly safe and highly nutritious for cats. That ranges from beef to mutton, pork, seafood, and even game meat like venison. However, giving cats meat served in tomato sauce is a terrible idea.

Can cats eat pasta and tomato sauce?

Eggs, the key ingredient in pasta, is safe for cats. However, nearly all other pasta ingredients, including olive oil and salt, are bad for cats.

If you factor in the toxicity of tomato sauce for cats, then it’s evident that cats shouldn’t consume pasta served in tomato sauce.

Do Cats Love Tomato Sauce?

While tomato sauce is harmful to cats, there’s a high chance that your feline friend will fall in love with this sauce.

But why do cats like tomato sauce?

For starters, your cat may be fascinated with the smell or aroma of tomato sauce.

Cats are also curious animals who love to explore their surroundings. The taste and texture of tomato sauce may appeal to your kitto, even if the animal doesn’t end up consuming the dish.

Lastly, cats tend to mimic the behaviors of their human owners. Your cat may fall in love with tomato sauce just because he saw you relishing this dish.

What to Do If Your Cat Eats Tomato Sauce

Going by the many dangers of tomato sauce for cats, it’s natural to wonder, ‘my cat ate tomato sauce, will he be okay?’

Taking a lick or two of tomato sauce may not harm your cat. However, consuming more than a few mouthfuls of this dish will definitely trigger adverse effects.

The first thing to do if you suspect that your cat has eaten tomato sauce is to establish the quantity consumed. That will help you predict the severity of side effects.

Mild symptoms of nausea and vomiting are easy to manage using rehydration. But if you find that the animal had several mouthfuls of tomato sauce, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your vet immediately.

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Other Frequently Asked Questions About Cats and Tomato Sauce

Can Cats Lick Tomato Sauce?

As we’ve just pointed out, one or two tomato sauce licks shouldn’t trigger life-threatening effects. Even so, you want to keep tomato sauce out of your kitto’s reach.

Is It Okay For Cats to Eat Spaghetti Sauce?

Spaghetti sauce contains garlic and onion, both of which are poisonous to cats. Therefore, cats should equally avoid spaghetti sauce.

Conclusion: So, Is It Ok For Cats To Eat Tomato Sauce?

Tomato sauce is bad for cats. If you’re keen on supplementing your cat’s diet with plant-based products, you can try vegetables in the cruciferous family, such as cauliflower and broccoli.

Alternatively, consider fruits like avocado, apples, and bananas.

Other plant-based foods that are safe for cats include carrots, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, etc.

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Maria is the Founder and Senior Editor at She is a lifelong feline enthusiast, self-educated pet care nerd and adores cats of all shapes! Currently parent of 2 adopted cats. She loves iced coffee, playing guitar and cat-cuddling! .

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