Can Cats Eat Meatballs? (Solved & Explained!)

You may want to share your spaghetti dinner with your feline friends, but is it a good idea? Cats love meat, but can cats eat meatballs?

Even though cats need protein, cats should not eat meatballs. There are ingredients in traditional meatballs that are toxic and harmful to pets. They are at risk of sodium poisoning, anemia, or at the very least, an upset stomach.

While it may be tempting to share your dinner with your cat, their health is more important. There are different ways to spice up their menu without harming your pet. This article will cover why cats should not eat meatballs.

meatballs on a cutting board

Why Are Meatballs Bad for Cats?

When your adorable little cat’s face looks up at you, it’s hard to not give them whatever they want. Pet lovers want to spoil their pets but also give them the best life possible. To let a cat eat a meatball could be a fatal mistake.

Take a look at any recipe for meatballs and you’ll see these common ingredients:

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Herbs
  • Worcestershire sauce

Garlic and onion are highly toxic to cats. The sulfur content found in garlic can make cats sick and could kill them. Onions can poison cats and cause anemia. Breadcrumbs, like any type of dough, could rise in a cat’s stomach and cause extreme bloating and discomfort.

The acidity in meatballs could cause long-term effects because cats can’t digest them as humans can. So, whether you bought them at a store or made them from scratch at home, meatballs are harmful and toxic to cats.

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raw meatballs on a plate

What Happens If a Cat Eats a Meatball?

If a cat eats a meatball, it could cause serious health problems. So if your pet has already eaten a meatball, call your veterinarian for further instructions. The vet will tell you if you need to take your kitty to the office. The vet may induce vomiting, among other possible procedures. If your cat is lucky, the veterinarian may simply prescribe a medication to ease the symptoms of discomfort.

Symptoms of food poisoning in cats are fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. If it was only a small amount, your cat may not show symptoms. Watch closely for the next few days and check back with your vet if the situation doesn’t improve or any other symptoms arise.

When cats eat onions they become lethargic and weak due to a lack of oxygen in their blood. If the calcium levels are low, cats can have seizures. All of these health problems can happen when cats eat the wrong food. To do what’s best for them is sometimes difficult, but it could save their lives, all nine of them!

What Other Foods Are Toxic to Cats?

The ASPCA reports show these common foods are harmful to cats.

  • Chocolate is widely known to be bad for dogs, but it is also harmful to cats. Chocolate toxicity in cats is caused by Theobromine, a substance in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and even unsweetened chocolate.
  • Raisins and grapes have a chemical that causes kidney failure in pets. The ASPCA advises avoiding these fruits until further research is done.
  • Lactose(Dairy) Adult cats don’t produce enough lactase to break down the enzymes in milk. Just like humans, cats become lactose intolerant and will become sick from milk and dairy.
  • Raw meat and raw eggs carry bacterias like Salmonella and E. Coli, which are harmful to pets and humans.

Why Do Cats Want to Eat Human Food Like Meatballs?

Human food tastes great to cats and adds variety to their usual food. Having pets around while making dinner can be convenient if you drop scraps or spill. Letting your pets eat your food scraps is a bad habit that all pet owners face from time to time. But the food that is harmless or tasteless to humans can be fatal to our pets.

Cats desire protein which is food in people food. Protein is essential for growing a cat’s claws, coat, skin, muscles, and immune system. A lack of protein can lead to muscle and weight loss, poor digestion, and weakness, among other health issues.

Cats and dogs are pushy pets and they often get whatever they want. It’s almost impossible to not share our food with them. Fortunately, there are a few human foods that we can give them that are healthy alternatives.

Can I Make Meatballs That My Cat Can Eat?

There are recipes for homemade cat food that sound delicious because they are made with ingredients found right in our own kitchen. It’s important to remember that cats are carnivores. They need meat and don’t eat grains and wheat. A shocking amount of cat food bought in the store contains wheat and grains, giving cats allergic reactions like skin irritations.

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Stick to the basics such as chicken, beef, tuna, and salmon. These meats can be baked or boiled, added to potatoes, rice, and olive oil. For recipes and information, make sure to consult with certified veterinarian nutritionists for the most accurate and safe suggestions.

Though there’s a nutritional benefit to eating raw foods, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not support raw cat food. Uncooked meat increases the risk of bacteria getting you or your pets sick.

There are ways to add human food into your cat’s diet that will shake things up a bit and be healthy for pets. You can spice up your cat’s meals but remember to use non-toxic spices like Basil, Cilantro and every cat’s favorite, Catnip.


Cats should not eat meatballs because the ingredients are toxic. If a cat has eaten meatballs or any food that you fear is bad for them, call the vet immediately. There are foods that cats can eat if prepared properly, like baked or boiled chicken, tuna, salmon, and beef. Always do your research before you share your dinner with pets and they will love you for it.