Do you remember the scene in Lady and the Tramp where the two main dog characters are eating spaghetti and meatballs? It’s a scene that is basically engraved in the minds of those above a certain age and even if you’ve never seen the movie, you’ve probably seen stills of the scene.
Realistically though, you probably wouldn’t see dogs eating spaghetti. But what about cats? Specifically, can cats eat spaghetti sauce? After all, you can’t really have spaghetti and meatballs without sauce!
No, unless it is a brand of spaghetti sauce that is missing a bunch of normal ingredients (and even then, it’s not necessarily recommended). The reason for this is the garlic and onion which are almost always found in them, as well as things like pepper, salt, oregano, wine, and sugar. And yes, these things are dangerous for dogs too, so farewell Lady and the Tramp scene.
Garlic and onion are quite toxic to cats and a small amount can make a cat very ill or even fall into a medical emergency that could end in death. But even ignoring the garlic and onion for a moment, most pasta sauces also have a lot of salt, cheese, and other ingredients that aren’t toxic to cats but aren’t good for them either.
Do Cats Like Spaghetti Sauce?
Fortunately, it’s highly unlikely that your cat will be interested in spaghetti sauce. (Or spaghetti, for that matter). If the sauce has ground beef in it, some cats may be mildly curious, but most spaghetti sauces are probably going to be ignored. After all, they are made primarily with tomatoes, spices, herbs, and peppers; none of which is going to hold much interest.
But you never know: a particularly curious cat may try to go after it, just to see what you’re eating. It’s important to keep your cat out of the kitchen when you’re making anything with garlic or onion and that includes spaghetti sauce.
Do Cats Hate Spaghetti Sauce?
Most cats will simply be indifferent to spaghetti sauce. They won’t love it or hate it – they’ll tend to ignore it.
If you think about it, it makes sense. Spaghetti sauce is mostly vegetables, which cats aren’t equipped to eat. Sometimes they have a sweet flavor, which cats won’t be able to taste anyway while others are more spicy or tangy, which cats won’t care about.
So while most cats won’t precisely hate spaghetti sauce, they probably won’t really like it either.
Can Spaghetti Sauce Kill My Cat?
Spaghetti sauce, by and large, is quite toxic to cats. This is because they contain garlic and onion, which are both poisonous. Garlic and onion contain compounds that in cats, (and dogs) destroy the red blood cells, making it harder for the body to move oxygen around. This leads to anemia. Symptoms of garlic or onion toxicity include:
- Poor muscle coordination
- Brown or red urine
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Increased breathing and heart rate
Anemia, over the longer term, is fatal to cats, so you are greatly shortening your pet’s lifespan.
Garlic and onion are merely the most common problems in spaghetti sauce though – they are far from being the only problems. Other bad ingredients found in most spaghetti sauces:
- Salt: cats get enough salt from their usual food and eating too much salt can lead them to become ill. It is also tied to hypertension and heart problems. Remember, for cats, a small amount of sodium (42mg) is all they need.
- Wine: alcohol poisoning doesn’t take long in cats, causing lethargy, depression, drooling, vomiting, collapse, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, weakness, and trouble breathing. Like salt, it doesn’t take much for cats to feel the nasty effects.
- Cheese: adult cats cannot tolerate cheese very well – most of them are lactose intolerant.
- Oregano: More so for dogs, but still a consideration, oregano can cause diarrhea and vomiting
And some spaghetti sauces even have sugar in them, which is also bad for cats to eat.
All in all, unless you are making the spaghetti sauce yourself from scratch with only fresh tomatoes, it’s probably not safe for your cat to eat. And really, since most cats won’t care much about spaghetti sauce anyway, it’s just better to go with normal cat treats.
How Much Spaghetti Sauce is Safe for My Cat to Eat?
If you are buying spaghetti sauce that is already made, then probably none of it is safe. If you want to check labels to find a cat-friendly brand, remember that it cannot have garlic, onion, alcohol, cheese, oregano, too much salt, or too much pepper, or sugars. It’s highly unlikely you’ll find a pasta sauce that checks off all those boxes!
Therefore, the only safe way to let your cat have spaghetti sauce is to make it entirely from scratch. The tomatoes have to be fresh, completely free of vines and leaves. Then you have to be sure that you don’t use any ingredients that are harmful to your cat.
It would be tricky to find a recipe that is free from garlic or onion! Adding ground beef is beneficial since cats can always benefit from the protein, and of course, the water in the sauce also adds a bit of a hydration factor. The sauce shouldn’t even have salt or pepper in it, so, good luck with that.
Is it worth going through all that effort? Probably not. Most cats don’t care much about tomatoes, the main ingredient, and sauce aren’t going to hold much interest to them anyway. Perhaps if it was stuffed full of meat, it would make your cat more interested, but at that point, you might as well feed it meat and leave the sauce off entirely.
Spaghetti sauce is definitely not safe for cats to eat unless you make it entirely from scratch. It has too many ingredients which range from making your cat feel minorly ill to making your cat seriously ill, with the most common ingredients (garlic and onion), making your cat seriously ill.
It’s also not something that has anything cats need to be healthy. They tend to have too much salt and sugar, have vegetables that cats do not need to stay healthy, and even the ones with meat don’t really have enough meat to make it worthwhile.
You could make the sauce yourself, but that’s a lot of effort for something that probably won’t be palatable to anyone but the cat, who probably won’t care anyway!
Does your cat try to eat spaghetti sauce? Have you found a recipe that is safe and tasty? Let us know!
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.