No, your cat doesn’t get any nutritional value from mayonnaise. They may eat it, like it, and even beg for it, but it doesn’t provide much in the way of boosting their diet. Sure, the main ingredients of mayonnaise are eggs and oils, which are great sources of protein and unsaturated fats, but there are far better foods to get those nutrients from.
One possible use for mayonnaise in cats is as a laxative or to aid giving pills. In addition, the oil content of mayonnaise may help grease up the intestinal contents of a constipated cat, and it may help a pill slide down the esophagus. But, again, there are better products available to do this.
Can Cats Eat Mayonnaise At All?
If your kitty gets a quick lick of your sandwich or a bite of macaroni salad, it shouldn’t hurt them. What you don’t want is your cat ingesting mayonnaise regularly. It shouldn’t be used as a snack or meal topper due to the caloric content and amount of oil.
That being said, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for the occasional appetite stimulant or to get one of those pesky pills that your vet gave you down a little easier. However, if you choose to do this, look for healthier, low-fat options.
If your cat eats more than a couple of licks of mayonnaise, monitor them for signs of digestive upset and make sure that they stay hydrated. If they have vomiting or diarrhea that lasts longer than 24-48 hours or have severe abdominal pain and do not eat or drink, see your vet.
Possible Side Effects of Feeding Mayonnaise to a Cat
Again, mayonnaise is made primarily of oil and eggs. That means that it’s also high in fat. Most domestic housecats don’t need a caloric dense food like mayonnaise. Even a small amount of mayonnaise adds significant calories to a cat’s daily intake and can put your kitty on the fast track to obesity.
On top of the fat content, mayonnaise may also contain a lot of salt. Salt toxicity is a real issue in animals that can damage multiple organ systems and even cause death. Along with salt, other seasonings present in mayonnaise-based salads can create toxicities as well. Spices to stay away from include garlic and onion.
The oils in mayonnaise can also cause digestive upset. High fat or oil foods can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in cats, especially when they aren’t used to such foods. On top of that, high-fat foods can lead to a serious condition called pancreatitis.
Cats are also at risk for food-borne illnesses such as Salmonella and Listeria. While it’s not necessarily the temperature of the mayonnaise that’s the problem, it’s how long it took to get there. Heating mayonnaise in the oven or microwave doesn’t cause food poisoning. The problem comes in when you leave mayonnaise out on the counter or picnic table for more than an hour, allowing those nasty stomach bacteria to grow.
Mayonnaise is a common ingredient in many summer dishes, but that doesn’t mean it should show up in your cat’s food dish. Instead of giving your cat mayonnaise as a treat or letting them snack on food with mayonnaise in it, look for healthier, more feline-friendly options.
If your cat happens to eat more than its fair share of mayonnaise, expect to see some short-lived digestive issues, and be sure to consult your vet if your kitty doesn’t get over it within a couple of days.
Dr. Chyrle Bonk has been practicing veterinary medicine since 2010. She lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons, where they spend their free time exploring the great outdoors that is right in their backyard.