Nutrition

Can Cats Eat Pizza? Dangers, Symptoms & What To Do

It is no secret that humans love pizza. This favorite food is often sniffed at by curious pets, like cats. Can cats eat pizza? Should they? Owners may wonder if this favorite dish is safe for feline consumption. We have the answers to some common questions about cats and pizza.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: September 2, 2022 | 9 min read

Ginger Cat Eating Pizza

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Cats are known for being curious and very good at stealing things. This includes human food. They often develop a taste for human snacks. They love to investigate what we have on the table and gobble up what gets dropped on the floor. Owners often question if their cats can eat human food, like pizza.

Pizza is a delicious dish that is found in human kitchens and on dining tables all over the world. Humans love this food. For humans who also love cats, sharing some of that mouthwatering slice with their feline companions can be tempting. Pet owners are always concerned about what their fur babies eat and may ask the question, can cats eat pizza?

Pizza has a long list of ingredients, making it harder to know if it is safe for a feline. Should owners worry if their purr baby sneaks a bite or two? Do different ingredients matter? We unravel the mystery and get these essential answers cat owners need to know. What we cover here is a general guideline, not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

Can Cats Eat Pizza?

The answer to this question is a huge NO. Felines should not eat pizza. There are many different ingredients included in it that can be harmful to a kitty. Felines are obligate carnivores and should eat animal proteins from high-quality meat. Though many contain meat, they are not the healthy kind kitties need and are not easy to digest. While some ingredients in this favorite dish may be safe for cats when prepared appropriately, there is nothing about this food that is safe for felines.

Is Pizza Bad For Cats?

Pizza is not good for cats. It does not provide any nutritional value to a cat’s diet. It has several ingredients that can be toxic to kitties. While one small bite may not cause a lot of harm, felines should not eat this food. Even homemade pie is not safe for kitty. Several ingredients, like garlic, tomatoes, and onions, are toxic to felines. Cheese is tough to digest, full of grease, fat, and empty calories. None of these things benefit kitties in any way.

Can Cats Eat Pizza Crust?

The plain, fully cooked crust is not necessarily bad for your kitty, but it Is not good for them either. Raw dough is very bad for cats. The active yeast in uncooked dough is very poisonous to felines. Raw dough can start to rise in their stomachs, causing bloating and the formation of alcohol inside the digestive tract. The expansion of the yeast can be fatal and should always be taken seriously. Never let your pet consume raw dough. The cooked crust will likely not be very appealing. It has no fun or very alluring ingredients like bacon on it. Crust or dough are not snacks most kitties will seek out.

The Dangers Of Cats Eating Pizza

Cute Little red kitten is eating big pizza
Several of the pie’s basic ingredients are harmful to felines.

Cats eating pizza comes with a lot of risks. Kitties can experience a range of symptoms from eating this food. A big concern about feeding kitties any kind of human food, especially something owners have not prepared themselves, is knowing what went into the process and what ingredients are involved. Pizza can be exceptionally unpredictable due to the wide array of toppings available like pineapple, sardines, jalapenos, and more.

Yeast

For many people, the flaky, crispy chewiness of the pizza crust is the best part. The crust is not quite as tasty for cats, and the yeast makes it very dangerous. Cooked, unseasoned dough is not as dangerous, and a bite or two will move through their system without too much trouble. Raw dough is an entirely different story. Active yeast in raw dough is quite dangerous to felines, and other animals like dogs. The yeast in raw dough ferments forming alcohol and carbon dioxide. When raw dough expands inside a kitty’s digestive system, it can lead to extreme discomfort, pain, bloating, distended stomach, and in some cases, may need surgery to remove.

The alcohol from uncooked yeast can also have an intoxicating effect on a feline. Felines, and most other animals, should not ingest alcohol because of the ethanol content, which can be fatal to them. Kitties who eat active yeast may experience gas, bloating, flatulence, vomiting, diarrhea, and pain. This goes for any raw dough that contains yeast. Contact your vet right away if you think your cat has eaten dough with active yeast.

