If you love tofu, you love it; if you don’t like it, you probably find it meaningless. The protein in it is good for us, sure! But can cats eat tofu, too?
Tofu is generally eaten in the west mostly by vegans and vegetarians as a meat alternative due to the high amounts of protein it contains however it is a very old and traditional food in the east, and it still is very popular all-around Asia. Since cats need a lot of protein, it should be good for them, too, right? Can cats eat tofu?
Can Cats Eat Tofu?
The good news is tofu is not toxic to cats as long as it is not seasoned with spices or other substances that are toxic to cats such as garlic, onion or chives. If you are looking for a short answer, then yes, cats can eat a small amount of plain tofu but that is not all there is.
Most commercially available tofu products have additives in them to give the product longer shelf-life. These additives are, most of the time, bad for your kitty. Whenever you take a food product from the shelf, remember that the product you are buying is designed for human consumption and whatever in it is tested for you, not your kitty.
If you are sure that the tofu you have doesn’t have any chemicals or ingredients that would harm your little friend, you can give a very small cube of tofu to it. Although rare, some cats can be allergic to tofu so if it is the first time you are feeding tofu to your cat, start with a very small piece and observe your cat for 24 hours.
After 24 hours of observation, if you still don’t see any adverse effects, than you can increase the amount slowly. This being said, even if your cat is not allergic to tofu, it can still vomit, get diarrhea or stomach issues after eating tofu.
Is Tofu Any Good For Cats?
Cats need a majority of their nutritional needs as proteins and tofu is high in proteins however tofu is made out of soybeans, so it is a plant-based food and cats are obligate carnivores. This means that your cat’s digestive system needs animal protein, not plant protein. Its digestive system just doesn’t have the necessary enzymes to process plant proteins.
Tofu is also high in fats, but cat don’t really need this as well. It is true that like all other animals, cats need some fat in their diet but first they get it from their usual cat food and second the fat they need is animal fat which is biochemically a lot different than the fat in the plants.
Therefore, tofu doesn’t hold any nutritional value whatsoever for your kitty. Again, can cats eat tofu? Yes, they can. But what is the point? They need to eat it unseasoned which is just bland, and they won’t have any nutritional benefit from it.
What is in Tofu?
Tofu includes 3 ingredients: dried soybeans, water, and a coagulant such as nigari (magnesium chloride) or gypsum (calcium sulphate). While none of these ingredients are toxic to cats considering the amounts used to obtain tofu, these are not the only ingredients you generally find in packed tofu in the market.
Since tofu is bland, it is generally seasoned with garlic, onion or chives. Most of the time you can even see garlic powder included in the ingredients list at the back of the tofu package. Garlic is extremely toxic to cats and in severe cases even 1 clove of garlic can cause organ damage or death.
If your cat develops a taste for tofu, make sure that it doesn’t contain any seasonings, flavourings or additives and give it to your kitty in small amounts. In such a case the worst thing that can happen is mild diarrhea but keep an eye on your kitty and if the diarrhea doesn’t stop, call your veterinarian.
Conclusion – Can Cats Eat Tofu?
After everything mentioned above, let’s ask again: can cats eat tofu? If your kitty snatches a little piece of plain tofu while you are not looking, you have nothing to worry about. If the piece is a little bigger, just keep an eye on the little troublemaker for diarrhea and it will just be fine. However, if your tofu is seasoned with spices, garlic of onions, be extra careful not to let your cat near your food.
Tofu doesn’t have any nutritional benefits for cats, but some cats can develop a teste for it. In such a case you may give plain tofu to your kitty as an occasional treat and keep the portion small to prevent diarrhea.
As always, consult your regular veterinarian before introducing a new food to your little friend.
Is tofu safe for cats?
As long as tofu doesn’t contain any additives, spices or flavourings such as garlic, onion or chives, it is safe for feline consumption in small portions. There is nothing toxic to cats in plain tofu. It is just soybeans, water and coagulant such as gypsum.
Is tofu good for cats?
Tofu doesn’t hold any kind of nutritional benefit for cats. Feline digestive system is evolved to process animal source foods because they are carnivores. Although tofu is high in proteins, cat digestive system can’t process these plant proteins.
Are there any health risks associated with cats eating tofu?
As long as the tofu is plain and there are no flavourings or seasonings in it, and the amount of tofu consumed by the cat is small, there are no health risks for cats eating tofu.
The worst-case scenario is a mild diarrhea. But you should always consult to your veterinarian before introducing a new element to your cat’s diet.