Can Cats Eat Rice Cakes?

Can cats eat Rice Cakes? No, cats should not eat Rice Cakes because, as obligate carnivores, cats thrive on meat. Their diet should contain 90% protein and fats and only 10% carbs. Although Rice Cakes contain dietary fiber, they do have a lot of carbs that your cat can’t digest properly. You can give your feline friends Rice Cakes in moderation, but make sure they are salt-free to avoid sodium poisoning.

Rice cakes are exactly what the name suggests: hard-pressed rice that looks like a cake. They are crunchy and taste bland when they are sodium free. 

One Rice Cake that weighs around 18.5 grams has 16 grams of carbohydrates. This is too much for your felines to digest since cats should have less than 10% carbs in their daily diet. Also, they don’t even have the amylase enzyme that’s responsible for digesting carbohydrates. Furthermore, just like Saltine Crackers, Rice Cakes also have a lot of salt and consuming too much salt can lead to sodium poisoning in cats.

Can cats have Rice Cakes?

Cat likes Rice Cakes
My cat likes Rice Cakes! Should I give her one?

No, cats should not have Rice Cakes, at least not every day. There’s a reason why cats are known as obligate carnivores: they can’t digest grains or veggies properly. Obligate carnivores need to have at least 70% meat in their diet. A lot of carbs can actually cause vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea. 

What are Rice Cakes?

Rice Cakes are a popular snack because they are low-fat. If you’ve never seen one, they are circular in shape that is made from puffed white or brown rice. They are also dry and crispy.

Most Rice Cakes from your local grocery stores will usually contain two ingredients: whole grain rice (white rice or brown rice) and salt.

The whole grain brown rice is relatively healthier than white rice because it contains protein, minerals, vitamins, and lipids. Because Rice Cakes are usually plain in taste, most will consume it with toppings such as cottage cheese, nut butter, Greek yogurt, and berries.

However, Rice Cakes have a high glycemic index. This means that when our fuzzy friends consume Rice Cakes, the glucose (sugar) found in this snack releases rapidly into your cats’ bloodstream giving them a sudden rush of energy.

But this energy disappears shortly and leaves your feline friend hungry for more food.

Constant consumption of carbohydrate food or snack such as Rice Cakes can lead to feline obesity, among other health issues.  

What are Rice Cakes made of?

Plain Rice Cakes are usually made from whole-grain brown rice (or white rice) and salt. There are a variety of Rice Cakes in your local grocery stores and they may contain sugar, cinnamon, caramel, or chocolate.

All of these ingredients are not healthy for your cat’s health and are unnecessary to his or her diet. Other variations of Rice Cakes can contain onion or garlic.

It’s best that our fur babies stay away from all types of Rice Cakes. If you must feed your cat Rice Cakes, stick to plain ones with no added salt or seasoning.

Are Rice Cakes bad for cats?

Can Cats eat Rice Cake
Can my cat eat Rice Cakes?

Yes, Rice Cakes are bad for cats and there’s no nutritional value in this snack that would benefit your feline friend’s health.

If your fuzzy family member consumes too many Rice Cakes, he can develop serious digestive issues, such as vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea.

That’s because a cat’s digestive system isn’t adept at digesting carbohydrate food. Their digestive system is biologically designed to digest meat and animal protein.

Too many carbs will not only make your cat sick but also make him obese in the long run. Let’s see why this happens by discussing the ingredients in Rice Cakes in more detail.

Rice Cakes ingredients

  • Whole grain brown rice.
  • Salt or sea salt.

Health risk of Rice Cakes on cats

Besides not having enough protein and nutritional benefits for your cat, one (1) Rice Cake or 18.5 grams of Rice Cakes contain high levels of sodium. The exact amount is 25mg of sodium in just 1 Rice Cake. That is a lot of sodium for our small fur babies and can lead to sodium poisoning.

Additionally, the high carb content in this crispy snack is a source of empty energy that doesn’t keep your cat full for long. 

Whole-grain brown rice

Rice Cake is mainly made of rice. Rice is a staple food in many countries like Japan, China, South Korea, and Indonesia. Some Rice Cakes are made of white rice, but they aren’t as nutritionally beneficial as whole-grain brown rice.