Cheese

Despite the portrayal of happy kitties drinking milk as a common practice, in truth, most felines are lactose intolerant. Cheese and dairy can be very hard on their digestive systems, causing pain, discomfort, diarrhea, and more. Cheese is very high in fat content and is not healthy for pets. Felines who overeat or eat unhealthy human foods that are not meant for kitty consumption can experience a whole list of health problems. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overexertion of joints are all on the list. Some felines are allergic to dairy, and eating cheese can have very unpleasant effects. With kitties, even one bite of cheese can be too much. Kitties experiencing negative issues from eating cheese may have stomach pain, inflammation, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, low energy, and lethargy.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are not something cats would naturally eat. They contain the compound solanine, which is toxic to cats, dogs, horses, and other animals. The leaves and stems are especially harmful, as are unripe green tomatoes. Kitties should never eat this. Ripe fruit might not cause them too much harm, but it has no nutritional value. Tomato sauce, a central component of pizza, is made with ripe tomatoes but is too high in salt and other spices. Felines need to be careful not to eat too much salt because ingesting too much sodium can cause urinary tract issues, dehydration, as well as sodium ion poisoning, and seizures. Kitties should stay as far away from tomatoes as possible, including any dishes made with tomato sauce.

Onion

Onions are usually part of tomato sauce and are often used as a standalone topping on pizza. Cats should never eat onion in any form. This includes raw onion, cooked, powder, or dehydrated. Onion toxicity is a very scary and potentially fatal condition in felines. Onions cause the breakdown of red blood cells in a feline’s body, called hemolysis. This causes cats not to have enough oxygen in their blood, causing them to feel weak and lethargic. Onion toxicity is an emergency and can be fatal if not treated immediately. Kitties should never eat any dish containing onion.

Garlic

Garlic, especially raw, is even more toxic to cats than onions. Kitties who eat even a tiny amount of garlic can’t experience hemolysis and anemia. This process of breaking down the red blood cells causes the animal not to get enough oxygen, and they can become very weak and start to fall over, often described as fainting. Signs of toxicity will show up as weakness, poor appetite, pale gums, lethargy, and discolored urine. Garlic toxicity can occur from even one bite of strong garlic. Always call your vet immediately if you suspect your kitty has ingested garlic, especially raw garlic.

Processed Meats

Cats need to eat animal proteins, but processed meats that are often used as toppings are not a good source. Processed meats are extremely high in salt and often have added preservatives and chemicals which can be hard on the feline digestive system. These foods are not incredibly healthy for humans and are very unhealthy for pets. Processed meats include lunchmeats and things like ham, bacon, sausage, and pepperoni. Ham, in particular, has very high fat and salt content, both of which are not good for kitties to eat. This does not mean that if your cat sneaks one piece of pepperoni, it is a veterinary emergency. However, felines should not be fed processed meats regularly or as treats. There are plenty of feline-friendly treat options available.

Symptoms

Gray cute cat lover of pizza. the cat is trying to steal a pizza with its paw
Purr babies who sneak one bite of pizza will probably not experience too many negative symptoms.

They may not feel wonderful, but it is unlikely one bite will have enough harmful ingredients in it to do much harm. Unless, of course, their owners are some of those people who devour whole cloves of raw garlic as a pie topping. There will be a range of symptoms felines will experience if they sneak some bites of their owner’s pizza. These can be very mild or quite severe. Owners should always closely observe their pets if they think they have eaten even a couple of bites. Call your vet if your cat is experiencing signs of distress.

An owner should keep an eye out for:

  1. Pain or extreme discomfort.
  2. Vomiting. Bloating or inability to pass feces.
  3. Diarrhea or runny stools.
  4. Excessive gas.
  5. Lethargy.
  6. Poor appetite.
  7. Salt toxicity.
  8. Dehydration. Inability to drink water.
  9. Onion or garlic poisoning.

