Can Cats Eat Spicy Food and Are They Safe?

Spices are pungent or aromatic plant materials especially roots, fruits, seeds or other plant substances used to flavor, color or preserve foods as opposed to herbs which are leaves, flowers or stems used in garnishing and flavoring.

Some of the common spices include turmeric, garlic, ginger, clove, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, cinnamon, paprika, allspice, cardamom, among others.

Can my cats have spices

A little amount of some spices may be ok with cats. However, giving them very spicy foods may cause stomach upsets, vomiting, diarrhea or soft stool, et cetera.

Remember in their natural habitats, these obligate carnivores hardly eat them or even herbs. They depend on small mammals such as rodents, mouse, rabbits, some amphibians, reptiles, birds, and a few insects.

Can cats eat spicy foods
Can cats eat spicy foods?

We do not recommend spices in your feline foods unless they have some medicinal value or improve your feline health

While herbs such as valerian, cat thyme, catnip, licorice root, chamomile, echinacea, calendula, dandelion root, cat’s claw, and goldenseal may be helpful to these pets. However, some are not completely safe.

Here is why you need to minimize on giving your cat spicy foods:

1. Some like onions, garlic and chives are dangerous

Raw, cooked, dried or powdered onions are harmful to cats as they cause red blood cells breakdown. This breakdown will lead to anemia. Even the powdered form found in baby food is still harmful.

While only a small amount may not cause much harm, eating large amounts or often can potentially lead to onion poisoning.

Secondly, together with garlic or with herbs like chives may cause stomach upsets. They join other foods such as chocolate, milk and dairy products, alcohol, caffeine, grapes and raisins, raw eggs, meat or fish and those for dogs which your cat should not be given.

2. They may not sense their taste

They may not taste spices in the same way we do. While we have about 9000 taste buds, felines have less than 500. There sandpaper-like rough tongue due to their papillae that face backward, can tell the difference between bitter, sour or salty but not hot or sweet.

Therefore, your tasty curry paste, sriracha source,  Spicy Jalapeño & Bacon Flatbread, or Chicken Lasagna Roll-Ups may not mean much to this pet.

3. Thy do not prefer hot foods

Thirdly, when feeding them, these pets prefer warm and not hot foods. Therefore, filling their diets chilies may make them feel very hot, something these pets may not find so enjoyable.

4. Some spices may irritate their mouth

Chili pepper or jalapenos will irritate your feline’s mouth since they have capsaicin just like they do to you. Even when they try eating a nasty tasting insect, they will often leave it alone.

5. Possibility of allergic reactions

Since they are not their natural part of diets, there is a chance, though not common that some spices in food may result in allergic reactions.

6. They may have a little nutritive value

Finally, some that seem very nutritive to human beings may not be to felines. Why feed them on things that do not add much to their nutritional needs?

Try minimizing or do away with those hot sources, seasonings, chili peppers, and other spices.


While the strong aroma of some spices may make your feline coming running to you, not all of them are good or safe to these pets. Avoid any dish that has onion.

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We are passionate pet and animal enthusiasts bringing insightful information to ensure your furry, flying or finned friends are happy and in good health. Feed them well and love them always.

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