What to Do If My Cat Eats Spicy Food: Treatment Options

The curiosity of cats can make your pet try to act abnormally or exhibit some habit. Some of these habits include attempting to eat anything that comes their way. There are times the cats can be lucky to eat something beneficial or unlucky to eat poisonous foods or irritants like spicy food.

If your cat eats spicy food, trust me, it is out of curiosity. Spicy food is not a regular food for cats and there is a level of spice that can be added to cat food. Cats can have severe reactions to spicy foods like hot peppers or chili powder. Find out what to do when it’s obvious your cat ate spicy food as you read through this article.

what to do if my cat ate spicy food

Dangers of Cats Eating Spicy Food

Cats have a low tolerance for spicy food due to lacking the receptors that allow humans to enjoy spicy flavors. Ingesting spicy food can cause several health issues for cats due to their sensitivity. Some of the dangers include:

– Vomiting: One of the most common side effects of a cat eating spicy food is vomiting. The irritation from the capsaicin found in spices like chili peppers stimulates the vomiting reflex. Vomiting may happen immediately or be delayed for several hours after ingestion.

– Mouth ulcers: Cats may develop painful ulcers in their mouth from exposure to spices. These can make it difficult and painful for them to eat.

– Diarrhea: Similar to vomiting, spicy foods can irritate a cat’s digestive tract and cause diarrhea. This leads to dehydration risks if the diarrhea is severe or persistent.

– Oral or Throat Pain: Spicy foods may cause painful irritation in a cat’s mouth, gums, or throat. You may notice lip smacking or pawing at the mouth. This discomfort discourages eating.

– Respiratory Distress: Inhaling spices or getting them in the nasal passages can cause breathing issues like coughing, wheezing, or respiratory irritation.

– Hypothermia: Vomiting and diarrhea lead to dehydration, which can then cause a dangerous drop in body temperature. Left untreated, hypothermia from dehydration can be fatal.

– Pancreatitis: The pancreas is sensitive to irritation, which spicy foods may provoke. Pancreatitis causes severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

So, while small amounts of spice don’t seriously harm most humans, even a little can cause severe reactions in cats. It’s important to keep all spicy human foods away from curious cats who don’t know any better.

Signs Your Cat Has Eaten Something Spicy

If your cat has gotten into something spicy, you may notice some or all of the following signs:

– Excessive drooling and lip licking: Your cat may drool and lick their lips excessively after eating spicy food, in an attempt to soothe their burning mouth. The spiciness causes an irritated reaction in their mouth. 

– Head shaking and pawing at the mouth: The discomfort from the spicy food may cause your cat to shake their head and paw at their mouth. They are likely trying to wipe away the spicy residue or relieve the burning sensation.

– Vomiting and diarrhea: Spicy foods can upset your cat’s stomach and cause them to vomit, sometimes repetitively. Diarrhea may also occur. Both are signs their body is trying to expel the irritant.

– Excessive thirst: Spicy foods can make your cat very thirsty as they try to rehydrate their mouth and coat their stomach. You may notice them drinking water more eagerly and frequently.

Pay close attention to these signs, as they indicate your cat needs help relieving the discomfort of ingesting spicy food. The quicker you can treat them, the better. Left untreated, spicy foods can cause more severe reactions in cats.

First Aid if Cat Eats Spice

If you suspect your cat has eaten something spicy, the first thing to do is try to identify the spice or food item. Check around the area your cat had access to and look for any open containers, spilled food, or chewed-up plants.

Do not induce vomiting, as this can further irritate your cat’s mouth and throat. For mild irritation, you can try giving a small amount of milk or vanilla ice cream to coat the mouth and tongue. Wipe your cat’s paws and face thoroughly in case any spice residue remains on their fur.

It’s also a good idea to limit food and water temporarily, as your cat may experience excessive salivation or vomiting. Withhold food for 6-12 hours and water for one hour.

