Can cats eat Tortilla Chips? No, cats should not eat Tortilla Chips because they contain ingredients such as salt, garlic, onion powder, citric acid, and sugar that can pose serious health risks for your cat. A nibble or two of the Tortilla Chip won’t harm your feline companion, but continuous ingestion or overconsumption can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, diabetes, obesity, and even kidney failure.
“Can my cat eat Tortilla Chips?” is a question that plagues every cat owner who has struggled to keep a bag of Tortilla Chips away from their feline family members. The simple answer is no. Your kitties may love the salty taste of the Tortilla Chips, but this human snack is not something they should have at all.
As an obligate carnivore, a cat’s digestive system is designed to digest high protein meats. On the other hand, Tortilla Chips don’t contain any nutritional value for your kitties. Instead, they are full of carbs, salt, and other toxic spices which your feline companions won’t be able to digest properly.
- Can cats have Tortilla Chips?
- Are Tortilla Chips bad for cats?
- Do Tortilla Chips provide any nutritional benefits for your cat?
- Nutritional value of Tortilla Chips
- So, is Tortilla Chips safe for cats?
- Why does my cat love Tortilla Chips?
- My cat ate a Tortilla Chip! What will happen? What should I do?
- Symptoms to watch for
- Treatments if your cat has food poisoning from Tortilla Chips
- Can cats eat unsalted Tortilla Chips?
- So, can cats eat corn chips?
- Is it safe for cats to eat corn chips?
- What are some feline-friendly and safe non-toxic Tortilla Chips alternatives?
- So, can cats eat Tortilla Chips?
- Related Questions
Can cats have Tortilla Chips?
No, cats should not have Tortilla Chips. As discussed above, Tortilla Chips contain ingredients such as salt, sugar, and other seasonings that can be poisonous for your feline friends.
If your kitties consume too many Tortilla Chips, they are also at risk of several health issues, which we will discuss below.
To know how Tortilla Chips can negatively affect your feline friend’s health, let’s go over what Tortilla Chips are and what they are made of.
What are Tortilla Chips?
Tortilla Chips are a human snack. They are triangular-shaped chips that are made from yellow corn, water, vegetable oil, and salt. These triangular chips are fried and then baked to form their crispy texture.
What are Tortilla Chips made of?
Tortilla Chips are made from corn, salt, vegetable oil, tomato powder, garlic powder, onion powder, buttermilk powder, corn starch, whey, cheese, artificial colors, and other spices.
Here is a list of ingredients in Tortilla Chips:
Tortilla Chips Ingredients
- Vegetable oil (corn, soybean, canola and/or sunflower oil).
- Buttermilk powder.
- Tomato powder.
- Corn maltodextrin.
- Garlic powder.
- Onion powder.
- Corn starch.
- Modified corn starch.
- Corn syrup solids.
- Yeast extract.
- Reduced lactose whey.
- Malic acid.
- Natural and artificial flavor.
- Cheddar cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes).
- Vinegar solids.
- Disodium inosinate and guanylate.
- Disodium phosphate.
- Citric acid.
- Lactic acid.
- Blue cheese (milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes).
- Extractives of annatto and turmeric.
- Artificial color (red 40, yellow 5, blue 1, titanium dioxide).
Are Tortilla Chips bad for cats?
Yes, Tortilla Chips are bad for cats. Tortilla Chips are neither a healthy food for cats, nor a snack that our fuzzy friends should consume.
Keep in mind that cats need 70% animal-based protein in their diet, and the rest should contain fat and carbs.
Tortilla Chips are filler food with no real nutritional benefit for your feline family members.
To find out why Tortilla Chips are bad for our feline friends, let’s go over some of the ingredients in this crunchy and salty chips and see how they impact your cat’s health.
Corn in Tortilla Chips are not good for cats with a corn allergy
Corn contains a lot of dietary fiber, which can help regulate your cat’s bowel movements. However, there is little else in corn that can benefit your pet.
