If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing more satisfying than the crunch and spicy kick of a bag of Takis chips. But if you notice your feline friend hanging around and taking interest in your snack, you may wonder whether they can safely partake in the occasional snack.
Cats should not eat Takis. Not only do they not have the taste buds to enjoy the spicy flavor, but the ingredients have a lot of adverse effects on a cat’s wellbeing. In addition, Takis offer no nutritional value to a cat’s diet and can lead to annoying begging behavior.
It can certainly be hard to say no to a cat when they’re taking such an interest in your food, but oftentimes, cats don’t know what’s best for their dietary needs and will just eat whatever you put in front of them as a matter of habit.
The rest of this article will explore the reasons why Takis aren’t safe to give to cats.
Cats Can’t Enjoy the Spice from Takis Anyway
Well, that’s a bummer. Turns out cats can’t appreciate the flavor of spicy foods much at all. While humans have over 9000 taste buds, cats only have about 500. While they can taste fat and bitter, they can’t really taste sweet and spicy.
The reason that we as humans love spicy food is due to capsaicin, which sends pain signals to the brain. In response to these pain signals, our body pumps out endorphins, giving a sensation of pleasure.
Since cats don’t have as many taste buds and therefore don’t receive as much of a pain signal from the brain, they don’t get any enjoyment from the spicy side of Takis.
Of course, this biological understanding prompts the question of why cats take such interest in you when you’re eating Takis and seem to enjoy them.
The likely answer is that their highly-developed sense of smell is alerting them to the aromatic smell of the Takis. A strong, fatty scent like the natural beef flavor in Takis tells your cat that something tasty in in the offering.
Cats may also develop a taste for Takis due to their high fat and salt content (which cats love), but as we’ll discuss later, Takis can cause a whole host of health problems for cats and shouldn’t be given to them even as an occasional snack.
Spicy Foods Are Dangerous to Cats
Unfortunately, while your cat can’t appreciate the tongue-tingling goodness of Takis, they still react negatively to capsaicin.
Similarly to humans, cats will get a runny nose and tear up when exposed to capsaicin. This ingredient tends to irritate the lining of the stomach and lead to bowel movements.
As such, cats that ingest Takis may suffer from stomach irritation and diarrhea until the entirety of the capsaicin has been expelled from the body. Ulcers may form on the lining of the stomach, and your cat may have a loss of appetite for a while.
If you think about it from a naturalistic perspective, cats are carnivorous and have no need to consume capsaicin-producing foods like peppers. As such, eating something that isn’t part of their natural diet can only have negative effects on your cat.
The Sodium Content in Takis Is Too High for Cats
While the level of salt in a bag of Takis might be manageable for humans (although still not healthy by any means), in a cat’s body, excess sodium can lead to a host of health issues, including the following:
- Excessive thirst
- Loss of appetite
Yeah, cats aren’t really cut out for a high-sodium diet. The most dangerous reaction to salt-poisoning is an electrolyte imbalance, which can be fatal if not treated.
If you notice your cat seems to be lethargic, having trouble walking, or vomiting, contact your local veterinarian immediately.
When it comes to Takis, it’s not likely that a single chip is going to send your cat to the ER, but nevertheless, the extra salt will only harm your cat and will at the very least cause dehydration and excessive thirst.
Garlic and Onion Power in Takis Has Adverse Effects on Cats
Garlic and onions are considered quite toxic to cats. Consuming too much garlic can lead to hemolytic anemia, a condition in which the body begins to attack its own red blood cells.
The active compounds in garlic alter the surface of red blood cells in cats, causing the body not to recognize them and target them.
The shorter lifespan and breakdown of these red blood cells causes excess hemoglobin to be released into the bloodstream, dramatically increasing the workload of the liver.
If you notice your cat has pale yellow gums and is taking a lot of bathroom breaks after eating Takis or other foods containing garlic or onion, you should be concerned and contact your local veterinarian for a course of action.
Some other alarming symptoms of garlic or onion poisoning are the following:
- Rapid breathing or heart rate
- Lack of energy
Again, while the amount of garlic and onion in a single Taki chip isn’t likely to singlehandedly shut down a cat’s body, you’re also not doing your cat any favors when it comes to their health.
The next time your cat is pestering you for a special treat, it’s better to resist than to give in― for their sake.
MSG And Other Additives Can Affect Your Cat’s Long-Term Health
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is present in Takis and a good number of pet food brands. Not only is MSG addictive for your cat, but it can also contribute to obesity in your cat by increasing insulin levels.
Moreover, MSG can have some alarming effects on the brain, possibly influencing your cat’s mood and altering the function of the nervous system. This little additive is probably also what makes your cat so excited about Takis whenever you pop open a bag.
In fact, many pet food companies use MSG to give their flavor that little addictive touch to make your pets enjoy them more. Takis also contain maltodextrin, which behaves similarly to MSG in the body.
MSG is still not well understood, but it’s fair to say that it doesn’t have any good things going for it, offering yet another reason why Takis aren’t a good snack for cats.
Takis also contain a variety of preservatives and artificial flavors that have unclear effects on humans, let along cats.
What to Do If Your Cat Is Pestering You for Takis
Let’s be honest― we all want what’s best for our cats, but it can be hard to say no to such a cute face; however, establishing a precedent of giving in to your snack-hungry cat isn’t helping you build a secure and trusting relationship.
Keep in mind that your cat doesn’t get the same flavor experience out of Takis as you do, but they sure do get a lot of downsides.
There’s nothing wrong with giving your cat a treat every now and again, but you should always make sure those treats are cat-friendly and healthy. Lean meats are a nice add-on to your cat’s diet, and there’s nothing wrong with giving them a little bit of their regular kibble as a bonus.
You can also use snack time as a way to bond by using puzzles and training to give them some much-needed mental stimulation.
If you find your cat is bothering you for Takis when you sit down for dinner, try feeding them a little earlier so that they will already be full when you’re ready to eat.
Most human snacks aren’t good for cats at all. Even processed meats aren’t usually a good idea because of the high amount of added salt.
The sooner you can break your cat of the habit of begging for unhealthy snacks, the more they will benefit from a more cat-friendly diet.
It’s no surprise that we want to share good things with our cats. After all, they bring such joy into our lives and want to be part of everything we’re doing. It’s no surprise then that some people want to let their cats experience the spicy side of life by trying Takis.
Regardless of how tolerant your cats already are of human food, Takis exact a hefty toll on a cat’s body.
The spiciness causes stomach and bowel irritation, the salt content can dehydrate them and put their electrolytes out of balance, and garlic powder acts as a toxic substance that alters red blood cells.
The worst part about all of these effects is that they can all exacerbate the same conditions. Sodium, garlic, and capsaicin all cause vomiting, excess thirst, and diarrhea in cats.
The likelihood of developing a serious condition increases all the more when you feed your cats something that contains a triple-whammy of bad ingredients.
Your cat doesn’t know what’s best for its body, but you do. Keep your cat safe. Keep them healthy. Don’t feed them Takis.