Can Cats Eat Ketchup? What Cat Owners Should Know!

Using condiments like ketchup with meals has become the norm in modern societies. Ketchup is usually portrayed in ads as a healthy addition to a meal as it contains tomatoes. Therefore it is common for cat owners to wonder, “can cats eat ketchup?”

However, certain things that are not mentioned in these advertisements. For one, they don’t mention the not-so-healthy ingredients that go into ketchup. So before feeding your cat leftovers that are covered in ketchup, make sure you understand the dos and don’ts!

Short Answer To: “Can Cats Eat Ketchup?”


Strictly speaking, cats should not be eating ketchup! A small amount of ketchup will not immediately make your cat sick. Yet, this condiment is not something that cats should ingest regularly. Ketchup contains a high quantity of ingredients that are harmful to cats. This condiment does not hold health benefits for your furry friend, and feeding it to him might cause some issues. Let explore why feeding your cat ketchup is a risky business!

Why Is Ketchup Not Suitable For Cats?


The chances may be good that your cat has had a lick of ketchup more than once and was fine. However, this does not mean it is okay for this behavior to continue.

There are many hidden ingredients in ketchup that are unhealthy for cats which in the long run can cause problems.

It is best to look at the primary ingredients of ketchup to understand why ketchup is not suitable for cats.

Onions and Garlic:

Most ketchup contains onion and garlic powder and loads of it! Garlic and onions, no matter in what form they are in, are incredibly toxic to cats. These foods can damage the red blood cells of your feline.

There is a specific type of anemia called “Heinz body anemia” that cats can develop after long-term damage to red blood cells. [1] However, this condition’s name has nothing to do with the ketchup brand “Heinz” itself.

Symptoms of Heinz body anemia include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, discolored urine, shortness of breath, and paleness in the skin, lips, and gums of cats. This condition can be life-threatening to cats, and therefore any symptoms should be taken seriously.

Garlic and onion powder can have several short-term effects on cats as well. If your cat had onion or garlic, it could cause lethargicness, weakness, and a reduced appetite in cats.

 Salt and Acid:

Ketchup contains plenty of salt as well, which is also bad for cats. Too much salt in a cat’s diet can cause them to be dehydrated very quickly. Therefore, when cats eat something that contains a large amount of salt, they usually crave plenty of water. Too much water at once can make your cat temporarily sick or cause vomiting.

Too much salt for your kitty can also cause hypernatremia, also known as salt poisoning. Hypernatremia symptoms include: vomiting, extreme thirst, swelling, low energy, loss of appetite, and motor coordination loss. Tremors, stumbling, and seizures can also be due to hypernatremia.

A vet should be contacted to treat salt poisoning in cats because it can lead to death or kidney damage.

Other Things In Ketchup That Are Bad For Cats

Besides the primary ingredients, ketchup has been significantly processed and consists of many synthetic chemicals. Chemicals like these are not just unhealthy for cats but humans as well.

Ingredients such as corn syrup and sugar are also frequently added to ketchup. While these ingredients are not toxic to cats, they can lead to obesity and other health problems if given often.

Certain diseases that cats can develop, such as cancer, tend to thrive on sugar. Therefore, it is best to keep ketchup away from cats. Some ketchup is highly acidic, which can cause your cat to have gastrointestinal problems.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Ate Ketchup?


Because cats are such curious creatures, they often like to try the food humans eat. So if your cat has licked the ketchup from something you ate, there is no need for panic. Ketchup won’t harm your cat if he only consumes a tiny amount.

However, if, for some reason, your cat ate a lot of ketchup, you will have to be on the lookout for symptoms. These symptoms include gastrointestinal irritation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and dilated pupils.

If a cat has some stomach or intestine problem, he will start eating green plants or grass. They sometimes do this to provoke vomiting to get rid of toxins and feel better.

If you notice any adverse side effects, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible!

Can Cats Eat Tomatoes?


In addition to the questions, “can cats eat ketchup?” you might be wondering whether cats can eat tomatoes.

When ripe and washed correctly, tomatoes are usually not harmful to cats, and therefore they can eat this fruit. However, because cats have a low tolerance for acidic foods and fiber, feeding your cats tomatoes is not recommended.

One thing to be aware of is that the leaves and stems of tomatoes are highly toxic to cats. [3]  So under no circumstances should you feed your cat these parts of a tomato nor unripe tomatoes.

Can Cats Eat Tomato Soup?

Since cats can eat ripe tomatoes without the stem and leaves in small amounts, tomato soup should be fine, right? In a way, yes, cats can have tomato soup, but it depends on what is in it.

If you buy tomato soup from a store, the chance that it will be suitable for your cat is slight. Most of these store-bought soups contain additives and ingredients that are not suitable for cats.

However, if you make homemade tomato soup, you control what your cat is getting. You can make tomato soup by boiling ripe tomatoes. If you want to give your cat this soup, you should do so before adding any spices, sugar, or salt.


Can Cats Eat Tomato Sauce?

Ketchup consists mainly of sugar, vinegar, and spices.  Tomato sauce is made from tomatoes, oil, herbs, and meat or vegetable stock.

While tomato sauce may sound a bit healthier, just like ketchup, cats should not eat tomato sauce either. This sauce contains a lot of salt, and it may contain other ingredients that are not healthy for cats.

Feeding your cat tomato sauce can make him sick. Therefore it is best to keep it out of your cats’ diet.

Can Cats Eat Sardines In Tomato Sauce?

In general, sardines are excellent for cats as they are a great protein source and contain other healthy nutrients.

When it comes to sardines in tomato sauce, the sardines themselves are still good, but the sauce not so much. Even though a little bit of tomato sauce may not do much harm to your cat, it is still best to avoid adding it in your cat’s meal.

Your best option is to wash the tomato sauce off the sardines before feeding it to your cat.

What Human Foods Are Suitable For Cats?

Any cat that is given quality cat food daily does not need human food to thrive. Most cat food is made with all the right ingredients your kitty needs to live a long and healthy life.

Nonetheless, cat owners sometimes feel the need to treat their cat to some human foods [4]. This is fine as well, as long as the “treats” are healthy and kept to a minimum.

Some organic human foods, including meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables, can occasionally be given to cats without concern. Keep in mind to stay away from junk food and condiments like ketchup that are too processed.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, fresh produce such as spinach, pumpkin, blueberries, peas, etc., are better than tomatoes. These foods will provide your cat with a healthy dose of vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fiber. They are also less likely to upset your cat’s stomach.

Remember that it is always important to introduce new foods to your cat in small amounts. One can never be sure what foods can trigger allergic reactions [5]. Therefore a close eye should always be kept when given human foods to cats. In any case, if you are uncertain about a new food introduction, make sure to speak to your cats’ veterinarian before the time.

An Overview Of “Can Cats Eat Ketchup?”

It should be clear by now that the answer to the question, “can cats eat ketchup?” is no. Condiments like these or foods that contain artificial ingredients, spices, and salt are not suitable for cats. Ketchup, among other human foods, can make your cat sick and cause health issues in the long run.

Tomatoes on their own are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is beneficial to cats. Yet, tomatoes are not the only food choice to consider. There are plenty of other fruits and vegetables that are better if you are looking to supplement your cat’s diet with vitamin C.

While it is not needed to panic if your cat consumed a small amount of ketchup by accident, it is your responsibility to make sure this behavior does not continue.