It happens to the best of us. Your cute cat is eyeing your sandwich and in a split second, they have licked some mayonnaise off of your lunch. Can cats eat mayo?
No. Cats should not eat mayo and especially not in large quantities. If your cat ingests a small amount of mayo it will most likely not be harmed, but it is not recommended.
Feeding cats mayonnaise is not suggested for several reasons. Mayonnaise contains several ingredients that deliver no nutritional value to cats. While small quantities of mayo most likely won’t harm your cat, they can experience uncomfortable side effects after eating mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise is a popular condiment for many recipes. Mayo is spread on sandwiches, used to make tuna salad and egg salad fillings, and even becomes a cake for Swedish folks.
This simple condiment is often purchased at grocery stores but is also simple to make yourself. Mayonnaise consists of egg yolks, oil, and an acid – usually vinegar or lemon juice. None of these ingredients are toxic to cats, but they do not provide any nutritional value to felines.
Egg yolks are fine for cats in small quantities, like a few scrambled eggs. Eggs are high in protein and healthy fats. However, eggs are also high in cholesterol which can promote health issues in cats and kittens.
Oil, like the typical soybean oil used in commercial mayonnaise, is also high in fat. Some oils, like limited fish oil supplements, can promote healthy skin and fur for cats. However because mayo is so high in oils and fats, it quickly veers into unhealthy territory for cats.
Lemon juice or vinegar appears in very small quantities in mayo to help the spread emulsify, or come together in a cohesive paste. Herbs and spices combine with these acids to add distinctive flavors to mayonnaise.
While these ingredients show up in tiny amounts in mayonnaise, they still do not promote any health effects in cats and should be avoided. Some cats exhibit allergic reactions to citrus fruits.
The biggest issue facing cats interested in eating mayo is the extremely high fat content of this condiment. In fact, this concern is the same reason humans should monitor their consumption of this decadent spread. Mayo is a sneaky contributor to weight gain and obesity.
Mayonnaise contains nearly 100 calories in every tablespoon. A healthy, active cat needs only about 200 calories every day to maintain an appropriate weight. If your cat regularly snacks on mayo, they may be overdoing their daily caloric intake very quickly!
Even for large breed cats, who can eat up to about 250 calories daily, mayo still presents a snack much too high in fat.
Cats exceeding their daily calorie intake regularly can experience obesity. In today’s pets, obesity serves as the number one health concern. Obesity in cats puts an unnecessary strain on their bodies every day, making it difficult for them to move naturally and get exercise.
Obesity also can wear out a cat’s organs before their time and result in early death from hypertension, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.
Obesity is a long-term risk for cats who eat mayo, but short-term concerns exist as well. Because of the high fat and cholesterol content in mayonnaise, the following side effects may appear:
- Abdominal swelling or tenderness
Be sure to monitor your cat if they have ingested a large quantity of mayo. Some felines show few side effects to eating mayonnaise, but others cannot tolerate this rich food. Consult your veterinarian if your cat is experiencing severe symptoms or has difficulty eating for more than 48 hours.
A balanced diet for cats involves only three simple factors: animal protein, healthy fats, and sufficient moisture.
Protein must serve as the foundational element of any cat’s healthy diet. Protein helps cats build healthy muscles, tissues, organs, and a robust immune system. Essential amino acids like arginine and taurine rank as vital nutrients contained in proteins.
Animal protein provides the only way for cats to benefit from proteins. Ingredients like soy or plant-based meats do not deliver nutritional value to cats.
While mayonnaise delivers a high fat content, healthier fats serve cats better. Fats help cats maintain their energy levels and promote healthy digestion in cats.
Consider adding a small supplement of fish oils to your cat’s food or choose treats with omega-3s and other healthy fats. Popular treats like cod skins and dried bonito flakes are terrific, healthy options for your cat or kitten.
Moisture can be a forgotten element in a cat’s healthy diet, but it is very important! Dehydration can strike cats and result in damaging and persistent urinary tract infections and other serious health issues.
If your cat does not find their water bowl appealing, consider investing in a bubbling water fountain. Bone broth products formulated for cats and kittens deliver proper moisture to cats while also boosting protein and collagen levels for healthy skin and joints.
Wet food is also a great option for cats averse to drinking water. Consider replacing dry cat kibble with wet food to increase the liquid intake for your cat. Or supplement daily dry food with wet food a few times each week to help your cat stay properly hydrated.
A few key observations help cat owners determine if their cat is eating the proper diet. Cats cannot talk to their owners and are notoriously effective at hiding illnesses. Watch for these health indicators to determine if you have found a proper diet for your feline:
- Regular, solid bowel movements
- Normal shedding, no hair loss
- Shiny coat
- Fewer hairballs
- Toned muscles which promote healthy activity
- Strong immune system
- Natural weight management
Learn more about feeding mayo to your cat and other proper cat feeding with these frequently asked questions.
Choose lean meats like turkey, liver, lamb, beef, chicken, or turkey for your cat. Make sure these meats are always fully cooked before giving them to your feline. Never offer skin, bones, or raw meat to a cat.
While mayo can lead to short-term discomfort in your cat and the potential for obesity or other long-term health issues, mayo is not poisonous to cats. Avoid allowing your cat to eat mayonnaise habitually.
Cat owners should avoid feeding raw eggs and meat, alcohol, grapes, or raisins to cats. Onions, garlic, and chocolate are also toxic to cats.
Yes. Most traditional mayonnaise recipes contain eggs. Therefore most mayo is not vegan. However, there are modern vegan mayo options without eggs or other animal products.
Because of the high fat content in mayo, do not serve mayonnaise to dogs, cats, small mammals, or other pets. While mayo will most likely not kill your pet, it provides no nutritional value and can lead to health issues.
Mayonnaise is a delicious condiment, mostly because of its silky texture and luxurious fat content. However, those elements make mayo especially unnecessary and possibly harmful to cats. While no ingredients within mayo prove toxic to cats, it is not recommended to feed cats mayo.
Avoid the health risks of obesity and high cholesterol in cats by avoiding feeding cats mayo.