This is why many Rice Cake manufacturers prefer to use whole grain brown rice instead of white rice.

That’s because whole-grain brown rice retains the entire wheat grain. This means it has all parts of the grain namely the:

  • Bran.
  • Germ.
  • Endosperm.

The bran and the germ are the nutrient powerhouse of the wheat grain that contains most of the fiber and protein. The endosperm is mainly carbs.

White rice is stripped of the bran and the germ during processing, so it contains only the endosperm, which makes it less nutritious to consume.

However, while whole-grain brown rice has more protein than white rice, it is still loaded with carbohydrates and there are 16 grams of carbohydrates in just one (1) Rice Cake. That is a lot of carb intake for a cat should they consume one whole Rice Cake.

Keep in mind that our fuzzy friends lack the amylase enzyme in their saliva, liver, and pancreas, which makes it harder for their digestive system to digest too many carbs properly. As a result, your kitties will feel lethargic and experience digestive issues such as indigestion.

This is why it’s important to only give a small piece of Rice Cake to your fuzzy friend as an occasional rare treat every now and then. It’s best not to feed them Rice Cakes every day or regularly.

Salt or sea salt

Whether it’s sea salt or table salt, both are toxic for your cat when consumed in high amounts. Sea salt is just regular salt that hasn’t been processed yet and contains impurities.

High consumption of salt or sea salt can cause an imbalance in the electrolyte levels in your cat’s body and this can cause hypernatremia or sodium poisoning. For this reason, you should limit the salt intake of your cat to 20 to 40 mg daily. 

When your feline friends consume too much salt, they may be at risk of sodium poisoning. Signs and symptoms of salt toxicity include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy.
  • Tremors.
  • Seizures.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Dehydration.
  • Incoordination.
  • Coma.

Do Rice Cakes provide any nutritional benefits for your cat?

If we take a closer look at the nutritional profile of one Trader Joe’s Rice Cake, we see that it contains 1 gram of protein, 1 gram of fiber, and just 0.5 gram of total fat. It also contains minerals, such as potassium (50 mg) and iron (0.2 mg).

So would a Rice Cake be a good snack for our fuzzy friends? The answer is no. That’s because the protein, fiber, and minerals found in Rice Cakes are of minimal amounts compared to the amount of carbohydrates (16 g) there is in this crispy snack. This means that Rice Cakes are nothing but carbohydrates with a few other nutrients.

There’s too little protein and fat to benefit your cat’s health and your furry friends can receive these nutrients from their regular high-quality and nutritious cat food or from feline-friendly snacks.

Nutritional Profile of Trader Joe’s Rice Cakes (Per Serving of 1 Cake or 18.5 grams)

Name, UnitAmount
Calories, cal70
Total Fat, g0.5
Sodium, mg25
Total Carbohydrate, g16
Fiber, g1
Protein, g1
Iron, mg0.2
Potassium, mg50

What if my cat accidentally ate Rice Cakes? What will happen? What should I do?

Cat eat Rice Cake
My Cat ate Rice Cake: What should I do?

A little bit of Rice Cakes won’t hurt your cat and he should be fine. However, if your fuzzy friend consumed more than one Rice Cake, he may experience signs and symptoms of excess carbohydrates consumption. In this case, you might notice your cat vomiting, feeling lethargic, or refusing to eat anything.

Eating more than one Rice Cake can also put your feline family member at risk for sodium poisoning (as we’ve mentioned above).

In both of these cases, we highly recommend that bring your feline companion to the vet right away. Salt toxicity requires immediate medical attention. Once at the vet, a physical examination will be performed as well as other necessary test to properly diagnose the issue. The vet may also administer IV fluids to keep your kitties hydrated and will also provide you with the right treatment plan.

If your cat has a severe case of salt poisoning, he may have to stay at the hospital overnight. That’s because it may take hours for the salt levels to come down gradually in your cat’s body.

Symptoms to Watch For

If your cat ate too many Rice Cakes, he will show some obvious signs and symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Lethargy.
  • Coughing.
  • Skin rash.
  • Watery, itchy, or red eyes.

