Wasabi is a staple for sushi, commonly served as a garnish that you put on your sushi. True wasabi is a plant in the Brassicaceae family, related to mustard and horseradish. Most commercial wasabi is made from horseradish and mustard and is dyed green. There is a massive difference in taste with true wasabi only being a little hot and the commercial wasabi far spicier. Humans may or may not like wasabi, but what about cats? Can cats eat wasabi?
Yes, they can, but they probably won’t care much for it and there’s no benefit to eating it anyway. It’s far more likely that your cat will steal a nibble and then run away and sulk for half an hour afterward. It may lead to a funny YouTube video, but you won’t be doing your cat any favors.
Do Cats Like Wasabi?
Cats are not built to eat plants, but they may want to try your wasabi out of sheer curiosity. However, it’s unlikely that most cats will want to eat it a second time. Most cats may not even want to try it, though they may want your sushi!
Do Cats Hate Wasabi?
Most often you’ll find that cats not only ignore wasabi but they also actually avoid it! Wasabi, both the fake and real stuff, contains isothiocyanate. This chemical compound is what makes wasabi spicy, but for cats, it’s a repellant and considered to be a pretty effective one at that.
Other foods that are high in isothiocyanates are mustard greens, brussels sprouts, turnips, savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, and kale. These things are great for humans, particularly their cancer-fighting properties and their ability to fight bacteria like e.coli, but cats generally hate them. And this, of course, includes wasabi.
You really don’t have to feel bad if your cat won’t touch the stuff. There’s nothing beneficial for cats in wasabi and they’re far better off getting their nutrition from the appropriate cat food rather than nibbling off your plate.
Can Wasabi Kill Cats?
It’s very unlikely that wasabi will kill cats. The chemical compounds found in it alone ensures that most cats won’t eat enough of it to cause any harm. On top of that, the flavor is not something cats enjoy – after one nibble, they tend to make a face and leave or even throw it back up and glare at you for the rest of the day! (Because it’s your fault they snuck something they shouldn’t have, after all).
The main issue is that the fake wasabi, which is the one we overwhelmingly see, is made from a lot of mustard and horseradish. These aren’t toxic to cats, per se, but they will likely make your cat throw up, assuming they decide to eat any at all. It may also cause a bit of diarrhea.
If your cat has a particularly sensitive tummy, you’ll probably be cleaning up cat messes for a while after ingestion, but that’s probably as far as any damage will go.
Something you should watch out for is making sure that the commercial, fake wasabi doesn’t have ingredients that could make your cat quite ill such as garlic or onion. It shouldn’t have any of these things, but it’s always best to check your ingredient lists before letting your cat try anything from your plate. This includes garlic or onion powder. (Again, extremely unlikely, but it’s worth taking a few seconds to check).
Cats probably won’t feel the need to eat wasabi in any event, so worrying about a cat overdoing it is probably not worth the energy.
Kittens definitely should not eat wasabi. Their tummies are too tiny, very sensitive, and they need all the good nutrition they can get in order to keep up with a fast pace of growth.
Wasabi can make a kitten very uncomfortable and ill, so it’s best to keep them well away from your sushi and any garnishes. If you have a very nosy young cat, simply eat your food away from them until they get out of the habit of going after your plate.
How Much Wasabi can My Cat Eat?
Assuming your cat wants to try it, the amount should be quite tiny, not even a pea-shaped amount. Most cats will then lick it a bit and then wander off with a revolted expression on their face or smell it and then wander off.
If your cat somehow does eat too much wasabi, you’ll probably be able to tell very quickly. Like dogs that eat too much of it, you may notice things like a lot of sneezing, drinking a lot of water, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and pain, and rubbing its face to try to get the taste and smell off.
Remember that for cats, ‘a lot’ isn’t much at all compared to humans or dogs, so even a small taste may be enough to put your feline friend right off.
If you have the very rare cat that likes wasabi and isn’t bothered by it, then it should be an extremely occasional and very tiny treat (like the tip of your fingernail size treat). Cats do not derive any sort of nutritional benefit from wasabi and they cannot digest it properly anyway. You’re far better off using their ‘treat allowance’ for cat treats or things like fresh meat or avocado.
Wasabi may be a popular plant for humans, but for cats, it’s something they will likely avoid. Yes, wasabi has some amazing health benefits like cancer-fighting, antioxidants, and the ability to help people deal with food poisoning, but for cats, it’s really not much help at all.
The commercial wasabi is far too spicy to be appealing and the real stuff will likely repel your cat more than attracting it. Besides, cats are obligate carnivores, and eating vegetables (or vegetable paste) is not something they require to stay healthy. Keep your wasabi to yourself and let your cat enjoy more appropriate treats.
Does your cat try to eat your wasabi?
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.