After writing two consecutive post on cats and tortillas, I think it’s about time to answer the big question: can cats eat flour tortillas?
Yes, cats can eat flour tortillas. In fact, many people give their cats tortillas as a treat. While tortillas are not poisonous to cats, they are not particularly nutritious either.
So, here in this blog post I’ll be discussing whether or not it’s a good idea to give your cat tortillas, and some potential health risks that come with feeding them this human food.
Flour Tortillas & Their Nutritional Value
I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record at this point. But just in case you’re new here, let’s quickly review what flour tortillas are and what they’re made of.
Flour tortillas are a type of unleavened flatbread that originated in Mesoamerica. They are made from a dough of flour, water, and fat (usually lard or vegetable oil).
Flour tortillas are a staple food in many parts of the world, including Mexico, where they are often used as a wrapper for other foods.
As far as nutrition goes, flour tortillas are not particularly high in any one nutrient. However, they do contain a decent amount of carbohydrates and some protein.
A single flour tortilla (6-inch diameter) contains about:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 20 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 0 grams
You Should Not Feed Your Cat Flour Tortillas as a Regular Diet
Here I’ll go over a few reasons why you shouldn’t give your cat flour tortillas as a regular part of their diet.
1. Flour tortillas are high in carbohydrates
Yes, flour tortillas do contain some protein and fat. However, the vast majority of their calories come from carbohydrates.
This is important to consider because cats are obligate carnivores. This means that their bodies are designed to digest and use animal-based proteins and fats, not plant-based carbohydrates.
While a small amount of carbs probably won’t hurt your cat, it’s not an ideal food for them to eat on a regular basis.
2. Flour tortillas are low in important nutrients
In addition to being high in carbs, flour tortillas are also low in many of the nutrients that cats need to stay healthy.
For example, they contain very little taurine, an amino acid that is essential for cats. Taurine is found primarily in animal-based proteins, and it’s necessary for the health of a cat’s heart, eyes, and brain.
Flour tortillas are also lacking in vitamins A and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. All of these nutrients are important for a healthy immune system, strong bones and teeth, and shiny fur.
3. Flour tortillas can be hard to digest
While flour tortillas probably won’t hurt your cat if they eat them occasionally, they can cause digestive problems if eaten too often.
This is because flour tortillas are made with wheat flour, which contains a type of protein called gluten. Some people (and animals) are sensitive to gluten and can experience digestive problems when they eat foods that contain it.
If your cat is sensitive to gluten, they may experience vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation after eating flour tortillas. If you’re not sure if your cat is sensitive to gluten, it’s best to avoid feeding them this food altogether.
How to Safely Give Your Cat Flour Tortillas as a Treat?
Now that I’ve talked about some of the reasons why you shouldn’t feed your cat flour tortillas on regular diet, let’s discuss how to do it safely if you decide to give them as a treat.
1. Look for tortillas made with whole wheat flour
It’s a bit tricky to find whole wheat flour tortillas in store, but if you can it will be a healthier option for your cat. This is because whole wheat flour contains more nutrients than white flour.
2. Avoid feeding your cat tortillas with added sugar
Some brands of tortillas (particularly those made for human consumption) contain added sugar. While a small amount of sugar probably won’t hurt your cat, it’s best to avoid it if possible.
3. Stick to small amounts
As I’ve said before, moderation is key when it comes to feeding your cat treats. This is especially true for flour tortillas, which are high in carbs and low in nutrients.
A good rule of thumb is to give your cat no more than 1-2 tortillas per week. You can either give them the whole tortilla or cut it into smaller pieces.
4. Monitor your cat for signs of digestive problems
As I mentioned earlier, some cats may experience digestive problems after eating flour tortillas. If you decide to feed your cat this treat, be sure to monitor them for any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
If you notice any of these symptoms, stop feeding your cat flour tortillas and consult your veterinarian.
The Benefits of Giving your Cat Tortillas as a Treat
Now that you know how to safely give your cat flour tortillas, let’s talk about some of the benefits of this treat.
1. Flour tortillas are a good source of energy
As I mentioned before, flour tortillas are high in carbs. This makes them a good source of energy for your cat, which can be helpful if they’re feeling a bit sluggish.
2. Flour tortillas can help with weight gain
If your cat is underweight, feeding them flour tortillas can help them to gain some extra pounds. This is because the carbs in tortillas are a type of calorie known as “simple carbohydrates.”
Simple carbs are easier for the body to convert into energy, which means they’re more likely to be stored as fat. So, if your cat is underweight and you’re looking for a way to help them gain some weight, flour tortillas may be a good option.
3. Flour tortillas can help with hairballs
Another benefit of flour tortillas is that they can help with hairballs. This is because the tortillas help to coat the hair in the stomach, making it less likely to form into a hairball.
4. Flour tortillas are a good alternative to rawhide
If you’re looking for a safe and healthy alternative to rawhide, flour tortillas may be a good option. This is because they’re made with wheat flour, which is a natural source of fiber.
Fiber is important for digestive health, and it can also help to reduce the risk of constipation. So, if your cat is prone to constipation, feeding them flour tortillas may be a good way to help prevent it.
5. Flour tortillas are low in calories
Another benefit of flour tortillas is that they’re low in calories. This is important if you’re trying to keep your cat at a healthy weight.
A single flour tortilla only contains about 30 calories, so you can feel good about giving them as a treat without worrying about them getting too many calories.
How Often you Should Treat your Cat Flour Tortillas?
The frequency with which you should give your cat tortillas depends on a few factors, including their age, weight, and activity level.
Here I’ll give you some general guidelines for how often you can give your cat tortillas as a treat.
Kittens are growing rapidly and need a lot of calories to support their growth. For this reason, you can give them up to 2 tortillas per day without any problems.
2. Adult Cats
Adult cats don’t need as many calories as kittens, so you can give them 1-2 tortillas per day. If your cat is particularly active, you may even be able to give them 2-3 tortillas per day without any problems.
3. Senior Cats
As cats get older, they tend to become less active and may start to gain weight. For this reason, you should only give them 1 tortilla per day.
4. Cats with Health Conditions
If your cat has a health condition such as diabetes or obesity, you should talk to your veterinarian about how often you can give them tortillas. This is because these conditions can make it difficult for your cat to process carbohydrates properly.
5. Cats with Allergies
If your cat is allergic to wheat, you should not give them flour tortillas. This is because the tortillas are made with wheat flour, which will likely trigger their allergy.
Flour tortillas are a safe and healthy treat for cats. They’re a good source of energy, they can help with weight gain, and they’re low in calories.
You can give your cat 1-2 tortillas per day, depending on their age, weight, and activity level. If your cat has a health condition, you should talk to your veterinarian about how often you can give them tortillas.
Do you have any questions about feeding your cat flour tortillas? Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them!