It might surprise you to find your cat intrigued by the bright colors of bell peppers or the spicy aroma of black pepper.
While our cats do not require nutrients from these vegetables and spices, it won’t stop them from trying to take a bite to satisfy their curiosity.
But can your cat safely eat peppers?
Most cats are fine eating bell peppers in small amounts. However, it’s important to note that these peppers should not be a significant part of their diet. Spicy peppers like black pepper should not be fed to cats at all.
In this article, we will explore the safety and potential benefits of bell peppers for cats and the potential risks associated with spicy peppers.
What Are Bell Peppers?
Bell pepper, also known as Capsicums, is called sweet pepper.
It gets its name because bell peppers don’t contain the spicy traits of black pepper and can taste sweet in some cases.
Bell peppers are widely used in salads in restaurants and at home due to their crunchy texture.
If your cat likes being in the kitchen while you cook, it might have taken a bite or two of a bell pepper.
There are three types of bell pepper:
- Red Bell Peppers
- Yellow Bell Peppers
- Green Bell Peppers
I have to admit, for the longest time, I’ve always thought that these three types of bell peppers come from different plants.
Actually, they all come from the same plant, just harvested at different stages of the bell pepper growth stage.
In other words, each color represents a different stage of ripeness of the bell pepper.
Can A Cat Eat A Bell Pepper?
Yes, cats can eat bell peppers. There are no known toxins or poisons that are known to be harmful to our cats.
Furthermore, bell peppers contain many good vitamins and minerals for humans and it is also a healthy snack due to their low calories.
However, this health benefit doesn’t quite translate to our cats as getting their dietary nutrients should be coming from a meat source and not plant matter.
Cats don’t have the enzyme to digest plant matter like humans.
This is why cats are known to be obligate carnivores and a cat’s diet should be a high-protein meat diet.
But if you have a weird cat that loves the taste and smell of bell peppers, it is ok to feed your cat some as a treat.
Do note that not all bell peppers are made equal as they are harvested during time intervals.
Can Cats Eat Green Bell Peppers?
Green bell peppers are the first to be picked during the ripening process.
Hence they don’t contain as many vitamins and minerals as compared to yellow or red ones.
It is still fine if your cat wants a few pieces of it. Green bell peppers can be slightly tougher and more ‘earthier’ in smell.
Can Cats Eat Red Bell Peppers?
Red bell peppers are harvested the latest and taste the sweetest.
It also contains the highest concentration of minerals and vitamins, like vitamins A, C and beta-carotene, as it has been on the vine the longest.
Most cats would prefer eating a red bell pepper because it is more palate friendly.
Can Cats Eat Yellow Bell Peppers?
Yellow bell peppers are safe for cats to eat as well. In terms of nutritional value, they fall in between the green and red bell pepper.
There is still a good amount of vitamins and minerals but not as much as red bell peppers.
Are There Any Health Benefits Of Bell Peppers For Cats?
Although there have been a few studies done on the benefits of bell peppers on animals, they were still inconclusive by large.
The known benefits are derived from human studies which we can expect to rub off on our cats since we are both mammals.
Good For Your Cats Eyes
There’s no denying that your cat has quite a remarkable vision.
Our cats have a wider field of vision and they can see up to 6x better in the dark. Having long whiskers on a cat helps them navigate challenging terrain too.
Even if you have a long mustache, it won’t do you any good in the dark.
Bell peppers contain lutein and zeaxanthin which a study has shown to improve visual performance in humans.
You can actually buy such supplements for your cat and they claim to prevent or retard the progression of cataracts and retinal degeneration in pets.
But there are no official studies on this as of yet so you should at least consult your vet before doing so.
High In Antioxidants
Bell peppers are high in antioxidants that help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.
This helps to reduce oxidative stress and promotes overall good health in your cat.
Antioxidants help to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as:
- Heart diseases
- Neurological diseases
Red bell peppers are known to contain a high level of antioxidants compared to green or yellow ones.
