Can Cats Have Ketchup?  Safety Precautions that Every Cat Owner Should Know!

Cats are curious creatures, which can sometimes lead them to get into trouble. There are times when they nibble on things and food which they shouldn’t. For example, can cats have ketchup? The short answer is no. 

As a cat owner, it is important to research what kind of food is safe for cats to eat. Ketchup contains a lot of sugar and sodium, which are unhealthy for cats.

For the past years, I have been working with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc, a rescue organization in Illinois. I have seen the struggle of most of our fur friends including cats that suffer from skin diseases and other illnesses due to the wrong feeding choices of cat owners. 

While cats are generally carnivores and don’t require many fruits and vegetables, there are some human foods that they can enjoy.

Can cats eat barbeque sauce? Can cats have whipped cream?” It is great that you are taking the time to ask what your cat can eat. So, let us discuss today why cats can’t have ketchup and what are its effects on felines. 

Reasons Why Cats Can’t Eat Ketchup

Cats may seem like they can eat anything they want, but there are certain foods that cats should not eat. Ketchup is one of these foods. 

Most ketchup brands use ingredients that are known to be harmful to cats. These ingredients and the reasons why they are dangerous to cats are discussed below;

Garlic and Onion Powder

It is not recommended to feed cats garlic or onion powder due to the potential for health risks. These spices can cause gastrointestinal irritation problems. They contain compounds that cause great damage to the cat’s red blood cells and eventually forces these cells to burst. 

This leads to anemia and may pose a serious health condition to cats including death. Studies show that cats are not allowed to ingest onions more than 0.5% of their body weight. This means, in as little as this, your cat’s life may be put in danger. 

If you need to season your cat’s food, it’s best to use herbs such as parsley, oregano, or basil.

  Symptoms may include;

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Discolored urine
  • Breathing difficulties


Cats cannot have vinegar either. It is highly acidic and can cause irritation to their digestive system. Additionally, it can lower the pH balance in their stomach, which can lead to dehydration, nausea, vomiting, and even difficulty breathing.


Once cats ingest large amounts of vinegar, it can cause an electrolyte imbalance which can be fatal. It’s best to keep vinegar away from cats and out of their reach.

Signs that your cat had vinegar includes;

  • Gastrointestinal problem
  • Signs of discomfort
  • Has trouble  walking
  • Distressed


Salt intake in cats should not be more than 0.5g per day. This means, even a teaspoon of salt ingested by your felines will most likely put them in a dangerous situation. 

Salt can affect their kidneys and other organs, as well as cause dehydration. High salt intake can also lead to electrolyte imbalances. 

While most cat food manufacturers, keep the salt at a minimum, you should still always check the label and with your vet as to which cat food is most recommended.

If you prefer to feed your cat with homemade food, it’s best to avoid adding salt to your cat’s diet and stick to healthy treats, such as cooked chicken or fish.

Salt poisoning in cats can cause the following symptoms;

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Muscle twitching
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures


Sugar is as harmful to cats as salt. It can cause a spike in their blood sugar levels which can lead to diabetes, obesity, and other health issues. Too much sugar can cause them to gain weight and can lead to dental problems.

Plus, cats cannot digest sugar very well which may cause a lot of problems including gastrointestinal concerns. 

To keep your cat healthy and happy, it’s best to avoid giving them sugary treats or foods. 

If you think your cat had sugar, observe them and see if they are having these symptoms;

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness

Artificial Ingredients

Cats are obligate carnivores, so they should not consume artificial ingredients. It is important to provide cats with a balanced diet that is high in quality proteins, healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. 

cat licking it's nose

Feeding cats a diet that is based on artificial ingredients can be harmful to their health in the long term. To ensure your cat is getting the nutrition they need, it is best that you provide them with a diet that is made up of real, natural ingredients.

Can cats have ranch and whipped cream? This is one of the questions often asked by most cat owners and the answer is usually no since most brands use artificial ingredients in manufacturing them.

If you’re concerned that your cat may have eaten artificial ingredients, look out for any signs of  the following symptoms; 

  • Digestive upset symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea
  • Changes in appetite. 
  • Changes in behavior
  • Increased thirst
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of energy

When Is Ketchup Considered Safe for Cats to Consume?

Ketchup is generally considered safe for cats to consume in small amounts. However, it is important to remember that cats are obligate carnivores and their diet should primarily consist of animal proteins. 

Ketchup should not be used as a substitute for an actual meal, as it does not contain the essential nutrients cats need to stay healthy. Also, if you do feed your cat ketchup, make sure it is free of onions and garlic, as these can be toxic to them.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Consumes Ketchup?

If your cat has consumed ketchup, the first thing that you should do is monitor it for any changes in its behavior. Check if it is showing signs of digestive issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, or restlessness. Also, ensure that it has access to fresh clean water. 

Ketchup is generally considered to be safe for cats to consume in small amounts, but in large quantities, it can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and other health issues. If these signs are present, head to your vet as they can provide specific advice based on your cat’s age, breed, and overall health conditions.

FAQs: The Purrr-fect Answers

Can Cats Consume Tomatoes? 

It’s not recommended to feed cats tomatoes because they can be toxic to cats. Tomatoes contain a substance called ‘solanine‘, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and potentially more serious issues if ingested.


This is especially the case if the cat has eaten the plant and the unripe fruit. Plus it can be a choking hazard. 

Cats that have ingested tomatoes will most likely experience severe abdominal pain and upset stomach. Excessive salivation, depression, and a slow heart rate are also some of the most common symptoms. 

Can Cats Consume Tomato Soup?

No. Tomato soup’s main ingredient is still tomato, which is harmful to cats. Plus, it has ingredients that are known to be toxic to cats such as garlic, onions, and other spices.  It can cause gastrointestinal issues that will make your cat suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. 

Tomato soup also has salt and oil which are both dangerous to cats if ingested. However, if you really want to feed them your leftover soup, keep it in small amounts only and remove other ingredients that may be a choking hazard. 

Is It Safe for Cats To Eat Sardines?

While sardines are generally considered safe for cats to eat, it is important to make sure that the sardines that you are giving your cat are fresh, have been cooked properly, and have no added ingredients like oil or spices.

It is also a good idea to introduce sardines to your cat slowly, as they can be high in fat and could potentially cause stomach upset if eaten too quickly.

Canned sardines, however, must be given to your cats in moderation. Also, avoid canned sardine brands that are high in sodium, fats, and soy products. 


Cat owners need to consider a lot of things when it comes to feeding their feline friends. While most people tend to feed cats human food, there are foods that are only intended for human consumption. Again, cats have a special nutritional requirement which they can only get from eating animal meat. 

So, ketchup and other sauces, although not toxic to cats, do not also have the needed nutritional value which is beneficial to them. Plus, some of the ingredients in ketchup may be harmful to them. 

Always make sure they have access to healthy food and treats, as eating anything that isn’t meant for cats can have serious health consequences. Taking a few simple precautions can help keep your feline friend safe and healthy.

Happy to learn this information regarding cat feeding? Stay updated in this corner and learn more through our quick guides and articles about animals.

You can also check our published blogs for more tricks and information regarding animal tricks, equipment, feeding styles, and a lot more.

Photo of author

Lovelia Horn

I’m a certified crazy dog mom, a physical therapist (for hoomans), writer, animal rescuer, and foster home provider. Together with my hubby Ryan, I’ve fostered and helped look for forever homes for over a hundred shelter dogs in the Southern Illinois area. I mostly work with Puppy Rescue 911, Inc., a certified animal rescue organization based out of Chester, IL (home of Popeye!)

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