Can Cats Eat Tofurky? (Solved & Explained!)

Tofurky has grown in popularity over recent years as many people are switching to a plant-based diet and cutting out meat products. If you’re curious whether or not your cat can have a bite of your Tofurky next time, we’re here to answer all of your important questions. 

It is not recommended for cats to eat Tofurky. While cats can technically have a small amount of plain tofu every once in a while, the added ingredients to most Tofurky products such as salt, onion, and garlic, make it unsuitable for cats

In this article we will discuss why cats should avoid Tofurky, which will include breakdown of the nutritional needs of cats, what Tofurky is, and why it isn’t the best treat for your cat. 

What Is Tofurky?

Tofurky is actually a brand name of a popular plant-based company that launched the very first Tofurky roast back in 1995. They also make vegan alternatives for deli slices, sausages, ground meat, and burgers. 

Tofurky products are made from a blend of wheat protein and tofu, along with a variety of additives to make the products taste more similar to the ones they are impersonating. 

If we’re specifically discussing the Tofurky roast, it contains: Vital wheat gluten, water, tofu , expeller pressed canola oil, natural flavors, sea salt, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, leek, rosemary extract, lemon juice concentrate, oat fiber, cornstarch, calcium lactate, potassium chloride. 

Some of these ingredients are not recommended for cats, some are toxic, but essentially, feeding your cat Tofurky isn’t really going to provide them with any kind of nutritional benefit, and could cause them to have some digestive issues. 

Can Cats Eat Tofu?

It may surprise you to learn that the tofu in the Tofurky is actually not the part that is toxic to cats. While it’s not necessarily recommended, cats can have the occasional nibble of plain, cooked, tofu. 

Although tofu carries protein that humans can digest and utilize, this doesn’t apply to cats. There really isn’t enough usable protein in tofu that cats can break down, in fact it can’t actually provide them with any real form of nutritional benefit. 

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And too much tofu can cause them to have an upset stomach due to the sugar (raffinose and stachyose) inside that cats are unable to digest. 

However, it is important to note that some cats are intolerant to tofu and will not be able to digest it at all. If you see any diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, or any other similar symptoms, then your cat likely can’t digest tofu and you should avoid serving it to them. 

What Ingredients In Tofurky Are Bad For Cats? 

So, if it’s not the tofu, then what is the big deal about giving Tofurky to cats? The issue lies in three main additives: salt, onion, and garlic. 

Onion and garlic, even in small amounts, are toxic to cats and you should never give your cat these veggies on purpose. You should even avoid giving your car something that was cooked with onion and garlic. 

An occasional slip up likely won’t kill your pet as long as they aren’t eating the direct vegetable, but you should always monitor them to make sure you aren’t spotting any gastrointestinal symptoms. If you have concerns after your cat has consumed something containing onion or garlic you should call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Salt is another ingredient that isn’t necessarily toxic, but shouldn’t be consumed by cats in large quantities. Even a small amount of salt can cause your cat to feel extremely thirsty and uncomfortable. In larger amounts it may cause dizziness, vomiting, diarrea, confusion, and loss of energy. Large amounts of salt can be toxic to cats.

Will Tofurky Kill My Cat? 

Although some of the ingredients in Tofurky products are not easily digestible by cats, a small bite likely won’t be toxic for your pet. At most, you will notice your cat is more thirsty. So, if you’re here because you’ve already given your cat a small bite, there is no need to worry about your cat’s health

However, Tofurky is absolutely not something your cat should be given on a regular basis, even in small amounts. If your cat begs for it, you can try incorporating small amounts of plain, cooked tofu into their diet. But, they should still not get tofu more than twice a week. 

If your cat has consumed a large amount of Tofurky, has an underlying health issue that makes them more prone to salt poisoning, or has consumed a large amount of garlic or onion, then you should contact your veterinarian for specific guidance. 

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What Do Cats Need In Their Diet? 

If you’re feeling a little confused about why cats can’t digest Tofurky considering it is a high protein source, let’s break down the basics of what cats need in their diets. Cats need animal protein in their diet. This is the only way they can build muscles and bone strength, and have enough energy to function. 

Cats are carnivores by nature, and this isn’t something we can change. Your cat still needs animal protein even if you are a vegetarian/vegan in order to live a long and healthy life.  You should never attempt to switch your cat to a plant-based diet as this can be extremely hazardous for their health. 

Cats also need other micronutrients found in most high-quality cat foods such as zinc, calcium, and magnesium. These nutrients help with their enzyme function. 

The vitamins and minerals in tofu provide no nutritional benefits to cats, and as we stated previously, they are unable to break down the specific sugars that most tofu, and therefore Tofurky products, contain. 

Final Thoughts: Skip The Tofurky For Your Cat! 

We don’t recommend feeding your cat Tofurky, there are more nutritious treats you can offer your cat that don’t contain salt, onion, or garlic. Tofurky is likely to cause stomach discomfort for your cat at minimum, and could be hazardous if they consume too much. 

Save this vegan treat for yourself and stick to animal proteins for the cat!