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Home > Cats > Can Cats Eat Eggplant? Vet Approved Advice

Can Cats Eat Eggplant? Vet Approved Advice

Can Cats Eat Eggplant

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Dr. Karyn Kanowski Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Have you ever wondered if your feline friend can enjoy the same foods as you? Cats are curious creatures, and their noses can lead them to investigate all sorts of culinary delights. But when it comes to eggplants, it’s important to exercise caution as cats shouldn’t eat eggplant.

In this article, we’ll explore why eggplants should be avoided for cats, the potential illnesses they can develop from consuming eggplants, and what to do if your mischievous kitty manages to munch on one.

So, let’s dive in and learn more about the curious case of cats and eggplants!


Why Should Eggplants Be Avoided for Cats?

Eggplants, also known as aubergines, are known for their vibrant purple color and versatile culinary uses. They are members of the Nightshade family of plants, along with many other species you will be familiar with, including:

  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Belladonna
  • Tobacco

…to name a few

As you can see, the Nightshade family contains some of the most commonly used fruits and vegetables, and also one of the most potent poisons: Belladonna, also known as Deadly Nightshade. The chemical compound that makes this plant so deadly, is also what can cause toxicity in cats; Solanine, a natural pesticide produced by plants to protect themselves from pests. Fortunately, the levels in edible species, like tomatoes, are much lower, or virtually eradicated through cooking (potatoes, eggplants).

Solanine is predominantly found in the leaves and stems of the plant, but it can also be present in small amounts throughout the fruit (yes, eggplant is actually a fruit!). Although it’s unlikely that your cat would consume enough eggplant to experience severe poisoning, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

lots of eggplants
Image by: Hans, Pixabay

What Effects Can Eggplant Have On Cats?

Raw eggplants can be particularly harmful to cats due to the presence of solanine, as cats lack the necessary enzymes to effectively break down and process this compound. As a result, if your cat consumes raw eggplant, the solanine can build up in their system, leading to adverse effects like gastrointestinal distress.

The solanine present in eggplants can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even abdominal pain. While these symptoms are generally temporary and subside on their own, be sure to keep an eye on your feline friend and seek veterinary care if the signs persist or worsen.

In addition to solanine, raw eggplants also contain oxalates, which can be harmful to cats. Oxalates are naturally occurring substances that can form crystals in the urinary tract, potentially leading to urinary issues such as the formation of bladder stones. This is particularly concerning for cats, as they are prone to urinary tract problems.

Cooking eggplants can reduce the levels of solanine, making them less harmful to cats. However, it’s still not recommended to regularly include cooked eggplant in your cat’s diet.

My Cat Ate Eggplant, What Should I Do?

If you discover that your mischievous feline has indulged in some eggplant, don’t panic. Monitor your cat closely for any signs of distress, and if signs develop or worsen, contact your veterinarian. They will be able to provide the best advice based on your cat’s specific situation.  Fortunately, it would be unusual for a cat to ingest enough eggplant to make a toxic dose, particularly of raw eggplant. In most cases, if your cat has only had a small amount of eggplant, they may experience mild digestive upset, which typically resolves on its own.

Raw potato poses a higher risk to cats than raw eggplant, so this is one vegetable that really needs to be avoided.

freshly grilled eggplants
Image Credit: feherandras, Pixabay

Do Cats Need to Eat Vegetables?

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are designed to thrive on a diet primarily composed of animal protein. Unlike humans and some other animals, cats have specific nutritional requirements that are met through a meat-based diet.

While cats don’t require vegetables in their diet, they do benefit from other essential nutrients, such as fiber.

Why Do Cats Need Fiber?

Fiber plays a vital role in maintaining a cat’s overall health and well-being. While cats are natural carnivores, incorporating fiber into their diet can provide several benefits.

One of the primary reasons cats need fiber is for optimal digestive health. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements, preventing issues like constipation and diarrhea, and promoting a healthy gastrointestinal system.

Additionally, fiber acts as a natural lubricant, aiding in the passage of hairballs through the digestive tract, which helps control hairball-related problems. By ensuring an appropriate fiber intake, you can support your cat’s digestive system and contribute to their overall wellness.

variety of raw food on cat feeding bowl
Image by: Zontica, Shutterstock

How Can I Safely Add Fiber Into My Cat’s Diet?

If you’re looking to introduce fiber into your cat’s diet, there are safer options than eggplants. High-quality cat food formulated for their specific needs often includes the necessary fiber content, but if you want to safely boost their levels, cooked pumpkin or butternut squash is one of the best additives to help promote healthy feline bowels.

If you’re worried about your cat’s fiber intake, perhaps due to hairballs, constipation or diarrhea, it’s best to consult your veterinarian first. They can make sure there are no other health issues, and recommend appropriate dietary changes or fiber supplements that are safe for your feline friend.

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Final Thoughts

When it comes to eggplants and cats, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While cats can technically eat cooked eggplant, the presence of solanine and oxalates makes them a food to avoid. The potential risks, such as gastrointestinal distress and urinary tract problems, outweigh any potential benefits.

As obligate carnivores, cats require a diet rich in animal protein to thrive. If you have concerns about your cat’s diet or want to introduce fiber, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian to ensure their nutritional needs are met in a safe and appropriate manner. Remember, your cat’s health and well-being should always be the top priority!

Featured Image Credit: furbymama, Pixabay

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