It’s important to note that corn is low in protein and fat and contains a lot of carbohydrates in the form of sucrose. Sucrose is a type of sugar that has a high glycemic index and can rapidly increase your cat’s blood sugar levels.
As a result, your cat can become very energetic all of a sudden followed by a sudden crash in which his energy starts wearing off rapidly.
Also, sucrose from corn can affect your cat’s metabolism and leave your cat hungry again. In the long run, this can lead to both diabetes and feline obesity.
Some cats may also develop allergic reactions to corn. In fact, it’s quite common for cats to have a corn allergy and it is usually corn that triggers most allergic reactions in cats.
Some of the signs and symptoms of corn allergy in cats include:
- Excessive scratching.
- Runny nose and eyes.
- Excessive licking of the paws and skin.
- Itchy skin and swollen paws.
- Brittle and dull fur.
Also, corn contains phytic acid which can prevent your fur babies from digesting food properly. This can inhibit them from absorbing the necessary minerals (like zinc and iron) that they need from the food they’ve just consumed.
Furthermore, corn contains a protein called zein that can lead to glucose intolerance in your cat. As a result, your cat can suffer from bloating, weight loss, diarrhea, and fatigue.
Corn, prepared in the following ways, can be bad for cats:
- When the corn is seasoned with salt, oil, and butter.
- The corn is fried in various types of oil including canola oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil.
- Highly processed corn.
- Tortilla Chips or corn chips that have been drowned in spices, salt, onion and garlic powder, and other artificial colors and flavors.
Vegetable oils used in Tortilla Chips are not healthy for felines
If we take a closer look at the Tortilla Chips ingredient list, we see the following types of oil used to make this human snack:
- Corn oil.
- Soybean oil.
- Canola oil.
- Sunflower oil.
All of the above are bad for cats except sunflower oil. Let’s discuss how each of these vegetable oils impact your feline family member’s health.
Corn oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the germ of corn. Around 62% of corn oil is linoleic acid, a high amount compared to other vegetable oils.
Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid essential for not only cats but every animal. Lack of linolic acid can cause numerous health problems in your cat, such as a weak immune system, poor skin, unhealthy coat, and abnormal growth.
However, omega-6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory. Therefore, cats should only consume corn oil in moderation. As corn oil is nothing but fat, overdose can lead to renal failure, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, or even cancer in cats.
Like corn oil, soybean oil is also a vegetable oil. It is full of fat and high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause inflammation.
In addition, soybean oil contains phytates or phytic acid. As we mentioned above, phytates will usually bind to dietary minerals like manganese, zinc, iron, and even calcium and slow down the absorption.
Essentially, phytates prevent your feline friend’s body from efficiently absorbing the necessary nutrients and minerals that your kitties need and hinder enzyme efficiency.
When consumed regularly, soybean oil can cause your kittens to suffer from inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, inflammatory bowel disease, renal failure, obesity, diabetes, or even cancer.
This is another vegetable oil used to make Tortilla Chips. It is extracted from canola plant seeds. Like corn oil and soybean oil, canola oil also contains many mono-unsaturated and saturated fat.
While a little bit of it isn’t harmful, more than a teaspoon can be dangerous to your feline family member.
Once it enters your feline friends’ bloodstream, canola oil can form a laxative-type substance that can damage their nervous system and cause constipation and respiratory problems.
In the long term, your fuzzy friends can suffer from blindness, anemia, heart damage, or lung cancer.
Of all the vegetable oil used, sunflower oil is the only one that is best for cats. Sunflower oil is derived from sunflower seeds and contains vitamins and minerals that can benefit your feline friends’ health.
Vitamin K is one essential nutrient in sunflower oil that reduces the risk of osteoporosis in cats and keeps their fur and skin healthy.
Although sunflower oil is good for cats, moderation is key.
Make sure your four-legged friends aren’t over-consuming sunflower oil since doing so can lead to diabetes, obesity, diarrhea, other digestive issues, and even pancreatitis.
Here are other types of oil that are good for cats, in addition to sunflower oil:
- Cod liver oil
- Fish oil.
