Cats will eat absolutely anything they can get their paws on, and that includes spicy foods such as Takis chips. As a huge fan of spicy flavors I know this only too well… I dropped a couple of Takis on the floor last week which our cat soon gobbled up. But can cats eat Takis, and what would happen if they ate too many of them? I decided to find out…
Can cats eat Takis? Cats should not eat hot Takis. Spicy foods can be toxic for cats and can cause stomach upsets. Takis have no nutritional value, contains high salt and chili levels, so should never be fed to a cat, unless by accident.
What will happen if a cat eats a Taki?
Spicy foods are known to be bad for cat's stomachs. Some cats (but not all) will suffer with diarrhea, flatulence, and gastro-intestinal pain. The hot chili could even burn their throat and insides.
Due to the high salt content in spicy food like hot Taki chips, eating the in large volumes can also result in excessive thirst, with possible vomiting. Takis chips also contain traces of onion which, along with garlic, is a toxic ingredient to felines.
Another thing to consider is the smell. Cats have a sense of smell that’s said to be 40 times greater than a human (view source).
Consider that Takis have a very strong smell, and how that could be bad for your cat. If hot spice makes your eyes water, imagine what that could do for poor old Fido.
The non-friendly cat ingredients in Takis
But why can Takis make a cat ill?
It’s all down to the spicy hot ingredients in Takis chips, high salt content, oils, sugar, and onions. Here’s what in a packet:
Ingredients in hot Takis Fuego chips: Corn masa flour, soybean and/or palm and/or canola oil, iodized salt, sugar, natural and artificial flavor, citric acid, soy protein, yeast, monosodium glutamate, maltodextrin, sodium diacetate, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, artificial colors, onion powder, hot chili pepper, sodium bicarbonate, sodium guanylate, sodium inosinate, silicon dioxide, antioxidants).
Is there anything on that list you would really want to be feeding your cat?
The rumors about Takis being cancerous
A few years ago, there were rumors doing the rounds that Takis can cause stomach cancer and ulcers in kids. I think this is probably one of the main reasons people ask if it’s safe to feed cats Takis.
However, the rumors about Takis not being safe to eat was debunked by the Snopes website (read it here).
What is true is that humans eat lots of spicy food, then yes, it is possible to get stomach pain and gastritis. But what isn’t true, is how just eating hot Taki chips can result in people getting cancer.
And you can probably apply the same reasoning and logic to cats… Takis will not give your cat stomach cancer.
Can I feed my cat Takis?
If you’re still not sure, then I really don’t know what more I can say. Of course, you can feed your cat Takis all you want. Does it make you a bad person? I would say yes.
Your cat might eat some hot Takis by accident. That happened to our cat, but we would never feed Takis to our own kitten deliberately.
If you still have some overwhelming desire to feed your cat Takis, perhaps believing your cat has a thing for spicy food, then think again. Cats don’t have as many taste buds as humans (1,700 versus 9,000) and probably won’t even taste the spice like we do.
But, they will feel those spicy flavors in their digestive systems, and not in a good way.
Why cats eating Takis will have calorific consequences
Aside from the spicy flavors and the unhealthy ingredients, you should also consider how many calories are in Takis, and what this means for your cat's diet.
To get a better idea on this, I looked at two of the most popular breeds of cat; Maine Coon and Ragdolls. I then calculated how many calories an average cat from each breed should eat each day.
- Cats should only eat 25 calories for each pound they weigh each day.
- Cats should only have treats as 10% of their total daily food intake (the 90/10 rule).
This means the following:
- Average Maine Coon is 8-20 pounds: Should eat no more than 625 calories daily.
- Average Ragdoll is 15-20 pounds: Should eat no more than 1,750 calories daily.
When we now consider how many calories each of these cats should be eating each day, it lets me crunch the numbers on the chips, to show how bad Takis can be for a cat. For example:
- Takis Fuego flavor (230 calories): 37% Maine Coon / 13% Ragdoll daily intake.
- Takis Outlaw flavor (230 calories): 37% Maine Coon / 13% Ragdoll daily intake.
- Takis Xplosion flavor (250 calories): 40% Maine Coon / 14% Ragdoll daily intake.
That means that if my Maine Coon was to eat a packet of Takis Fuego chips, he would have consumed a massive 37% of his recommended daily calories! That’s way over my 90/10 rule when it comes to giving my cat a treat each day!
The bottom line is you should never feed your cat anything unhealthy that isn’t designed for their diet, and that includes hot and spicy snacks like Takis… or even similar chip snacks like Doritos – it’s all the same really. Even tamales with their heavy meat content can be too spicy – you can read more about them in this guide.
Thankfully my cat was ok, and he didn’t get the nasty diarrhea and gas that I was honestly expecting. It could have been very different though, so I will be taking extra special care in the future!
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