Treatments if your cat has food poisoning from Rice Cakes

Too many carbs in Rice Cakes can mess up your cat’s digestive system. For this reason, you should take your cat to a vet so the vet can prescribe the appropriate medication for your cat, such as an antacid. 

If the Rice Cakes have salt in them and your cat has more than one Rice Cake, he may suffer from sodium poisoning. As discussed above, you’ll need to rush him to a vet so they can keep your cat under observation and monitor his electrolyte levels. The vet will also figure out the best way to treat your fuzzy family member.

What are some feline-friendly and safe non-toxic Rice Cakes alternatives?

There are many food and snacks that are healthier than Rice Cakes that won’t put your feline companion at risk of indigestion or other health issues. Here are some great alternatives:

  • Boiled chicken: This is great for your cat because it contains a lot of protein and zero carbs. Keep in mind that cats gets most of their energy from protein, which keeps them active throughout the day without getting overly hyper or frequently hungry. 
  • Canned tuna: Fish is another excellent source of protein for your cat, and it strengthens your cat’s vision and heart.
  • Cat Food: Most high-quality cat food contains a lot of protein, fat, and little to no carbs, which is perfect for cats.

Cats and Rice Cakes

Can cats eat caramel Rice Cakes?

No, cats should not eat caramel Rice Cakes. Like salt, sugar is also your fuzzy friend’s greatest enemy, and caramel is nothing but sugar. Having too much sugar or sugary foods can lead to diabetes, obesity, and dental issues.

RELATED: Can Cats Eat Caramel?

Can cats eat Rice Crackers?

No, cats should not eat Rice Crackers because, like Rice Cakes, they are packed full of carbs. However, although Rice Cakes are consumed in various countries, Rice Crackers first originated in Japan, where they are called Senbei and Arare.

Senbei Rice Crackers are made from non-glutinous rice and they are hard. Arare Rice Crackers are soft, easy to chew, and made from glutinous rice.

The difference between Rice Cakes and Rice Crackers is the type of rice used to make them. While Rice Cakes are made from regular rice, Rice Crackers are made from sweet white rice.

Can cats have Rice Crackers?

No, cats should not have Rice Crackers because the main ingredient in this snack is rice, making this a high carb snack. As we’ve discussed above, your kitties won’t be able to digest carbohydrate food properly.

Rice Crackers also contain many other ingredients that can harm your cat. We’ll discuss these in more detail below.

Rice Crackers ingredients

  • Rice.
  • Palm oil.
  • Canola oil.
  • Sugar.
  • Corn starch.
  • Salt, Sea Salt, Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Gelatin.
  • Cornmeal.
  • Soy flour.
  • Rice flour.
  • Calcium carbonate.

Palm oil is unsafe for feline consumption

Palm oil is extracted from palm tree fruits. This type of oil is popular and it is present in processed food, cosmetics, and cleaning products.

However, you should not give your feline family members food that contain palm oil because when ingested, it can get into their bloodstream and produce a laxative effect. This can result in vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and pancreatitis.

Canola oil is unhealthy for cats

Canola oil is extracted from rapeseed oil and is high in mono-unsaturated fat. It also contains plant sterols and some saturated fat. Like palm oil, canola oil also produces a laxative effect once it mixes with your cat’s blood.

This causes many health problems, like blindness, constipation, anemia, respiratory problems, and nervous system damage. You feline friends may also be at risk of suffering from lung cancer or heart damage. 

Sugar can lead to weight gain and diabetes in cats

We want to point out that our feline friends can’t taste sugar because they lacks the gene responsible for it and don’t have the taste buds to detect sweets. This is excellent because it means your cat can’t have a sweet tooth.

A reason for this can be that sugar was never really for cats. They don’t have the glucokinase enzyme in their liver responsible for regulating their glucose levels.

So, suppose your cat overconsume sugar. In that case, he may suffer from short-term health effects like diarrhea, muscle tremors, vomiting, and liver damage. Over the long term, he may become obese and have tooth decay, kidney failure, and diabetes. 

