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Can Cats Drink Soy Sauce? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Chelsea Mortensen

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Soy Sauce

Can Cats Drink Soy Sauce? Vet-Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo


Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Does your cat get curious about human food? You probably know that your cat prefers savory treats, but finding safe foods to share with your cat isn’t always simple. Soy sauce is a common additive to meat sauces, especially in Asian dishes. But before you let your cat share your food with you, be sure to hold the soy sauce, as it’s mostly sodium (commonly known as salt). Unlike humans, cats can’t process sodium very well. If your cat consumes soy sauce, they are at high risk of getting sodium poisoning. It’s important to keep your cat away from soy sauce to avoid them getting poisoned.

divider-catclaw1 Sodium Poisoning in Cats

We humans can be healthy with salt in our diets, and we need it to survive, but that’s not the case for cats. In the wild, cats mainly eat low-sodium food sources, and their digestive system can’t handle salt like humans can. Sodium-ion poisoning happens when a pet eats more salt than they can process, and in cats, that amount is minimal. In fact, a cat under 10 pounds only needs 0.05 tablespoon of salt to begin experiencing sodium ion poisoning—that’s around 850 milligrams.

Soy sauce is used mainly to add a salty flavor to food, so it’s not surprising that it’s high in sodium. In fact, a single tablespoon of soy sauce has around 879 milligrams of sodium in it. That means your cat only needs to drink a tablespoon or so of soy sauce to experience poisoning.

If your cat experiences sodium poisoning, you’ll usually see signs around 3 hours after ingestion. These may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, tremors, and shortness of breath.

Soy Sauce with chopsticks
Image Credit: Pixabay

What About Low-Sodium Soy Sauce?

There are low-sodium soy sauce options available, but these still aren’t healthy for cats. Low-sodium sauces usually have about 400–500 milligrams of salt compared to 800–1,000 milligrams found in standard soy sauces. This means that your cat is less likely to be poisoned, but it’s still very dangerous to your cat in terms of health.

What to Do if Your Cat Consumes Soy Sauce

If your cat ingests soy sauce, stop to take stock of the situation. Since soy sauce is used as a flavoring, most cats will not ingest a large amount. Other cats might consume a large amount of food with soy sauce on it or drink soy sauce straight. This is much more dangerous than a few bites of Chinese chicken.

If you think your cat has consumed less than a tablespoon of soy sauce, you can wait to see if sodium poisoning occurs. Give your cat clean water to drink as needed, and watch for any signs. Take your cat to the vet immediately if your cat shows signs of sickness.

You shouldn’t wait to take your cat to the vet if they have ingested a larger amount of sauce. Your vet can monitor sodium levels in your cat’s body and provide treatment in the form of inducing vomiting or IV fluids. Your vet will help your cat’s sodium concentration return to normal slowly enough that it will not cause additional side effects. If left untreated, sodium poisoning can be fatal.

vet checking a white cat's face
Image Credit: MakeStory Studio, Shutterstock

Healthy Alternatives

If you’re looking for something to mix up your cat’s diet, you might consider sticking to plain meat as a treat. Plain chicken or beef is safe and healthy for your cat, and most cats will prefer this to something more flavorful. If you really want a sauce to add to your cat’s food, then look for cat food toppers. You can buy specialty toppers or use low-sodium chicken or beef broth, pumpkin purée, or other cat-safe treats to add some moisture and flavor to your cat’s food.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

My Cat Didn’t Drink Soy Sauce Directly but Ate Food Containing Soy Sauce. What Do I Do?

Your cat taking a few bites of food containing soy sauce is less dangerous than consuming soy sauce directly. Monitor your kitty to ensure no negative signs of sodium poisoning show up, or call your vet if you’re concerned.

Do Cats Like Soy Sauce?

It’s possible, but this really depends on the individual cat. Regardless of if they like it or not, it’s still in their best interest if you keep them from consuming any soy sauce at all.



Cats shouldn’t have soy sauce because it has far too much salt for them to ingest safely, even in small amounts. Healthy cat treats are best for your pet, though if you still want to give them human food, plain cooked chicken or beef is ideal.

Whatever you choose, make sure that it is safe for your cat. Check the food’s sodium levels, and make sure it is relatively low in fat and carbs. Your cat will appreciate soy sauce-free snacking!

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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