There are a number of things in life that requires an acquired taste like blue cheese, vegemite, apple products (oops), olives, etc.
Mochi is definitely on that list for me too. I love the way it feels and smells but for the life of me, I just can’t understand why it is such a popular sweet treat for many people. The only mochi that I like is furry and meows and lives a few houses away from me which is my neighbor’s ragdoll.
When it comes to our feline friends, you might have a cat that loves the taste of mochi. As much as you love spoiling your cat with the occasional human treat, can cats eat mochi?
Mochi is a sweet snack that isn’t toxic to cats. Although cats can eat mochi, you should refrain from feeding it to your cat due to its high carbohydrate and sugar content. Furthermore, the sticky nature of the cat can turn it into a choking hazard for some cats.
Let us take a look at what goes into the making of mochi and how safe it really is as an occasional treat n your cat’s diet.
What Are Mochis Made Of?
Mochis are rice cakes that have been regarded as a Japanese dessert for centuries. It is mostly made from short grain Japanese rice as well as cornstarch, sugar and water.
The ingredients might seem very basic but the traditional way mochis are made is far from basic. More finger-crushing if I might add.
In a nutshell, mochis are made from cooked rice that is pounded and mashed until it forms a soft consistency. This paste is then cut into small balls that are either steamed, baked or boiled.
Mochis are widely loved for their cute, round and colorful exterior which is well complemented by their soft and chewy texture.
This Japanese treat is eaten all year round by the Japanese people but more so during festive seasons.
Here are the nutritional values of a mochi:
Are Mochis Healthy For My Cat?
When trying to decipher if some type of food is healthy for our cats, we need to take into consideration your cat’s natural diet against the ingredients that are used for said food, in this case, a mochi ball.
Cats love to eat meat because they are obligate carnivores by nature. In fact, cats NEED a diet that is high in animal protein.
You just have to take a look at cats in the wild to confirm this.
You won’t see a tiger or a lion munching on a piece of bamboo like a panda when it is hungry. It will be stalking and hunting live prey for its next meal.
Mochis Are High In Carbs
You might argue that cats have evolved to be omnivores through the process of domestication but here’s the truth.
Your cat’s digestive system does not contain the necessary enzyme to break down carbs for energy. This means that by feeding your feline friend carb-heavy food, you are putting a lot of stress on its digestive system.
One mochi has close to 22g of carbohydrates and to me, that’s 22g too much carbs for a cat. Believe me when I say that your cat is more than happy to be on a diet that is 0% carbs like a raw food diet.
It is by feeding our cats dry food and unhealthy human food as a snack that bumps up a cat’s carb intake.
I’m not saying that you can’t make yummy and healthy homemade treats for your cat. I would definitely prefer than feeding your cat mochi.
The problem arises when your cat eats too much carbs which can lead to health issues like:
- Feline obesity
- Upset stomach
- Heart disease
- Joint pain
- Dental disease
These are not the kind of health problems that you want your cat to have so make sure to be aware of how much carbs your cat is eating.
Some Mochis Are Too Sweet
The reason why I said some is because I have tasted mochis that tasted tasty but not sweet. These usually apply to the traditional mochis that are just made from rice.
The modern mochi now comes with a wide variety of fillings like red bean paste, black sesame paste, cream, etc. There’s even mochi ice cream that’s basically mochi balls with ice cream in them.
Based on the nutritional value of a mochi, it comes laden with 17g of sugar. And if you were to feed your cat one that has a sweet filling, the sugar content will even be higher.
Do you know that cats are not able to taste sweetness?
This means that anything sweet tasting isn’t needed in a cat’s diet.
Too much sugar in your cat’s diet can also cause the same health problems as having too much carbs. Sugar isn’t a needed nutrient for cats and should be avoided if possible.
Mochis Can Be A Choking Hazard
If you have ever eaten or touched a mochi before, you’ll notice how soft, chewy and sticky the texture is. I know of many mochi lovers that are big fans of this texture.
As great as the texture is, there have been reports of people choking to death while eating a mochi. The safer way to eat mochi is to cut or bite it into smaller pieces before swallowing.
It can be bad news if your cat has taken a big bite of a mochi. It might be ok for adult cats but kittens or older cats can choke on such a big piece.
If your cat is bugging you for some mochi, don’t just let it bite off what it wants. Use your fingers and peel off a small piece for your cat and that’s it.
I wouldn’t advise you to share food that has your cat’s saliva as there’s a chance of you getting an infection from your cat.
What Sweets Can Cats Not Eat?
If I want to be really pedantic about it, the correct answer is that your cat should not be eating anything sweets at all. Even when it comes to ‘safer’ human sweet treats like banana bread.
But I know how much of a weird taste our cats can have at times when it comes to wanting sweet stuff.
It is fine if you want to give your cat some ice cream or cookie but you need to make sure that these food items do not contain the following ingredients:
- Citrus fruits
- Onion and garlic
- Artificial sweeteners
- Anything grape related
The above ingredients are toxic to cats and can lead to many adverse side effects. Some symptoms can even be life-threatening in severe cases.
If you are not sure if the human food contains any of the above, please do not feed it to your cat to be safe.
Can Cats Eat Rice Snacks?
Rice snacks are pretty common and popular these days. You can find flavors like soy sauce, bbq, prawn, seaweed, etc in your local grocery stores.
The downside of these rice snacks is the high sodium content in them.
Cats do not need a lot of salt in their diet. In fact, if you are feeding your cat a balanced diet, it is already getting all the sodium that it needs.
Too much salt in your cat’s diet can lead to salt poisoning which can cause symptoms like:
- Excessive thirst