You order some pizza after a hard day at work and while you are getting comfy on your sofa, your cat suddenly appears asking for some. Wait! Can cats eat pizza?
Pizza is one of the most popular dishes around the world. Every culture has some kind of pizza-like dish which is basically toppings on baked dough. This resemblance might be a reason as to why pizza is so popular among humans. However, we do not live alone. Can our little friends that live with us enjoy it, too? Can cats eat pizza?
As a proud person who ate pizza in Naples, which is the birthplace of pizza, I can say that there is pizza and then there is pizza! When I enjoyed my really simple pizza in Naples, I asked myself:
“If this dish I am consuming like a hungry vampire attacking its victim is actually pizza, then what is the dish I ate all my life; and if what I ate until now was pizza, what am I eating now?”
This dilemma sadly still lives within me. I think one of my biggest regrets in life may be eating pizza in Naples because after that visit to Italy, I do not enjoy pizza anymore. OK, let’s go back to our topic. What was I saying? Yes, can cats eat pizza?
Can Cats Eat Pizza?
The short answer for if cats can eat pizza is NO! No matter what the ingredients are pizza always consists of at least one ingredient that is harmful or even toxic to cats. If you mean if eating pizza will kill your cat when you ask: “can cats have pizza”. Well, probably not. At least not right away.
Whenever you are considering if your kitty can have a certain human food, always look at the ingredients in the food. So, let’s break pizza into three categories to make it easier to inspect it. Pizza consists of dough, pizza sauce, and toppings. We will inspect them one by one and inform you about the potential dangers they hold.
1 – Dough
Dough is only flour, water, yeast, olive oil and salt. Although none of these ingredients is needed by your cat (except for a really tiny amount of salt, which is already included in the cat’s cat food), one specific item is especially dangerous: the yeast!
The active yeast in the dough is extremely toxic to our feline friends. The reason behind that is the yeast fermenting carbohydrates in dough and in cats’ digestive system producing ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide. Ethanol causes alcohol poisoning and the carbon dioxide cause bloating.
Another issue with the uncooked dough is its expansion in cats’ bellies. There are even reports of cats needing a surgery to remove the expanded dough balls. Even very small amounts of uncooked dough can quickly take you on a drive to the nearest animal hospital.
If you realize your cat eating uncooked dough, watch for symptoms below for 24-48 hours and immediately go to a veterinarian as soon as you see them:
- difficulty breathing,
- retching, and
Another potentially dangerous ingredient in the dough is salt. Although there are heated discussions among scientists to determine if excess salt is dangerous to cats or not, it is safer to prevent our cats eating excess salt until they can reach a decision.
The last but not the least is flour. Since cats are true carnivores, they don’t really need any plants to get their daily nutrition. They need meat to survive and whatever other nutrition they need, their bodies produce it. They really don’t need the extra calories that come with flour which are carbohydrates.
2 – Sauce and Cheese
Pizza sauce is made of tomatoes which look innocent at first but if the tomatoes are not ripe, they contain a chemical called solanine which is toxic to cats. The same chemical is also contained within the green parts of the tomato plant such as stems and leaves.
In addition to the dangers of unripe tomatoes, the sauce includes salt and in most cases garlic and/or onions. Garlic, onion and all other plants in the allium family are extremely toxic to cats. Even one clove of garlic can lead to your cat’s doom that is the deadly condition named hemolytic anemia.
Since most cats are lactose intolerant no matter what kind of cheese is used on the pizza, it has a big potential of causing and upset tummy. It is known that cheese is not as lactose rich as milk, but you really don’t want your cat to endure a painful stomach and possibly a bad diarrhoea which can also be dangerous.
3 – Toppings
Although the variety of toppings on pizza is so wide that it is practically impossible to mention all of them here, let’s try to talk about the most common ones such as pepperoni. Pepperoni is a processed meat, and you may think that the cats are carnivorous and meat is good for them.
Processed meats contain lots of salt, fat and on top of that companies also add preservatives to make them have longer shelf life and to protect its colour. The chemical preservatives that are called nitrates and nitrites are under no condition good for cats.
Any kind of processed meat from pepperoni to ham, to bacon, to sausages can deteriorate your cat’s health in the long run and may lead to many illnesses such as kidney disease, heart disease, obesity and even cancer.
If you wish to give your cat a healthy meat treat, you can use lean turkey meat, cooked salmon or boiled chicken without skin and without any seasoning at all.
Conclusion – Can Cats Eat Pizza?
As explained in detail, the answer to the question “can cats eat pizza” is a big no-no! Pizza has no nutritional value for your cat and on top of it, the risks associated with pizza put this delicious piece of heaven in the “not worth it” category for cats.
If your cat manages to snug one or more slices of pizza while you are not looking, try to determine how much it ate and very carefully observe your kitty for the next 24-48 hours. If you see any out of ordinary behaviours, consult to a veterinarian immediately and act according to the veterinarian’s directives.
Is pizza safe for cats?
The safety of pizza for feline consumption depends on what ingredients are used in that specific pizza. But the most common pizzas are not safe for cats due to the use of garlic, onions and processed meat such as pepperoni.
Can cats eat pizza rolls?
Pizza rolls are just pizzas that are rolled and just like the regular pizzas, they should not be fed to cats. The same risks and dangers involved with cats eating pizza apply to pizza rolls as well.
Can cats eat pizza crust?
Just a bite or two from the pizza crust without any toppings or sauce will probably will not harm your cat as long as the dough is well-cooked, and this is not a regular treat. Regular and overconsumption of the pizza crust can lead to gaining weight and even obesity in cats just like pretzels.