- Coconut oil.
- Olive oil.
- Flaxseed oil.
- Krill oil.
- Hemp oil.
Buttermilk powder is harmful to cats with lactose intolerance
Buttermilk is fermented milk that contains water, milk protein casein, and lactose. On the other hand, buttermilk powder is simply buttermilk with no water.
Cats should only consume their mother’s milk when they are kittens or a good quality replacement until the weaning process completes.
After that, a cat doesn’t require milk to fulfill their dietary requirements.
So why is this?
This is because when our feline friends are kittens, they have enough lactase enzyme in their body to break down lactose, the sugar found in their mother’s milk.
However, as they grow older, their bodies produce less and less of the lactase enzyme that is responsible for breaking down the lactose sugar found in milk, which means it is harder for them to digest dairy products like milk or buttermilk.
As a result, consuming any food or snacks that contains dairy products such as buttermilk powder can lead to the following symptoms of lactose intolerance in cats:
- Excessive gas.
- Dry gums.
- Upset stomach.
High salt content in Tortilla Chips can lead to sodium poisoning in cats
Salt is the fourth ingredient on the list. Sodium is what attracts many to eat Tortilla Chips and its what gives this crunchy corn chip its distinctive taste.
However, when it comes to giving our feline friends treats or snacks, we have to be very careful with what treats or snacks to give them.
It’s not a good idea to give Tortilla Chips to our feline companions (even if they are begging us for some) because in just 2 Tortilla Chips or 4 grams, there are 32mg of sodium! While that may not be a lot for us, that is certainly a lot of sodium for our fuzzy friends.
Over consuming or exceeding 40mg of salt daily can lead to cat hypernatremia or sodium poisoning.
Signs and symptoms of sodium poisoning in cats include the following:
- Extreme thirst.
- Frequent urination.
- Loss of appetite.
- Muscle tremors.
- Lack of coordination or wobbly around.
- Seizures (in severe cases).
- Coma (in severe cases).
If you suspect your kitties have sodium toxicity, we highly recommend that you contact your vet right away. Sodium poisoning requires immediate medical attention and the sooner the salt toxicity is treated, the better.
Tomato powder is fine for feline consumption
Unlike tomatoes or tomato plants that contain solanine (a toxic ingredient for cats), tomato powder is fortunately not harmful to cats.
Tomato powder is nothing but tomatoes that have been dried and then crushed to form a powder used as a seasoning, spice, or garnishing.
Tomato powder also contains many vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, K1, folate, and potassium. Vitamin C is essential for your feline friend’s body and them maintain sharp vision.
Whey and reduced lactose whey contains high protein which is good for cats
Whey is a by-product you get when you’re making cheese. It is the leftover liquid after you curdle and strain the milk.
Whey is one of the two milk proteins, the other being casein.
Although cats shouldn’t consume milk once they have weaned, whey is a good source of protein for cats. That’s because whey contains high protein as well as various other essential amino acids such taurine.
Our feline friends’ body can’t make taurine amino acid on their own and they need taurine to promote a strong and healthy immune system.
The combination of high protein and essential amino acids like taurine not only helps our feline friends build muscle mass, but also regulates their metabolic rates.
Reduced lactose whey is different from why in that it is whey protein minus lactose. Since cats don’t have lactase enzyme to digest the lactose sugar found in dairy products, this ingredient is beneficial for cats because it fulfills their protein requirement without being a burden on their digestive system.
It’s safe to say that a little whey protein can be helpful for cats. However, the best dietary choice would be to feed our feline friends meat so they can receive their animal-based protein intake.
Corn maltodextrin in Tortilla Chips is unhealthy for cats
Corn maltodextrin is a polysaccharide made from corn and used to add flavor to food. Because corn maltodextrin contains a large number of carbohydrates and has a high glycemic index, it is not healthy to give your cats any food or snack that contains this ingredient.
This is because our feline friends do not have the amylase enzyme that’s responsible for breaking down carbs. Plus, this is a source of empty calories for your fuzzy friends.
