Will Cats Eat Tomatoes

icon July 11, 2024

Cats are known for their curious nature and unique dietary habits. As obligate carnivores, their primary nutritional needs are met through meat, but many cat owners find their feline friends showing interest in a variety of foods. One such food is the tomato. This article explores whether cats will eat tomatoes, whether tomatoes are bad for cats, and what cat owners need to know about feeding tomatoes to their pets.

Will Cats Eat Tomatoes?

Cats, being naturally curious creatures, might show interest in tomatoes due to their bright color and juicy texture. However, whether a cat will actually eat a tomato depends on the individual cat. Some cats might be intrigued and take a nibble, while others might completely ignore or avoid tomatoes. Here are some factors that can influence whether a cat will eat tomatoes:

1. Individual Preferences:

Just like humans, cats have individual tastes and preferences. Some cats may be more adventurous with trying new foods, while others may be more selective. A cat’s willingness to try tomatoes can vary based on their personality and prior experiences with different foods.

2. Texture and Smell:

The texture and smell of tomatoes can be appealing or off-putting to cats. The juicy, soft interior of a tomato might attract some cats, but others might find the texture unfamiliar and unappealing. The scent of tomatoes, which can be strong and distinctive, might also play a role in a cat's interest.

3. Imitation Behavior:

Cats often mimic the behavior of their owners. If a cat sees their owner eating tomatoes, they might be more inclined to try them out of curiosity. This imitation behavior can lead to cats experimenting with foods they would not typically encounter in the wild.

Are Tomatoes Bad for Cats?

The safety of feeding tomatoes to cats is a significant concern for pet owners. While small amounts of ripe tomatoes might not be immediately harmful, certain parts of the tomato plant and unripe tomatoes contain substances that can be toxic to cats. Here are the key points to consider:

1. Toxic Components:

Tomatoes belong to the Solanaceae family, also known as nightshades. This family of plants contains toxic alkaloids, such as solanine and tomatine, which can be harmful to cats. These substances are primarily found in the green parts of the plant, including the leaves, stems, and unripe tomatoes.

2. Ripe vs. Unripe Tomatoes:

Ripe tomatoes have significantly lower levels of solanine and tomatine compared to unripe tomatoes and other parts of the plant. While ripe tomatoes are less likely to cause toxicity, they should still be given in moderation and with caution.

3. Potential Health Risks:

Ingesting toxic components of tomatoes can lead to a range of health issues in cats, including gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, weakness, confusion, and in severe cases, more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing, heart problems, or seizures.

4. Allergic Reactions:

Some cats might have allergic reactions to tomatoes, leading to symptoms such as itching, swelling, or respiratory issues. If a cat shows signs of an allergic reaction after consuming tomatoes, it is crucial to seek veterinary attention immediately.

Nutritional Considerations

While tomatoes are rich in vitamins and antioxidants beneficial to humans, cats have different nutritional needs. Here’s a closer look at the nutritional aspects of tomatoes and their relevance to feline diets:

1. Vitamins and Minerals:

Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium and folate. However, cats obtain most of their required nutrients from meat. While the vitamins and minerals in tomatoes are beneficial for humans, they are not essential for cats and do not provide significant nutritional benefits to them.

2. Antioxidants:

Tomatoes contain antioxidants like lycopene, which can help protect cells from damage. However, the antioxidant needs of cats are generally met through their regular diet, and they do not specifically benefit from the antioxidants found in tomatoes.

3. Digestive Health:

Tomatoes contain dietary fiber, which can aid in digestion. However, cats have a limited ability to digest plant-based foods, and their digestive systems are not designed to process large amounts of fiber. While small amounts of fiber can be beneficial, it is best to obtain it from cat-specific sources.

Safe Ways to Offer Tomatoes to Cats

If a cat owner decides to offer tomatoes to their cat, it is important to do so in a safe and controlled manner. Here are some guidelines for safely offering tomatoes to cats:

1. Use Ripe Tomatoes:

Only offer fully ripe tomatoes to cats. Avoid green tomatoes, stems, and leaves, as these parts contain higher levels of toxic alkaloids.

2. Small Quantities:

Offer tomatoes in very small quantities to see how the cat reacts. Even ripe tomatoes should be given in moderation to prevent any potential adverse effects.

3. Monitor for Reactions:

After offering tomatoes, closely monitor the cat for any signs of discomfort or allergic reactions. If the cat shows any signs of gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, or allergic symptoms, discontinue feeding tomatoes and consult a veterinarian.

4. Preparation:

Ensure that tomatoes are washed thoroughly to remove any pesticides or contaminants. Remove the seeds and skin, as these can be more difficult for cats to digest.

5. Avoid Seasonings:

If offering cooked tomatoes, ensure they are free from seasonings, especially onions and garlic, which are toxic to cats.

Alternatives to Tomatoes

While tomatoes can be offered to cats in moderation, there are other fruits and vegetables that might be safer and more beneficial. Here are some alternatives to consider:

1. Cucumbers:

Cucumbers are hydrating and have a mild flavor that many cats enjoy. They are low in calories and safe for cats to eat in small quantities.

2. Carrots:

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and can be offered cooked or raw. Cooked carrots are easier for cats to chew and digest.

3. Pumpkin:

Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and can help with digestive health. It is often recommended for cats with constipation or diarrhea.

4. Blueberries:

Blueberries are high in antioxidants and can be a healthy treat for cats. Offer them fresh and in small amounts.


In summary, while cats might show interest in tomatoes due to their curiosity and the food’s appealing appearance, it is important for cat owners to exercise caution. Ripe tomatoes in small quantities are generally safe, but the green parts of the plant and unripe tomatoes contain toxic substances that can harm cats. Understanding the potential risks and nutritional considerations is essential for making informed decisions about including tomatoes in a cat’s diet.

Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!