Can Cats Eat Ketchup? Here's What Experts Say

1/21/2023 - 2 Comments

Ketchup is a familiar addition to your meals. We love it, but it doesn't mean that our cats have the same hobby. So you need to discover their world before feeding them anything.

Can cats eat ketchup? If you are wondering this question, we will cover you by explaining the ingredients and how your cats react to them. Then, you can find the correct answer.

Can Cats Eat Ketchup?

The short answer is No. A small amount won't cause too much trouble, but ketchup has a lot of ingredients, many of which are harmful to cats.

Is ketchup bad for cats? The problem comes from the onions, garlic, salt, acid, and synthetic chemicals used in manufacturing.

Onions and Garlic

Most types of ketchup contain a lot of onion and garlic powder, making it unfriendly to your furry friends.

Any kind of garlic and onion is particularly harmful to cats and can harm their red blood cells. In the long term, this impairment might cause your cats to develop "Heinz body anemia," a kind of anemia.

The Heinz body anemia may be lethal to your cats. Symptoms for it include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Discolored urine
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Paleness in the lips, gums, and skin
  • Breathing difficulty

Once you notice any of those signs, take your pets to the vet immediately. Also, take note of the food you have fed them.

Aside from the long-term consequences, giving your cats dishes with onion or garlic powder will lead to numerous short-term problems. They can be weak, lethargic, and lose their appetite.

Garlic and onions are the leading causes of damage and sickness in your cats. But along with them, ketchup has other ingredients that these animals won't like.

Cats do not like onions and garlic

Salt and Acid

Another major ingredient of ketchup that felines shouldn't consume is salt. This ingredient can quickly lead to dehydration in them.

Cats need to drink a lot of water to refresh themselves if they consume something with too much salt in it. Unfortunately, a cat may become extremely ill or even vomit if they drink too much water.

The story doesn't end there. When fed with a lot of salt, cats may develop "hypernatremia."

Hypernatremia is a kind of salt poisoning with the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Low energy
  • Diarrhea
  • Extreme thirst
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stumbling
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

If you don't detect those signs soon, they will cause permanent damage to your cat's kidney. The worst case is death.

Moreover, most types of ketchup are typically highly acidic. If the acid content is too high, your cats will suffer from gastrointestinal issues.

Salt causes many health problems when consumed too much

Synthetic chemicals

The above ingredients are not the only things that ketchup has. During the process, manufacturers treated it with many synthetic chemicals.

As you may know, those chemicals are not very healthy for us. So, they are never a good choice for cats.

You can also find sugar and corn syrup in the ketchup. These ingredients are not toxic, but they may cause some health problems, with obesity being the most common one.

Sugar is a severe headache for cat lovers. It can be the root of cancer and other diseases in cats. As a result, ketchup exacerbates the conditions of cats with health complications.

Is it better to give your cats sugar-free ketchup? Some may say yes. But please note that this type of ketchup has another issue called "artificial sweeteners."

You can spend all day finding beneficial artificial sweeteners, but none of them are suitable for your kitties.

Although there aren't many studies demonstrating this in cats, xylitol - even in small quantities - may induce poisoning that can result in liver failure, seizures, and even death when not treated promptly.

Those chemicals are dangerous to humans too. How much ketchup can kill you? Research has claimed that more than 2,500mg of ketchup at once will be lethal.

The synthetic chemicals in ketchup are harmful for humans and cats

Are There Any Benefits of Ketchup for Cats?

You can still feed your cats ketchup but in very small amounts. They have some benefits for your pets, such as:

What do your cats receive from one tablespoon of ketchup? Here is the nutritional value of the condiment:

  • Calories: 17
  • Carbs: 4.5g
  • Protein: less than 1g
  • Fiber: less than 1g
  • Sugar: 3.2g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Calcium: 2.3mg
  • Iron: 0.1mg
  • Magnesium: 2mg Potassium: 42.2mg
  • Sodium: 136.1mg
  • Zinc: 0mg
  • Copper: 0mg
  • Vitamin A: 4mcg
  • Vitamin C: 0.6mg
  • Vitamin K: 0.5mcg

Ketchup has minerals and vitamins that are beneficial for cats. For example, it comes with vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium.

In fact, there is no ketchup that cats can consume frequently. It may lack some extremely harmful ingredients, such as acid, salt, or sugar.