If your cat is showing any concerning symptoms like difficulty breathing, lethargy, uncontrollable vomiting, or diarrhea, take them to the vet immediately. Cats can experience dangerous reactions to certain spicy foods.

Treatment Options

If your cat has eaten spicy food, the treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms. Here are some common treatment options:

1) IV fluids: If your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea from eating spicy food, the vet may administer intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and restore electrolyte balance.

2) Anti-nausea medication: To control vomiting and help settle the stomach, the vet may prescribe anti-nausea medicines like Cerenia.

3) Pain medication: Spicy foods can cause stomach and intestinal discomfort. The vet may prescribe pain relievers to make the cat more comfortable.

4) Keep hydrated: Make sure your cat has easy access to fresh, clean water to stay hydrated and counteract dehydration from fluid loss. You can also offer low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.

5) Bland diet: Feed the cat a bland, easy-to-digest diet like boiled chicken and rice until symptoms resolve. Avoid fatty, spicy, or harsh foods that may further upset the stomach.

6) Monitor the cat’s condition: Keep a close eye on the cat for several days after the incident for recurring symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy that may require further treatment. Alert the vet if symptoms worsen or persist.

The key is to treat the symptoms and make the cat comfortable while allowing time for the stomach and intestines to recover from the irritation caused by the spicy food. Contact your vet promptly if you suspect your cat has eaten something spicy for proper treatment.

Preventing Future Incidents

It’s important to take steps to prevent your cat from getting into spicy human food in the future. Here are some tips:

– Keep human food locked away or out of reach. Store open bags of chips, salsa, spices, etc. in cupboards or pantries that the kitty can’t access. Keep countertops and tables free of unattended food.

– Train your cat not to eat from tables or counters. Use positive reinforcement when they avoid human foods. You can also use tin foil or double-sided tape on surfaces to discourage counter surfing.

– Buy treats made for cats that are spice-free. There are many cat treat brands that use catnip or other herbs for flavor instead of spicy seasonings. Find some your cat loves so they’ll be less tempted by your food.

– Feed your cat before you sit down to meals. A cat with a full belly will be less inclined to beg or steal human food while you’re eating something enticing. 

– Keep trash cans covered or out of reach. Cats can smell tempting leftovers and are adept at knocking over waste bins. Make it paws-off.

– Supervise meal times and keep cats in another room when possible. Don’t let them hover around the table waiting to pounce.

Following these tips can help prevent a repeat spicy food incident and keep your cat safe and healthy. With some training and vigilance, you can have peace of mind knowing your furry friend won’t end up with a burning mouth again.

Other Toxic Foods to Avoid

Some human foods are hazardous for cats and should always be avoided. The most toxic foods for cats include:

1) Onions and Garlic: These compounds can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia in cats. Even small amounts can be toxic.

2) Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both toxic to cats. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is. Even just a few ounces can cause issues.

3) Coffee and Alcohol: Caffeine and alcohol are both toxic for cats and there is no safe dosage.

4) Grapes and Raisins: Grapes and raisins can cause sudden kidney failure in cats. Experts are unsure what exactly makes them toxic. Even a small number of grapes or raisins can be dangerous.

5) Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia nuts contain an unknown toxin that can cause tremors, hyperthermia, swelling, and stiffness in cats.

6) Xylitol: This sugar substitute found in some gum, candy, and baked goods can be lethal for cats, leading to liver failure.

7) Avocados: The leaves, pit, peel, and fruit of avocados contain persin, which is toxic to cats. It can damage heart muscle tissues.

It’s crucial to keep all human foods containing these ingredients away from cats at all times. Check labels to make sure pet food and treats don’t include any of these toxic ingredients as well. If you suspect your cat has ingested any of these, call your vet or poison control immediately.


Always remember cats are curious and always want to explore items and food sources around them. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to potential toxicity. With this guide, I assume you now know what to do when your cat eats anything spicy. Also, have a close relationship with your vet in case of emergencies like this.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!