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Home > Cats > Can Cats Eat French Fries? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Can Cats Eat French Fries? Vet-Reviewed Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Can Cats Eat French Fries

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

Veterinarian, DVM

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

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Our kitties consume a lot of peculiar things—including sometimes french fries. If your cat has taken a shine to your basket of french fries, you might wonder if it’s okay to let them indulge. After all, just one never hurt anybody, right?

As you can imagine, french fries are pretty fattening and certainly not an item you’d find on a feline’s dietary lineup list. These golden potato strips are not toxic to your cat—just not very healthy. Here, we will talk about all the ins and outs regarding french fries for cats.

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French Fries Are Non-Toxic to Cats

French fries are deep-fried sliced potatoes. While these salty, crisp delicacies are delicious to us, they aren’t part of your cat’s normal diet. However, if your cat ate a fry off your plate, it’s fine in moderation.

Unless you had a raw potato your cat ingested by mistake, you have nothing to worry about. A deep-fried french fry might be fattening and unhealthy, but it poses no risk of toxicity to our feline friends—especially not in the quantities they probably are consuming.

Even though these food items are non-toxic to our kitty friends, they might not be very interested in them. Even if your cat has taken a shining to french fries, due to their salt and fat content, they are certainly not healthy for them.

french fries in white bowl
Image Credit: PHIL LENOIR, Shutterstock

Why French Fries Are Bad for Cats

French fries are bad for cats for several reasons. First of all, french fries are not part of your cat’s natural food group. Cats are carnivores by nature and require animal content to thrive. Feeding potatoes is certainly not on the menu for most cats. But why are they so bad?

French Fries Have High Fat Content

In addition to french fries simply not being part of the cat’s natural diet, they are also very high in fat. And a cat’s natural diet needs somewhere between 20% and 40% fat. Anything higher than that can lead to weight gain and a variety of other health issues.

So even though one french fry isn’t really going to do much damage to your cat’s system, repeatedly feeding them table scraps with this kind of content can cause weight gain and even eventually other issues like diabetes.


French Fries Could Cause Gastrointestinal Upset

Because french fries are so far out of the natural realm of your cat’s diet, it can make your cat’s tummy hurt. Cats don’t produce large amounts of the enzymes needed to digest plant matter. It can lead to unwanted gastrointestinal effects such as:

  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Some cats might not be affected by eating a french fry, but other, more sensitive cats can be. Our cats’ stomachs are not meant to digest heavy oils and grease and plants.

Cat about to eat some french fries
Image by: Ks7794, Shutterstock

French Fries Are Full of Carbohydrates

We all know that potatoes are basically pure starch. Starches are carbohydrates. When you eat fried potatoes, not only are you digesting a lot of oils from the grease, but you are also eating a ton of carbs.

Since cats are obligate carnivores, they naturally get next to no carbs in their daily diet. Through domestication, grains and other food items have been introduced to them, building a tolerance to some of these carbohydrates.

However, if they eat an overabundance of them in one sitting, it’s not good for their system. Again, just a french fry or two won’t cause much of an issue, but repeatedly eating carbohydrates can mess up your cat’s digestive system.


French Fried Could Have Dangerous Seasonings

Most french fries just have the traditional salt and pepper on them. However, specialty fries can contain things that could be toxic or upsetting to cats. For example, if you have onion powder, garlic salt, or sauces containing these elements, it could pose a risk of toxicity.

Additionally, other condiments like ketchup, salt, and pepper can be irritating to your cat’s mouth and stomach.

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Dangers of Raw Potatoes for Cats

Cooked french fries are non-toxic to cats, as we’ve mentioned several times by now. However, we want to clarify that the same sentiment does not extend to raw potatoes. If french fries or potato slices are uncooked, it can significantly harm your cat.

Potatoes are part of the nightshade family. Green parts of the potato skin, leaves and vines contain an element called solanine. This component is toxic to our domestic pets. When ingested, it can lead to a whirlwind of gastrointestinal problems.

If your cat consumed any raw potato, it’s best to contact your vet for guidance. Some may want you to monitor your cat for some time to see if there is any sign of distress. Other vets will want you to bring your cat in for an examination to get ahead of any developing toxicity.

Ultimately, it would depend on several factors, such as how much your cat ate, if you noticed any green on the potatoes, and if they ate stems or leaves. This is highly unlikely if they had a french fry, but we want to highlight it just in case.

potatoes on wooden table
Image by: Val_R, Shutterstock

Table Scraps Are Not Good for Pets

The bottom line is that no table scraps are good for your cats. Unless it is a piece of cooked, plain meat with no additional seasonings, there’s really no reason to add it to your cat’s diet. Occasionally, your cat can sample your meal, but just don’t make it a habit.

If cats frequently have table scraps, it can lead to long-term health problems that can be completely avoided. On top of issues like diabetes and obesity, it can cause a decline in overall health. For instance, eating excess oils, salt, or sugar can affect their health, shortening their lifespan.

We want our kitties to stay as healthy as possible so we can have as much time with them as we can.

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Conclusion

By now, you understand that cooked french fries are non-toxic to cats, they just aren’t necessarily healthy. However, certain elements can change the toxicity factor, such as if you’ve added any garlic or onion products or your cat has consumed an unripe raw potato.

Most of the time, a single french fry won’t hurt your cat, but it certainly won’t help them, either. Remember that your cats are obligate carnivores, so try to fill their diet with an abundance of foods that enrich their lives instead.


Featured Image Credit: Jumpstory

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