Can cats eat mushrooms? The short answer is it depends. Most store-bought mushrooms are safe for felines, and many cats even enjoy the taste.
However, cats shouldn’t eat wild mushrooms, as they can be poisonous, and mushrooms shouldn’t make up a significant portion of a cat’s diet. They’re a sometimes-treat at most. September is National Mushroom Month, so it’s a good time to talk about when it’s safe to share mushrooms with your cat.
If you’ve ever been cooking in the kitchen and using mushrooms in a recipe, you’ve probably noticed that your kitty seems very keen to try and sneak a quick bite. This might seem like a strange choice for a feline snack, but there’s actually some interesting science behind it.
Of course, you must always ask your vet before sharing human foods with your cat. With that in mind, let’s dig into why cats might like to eat mushrooms and when it’s safe for them to do so.
Why Do Cats Want To Eat Mushrooms?
To understand why a cat might want to eat mushrooms, you need to understand how their taste buds work.
Food scientists have proven that cats cannot taste sweetness, but they can pick up on savory umami flavors. Mushrooms contain glutamate, which is an amino acid and a key part of umami foods.
So as for why cats might want to eat mushrooms, the answer is because they’re tasty! Cats can pick up on the flavors with their taste buds, unlike with sweeter foods.
Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Mushrooms?
Now that we know why cats might want to eat mushrooms, let’s look at the safety concerns going on.
First up, it’s widely advised that cats should never eat wild mushrooms. This includes any fungi that might be growing in your garden or along a hiking trail.
Wild mushrooms can poison cats. Avoid them at all costs.
Hopefully this goes without saying, but your cat should also not ingest psychedelic mushrooms or recreational drugs of any kind, as these can be very harmful. Stick to catnip if you want your kitty to feel a buzz.
On the other hand, most standard commercial mushrooms sold in grocery stores should be okay for a cat to digest — in moderation, of course. These will include button, cremini, and portobello mushrooms.
What Are The Signs A Cat Has Eaten Poisonous Wild Mushrooms?
According to the ASPCA, the following signs and symptoms might occur if your cat eats wild mushrooms:
- Mild to severe vomiting within a couple of hours of eating mushrooms
- Severe drooling
- Extreme sensitivity to light and sound
- Seeming to sway or display unsteady balance
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact an emergency vet straight away.
Have you ever tried giving your cat a taste of mushrooms? Does your cat enjoy eating them? Tell us all about it in the comments below!