My Cat Ate Tomato: Will She Be OK? (Solved & Explained!)

Even though we buy our cats the best kibble, it doesn’t deter them from being curious about what we’re eating. Every now and then our cat manages to get a bite of some of our food. If you happen to notice that your cat ate tomato, you might wonder if it’s cause for concern. 

Tomatoes can be toxic to cats, so it’s highly encouraged that you keep tomatoes away from your feline friend at all costs. If your cat only managed to get a small nibble, they will likely be okay. However, any more than just a small bite is worth contacting your vet about so they can advise you how to handle the situation. 

Since so much of the food that is good for us is bad for our cats, we need to be diligent about what we leave out. Cats are quick, and are able to snatch up our food in a split second as soon as we look away. 

Why Can’t Cats Eat Tomatoes?

There’s a component to tomatoes known as solanine which is toxic for cats, dogs, and horses to ingest. It can cause your cat several unsavory symptoms which can cause them to become quite ill. 

Some of the symptoms often seen in cats who eat tomato are: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Decrease in energy 
  • Upset stomach 
  • Decreased heart rate 

What Do I Do If My Cat Ate A Tomato?

If there’s a way for you to determine how much tomato your cat managed to eat, try to find out. If it’s not possible, contact your vet and advise them of the situation.

Your vet might recommend that you monitor your cat closely for a few days to see if they have any kind of reaction. Some cats aren’t bothered at all from eating a small amount of tomato.

If you know that your cat managed to eat a lot of tomatoes, your vet might recommend you and your kitty come for a visit. The same might be true if they manage to eat leaves from a tomato plant, or they get their paws on a stem and manage to eat that too. These parts in particular can make your cat very ill. 

Are All Tomatoes Toxic For Cats?

There’s some evidence to suggest that a clean, ripe tomato that is thoroughly washed with seeds removed can be safe for your cat to eat. Whether you serve the tomato raw or cooked may not make much of a difference in how your cat reacts to the tomato. Cats should not be able to get a hold of the vine, the stem, or any leaves from a tomato plant. 

There’s no guarantee that your cat will react well to eating a tomato. Some cats are more sensitive than others, so if your cat has an underlying health concern or is known to have a sensitive stomach, it’s not worth feeding them some tomato in any form. 

Do Cats Like Tomatoes?

Since tomatoes are an acidic fruit, there’s a good chance that your cat would take one lick and lose interest. However, all cats are different, and some might find them juicy and refreshing. Some cats are even able to tolerate that small amount of acid without getting an upset stomach. 

That said, it’s not worth experimenting with whether or not your kitty just happens to have an iron clad stomach. Even if your cat doesn’t end up becoming sick after eating some tomato, they might experience some gastrointestinal upset. Having a gassy cat is no fun for them or for you. 

What If My Cat Eats Tomato-Based Food?

Some cat food brands have been adding small amounts of tomato paste to their dry food formulas. While it’s not clear why this is done, the small amount is safe.

It’s said that when tomatoes are ripe, they are fine for cats to have in small amounts, but it’s best to just avoid tomatoes altogether when you can as your cat gets sufficient vitamins and nutrients from other foods. 

Foods such as ketchup, tomato-based soups, and tomato sauce shouldn’t be sampled by your cat either. Not only are the tomatoes unhealthy for them, but the amount of salt in these products can also make your cat extremely sick. Some of these products will also have sugar and other chemicals that are not recommended for cats to have in any amount. 

Aren’t The Vitamins In Tomatoes Good For Cats?

While it’s true your cat needs their fair share of vitamins and minerals to be healthy, they don’t need tomatoes to get them. Cat food, especially dry food, is made to provide cats with a sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals to sustain them. Plus, the way we consume and use vitamins in our bodies is different from how cats use them. 

Cats are carnivores, so even though a few select vegetables are good for them to eat, most kibble has cat-safe vegetables in them. These vegetables are known to be easily tolerated and digested by cats, and have been picked to offer vitamins that can’t be found in meat. 

When you want to give your cat the occasional human-grade treat, stick with a vegetable that is known to be non-toxic for cats in any form. 

Final Thoughts 

Even though tomatoes are delicious and offer a host of health benefits for us, the opposite is true for your feline friend. It can be hard to say no to a cat that’s begging us for a taste of our food, but it’s worth the few minutes where your cat is upset with you to avoid them getting sick or eating a toxic amount of unsafe food. 

There is some debate as to whether or not tomatoes in certain forms are safe for your cat. Whether or not you want to take the risk is ultimately your call, but as you know there’s no real benefit to giving your cat any of this fruit, it’s better to save your tomato for some salsa and give your cat a meaty treat instead.