What To Do If Your Cat Eats Pizza

If your kitty sneaks a bite or two of this savory pie, you will join a long list of feline owners who have experienced this exact same situation. Owners need to ensure that their pet is okay after ingesting human food. Carefully observe your pet for any signs of discomfort or pain. Eating a bite of pizza is not an emergency but is never something the owner should overlook. If you are very concerned because you ordered extra garlic sauce or onion topping, it is best to contact your vet right away. Never try to remove food from your cat’s throat once they have eaten it. Cat owners should also never try to make a cat vomit up food they have eaten at home. There is no way to do this safely. Contacting your veterinarian is the best course of action.

Is There Any Kind Of Pizza Safe For Cats?

Any kind of pizza made for human consumption is not safe for cats. Even plain cheese or pies without tomato sauce are not a safe choice. If you have a kitty who seems drawn to certain ingredients like chicken or other meat toppings, it is best to provide them with a feline-safe alternative. Do not share your food with a cat or leave any out where animals can easily access it. Felines are quite curious creatures. They love food and have a fantastic sense of smell. They will be drawn to foods that are left out on the counter or table. Unless you are feeding your cat a feline-friendly pie, designed especially for them, keep this dish away from your kitty.

Feline Friendly Alternatives

Owners looking to feed their kitty a fresh and tasty treat do not need to look very far. Kitties do very well with an occasional chicken treat, cooked appropriately without seasonings like onion or garlic. They can also be given raw chicken on occasion. Felines also love fish, and a few bites of fresh tuna, or canned tuna in water, not oil, can be very tasty. White fish, in general, is a good choice. Kitties can consume some fruits and vegetables for snacks, as well as plenty of commercial cat treat options. It is always best to feed your purr baby something specifically prepared for them, not food intended for human consumption.

If your cat seems to have a bit of an obsession with pizza, there are pet toys available made to look like it that they can play with safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cats able to eat plain cheese pizza?

No, felines should not be fed cheese pizza. Even though this is what many people consider a plain, less exciting pie, for cats, it is just as dangerous as any other kind. Cheese is high in fat and often has heavy oils and additives that are hard to digest. Tomatoes are poisonous to felines, and tomato sauce usually contains other toxic ingredients like garlic, onion, and high levels of salt.

Can cats eat pizza rolls?

Cats should not ever consume pizza rolls. These are made up of many of the same ingredients that are not safe for felines. Additionally, these rolls often have a lot of added ingredients and artificial preservatives. They are often prepared in microwaves and reach incredibly high temperatures. This can injure a felines throat and burn them when they eat them.

Is my cat eating pizza an emergency?

A cat eating pizza will not necessarily be an emergency. This will all depend on the specific situation, what kind of pie it was, and how much a kitty ate. If a cat steals a clove of garlic while its owners are making fresh pies at home, this is an emergency. A cat sneaking a bite of cheese pie from your plate does not always mean an emergency, but owners should observe their pets and contact their veterinarian for advice. It is best not to share food with your kitty and to keep them away from the kitchen if these ingredients are being used. It does not matter if it is the best pizza a human has ever tasted, this dish is just not safe for cats.

Final Thoughts

It is not unusual behavior for purr babies to sniff around what their humans are eating and even sneak a bite or two. Pizza is not a food anyone would typically feed to a feline because it is made up of many ingredients that are not healthy for them. If a kitty does eat a bite, it can be alarming to kitty owners. Generally speaking, one bite is not an emergency. However, owners should keep a very close watch on their kitty to make sure they are okay. Pizza and cats are just not a good match, and owners should do their best to avoid letting pets eat it. If your kitty really seems drawn to a specific ingredient like chicken, there are other ways to provide them that treat that does not pose as much of a health risk as pizza. Always look at goodies intended for feline use and do your research before preparing or feeding your cat any human foods.

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