Can Cats Have Spicy Food?

Spicy foods can be an irresistible treat for some cats, but are they safe to feed them? Capsaicin – the substance found in hot peppers – may cause gastrointestinal issues in cats.

Chewy Online Pet Supplies

35% Off at

+ Free Shipping

Save Now

Spices can irritate a cat’s throat and lead to it having a runny nose and watery eyes. Furthermore, they may cause vomiting and diarrhea.



Capsaicin, the chemical responsible for chili peppers’ fiery taste, can be hazardous for cats. It irritates their mouth and stomach and may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration in cats.

As a matter of fact, all mammals except two (humans and tree shrews) avoid consuming capsaicin-based food due to its irritation to taste buds and mucosal membranes in the mouth. Chilis contain capsaicin which irritates these receptors, giving them an unpleasant tingle.

Cats often spit out spicy foods to avoid the pain that follows; once the chilis have been expelled from their mouths, they won’t have to deal with their effects again.

Spicy foods should never be fed to cats, and it is always best to swab the spicy food with water before feeding it to your furry friend. Additionally, supervise them when eating spicy meals in order to prevent dehydration.


Onions are one of the world’s most ubiquitous vegetables. Low in calories and packed with essential vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, onions make for an incredibly nutritious food choice.

Onions have numerous health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties and phytochemicals with powerful antioxidant and anti-microbial effects. Furthermore, onions contain potassium – an essential mineral which aids in normal cell function, fluid balance and nerve transmission.

However, even small amounts of onion can cause severe illness in cats. No matter if you feed your cat raw, cooked or powdered onion products (like those found in baby foods), remember that onions can break down a cat’s red blood cells and lead to anemia.

Onion poisoning in cats can manifest as weakness, shortness of breath, lethargy, lack of appetite and dehydration. If you observe any of these signs in your feline friend, seek immediate veterinary help. The longer the condition remains untreated the more serious it could become; if symptoms persist for too long your cat could even succumb.


Garlic, a bulbous plant belonging to the onion family, has an aromatic flavor that can be used as a spice in many dishes. It often garnishes soups, sauces, marinades, spice rubs and stir-fries for flavor enhancement.

Garlic can also be minced and roasted whole as a spread or condiment. While it could potentially be used to make spicy food for cats, this method should only be done sparingly as even small amounts of garlic are highly toxic to them.

Garlic is five times more toxic to cats than onions, and even a small amount can cause various health problems including anemia (low blood count). Signs such as lethargy, pale gums, an increase in breathing rate and discolored urine may take days to appear but it’s essential that you seek medical help immediately upon noticing them.


Nutmeg is an everyday spice that can be used to impart flavor and a nutty scent to dishes. It works great in both sweet and savory recipes, making it a versatile ingredient worth trying.

Cats may benefit from eating this plant, as it helps them regulate their blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, too much consumption of it is toxic to cats so it should be avoided at all costs.

Nutmeg poisoning may present with symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting and a dry mouth; it may even affect the brain.

If your cat consumes a significant amount of nutmeg, they should be taken to the veterinarian immediately. Treatment for nutmeg poisoning typically involves gastric lavage – whereby the veterinarian uses a tube to flush out their stomach and eliminate any trace amounts of nuts. They’ll then administer activated charcoal to bind any remaining toxins still present in their system.