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Can Cats Eat Tofu? Nutritional Facts & FAQ

Can Cats Eat tofu
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

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Tofu seems to be a favorite among humans that avoid eating meat. But what about when it comes to cats, who are obligate carnivores? Can they eat tofu, and do they even like it? While tofu is not toxic to cats, it will also not supply any nutritional benefits to them.

Cats need animal-based food because they supply the required quantity of proteins that they need to thrive. Furthermore, the way cats digest food might cause them to develop diarrhea after consuming tofu. Let’s take a closer look at this unlikely pair: cats and tofu.


What Do Cats Require in their Diet?

Cats need protein for muscle and bone-building as well as for energy production. Micronutrients such as zinc, calcium, and magnesium are crucial for enzyme function. They should obtain all their nutritional requirements from wet and dry foods. Cats don’t need, nor will they benefit from vitamins and minerals in tofu. When feeding cats, remember that their staple food is meat. Since tofu is a meat alternative, felines can only feed on it in moderation because they lack some of the enzymes needed to digest some tofu sugars. These sugars are likely to surpass the gastrointestinal tract and come out as diarrhea.

Nutritional Highlights of Tofu

Tofu is a nutritious food that contains most of the essential nutrients. It has nine essential amino acids, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, vitamin B1, and zinc.

Tofu is mainly rich in fats and proteins, but since cats need more proteins than fats, tofu is not a recommended food source for them. Generally, tofu is healthier than cheese since it has no lactose. Unfortunately, it contains two sugars, raffinose and stachyose, that are not easily digested by felines.

Moreover, in most cases, tofu is seasoned with salt, garlic, and onions that are toxic to cats. Your cat can develop symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

sliced tofu
Image Credit: Pixabay

Serving Tofu To Your Cat

A maximum of two weekly servings should be the maximum you serve your cat, if they like it, that is. Remember to serve it as a treat. If you are introducing it for the first time, test them out with very small portions and check how they react. Some cats can be intolerant to tofu. Start by giving it small blocks to taste; provide 1-2 small blocks. If your cat does not develop signs and symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, or any other gastrointestinal symptoms, then you are safe to increase the amount to twice a week.

It is safe to serve your cat with homemade tofu since most commercially available ones are seasoned and laced with additives that may upset the cat’s stomach. However, if you trust your source, go ahead and give them some. Since it is a snack, you can serve it alongside kibble or dry food for your pet.

Do I Have to Cook Tofu Before Feeding it To My Cat?

Tofu is obtained by drying and soaking the soybeans before they are soaked or ground. The soybean is then boiled before gypsum is added to solidify the resulting liquid. After that, the mixture is sieved, and the solidified extract becomes tofu. This means that tofu is not raw, so cats can eat commercially-produced tofu without cooking it first.

Ensure that your tofu supplier is trusted with high standards of hygiene and follows food safety guidelines. In case you and your pet develop diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, then it means that bacteria might have contaminated the tofu. If you doubt the source, boil the food before consuming or feeding your cat.

fried tofu
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Cats and Soy

Allergies are widespread in cats. About 10% of allergies in cats are caused by food, and tofu, made from soy, is no exception. Tofu can cause an allergic reaction in cats; thus, you need to introduce it slowly as you monitor your pet response. Other foods that cause allergic reactions include chicken, corn, fish, and wheat.

Allergies in cats manifest through vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, swollen and red ears, hair loss, and itching on the back, neck, and head. According to research, soy has been demonstrated as a potential cause of hypothyroidism, affecting 1 in 300 cats.

Can Cats Drink Soy-Based Drinks?

Since tofu is a low soy product, you might be tempted to give the feline some soy milk too. However, your cat should not be given any soy-based drinks. Although they have no lactose, these drinks have raffinose and stachyose, which cats can’t digest. Furthermore, these sugars can give your cat gastrointestinal problems like bloating, stomach upsets, and vomiting.

Though cats love milk, which might tempt you to introduce soy milk to your cat’s diet, it is not cat food. Both cow and soy milk are nutritionally inappropriate; and, cats should not drink either of them.

soy milk
Image Credit: Pixabay

Cats and Tofurky

Tofurky is made from organic tofu and wheat protein. This food should not be given to cats since it is seasoned with herbs and spices that are toxic to cats; however, if your pet snatches a piece, don’t worry. One scrap is not as fatal. However. keep the rest out of their sight.

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Be Careful of Added Ingredients

Garlic, onions, scallions, and shallots cause anemia in cats. Anemia in cats manifests as lethargy, weakness, and easy fatigability. Exposure to many of these foods also gives your pale cat gums, weakness, and dark orange urine. Should you spot these symptoms, take your cat to the vet for appropriate treatment and proper dietary advice.

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Cats should not eat tofu more than occasionally since it is a vegetable protein that is not ideal for cats. If your kitty has already tasted and liked tofu, moderate the amount to twice a week as a treat. Monitor your pet to ensure it does not develop life-threatening symptoms related to soybean intolerance. The fact that your pet likes tofu doesn’t mean you should substitute it with the main meal.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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