However, to maintain the taste, manufacturers find alternatives which can be toxic but in another way.

The sauce still has some beneficial properties

What Happens If My Cat Eats Ketchup?

Most cats, fortunately, won't like to eat more than a few licks of ketchup. And that much ketchup shouldn't be dangerous to them.

If your cats, though, believe ketchup is their favorite food, you'll need to keep an eye on them and ensure they can't access the sauce.

You'll likely notice gastrointestinal problems like vomiting or diarrhea if your pets consume a little bit more than allowed. Generally, these issues should disappear in one day or two.

If those problems remain, or you notice other signs, such as jaundice, disorientation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or tremors, take your pets to the vet as soon as possible.

These signs indicate that your cats have consumed too much ketchup. They may suffer from onion or garlic toxicity. Salt poisoning can be the cause as well.

Treatment depends on the symptoms and how severe they are. The vet may also ask you how long ago your cats ingested the ketchup. In some cases, supportive care, like fluids or close monitoring, can be a part of the treatment.

Check for signs of food poisoning carefully

Can Cats Eat Tomatoes?

Tomatoes are the primary ingredients in ketchup. We avoid the sauce due to the added seasonings, such as salt and sugar. So can cats eat raw tomatoes?

Tomatoes don't offer many nutritional benefits, yet they are not always dangerous to cats in modest amounts. If eaten too much or in the incorrect way, they can really cause some significant health issues.

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How many tomatoes can cats eat?

Ripe tomatoes won't hurt your cats. Only under-ripe fruits and the tomato plant contain significant levels of the poisonous solanine.

Please note that solanine contents are higher in the tomato plant's stalks, stems, and leaves. Therefore, even a tiny bit might make your cats ill.

Risks of tomatoes to cats

The biggest risk of giving tomatoes to cats is that they could consume the tomato plant or unripe tomatoes.

Your cats may stop eating once they get solanine poisoned. You know the case when seeing symptoms like weakness, diarrhea, severe vomiting, and slower heart rates.

Other problems are not about tomatoes. For example, the dishes you intend to feed your cats have garlic or onions. These ingredients are not ideal for felines.

Pay attention to the cooking oil and fat too. They can upset your pet's guts and develop a terrible bout of pancreatitis.

To avoid an upset stomach for your cats, stay away from chili, pepper, salt, and similar seasonings.

Can cats eat cooked tomatoes?

It depends on how you cook the fruits. If you don't include harmful ingredients for cats, like sugar and salt, your homemade tomato-based dishes can be suitable for your furry buddies.

When cooking, remember to slide the tomatoes into tiny pieces to avoid choking hazards. Also, cook the fruits thoroughly and carefully because your cats like soft food.

Only give cats ripe tomatoes


1. Can cats lick ketchup?

A tiny lick doesn't cause much trouble. Ketchup still has some beneficial vitamins and minerals for your pets. However, if you don't prevent your furry buddies from licking the condiment too often, big problems will arise.

2. Why do some cats like ketchup?

Cats don't like ketchup because of their colors or taste. Instead, if you feed them frequently with these condiments, your pets may develop a taste for them.

Another case is that cats love the dishes that go with ketchup, such as french fries. As a result, we can be certain that cats don't always find ketchup attractive.

3. Is there any type of ketchup that cats can eat?

There is no kind of ketchup cat-friendly product. Sugar-free ketchup, however healthy it sounds, has other sweeteners that will be toxic.

Moreover, some manufacturers claim that they don't include vinegar and salt in the manufacturing process. Yet, they use garlic powder and onions instead.


Can cats have ketchup? Ketchup is not safe for cats because of its ingredients.

You will see symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite in your cats if they eat the sauce too much.

A few licks will be fine. However, keep an eye on your pets if you think that they are starting an interest in ketchup.

Check for any adverse reaction from your furry friends after feeding them new food. And take them to the vet if the responses get worse.

Thank you for reading!

See more:

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Can Cats Eat Pears? A Must-Read Guide For Cat Lovers in 2023

About Billy Nguyen
I'm Billy Nguyen, currently CEO/Founder Cat Images, with over 3 years of experience in cat care and training. I hope the knowledge I share brings useful value to promote your pet care effectively.

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