Is a Raw Potato Harmful to a Cat?

by Melissa Schindler, Demand Media Google
    Raw potatoes and Max's tummy don't agree.

    Raw potatoes and Max's tummy don't agree.

    You were peeling some potatoes for supper and tossed the peels in the trash. Now Max is sniffing around in the garbage can. You may think raw potatoes are harmless, but if Max decides to chow down on those peels he could become sick.

    Raw Potato Danger

    Potatoes contain glycoalkaloid solanine, which is poisonous to your feline pal. Green potatoes, uncooked potatoes and raw peels contain this alkaloid and are toxic. If Max chows down on raw potatoes, he's likely to get an upset stomach. The more he eats, the more dangerous the situation becomes. Potatoes belong to a family of plants called Solanaceae, the same family as tomatoes and nightshade. All of these are poisonous to cats.

    Cooking Potatoes

    While you may notice cat foods commonly contain potatoes as an ingredient, it's important to note these have been cooked. When potatoes are thoroughly cooked, the heat destroys the toxic alkaloid. You could mix cooked mashed potatoes into his food since they are safe for him to eat. Even though raw potatoes are dangerous, you don't have to worry if Max nabs a french fry.

    Other Dangerous Foods

    There are other dangerous foods in your pantry that Max should stay away from. Besides tomatoes and raw potatoes, chocolate is poisonous to pets. Eating rhubarb leaves can cause kidney failure. Coffee and other forms of caffeine can cause Max to throw up or have an abnormal heart rhythm. Despite his penchant for lapping up a bowl of milk, you shouldn't offer him milk or unfermented dairy products. Max doesn't have the necessary enzymes to break down the lactose, and it could give him an upset tummy. Speak with your vet about other foods that are bad for cats.

    Keeping Him Safe

    The best way to keep Max safe is to never feed him table scraps. Human food not only could be potentially toxic, it could make him chubby. Feeding him a quality cat food will provide him all the nutrition he needs. Make sure your trash cans have secure lids that Max can't open. If you're cooking with something toxic to him, go ahead and take the trash out so it's not in the house for him to get into. If you think he's eaten something bad for him, take him to his vet immediately. Let the vet know what you think he ate and how much. Always consult a qualified veterinarian about the health and welfare of your pet.

    About the Author

    Melissa Schindler has been writing professionally since 2010. She writes about pets, animals, technology and parenting for various websites. Also a fiction writer, she is author of "Houston After Dark." She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas State University.

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