Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

Published May 6, 2024
tabby cat sniffing a plate of french fries

Adobe Stock/ZUYEVICH

Potatoes are a versatile veggie found in many main courses, side dishes, and afternoon snacks. But if you’re prepping a spud for your dinner and your kitty begins showing interest, can cats eat potatoes too?

The answer is a little complicated. While cooked potatoes are not toxic to cats, they’re not good for cats either. And there are some instances where potatoes can be poisonous for cats. Here’s what to know before adding potatoes to your cat’s food bowl.

Can Cats Have Potatoes?

Potatoes, for cats, are considered empty calories: food that doesn’t provide much nutrition. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they require animal proteins (meat) to provide most of their nutrition and are not designed to digest carbohydrates very well. Potatoes fall in the heavy carb category. Because of this, it’s difficult for cats to get nutrients from potatoes, and potatoes may even upset their digestive system.

That said, properly prepared potatoes are not toxic to cats. But raw potatoes, the potato skin, and all parts of the potato plant contain a toxin called solanine, which is poisonous to our kitties.

How Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

Most cats have no interest in potatoes. But if your kitty is curious about the carb and wants to take a taste of your potato, the key to safety is to prepare the spud properly.

Potatoes that are raw or have not had the skin removed are not safe to share with your cat, as they contain toxic levels of solanine. Additionally, all parts of the potato plant are toxic. If you wish to share with your feline friend, peeled potatoes that are cooked without any fats, salts, or seasonings is best.

Any potato for cats should be:

  • Washed

  • Peeled

  • Free of seasonings or oils

  • Cooked until soft

  • Fed only in tiny amounts (one ½-inch cube)

Monitor your cat for two days after they’d had a taste for any signs of gastrointestinal upset. If they seem OK, you can offer your cat a small taste once or twice per week.

Properly prepared potatoes are not toxic to cats. But raw potatoes, the potato skin, and all parts of the potato plant contain a toxin called solanine, which is poisonous to our kitties.

Can Cats Eat French Fries?

Unfortunately, French fries are not good to share with cats. They contain minimal nutrition and are very fatty and salty, which can make your feline friend sick.

Can Cats Eat Potato Chips?

Like French fries, potato chips have too much fat and salt to be safe for our cats’ digestive tracts. Similarly, fried potato skins contain lots of solanine and should not be offered either.

Can Cats Eat Mashed Potatoes?

Small amounts of mashed potato with no butter, gravy, or seasonings are considered safe if the skin is removed prior to serving.

These plain cooked potatoes are not likely to have any toxic side effects. But if your kitty does have trouble digesting them, there may be some vomiting or diarrhea afterward. If this happens, it’s best to avoid giving your cat potatoes again.

Can Cats Eat Raw Potatoes?

No. Raw potatoes, potatoes with green spots in them, and all parts of the potato plant are toxic to cats. Your kitty should never be allowed to eat any of these.

Can Cats Eat Baked Potatoes?

The inner portion of the cooked potato, away from the skin, is safe to share in small amounts with your kitty. Never let your cat eat potato skins.

Can Cats Eat Potato Skins?

No. Potato skins in any form (raw or cooked) contain the toxin solanine and should be avoided. Remove all traces of the skin before feeding potatoes to cats. Talk to your vet if your cat eats any amount of potato skin.

Can Cats Eat Sweet Potatoes?

Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes do not contain solanine and are considered non-toxic. However, they are also carb-heavy and considered to be empty calories for cats. If you offer your cat sweet potato, make sure it’s plain and that the portions are small.

My Cat Ate Potatoes. What Do I Do?

If your kitty has eaten any amount of raw potato or potato skin (cooked or raw), contact your veterinarian right away. Signs of solanine poisoning range from gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea to severe neurological signs (tremors, seizures, or loss of consciousness).

What To Feed Your Cat Instead

If you’re looking for a nutritious food you can share with your cat, look for lean, cooked meats. When prepared plain and to human consumption standards, cats can have small portions of:

Just remember to keep the portions less than 10% of the total daily calories your cat eats. These foods should be a special treat and not a replacement for well-balanced cat food.

Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra C. Mitchell, DVM, DABVP


Sandra Mitchell is a 1995 graduate of the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation, she has worked in many fields...

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Get Instant Vet Help Via Chat or Video. Connect with a Vet. Chewy Health