Garlic and onion powder are both toxic to cats
Both onion and garlic powder are toxic to cats. In fact, garlic is five times more toxic than onions. A teaspoon of both garlic powder and onion powder can lead to nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and oral irritation.
That’s because both onion and garlic contain an oxidant called n-propyl disulfide, which can destroy your feline’s red blood cells and prevent oxygen from reaching all parts of their body.
It’s important to note that our feline companions are more sensitive to oxidative damage on their red blood cells than we are.
As a result, low oxygen levels and diminishing red blood cells can lead to anemia, pale gums, lethargy, weakness, and an increased respiratory rate.
Sometimes garlic and onion powder can cause your kitties to pass away.
If you suspect your fuzzy friends have garlic or onion powder, be sure to call your vet immediately. Onion and garlic poisoning also requires immediate medical attention. Your vet will ask you to bring your cat in for a physical checkup and start appropriate treatments right away.
Keep in mind that garlic and onion powder are both stronger and more potent than their natural and fresh form. That’s because the powder form is is more concentrated and intense.
Corn starch and modified corn starch is not healthy for cats
We get cornstarch from the inner portion of the maize kernel: the endosperm. As we know, the endosperm is full of carbohydrates. This is why we use cornstarch to thicken sauces, soups, and desserts.
As obligate carnivores, cats can’t digest carbs properly. They require animal-based protein to give them energy throughout the day. An overdose of corn starch can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy in your cat.
Modified corn starch is simply corn starch that’s roasted or treated with sodium hydroxide or acid to make it beneficial as a food product. However, it has little to no nutritional value for cats, and it is better not to let your feline friends consume it.
Sugar used in Tortilla Chips can cause feline obesity
As a salty snack, you wouldn’t think that there are sugar in Tortilla Chips, but there are.
There are two types of sugar used in Tortilla Chips: corn syrup solids and dextrose.
Corn syrup solids are nothing but dried corn syrup. Corn syrup is made from glucose and used as a sweetener in food products such as sodas. The powdered form is no better than the syrup.
Our kitties should should not consume a lot of sugar or sweets. Sugary food is considered an empty-calorie food. In the short term, frequent consumption of sugar can lead to weight gain. Over the long run, they can develop Type II diabetes and other health issues such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.
Dextrose is also a sugar that is derived from wheat or corn. It looks like glucose and, when consumed, can cause liver damage, diabetes, and obesity in your cat.
Cheddar cheese is harmful to cats that are lactose intolerant
The cheddar cheese in Tortilla Chips are made of milk, cheese cultures, salt, and enzymes.
A little bit of cheddar cheese won’t harm your feline family member, however regular and frequent consumption can harm your kitties’ digestive system, especially when they are lactose intolerant.
If your cat suffers from health issues, like kidney disease or heart disease, then giving him cheddar cheese or snacks that contain diary product is not a good idea.
Blue cheese is harmful to cats with penicillin allergy
Blue cheese in Tortilla Chips is also made of milk, cheese cultures, salt, and enzymes. In most cases, the blue cheese in Tortilla Chips are fine if your feline friends are not lactose intolerant.
In general, we do want to warn you about blue cheese and its potential effect on your cat’s health. Blue cheese looks just like what the name suggests: blue. It has these blue veins that are most likely made from Penicillium mould.
Speaking of penicillin, it is an antibiotic that is made from the Penicillium chrysogenum fungus.
Unfortunately, some felines are allergic to penicillin and may experience the following signs and symptoms of penicillin allergy:
- Swollen tongue, lips, and face.
- Drooling excessively.
- Skin rash.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Fast heartbeat.
- Seizures (in severe cases).
If you suspect your feline friends have penicillin allergy, be sure to call your vet right away. You will need to rush them to the nearest veterinary hospital as immediate medical attention is required.
Make sure to keep your blue cheese away from your kitties even if they do not have penicillin allergy. While a small nibble or two won’t harm your cat, consuming an entire block of cheese can cause harmful health effects such as the following:
- Other digestive issues.