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Cornmeal is full of carbs that cats don’t need

Cornmeal is nothing but corn that has been dried and then ground into powder. It can have a variety of textures, and although it is a food many people love to experiment with, it is not great for cats.

Like rice, cornmeal is full of carbs, which your cat should consume very little of so he won’t suffer from digestive issues. 

As obligate carnivores, our fuzzy family members need a lot of protein and less than 10% carbs in their daily diet. However, half a cup of cornmeal contains 47 grams of carbohydrates. That is a lot of carbs for our small cat!

Although half a cup of cornmeal does contain 4.5 grams of protein, it is not enough to benefit our feline friend’s health.

Also, our cats do not need food that contains empty energy because this only spike their glucose levels for a little bit and cause them to crash.

It’s best to provide them with nutritious food that is fulfilling and that gives them the energy they need throughout the day. 

ALSO READ: Can Cats Eat Tortilla Chips?

Soy flour can cause gastrointestinal problems in cats

You get soy flour by crushing roasted soybeans. It is mainly used in baked goods to increase their nutritional value and enhance their texture.

The bad news is that soy and cats don’t mix well so any soy food products are not recommended for cats.

In this case, soy flour contains phytate or phytic acid which is called an anti-nutrient because it doesn’t allow your cat’s body to absorb certain essential nutrients or minerals they need. Additionally, the phytic acid in soy products blocks the necessary enzyme in our cat’s body that is responsible for digesting protein.

This leads to a number of health issues including the following:

  • Upset stomach.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea.
  • Allergic reactions (hair loss, gastrointestinal issues, excessive scratching, and facial swelling).
  • Hyperthyroidism.

Because soy is pro-inflammatory, they can also cause inflammatory bowel disease, renal failure, liver failure, diabetes, and cancer in cats.

Cats with high calcium levels should avoid food with calcium carbonate

Calcium carbonate is a calcium salt taken orally to help raise the calcium levels in the body. It is also an antacid for cats to treat esophagitis or gastroduodenal ulcerations.

It’s important to note that calcium carbonate also poses health risks and side effects in cats. For example, felines with high calcium levels or are hypersensitive to it should not consume calcium carbonate.

Before feeding your kitties food that contain calcium carbonate, we highly recommend that you speak with your veterinarian first to find out if that particular food (or in this case Rice Crackers) is safe for your fuzzy companion to consume.

So, can cats eat Rice Cakes?

When it comes to snacks like Rice Cakes or a Rice Crackers, it’s best not to keep them away from your feline family member. Constantly or regularly consuming Rice Cakes can lead to short-term and long-term health issues, such as vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, obesity, dehydration, liver damage, kidney failure, and pancreatitis.

To prevent your cat from getting into your Rice Cakes, it’s best to keep them in a closed cabinet or an enclosed container where they can’t get to it. If you must, you can give your fuzzy friends a small tiny piece of it but no more than that because this snack isn’t necessary to their daily diet and isn’t healthy for them.

Instead of giving your kitties rice or rice snacks, try feeding them wholesome food, such as cooked or boiled chicken or tuna.

Related Questions

Can cats eat Rice snacks?

It’s best to keep Rice snacks away from your feline friends. However, letting your cat eat a small tiny piece of the Rice Snack won’t harm him as long as the Rice snack is plain with no added seasoning like salt or pepper. Avoid feeding your fuzzy friends Rice snacks on a regular basis as this is unhealthy for them and unnecessary to their diet. This is because Rice snacks contain a lot of carbs that your cat can’t digest properly. Therefore, keep your Rice snacks away from your feline friends.

Is white rice poisonous to cats?

White Rice isn’t exactly poisonous to cats, but it is unhealthy and unnecessary to a cat’s diet. Only if given frequently and in a large quantity can white Rice be harmful to your feline friend’s health. Unlike whole grain brown rice, white rice is highly processed and doesn’t have the bran or the germ (the two parts of the wheat kernel that contains many nutrients). This is why white rice has no nutritional value for your cat, and consuming it regularly can cause indigestion and upset stomach, as well as other health issues.

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