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Can Cats Eat Mushrooms? Are Mushrooms Harmful to Cats?

As soon as the autumn season arrives, fungi sprout up in abundance. Having your pet cat roam around sniffing these sprouts could leave you wondering whether or not can cats eat mushrooms. Or maybe you just came home with some mushroom-based mock meat and are about to cook it when you find your cat lurking around with curiosity. You are tempted to give your cat a bite or two, but before doing that, read this article below.

Can Cats Eat Mushrooms?

Can Cats Eat Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are generally unsafe for cats to consume, but there is one exception. Some store-bought mushrooms are OK for cats to consume in tiny amounts, but it’s recommended to avoid any fungus in your cat’s diet.

Why? Because cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must consume meat in their daily diet. While cats can eat various fruits and vegetables, they aren’t vital for your cat’s daily nutritional needs.

Can Cats Eat Wild Mushrooms?

Cats should not consume wild mushrooms. There are several mushroom species, and many of them have been linked to feline poisoning. It is recommended that any mushroom consumed outside by your cat be considered harmful.

According to the North American Mycological Association (NAMA), cats don’t usually eat wild mushrooms. However, since cats are attracted to things with a strong odor, they could end up eating dried Amanita muscaria or Amanita pantherina mushroom species, which can be lethal if consumed.

The ASPCA strongly discourages cats from eating wild mushrooms and suggests eliminating any evidence of them in your yard.

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Can Cats Eat Store-Bought Mushrooms?

The case of store-bought mushrooms is not the same as wild mushrooms. Generally, store-bought mushrooms are not toxic to your cat, and if you find your cat munching on some, there is no need to panic. Varieties such as Shiitake, Button, or Portobello mushrooms are the safest choices.

Do Cats Like Mushrooms?

The reason you would find your cat curious about trying out your mushroom risotto is that he/she might find the taste and texture of mushrooms actually amusing. Interestingly, according to NPR, this is due to the high quantities of glutamate in mushrooms, an amino acid that gives foods a characteristic savory flavor known as “umami.”

Cats can sense these tasty flavors and like them as well! Because these umami tastes are connected to the amino acids present in animal protein, your cat is more likely to be drawn to mushrooms for their protein and savory flavor.

What Type of Mushrooms Can Cats Eat?

The table below summarizes the types of mushrooms your cat can eat.

Type of MushroomsCan Cats Eat it?Remarks
Button MushroomsYesEasy to digest
Shiitake MushroomsYesHigh levels of vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Portabella MushroomsYesShould be cut into small pieces
Dried MushroomsYesCould be hard to digest
Oyster MushroomsYesSofter so easier to digest
White MushroomsYesRiboflavin and Niacin can improve metabolism, immune system, and nervous system
Enoki MushroomsYesLow in calories
Maitake MushroomsYesCooked maitake mushrooms is a safer option
Morel MushroomsYesHigh in Vitamin D, Iron & Proteins
Psychedelic MushroomsNoCan cause hallucinations and affect the nervous system

Can Cats Eat Cooked Mushrooms?

If you find your cat eating mushrooms off of your pizza, you should not worry about it. A meal cooked with non-toxic mushrooms can not harm your cat. However, you should ensure that the meal itself was not cooked with ingredients harmful to your cats, such as any dairy products or sauces containing garlic or onions.

What Are the Symptoms of Mushroom Poisoning?

If your cat has eaten wild mushrooms, the APCC and ASPCA advise you to look for the following symptoms:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Vomiting or diarrhea within a few hours of intake should be a red flag that you should consult your veterinarian. Mild episodes may resolve on their own, but severe cases might result in dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities.
  • Neurological Effects: Unsteadiness when walking, tremors, sensitivity to touch or sound, irritability, and sadness are some of the neurological effects. Diarrhea and vomiting are also possible.
  • Muscarinic Effects: Some mushroom species have muscarinic effects on the parasympathetic nervous system. This might cause excessive drooling as well as a drop in heart rate. Gastrointestinal problems are also possible.
  • Liver Toxicity: The most alarming sign of mushroom poisoning is liver toxicity, which is frequently associated with the death cap mushroom. Symptoms might appear up to 24 hours after consumption and include gastrointestinal problems, reduced energy and appetite, and a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. If left untreated, this can lead to liver failure and, eventually, death.

What Type of Mushrooms Are Deadly?

Generally, you should keep a lookout for any wild mushrooms your cat eats, but there are some deadly mushrooms that should be avoided at any cost.

The Amanita genus is thought to be responsible for 95 percent of mushroom poisoning fatalities. Death cap mushrooms (Amanita phalloides) are considered to be responsible for at least half of all mushroom-related fatalities in humans. The image below summarizes all the deadly mushrooms to be avoided.

Types of Deadly Mushrooms

Other Not Deadly But Toxic Mushrooms

The mushrooms listed below are not lethal, but they can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal disorders, such as severe vomiting and diarrhea, followed by dehydration, as well as effects on the nervous system, such as reduced heart rate and excessive drooling.

Types of Toxic Mushrooms

What to Do if Your Cat Eats a Wild Mushroom?

If you see your cat eating a wild mushroom, prepare for the worst: Contact your veterinarian or animal facility and collect a mushroom sample for identification. Depending on the circumstances, the veterinarian may opt to induce vomiting, provide activated charcoal, and deliver IV fluids and other drugs as needed.

Bottom Line

Cooked, store-bought mushrooms are the safest for cats to eat in small amounts. Note that you should not expect your feline friend to get any nutritional value from them.

Wild mushrooms should be avoided in any case, since they can be fatal to your cat. In the event of any symptoms of mushroom poisoning showing up, immediately contact your vet or the nearest animal poison control help center.

Read What Other Food Can Your Cat Eat
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