Malic, Citric, and Lactic acid is unsafe for feline consumption
Malic acid is like citric acid but stronger. It is an alpha hydroxy acid that is present in wines and fruits. Malic acid is sour to the taste, and overconsuming it can cause central nervous damage in your feline companions.
Citric acid is present in citric fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges. It is also acidic and sour and can be an irritant to your cat’s central nervous system. Furthermore, consuming too much citric acid can lead to tremors and even seizures in cats.
In contrast, cats produce lactic acid right after they romp about, during which glucose breaks down and makes cellular energy without the help of oxygen. Consuming lactic acid can reduce Salmonella, a type of bacteria from the small intestine. However, research says little about the effects of lactic acid on cats.
Annatto is a natural dye that gives Tortilla Chips their color
Annatto is a type of natural dye made from achiote tree seeds. It is what gives Tortilla Chips their signature orangey-red color. If your fuzzy friends overconsume annatto or food that contains annatto, they may be at risk of hypoglycemia because annatto can drastically lower blood sugar levels in cats.
Turmeric in Tortilla Chips is safe for feline consumption
Turmeric used in Tortilla Chips is a great antibacterial spice that can help promote cardiovascular health, digestion, arthritis, prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, and regulate liver functions in cats. However, your fuzzy companion should not have more than one teaspoon of turmeric a day.
Artificial colors in Tortilla Chips are harmful to cats
Artificial colors used to make Tortilla Chips include Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, and titanium oxide. They are harmful to your cat and are known to contain benzidine, which is a carcinogen for both animals and humans.
They can lead to skin rash, itching skin, diarrhea, joint pain, fever, sneezing, loss of appetite, anaphylactic shock, cancer, liver damage, kidney damage, and tumor in your cat.
On the other hand, titanium oxide can cause inflammation, DNA damage, and genetic disorders in cats.
Do Tortilla Chips provide any nutritional benefits for your cat?
No, Tortilla Chips do not provide any nutritional benefits for your cat. That’s because this human snack do not contain enough animal-based protein that your cat need every day.
Instead, Tortilla Chips are packed full of toxic ingredients that can seriously harm your cat’s digestive system if over consumed, such as salt, artificial colors, spices, sugar, and cheese.
Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of Tortilla Chips in more detail next.
Nutritional value of Tortilla Chips
In just two Tortilla Chips (4 grams), there is about 20 calories, 0.93 grams of fat (0.13 grams saturated), and 2.53 grams of carbohydrate (0.13 grams of sugar).
So, let’s dissect this.
Just two Tortilla Chips is a whopping 2.53 grams of carbohydrates. This means the majority of the Tortilla Chips is nothing but carbs. As obligate carnivores, cats should have less than 10% carbs in their daily diet because they can’t digest more than that.
Additionally, in just 4 grams of Tortilla Chips, there is only 0.13 g protein. This is not enough protein for cats.
If we take a look at the calories, just two Tortilla Chips contains 20 calories. The daily calorie intake for an average-sized cat is 300.
A good rule of thumb is to never let treats or snacks exceed 10% to 15% of your feline friends’ daily caloric intake. This means only 30 of the 300 daily caloric intake is reserve for treats. If you feed your kitties more than two Tortilla Chips, it can exceed their 10% amount.
Thus, it’s best to only give your kitties two Tortilla Chips as a rare occasional treat.
Nutritional Profile of Tortilla Chips (2 chips or 4 grams)
|Total Fat, g||0.93|
|Fatty acids, total saturated, g||0.13|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated, g||0.27|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated, g||0.53|
So, is Tortilla Chips safe for cats?
No, Tortilla Chips are not safe for feline consumption. The amount of carbohydrate in just two Tortilla Chips can cause indigestion and weight gain if consumed regularly.
Also, if we take a look at how much sodium is in two Tortilla Chips, we see that there are 32 grams of sodium! While that may not seem like a lot of sodium for us, it is certainly a lot of salt for our feline companions.
