As kids, My siblings and 1 were the happiest when our parents gave in to our constant badgering and brought us to Mcdonald’s. I always ordered a large fries and a chocolate sundae to dip my fries in.
Fast forward to many years later, I’m still a fan of this combination and so is my greedy cat. He scrambles to paw at the french fries when he sees me eating them. But ends up meowing sadly when he doesn’t succeed in getting any.
Can cats eat Mcdonald’s fries or any french fries for that matter?
When cats eat french fries that are commercially made, they are ingesting too much salt, fats and carbohydrates that are required in a cat’s diet. An excess of these macronutrients in your cat’s body can lead to health problems.
Let’s take a closer look at why french fries are bad for cats and what can be a healthier alternative if your cat is a ‘potato head’.
Carbohydrates Are Evil For Cats
No prizes for guessing that carbs make up the bulk of calories for a serving of french fries. French fries are made from potatoes and you can even get sweet potato fries these days.
I know that there are many cat owners out there who seem to think that some carbs are needed in their cats’ diet. These cat owners will end up feeding their cats carb-heavy food like banana bread or even a lot of fruits and vegetables.
That’s not true.
Yes, it is known that cats are carnivores but not just your run-of-the-mill carnivore but an obligate carnivore.
The difference is a carnivore thrives on a meat-based diet while an obligate carnivore needs a meat-based diet in order to SURVIVE.
Obligate carnivores like our cats can’t obtain nutrients from plant matter.
This would mean that your cat does not need an ounce of carbs to be healthy. When your cat eats carbs, all it does is add excess calories which can have an impact on your cat’s health.
Too Many Of Our Cats Are Fat
According to a survey conducted by the Association Of Pet Obesity Prevention, close to 59.6 of cats in the USA are overweight.
Cats that are overweight are at higher risk of:
- Feline diabetes
- Heart disease
- Joint issues
Feeding french fries to your cat once in a blue moon isn’t going to make him fat. It is the daily cat food that matters.
The majority of cats are overweight because their owners are feeding them dry cat food or human foods that cats should not be eating.
Your cat needs a diet that is high in protein.
Get good quality canned food or feed your cat a raw meat diet.
I know many cat owners are concerned about feeding their cats raw meat. I can definitely get that but I can say for sure that if it weren’t for me switching my cat to a raw meat diet, he would have lost the battle against FeLV.
Go Easy On The Fats
It might seem counterintuitive but we do need some fats in our diet to be healthy and our cats too.
Cats need essential fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6 which they can’t produce. It has to be derived from the fat in their cat food.
Essential fatty acids help with the following:
- Healthy skin and coat
- Healthy cellular functions
- Lubricate stiff joints
A good commercial wet or raw diet will adequately provide all the fat that your cat needs. If you are regularly feeding your cat cooked french fries from Mcdonald’s, they can be pretty oily.
Excess fat in your cat’s diet can lead to the same health problems as too much carbohydrates.
To break down the nutritional content of one small serving of McD french fries:
- Fat 11g
- Carbs 31g
- Protein 3g
- Sodium 190mg
Fats are more calorie-dense compared to carbs. 1g of fat contains 9 calories as opposed to only 4 calories from carbs.
It doesn’t take a big serving of french fries to have your cat consume too much fat.
Even A Pinch Of Salt Is Too Much
Similar to fats, salt is needed by cats for proper bodily functions. Salt or sodium is an important macronutrient for life.
Sodium helps with proper nerve and muscle functions, regulates blood pressure and prevents dehydration.
The problem arises when your cat consumes too much salt in its diet.
Most cats require about 20-41 mg of sodium per day and anything above that amount can result in salt poisoning in cats.
One small serving of McDonald’s French fries already contains 190mg of sodium. And if your cat has a voracious appetite for human food, it can easily consume half or the entire serving.
That by itself already puts your cat at a high risk of salt toxicity not to mention the high fat and carb content too.
Signs of salt poisoning in cats are:
- Excessive thirst and urination
- Lack of coordination
If your cat has ingested a large about of salt, please take it to the vet right away. Too much salt in your cat’s system can be fatal.
The vet will have to get your cat on an IV drip and electrolytes to slowly reduce the sodium concentration.
One thing that you should never do is feed your cat excess salt to induce vomiting if it has eaten something harmful. That can even cause more damage.
Can Cats Eat Raw Potatoes?
You think that feeding your cat raw potatoes instead of French fries might be a healthier option, but it isn’t.
Raw spuds or potatoes contain a substance called salonine which is toxic to cats when eaten. In low concentrations, it can give your cat a tummy upset.
It is possible for solanine toxicity to build up in your cat’s body if it eats raw potatoes on a regular basis. This can result in coma and death.
So please keep your cats away from raw potatoes or any vegetable in the same family.
Furthermore, raw potatoes are so hard which makes them difficult to digest.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Potatoes?
The safest form of potato that your cat can eat is cooked French fries or potatoes. The cooking process destroys the toxic salonine substance which makes it safe for the cat to consume.
Can Cats Eat One French Fry?
Your cat eating one french fry isn’t going to ‘break the bank’, so to speak. What you need to be aware of is to ensure that there aren’t any added ingredients like onion or garlic powder which are highly toxic to cats.
Even certain spices can have a harmful effect on your cat.
The same goes for feeding your cat potato chips as it is just a different version from fries.
The best way to prepare such a treat for your cat is to make your own homemade French fries.
Just get some potatoes, cut them up into strips, grill or boil them before feeding your cat. Do not fry the fries as that will make them unhealthy for your cat.
Do not add any extra seasoning like salt or spices to the french fries.
I would avoid frozen French fries as they tend to contain a lot of added preservatives to keep them from going bad or stale.
Can Cats Eat Mcnuggets?
If you are thinking of feeding your cat Mcnugget would make for a healthier option as it contains more ‘protein’, I would strongly advise you from doing so.
Mcnuggets, although higher in protein, contain a high amount of fats and sodium as well. And the bater that is used to coat the chicken might contain ingredients that can be toxic to cats.
When in doubt, it is best not to.
What Is Toxic To Cats?
A cat’s system is so different from ours and it can be very sensitive to foreign substances outside of its natural diet.
There are certain foods that are a strict no for cats:
- Onion and garlic
- Citrus fruits
- Grapes and raisins
- Raw eggs
Do not feed any of the above items to your cat even in the smallest of quantities.
What Human Food Can Cats Eat?
I know of many cat owners who show their love by feeding human food to their cats as a treat. But every time you feed your cat something out of its diet, you do risk creating some health problems if you aren’t careful.
If you wish to switch up your cat’s diet a little, there are many ‘cat-safe’ recipes that you can find online.
They sort of mimic human food in some ways but the ingredients used are safe for cats to eat.
It is best to just use these as an occasional treat and not as a substitute for your cat’s main diet.
I know that I can sound overtly paranoid about what we feed our cats. It isn’t a problem if your cat eats one or two french fries. The main concern here is if eating french fries happens regularly and even worse if it contains toxic ingredients like onion powder.
Always be mindful when feeding your cat something that is out of its natural diet. You could be feeding your cat something that could impact its health.