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Can Cats Eat Peppers?

Can Cats Eat Peppers?

It depends on the pepper variety and how much she is served.

Peppers are fruits from flowering plants that belong to the Capsicum genus. They consist of about 20 to 27 species in different colours (red, yellow, green, and orange) and varying capsaicin levels. Capsaicin is an active component that can cause a burning sensation when it comes into contact with a mammal’s tissue. 

Bell peppers have a zero rating on the Scoville scale, a scale that measures the pungency of chilies and peppers. Because of that, they can be safely eaten by cats in small amounts no matter what colour they come in. On the other hand, feeding your cat spicy peppers including cayenne pepper, jalapeños, and chili peppers can cause health problems. These can range from vomiting and upset tummy to watery eyes and runny nose. 

Commonly called Natal Cherry, Winter Cherry, and Jerusalem Cherry, the Ornamental Pepper is a toxic plant for both cats and dogs. The ASPCA states that the ingested solanine may badly affect your cat. Symptoms include gastrointestinal disturbances, gastrointestinal ulcers, seizures, depression, respiratory depression, and shock. 

Note that black or white pepper seasoning comes from peppercorn. This seasoning also causes a burning sensation when eaten. However, it does not belong to the same family as pepper fruits since it is the substance piperine that causes the heat.     

How to feed peppers to your cat: Wash the fruit properly. Slice it into smaller sections and remove the stem, seeds, and core. Serve a few pieces raw or lightly cooked without mixing salt, onions, garlic, and other potentially harmful ingredients. 

What to do if your cat accidentally eats spicy peppers: Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Try to determine how much your cat ate and observe her for changes in her behaviour, eating, and litter box habits. 

In summary: Cats are obligate carnivores that only need to consume a small amount of vegetables and fruits. With your vet’s recommendation, pepper varieties that do not contain capsaicin can be given to her occasionally and in small amounts. Remember to limit pepper treats to avoid pancreatitis, chronic pain, and weight gain. 

Browse through our “can cats eat” category to discover which human foods you can safely feed to your pet cat.

References: 

Capsicum

Can Cats Eat Spicy Food?

Ornamental Pepper

Black pepper

Can Cats Eat Bell Peppers?



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