Our feline friends can only have 41mg of salt each day. Any more than that can lead to sodium toxicity in cats.
Keep in mind that your kitties’ regular cat food already contain some amounts of salt. So by giving your four-legged friends snacks or treats that are high in sodium, it can go over their daily salt intake limit and cause symptoms such as extreme thirst, dehydration, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, frequent urination, and lethargy.
Why does my cat love Tortilla Chips?
If your cat love Tortilla Chips and you’re wondering why, it could possibly be that they love the taste of fat or salt, or maybe they like the texture of the chips. They might also simply be intrigued by Tortilla Chip bag you’re opening in front of them.
My cat ate a Tortilla Chip! What will happen? What should I do?
The good news is that one Tortilla Chip won’t harm your cat, unless they have certain allergies we’ve discussed above. It contains too little of the toxic ingredients to poison your cat. Make sure your cat doesn’t get his paws on the entire packet though.
If your cat ate a Tortilla Chip and are experiencing symptoms or change in behaviors, make sure to note down how many chips they consume, the time they consumed it, and what symptoms you’re noticing. You’ll want to also contact your vet as soon as possible and follow their instructions on what to do next.
Symptoms to watch for
If your feline companions consume way too many Tortilla Chips, you should observe them for the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite.
- Inflamed, itchy, red skin.
- Skin rashes.
Treatments if your cat has food poisoning from Tortilla Chips
Onion or Garlic Poisoning
Overdose of onion or garlic powder can cause anemia in cats, which can cut off the oxygen supply to your cat’s organs. If your furry friends ate one too many Tortilla Chips, make sure to bring them to the vet right away.
The vet will perform a physical checkup and confirm the diagnosis. If it’s confirmed that your feline friends have onion or garlic poisoning, they will induce vomiting to get it out of your cat’s system.
Your vet may also use activated charcoal to clean your feline friend’s gastrointestinal tract.
Depending on how serious the poisoning was, the vet may also administer IV fluids, oxygen therapy, blood transfusion, and other medication.
Too much salt intake can cause sodium poisoning. If you suspect your cat has salt toxicity, rush him to a vet as soon as possible. The vet will monitor your cat, administer IV fluids, and keep track of his electrolyte levels.
Can cats eat unsalted Tortilla Chips?
No, cats should not eat unsalted Tortilla Chips. Although unsalted Tortilla Chips are a better option than the salted ones as there is a reduced risk for sodium poisoning, they still contain many other toxic ingredients such as onion powder, garlic powder, sugar, and cornstarch that can have adverse side effects on your cat.
So, can cats eat corn chips?
No, cats should no eat corn chips. Many store bought corn chips also contain a lot of seasonings, like salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and other spices which are a big no-no for cats. These seasonings are harmful and toxic to cats, especially when consumed in large amounts.
Is it safe for cats to eat corn chips?
No, it is not safe for cats to eat corn chips. Cats can develop many health issues if they continue eating corn chips. These include digestive issues, like vomiting and diarrhea, and other health problems, like obesity, sodium poisoning, kidney failure, liver damage, and heart disease.
What are some feline-friendly and safe non-toxic Tortilla Chips alternatives?
A few healthier alternatives to give your feline family members instead of Tortilla Chips include:
- Boiled or cooked chicken.
- Canned tuna.
As obligate carnivores, your cat will love to devour the boiled chicken or canned tuna. Both of these food can help maintain strong vision and heart health in cats.
Although your cat can do well without vegetables, a few, like unflavored zucchini or carrots, contain many minerals and vitamins like magnesium and potassium that are a plus for your cat’s overall health.
So, can cats eat Tortilla Chips?
As we can see, one Tortilla Chip is fine, but an entire bag is a different story. With the number of carbs, salt, sugar, and spices that one bag of Tortilla Chips contains, your feline friends can suffer from a list of health issues if consumed regularly or frequently.
For this reason, it’s best to keep your human snack to yourself and invest in good, high-quality, and well-balanced food for your feline friends.
Cats can have plain, homemade chips that does not contain any spices or seasonings.
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