Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?

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Sweet potatoes are a common human food source, known for their high levels of healthy fiber and antioxidants. Surprisingly, they are only distantly related to white potatoes and are nutritionally quite different.

As cat owners, you may be wondering if cats eat sweet potatoes and if there are any nutritional benefits. Well, the short answer is that our feline friends can eat small amounts of cooked potatoes, although are unlikely to gain many nutritional benefits.

Quick Overview: Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes

toxic Toxic: No
allergenic Commonly Allergenic: No
specie Species Appropriate: No
clock-2 How Often to Feed: Occasional
bowl How Much to Feed: Supplemental

Summary of Content

Our feline friends can eat small amounts of cooked potatoes, although are unlikely to gain many nutritional benefits.

Sweet Potato Nutritional Stats

Here is some basic nutritional information for sweet potatoes. These figures relate to 180g of raw sweet potato (approximately one large potato), so may vary for cooked sweet potatoes or canned sweet potatoes.

Calories (kcal) 162
Fat (g) 0.2
Carbohydrates (g) 37
Sugars (g) 5.4
Fiber (g) 3.9
Protein (g) 3.6
Vitamin A (mcg) 1730
Vitamin C (mg) 35.3
Potassium (mg) 855

Sweet Potato Nutritional Facts

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber, healthy carbohydrates, potassium, and some vitamins, especially Vitamin A. So are they suitable as a cat food?

Cats are obligate carnivores and usually derive all the nutrition they need from meat. A cat’s digestive system is not well designed to cope with veggies, and so they are unlikely to gain many health benefits from eating starchy foods like potatoes.

Benefits Of Sweet Potato For Cats

Small amounts of sweet potato can provide a valuable fiber source, which can benefit the digestive system and prevent constipation. They are also a good source of certain vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants. However, these can all be gained from your usual cat food kibble without adding veggies to their diet.

Also Read: The 7 Best Cat Vitamins And Supplements

How Much Sweet Potato Can A Cat Eat?

Sweet potato can provide a valuable fiber source, which can benefit the digestive system and prevent constipation

Cats are obligate carnivores, and not very well adapted to eat veggies. This means that they should only be given in small amounts.

Cat owners can safely give the cooked product, such as steamed sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, or baked sweet potatoes in small amounts, without any added seasonings. Too much sweet potato can cause an upset stomach. Raw sweet potato should never be given as it will lead to digestive issues.

How Often Can A Cat Eat Sweet Potato?

Sweet potato, and other veggies or starchy food, should not form a major part of your cat’s food, and should only be fed on an occasional basis. Sweet potatoes are known for their high level of carbohydrates, which can cause obesity in our cats, so potato treats should not be given often.

Are Sweet Potatoes Used In Commercial Cat Food?

Yes, some commercial diets use sweet potato as an ingredient. Commercial cat foods are usually animal protein-based, which is what cats’ digestive systems are adapted to, but use safe vegetables, potatoes, and legumes as added fillers. Sweet potato is often used as a filler which also functions as a digestive aid.

The Risks Of Eating Sweet Potato For Cats

Uncooked potatoes can cause digestive issues and a really upset stomach, so should be avoided.

The ASPCA lists the sweet potato as being non-toxic to cats, including sweet potato vines, shoots, and stems. However, there are a few things to watch out for.

Overindulgence

Too much sweet potato can cause an upset stomach, and the high level of carbohydrates can cause weight gain and obesity if given too often – just as if we ate too many potato chips or French fries.

Raw Sweet Potatoes

Uncooked potatoes can cause digestive issues and a really upset stomach, so should be avoided. Cooked potatoes are more suitable if you want to feed them as a cat food.

Seasonings

Sweet potatoes are safe, but you must still always check the recipe, as some of the commonly added seasonings can be dangerous.

  • Marshmallows – the high sugar content is not recommended for cats.
  • Onions and garlic – these are both toxic to cats and should be avoided in any amount.
  • Salt – too much salt causes excessive thirst and can cause imbalances in sodium and potassium levels leading to kidney problems. Canned sweet potatoes are often very high in salt and should not be given to cats.
  • Butter – this is a common ingredient in potato treats but high in fat which can lead to weight gain. Many cats are also intolerant to dairy.

This tasty veggie is safe for cats, if fed in small amounts and kept plain. Steamed sweet potatoes or baked sweet potatoes are ideal, as is plain mashed sweet potato.

Also Read: What Can Cats Eat? 36 Human Foods Cats Can Eat – and 8 They Can’t!

Do Cats Like The Taste Of Sweet Potato?

Cats are carnivores, so their favorite tastes and smells are usually meaty or fishy. However, many cats are curious creatures and love to try out new tastes and textures, and may well enjoy sampling a small amount of potato, even if they don’t get much nutritional benefit from it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if a cat eats sweet potatoes?

Cooked sweet potatoes are perfectly safe to be given to cats in small amounts. A minor stomach upset is possible, but unusual if only a small amount is given. Raw sweet potatoes or potatoes with various added seasonings should be avoided.

How much sweet potato can I give my cat?

Your cat’s main food should be their usual dry kibble or wet food. Small amounts (a maximum of a full tablespoon is recommended) of sweet potato can be added to your cat food if you like, but the nutritional benefit to your cat will be small.

Are sweet potatoes good for cats and dogs?

They contain a good amount of fiber, which is good for reducing constipation, and contain some vitamins and minerals. They are probably more beneficial for dogs, who are omnivores, than cats, who are carnivores.

Is raw sweet potato good for cats?

No, raw potatoes should never be fed to cats as will likely cause a stomach upset.

About Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS

Dr. Joanna Woodnutt (MRCVS) is a small animal veterinarian and writer who is passionate about helping owners to learn more about their pets in order to improve animal welfare. She loves to write and wants to empower owners to make the best decisions for their pets by giving them all the information they need. In her spare time, she takes consultations on the small island of Guernsey.

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