Soy sauce is a popular condiment, found in fridges (and recipes) of all kinds, though primarily in Asian cuisine. It’s so popular that in British Columbia Canada, when there was a shortage of China Lily during the early part of the pandemic, there was a minor panic across the province!
So, we know that soy sauce is well-loved by humans, but what about pets and in particular, cats? After all, plenty of meat dishes get made with soy sauce and you may want to share your culinary prowess with your pet (or your pet may steal some). So, can cats eat soy sauce?
Short answer: no, cats shouldn’t eat soy sauce. A small amount once in a great while (such as the theft of a piece of chicken) probably won’t harm a cat, but it’s definitely not something you want to encourage due to the high sodium content of this condiment.
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Do Cats Like Soy Sauce?
This is going to vary wildly from cat to cat, but in most cases, it’s not the soy sauce that is enticing your cat, it’s what the soy sauce is being used on, primarily meat.
While cats can taste salty foods and can crave them (my old cat used to stick her head in chip bags for example), soy sauce is probably not going to be the top of their list of things they want to eat.
But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some cats mooch for soy sauce. They can certainly taste it and they may associate it with chicken or beef which they will certainly enjoy.
None of my cats have ever gone after soy sauce, but they would probably eat it if they were offered it.
Do Cats Hate Soy Sauce?
This again will depend on the cat. Some cats will simply not care about soy sauce and won’t eat it. If this is your cat, it’s just as well since soy sauce really isn’t good for them, nor is it necessary for cats to eat to stay healthy.
Some cats may be put off by the odor or the saltiness of it, while others will simply not be the type to beg for your food in the first place.
Absolutely none of the cats I have ever had have cared one bit about soy sauce. And since soy sauce isn’t really very good for humans, let alone cats, this is just as well.
Can Eating Soy Sauce Kill My Cat?
If your cat ate a very small amount of soy sauce and you’re now panicking, you can rest at ease. It’s very unlikely that a small amount (like a few drops) once in a while, is going to have any lasting damage on your cat. However, if your cat eats soy sauce regularly or a large quantity of it, then you may have a problem on your hands.
The main issue with soy sauce and cats is the high sodium content. It’s the same reason we humans shouldn’t eat too much of it, but since cats are so much smaller, it takes a lot less for them to get into trouble.
Eating soy sauce too often can cause your cat to become dehydrated, which they are already prone to becoming since they don’t tend to drink a lot of water. (Cats are evolved to get their water mostly from their food which is why canned food is often recommended).
The high sodium content dehydrates cats faster and they don’t tend to be good about rehydrating themselves.
If cats eat too much sodium, it can cause salt poisoning. Salt poisoning is a serious health problem that can lead to an emergency trip to the vet. Symptoms of salt poisoning include:
- Reduced appetite
- Poor Coordination
- Increased urination/thirst
Salt poisoning can even cause organ failure and death, so it’s important that if you note any of these symptoms, talk to a vet and be prepared to bring your cat in for care.
Fortunately, even for a cat, it takes quite a bit of salt to get to this point, but soy sauce is pretty concentrated in sodium, so if a cat got into enough of it, it could happen.
Soy sauce, and many other condiments, also contain monosodium glutamate, which has been linked with obesity, metabolism issues, neurotoxic effects, and problems with reproductive organs in humans.
Some soy sauces also have a carcinogen called ethyl carbamate which can be very bad for your cat. Now, no studies have been done on whether cats suffer from these effects the way humans do, but why take the risk for something that isn’t necessary for them to eat anyway?
Finally, if your cat is allergic to wheat or soybean, they will probably have a food allergy to soy sauce and be very uncomfortable. Symptoms of a food allergy in cats include excessive scratching, rashes, itching, and gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, vomiting, and pain in the abdominal region.
The vast majority of cats recover from this, but they still won’t be happy with you!
How Much Soy Sauce Can I Feed My Cat?
Cats shouldn’t eat soy sauce at all. There are no health benefits to it for cats and it can lead to cats feeling sick, dehydrated, or in extreme cases, salt poisoning.
Now, if your cat sneaks a lick off your plate, you probably don’t have to worry too much about your cat’s health. A few drops of soy sauce once in a great while won’t hurt your cat unless they are extremely sensitive to the wheat or soy in it, (and even then, any discomfort should be temporary, though talk to your vet if you are unsure).
But you shouldn’t let your cat have soy sauce regularly or in large quantities or else they could start suffering ill effects.
Soy sauce is a great condiment for us humans to use. It features in many recipes, it tends to be affordable, and it can be found just about anywhere.
But for cats, it really isn’t something that should be featured on their plate. Keep the soy sauce to yourself and give your cat its own treats. They’ll be much happier for it, and you can keep this salty condiment all to yourself.
Does your cat try to steal soy sauce?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.