Today, many people are aware of healthy diet options as they are conscious about their weight and appearance. Tofu, which originated in China, is a healthy option that has made its way into the human diet quite regularly. It is made by curdling soybeans, and it is used as an alternative to meat and cottage cheese. This is because tofu contains fewer calories.
Many people have made tofu a part of their regular diet. Since it is quite bland, they add some spices to tofu and enjoy the dish. However, can this experimentation work for cats? Can cats eat tofu? Can they digest tofu properly? As a cat owner, you may have many questions like these and more in your mind. In this article, we attempt to answer all of them for you.
The simple answer to this question is that cats need not eat tofu. They don’t need a meat alternative, as they are carnivorous animals. While they can be allowed to nibble on a small amount of tofu occasionally, eating it regularly should be avoided at all costs. Why is tofu risky for cats? Please keep reading to know more about the same.
The Healthy Alternative of Tofu – What is it all about?
The texture of tofu looks just like cheese. Why? It is because the process of making tofu is almost similar to that of making cheese. While cheese is got by curdling milk, tofu is got by curdling soybeans. It is white, soft, and bland. Though it had its origins in China, it slowly started to get popular across Asia, as a healthier alternative to cottage cheese (commonly known as paneer in India) and meat, thanks to its low calories. Today, many international cuisine styles use tofu in their dishes.
Why cats need not have tofu?
Since tofu contains lower calories and higher protein & fat components, it can work well for diet-conscious human beings. However, tofu need not and should not be a part of your cat’s diet due to the following reasons:
Different dietary requirements
Humans and cats have different requirements in their diets. While the vitamins, minerals, high protein and low calories found in tofu may benefit humans, it may not be the same case in cats. Felines derive all their nutrients from their dry foods, wet foods, meat and cat treats. The goodness of tofu is just not good enough for their nourishment.
Difficult to digest
Cats find it very difficult to digest some components like sugars found in tofu. Special enzymes are needed to break down the tofu into digestible elements. A cat’s system doesn’t produce these enzymes. So, giving too much tofu to cats can lead to stomach upsets and diarrhea in felines. However, you don’t have to panic if your cat has eaten a small amount of tofu because a little nibble of this item doesn’t cause any toxic reaction in felines.
Any product made with soy contains phytoestrogens. This compound has the potential to disturb the cat’s bloodstream and can cause cancer, in some serious cases.
Tofu is very bland
Tofu is one of the blandest foods you will ever taste on this planet. It definitely needs some additional spices and flavoring agents to make it edible and tasty. This is why you cannot give tofu to your cats. While tofu itself may not be toxic for them, the additional spices you use can be toxic and fatal for cats. Garlic and onions are the two most commonly used spices for reducing the blandness of tofu. Unfortunately, both of these can cause serious toxic reactions in cats. So, it is better to refrain from feeding tofu to your cats in any form.
Cats do not get any nutrition from the incomplete proteins that tofu offers. Tofu doesn’t contain any nutritional benefits for cats. A small bite now and then should be okay, but feeding tofu regularly to cats can cause digestive ailments in them. The most common side-effects that cats suffer from, due to overconsumption of tofu are diarrhea, stomach-related ailments, and vomiting.
Can tofu kill cats?
As we told you earlier, tofu is not entirely toxic, but a lot of it can cause digestive problems for cats. If it ate a small amount of tofu accidentally, there is no need to get alarmed. The real problem can arise when your cat develops a liking for tofu.
Even if cats like tofu, you should take extra care to ensure that you don’t feed them this at regular intervals, especially if you have added additional spices to tofu, like garlic or onions.
When they eat more tofu, they don’t have any space left in their stomachs for their nutritional diet. They will start moving away from their regular healthy foods, which is not a good sign. So, always feed tofu only in very small amounts to your cats. It is best if you don’t introduce them to tofu at all.
The natural tendency of cats is to enjoy meat. Tofu is nothing but a substitute for meat, which doesn’t contain enough nutrients. If you want to experiment with your cat’s diet, you can do so by introducing some healthy treats in its meal. Please talk to your veterinarian before feeding even a small amount of tofu to your cat.
Tofu is very hard to digest and can cause severe health issues in cats. If it has accidentally nibbled some tofu, all you can do is observe your cat see if it is exhibiting any abnormal symptoms. If it doesn’t show any symptoms, then you don’t have any reason to be alarmed. However, if your cat shows any discomfort like pain in the stomach, or vomiting, please visit a veterinarian immediately.
In a nutshell, we would like to reiterate that it is best to keep your cats away from tofu completely, as this meat alternative doesn’t contain anything good for your feline pets. While bland tofu can be given occasionally, flavored or spiced tofu should be avoided at all costs.