Can Cats Eat Tofu?


Some cats seem to enjoy the taste of tofu. However, interested individuals should know that it isn’t good as anything more than just an occasional snack for our feline companions. Cattime says tofu isn’t poisonous for cats. The issue is twofold. One, tofu can’t satisfy a cat’s nutritional needs. Two, tofu might cause a cat to have an upset stomach when eaten in excess.

What Is Tofu?

The Institute of Food Technologists states that Chinese people started making tofu around 2,000 years ago. A semi-popular story says a Han dynasty prince named Liu An invented tofu to make it easier for his aged mother to taste soybeans. Sadly, there isn’t much reason to believe this. The Chinese sources aren’t exactly 100 percent supportive of this story. Some say Liu An was the popularizer of tofu rather than its inventor, while others credit others with its invention.

Regardless, tofu spread outwards from China. It made its way to Japan during the 8th century. Similarly, it made its way to Vietnam during the 10th and 11th centuries. There is a speculated connection between the spread of tofu and the spread of Buddhism because tofu is a much-needed source of protein in the East Asian Buddhist diet. Whatever the case, tofu spread further and further, so much so that it had reached the English-speaking world by the 18th century. We know this because a British merchant named James Flint mentioned it in a letter to the American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin.

There isn’t a single kind of tofu anymore than there is a single kind of cheese. For proof, consider how some kinds of tofu are extra-soft while other kinds of tofu are extra-firm. On top of this, people prepare different kinds of tofu using different methods. All tofu comes from coagulated soy milk. Even so, differences exist at that point because some people use salt-based coagulants while other people use acid-based coagulants. Other kinds of coagulants are possible, but those are the ones that see the most use. On top of this, people can further process tofu. The Woks of Life points out that fermented tofu is a popular example of such a product.

Ask a Veterinarian

Cat owners should always ask their veterinarians before feeding their cats something new. Veterinary professionals should have a good idea of what cats can and can’t eat, thus making them invaluable for answering such questions. On top of that, their veterinarians should be familiar with their cats’ general condition, which is important in case something about their cats makes their cats incapable of eating something that most cats can eat. Cat owners should also take the chance to ask their veterinarians about portion sizes because that tends to be relevant.

Tofu Isn’t Very Beneficial For Cats

Fundamentally, cat owners shouldn’t be feeding their cats a lot of tofu because it isn’t very beneficial for our feline companions. It contains some nutrients that are helpful for cats. The issue is that it is a plant-based food when cats are obligate carnivores. As a result, even though tofu shouldn’t be poisonous to cats, it isn’t necessarily easily digested by cats. If cat owners are unlucky, they might have to deal with a cat suffering from vomiting, diarrhea, and other signs of gastrointestinal distress.

Choose Plain Tofu with No Other Ingredients

One of the reasons for tofu’s popularity is its ability to take up the flavor of other ingredients. Tofu might be harmless to cats in limited quantities. The same isn’t necessarily true for the various ingredients used to flavor different kinds of tofu. Due to this, it is best for cat owners to stick to the plainest kind of tofu they can find when it comes to feeding their cats. Likewise, they shouldn’t feed their cats tofu cooked with other ingredients because that comes with much the same issues.

The result might be a bit bland. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, it would be problematic if a cat enjoys tofu so much that it refuses to eat the cat food that provides it with its necessary nutrients. Certainly, people can work around such issues. It would still mean avoidable hassle.

Can Cats Eat Related Products?

Numerous products are related to tofu in one way or another without being tofu. For example, people make tofu using soybeans, so tofu is at least somewhat related to soymilk and other soybean-derived products. Similarly, the tofu production process has by-products that are edible in their own right. For instance, boiling soymilk produces a layer of tofu skin on the surface. Sometimes, people sell it like this. Other times, people dry it before selling it. People even use shaped tofu skin as a meat substitute because it has a soft but rubbery texture. On top of these things, there are also foods called tofu because they look like tofu rather than because they are a soybean-derived product.

Generally speaking, soybeans aren’t considered poisonous for cats, though they aren’t considered a good thing for our feline companions either. As a result, interested individuals should treat soybeans and soybean-derived products with at least as much caution as tofu. Chances are good some of these products are much more problematic than others. For instance, some of them are saltier than others. Cats need some salt to live. They can nonetheless suffer serious issues when they take in too much salt.

As for the products that look like tofu without being tofu, interested individuals should look up every single one because they are so different from one another. Almond tofu, coconut tofu, and mango tofu contain no soybeans, though interested individuals should be careful about confusing these things for tofu-based dishes incorporating almond, coconut, and mango. Similarly, egg tofu, peanut tofu, and sesame tofu contain no soybeans. Still, chances are good people should either avoid feeding these things to cats or only feed these things to cats in limited quantities because cats are obligate carnivores.

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