This content has been reviewed and approved by our in-house Veterinarian for accuracy
Mama Mia! Who doesn’t like pasta? I’ve always wondered how the Mediterranean diet, with all that pasta and cheese, could be such a healthy diet for people. You might be wondering is pasta would be a healthy food for your cat to eat.
Can cats even eat pasta? If so, how should you prepare pasta so your cat can eat it?
The short answer is that cats can eat pasta, but it should be cooked first, and given only in moderation. Let’s find out more about how pasta can be an okay treat for your cat.
In this article we’ll cover the following:
- Cats and Pasta – What You Need to Know
- Can Cats Eat Pasta?
- Can Kittens Eat Pasta?
- Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Pasta
- Healthy Alternatives to Pasta for Cats
Cats and Pasta – What You Need to Know
Pasta is a traditional Italian food, usually made from unleavened wheat dough mixed with water or eggs. Formed into sheets or various shapes, pasta is cooked by boiling or baking, and the final dish often involves rich and tasty sauces.
There are over 300 different pastas. Popular types include spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, rigatoni, and tortellini, to name just a few.
In the form we know today, pasta was referred to as early as the 12th century. However, similar foods, including lagana, the predecessor of lasagna, was eaten all the way back in ancient Rome.
You may be aware of a famous cat known for his love of lasagna, who we can see politely eating some in the following video:
Oh, wait… Did you think I was talking about Garfield? I guess Rusty does look a little bit like him.
Anyway, you should know that pasta has little in the way of nutrients, and primarily is composed of carbohydrates. Nowadays, the flour used to make pasta is often enriched so that it does have some vitamins and minerals.
The problem is that if your cat fills up on carbohydrates, they’ll be less interested in their commercial cat food which contains all the proteins vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. Be sure to feed your cat a high-quality food such as Merrick Purrfect Bistro, which is grain-free and lists meat as the first few ingredients.
Can Cats Eat Pasta?
Yes, your cat can eat pasta! Pasta can be a tasty and fun treat for your cat, if your cat is interested in it.
The main thing to remember is that pasta needs to be cooked until it’s soft before giving it to your cat. Also, you need to limit the amount of pasta your cat eats because too much can cause digestive problems.
Despite their meat-eating tendencies, many cats do enjoy tasting something different now and then. While pasta has little nutritional benefit for cats, some sure seem to like it, as we can see in this video:
Before you start reenacting that scene from Lady and the Tramp with your cat, just keep in mind that, while a little bit for a treat is no big deal, you’ll want to limit how much you give them.
Also, save the sauce, because your cat doesn’t need it and some ingredients might not be good for them. That being said, if your cat really seems to like plain pasta, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about unless they’re allergic to wheat.
Can Kittens Eat Pasta?
Kittens tend to be even more susceptible than adult cats to most things because they are tiny and have not yet fully developed. Pasta could be a source of food allergies, which are not uncommon in cats.
Similarly, kittens could be more sensitive to the laxative effects from the fiber in pasta, causing diarrhea, possibly leading to dehydration and a trip to the vet.
Even more dangerous for kittens is raw pasta, which can be a choking hazard. Kittens do not have as much experience with different food items and may try to swallow raw pasta whole.
It is simply too dangerous to give kittens raw pasta.
Instead of pasta, give your kitten a healthy kitten food like Blue Wilderness kitten food. This nutritionally balanced food has everything your kitten needs to grow up big and strong, and without anything that could cause harm.
If you do really want to offer your kitten a little something extra as a treat, why not try lean, plain proteins such as small pieces of chicken breast or deboned and cooked fish. These are a much better option than carbohydrate-laden foods such as pasta.
Also keep in mind that if your kitten becomes used to eating human food, they may become finicky eaters as adults and not be too interested in their cat food.
Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Pasta
While pasta is generally a safe snack for your cat, you should know they won’t really benefit much nutritionally from eating it. This is because cats are obligate carnivores, which means all they really need to eat is meat.
In fact, cats are actually pretty inefficient at deriving nutrition from plant-based foods. The main problem with pasta is that all those carbohydrates are just empty calories that can make your cat fat, like this guy in the next video:
Additionally, many types of pasta contain moderate amounts of fiber. Cats don’t need fiber in their diet, and eating food containing fiber can have a laxative effect on cats resulting in runny stools and messy litter boxes.
Raw pasta can also pose a choking hazard for cats and can be problematic if swallowed. For this reason, it’s important to only offer your cat plain cooked pasta.
Healthy Alternatives to Pasta for Cats
Because pasta, without sauce, tastes pretty bland, there’s a good chance your cat won’t even like it. If they do, it’s probably because of pasta’s soft, chewy texture.
If that’s the case, there are commercial cat treats that have a similar consistency and may satisfy their chewy-carb-cravings, such as MeowMix Irresistibles
If you’re looking for some human food that you can share with your cat, you’re better off giving them a tiny bit of chicken, turkey, or tuna, all of which have at least some nutritional value.
So, Can Cats Eat Pasta?
Unless your cat has a wheat allergy, plain, cooked, pasta in small amounts is fine for your cat to have on occasion.
However, it’s important to remember that pasta has very little in the way of nutritional benefits for cats. If you’re looking for a tasty treat to offer your cat, you are better off skipping the pasta and giving them commercial cat treats, such as MeowMix Irresistibles.
If you have any questions or would like to share a story about your cat and a healthy snack they really enjoy, please tell us in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you.