How Much Bell Pepper Should I Feed My Cat?
There’s no official benchmark when it comes to feeding your cat bell peppers.
One rule of thumb I always adhere to is that if something isn’t part of my cat’s natural diet, it should only form 10% of my cat’s daily caloric intake.
But when feeding greens or vegetables which don’t have much calories, just a few pieces 1-3 times a week is more than enough.
Remember that your cat is an obligate carnivore and not an omnivore.
Can Cats Eat Black Pepper?
Black pepper is a commonly used spice that comes from the Piper Nigrum plant.
Pepper gets its pungent flavor from a chemical compound called piperine.
Technically they could if they wanted to. Cats smell their food before eating and the smell of black pepper can be very harsh on a cat’s nose.
One sniff for humans is enough to induce a sneezing fit let alone for cats whose sense of smell is 14x more sensitive than ours.
It would definitely burn or massively irritate the inside of the cat’s nose or even damage its scent receptors.
The spiciness of the black pepper can also cause a bad burning sensation in your cat’s mouth.
The black pepper fumes can also irritate their eyes and cause them to water.
Any site that claims it is fine to feed your cat any type of black pepper should NOT be taken seriously.
Furthermore, there is no nutritional value in black pepper for cats.
Should You Be Concerned If Your Cat Has Eaten Black Pepper?
If your cat has stolen some beef jerky off your plate that has some black pepper on it, I doubt it would cause any harm.
Anyways, it isn’t good for cats to be stealing food off your plate.
It can be dangerous for them if the food contains large amounts of spices or sauces that can be toxic to cats.
Is Black Pepper Toxic For Cats?
If the cat has ingested a very small amount of black pepper, it should be fine.
But if your cat has been consuming black pepper on a regular basis without your knowledge, it can be dangerous for your cat.
The black pepper can irritate its nose, throat or cause an upset stomach.
Black pepper contains terpenes and essential oils which are known to be bad for cats.
Terpenes is a compound that is responsible for how some plants smell like.
These compounds, when eaten over the long term, can cause kidney damage to cats.
So please keep your black pepper or spicy peppers away from your cat and do not add such species to your cat’s food.
Black Pepper As A Natural Repellant
To further illustrate why black pepper is not something cats should be eating is due to the fact that it is used as a natural repellant for cats,
Many gardeners sprinkle crushed or ground black pepper all over their yard or garden to prevent cats from coming onto their property and digging up their plants or eliminating in their plant pots.
Cats hate the strong peppery smell as their sense of smell is so strong that they can pick up the harsh scent long before they even see it thus avoiding that area.
Thus making black pepper a great natural cat repellent.
Makes no sense for cats to eat something that they are trying to avoid.
Some people will also use cayenne pepper as a natural repellant as it helps to keep cats away but it is not toxic if ingested.
What To Do If Your Cat Has Eaten Black Pepper?
There are some cats that love living life on the edge since they know that cats come equipped with nine lives.
If your cat has consumed some black pepper, make sure to keep a close watch on it for the next 48 hours.
Please bring it to the vet right away for an examination if your cat shows any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite,
Can Cats Eat White Pepper?
White pepper also comes from the same plant as black pepper. The difference between white and black pepper is the harvesting and processing technique.
White pepper is known to be milder than black peppers in terms of taste and smell.
However, when ingested by a cat, white pepper can also cause the same harm and effects as black pepper.
So please do not feed any white pepper to your cat.
Can Cats Eat Lemon Pepper?
No, they can’t. Lemon pepper is made from crushed lemon zest that’s mixed with black peppercorns.
There are substances found in a lemon that can be toxic for cats, mainly limonene, linalool and psoralen.
Cats should avoid these compounds at all costs as they can be deadly when consumed by them.
So please do not feed your cat any lemon pepper tuna which will be terrible for your cat.