Can cats eat barbecue sauce?

In this brief discussion, we’ll answer the question, “Can cats eat barbecue sauce?” We will also discuss which ingredients of barbecue sauce are harmful to cats and what to do if your cat eats barbecue sauce.

Can cats eat barbecue sauce?

No, cats cannot eat barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce contains ingredients that can cause several health issues in cats. Moreover, giving barbecue sauce to your cats can upset their stomach leading to pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.

The ingredients used to make barbecue sauce might be different in different regions of the world but regardless of the ingredients, barbecue sauce should not be given to cats as it does not benefit them in any way. Therefore, it is best to avoid giving cats any food containing barbecue sauce. 

Do cats like barbecue sauce?

Yes, it is possible that cats like barbecue sauce. Cats love anything that contains meat or is associated with it, so if your cat comes across meat containing barbecue sauce, it would not hesitate to take a bite.

Whether cats like barbecue sauce or not, it should not be given to them because some ingredients can harm their health. Moreover, barbecue sauce does not provide any nutritional benefits to cats. Therefore, you should stick to meat without barbecue sauce.

Which ingredients of barbecue sauce are bad for cats?

Barbecue sauce contains some ingredients that can damage your cat’s health in many ways. Some of those ingredients include:

Onion and Garlic 

Some varieties of barbecue sauce contain onion and garlic which are considered toxic for cats. These ingredients can cause oxidative damage to red blood cells in the cat’s body. This eventually results in haemolytic anaemia.

As a result of hemolytic anaemia, cats can experience lethargy, weakness, increased heart rate, physical inactivity, increased breathing rate and pale gums. Gastroenteritis can also occur from eating foods containing onion and garlic causing vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, and stomach pain in cats.


Barbecue sauce contains considerable amounts of salt which can cause dehydration and sodium toxicity in cats. Even though salt is needed for regulating some important functions in the cat’s body, excessive amounts of salt can create many health issues in cats.

Cats have a much lower tolerance for salt compared to humans. In case of high salt consumption, cats can experience diarrhoea, decreased appetite, lethargy, muscle incoordination, increased urination and thirst. 

Some cats can also experience seizures and tremors as a result of sodium toxicity. Death can also occur in extreme cases.

Sugar and Artificial sweeteners

Some varieties of barbecue sauce also contain sugar and artificial sweeteners like xylitol. Sugar adds extra empty calories to your cat’s diet which can lead to weight gain in the longer run. Moreover, it makes barbecue sauce unsuitable for diabetic cats.

Unhealthy weight gain can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart problems which are challenging to treat in cats. 

Spicy seasonings

Some barbecue sauces contain additional spices and seasoning to enhance the flavour. These spices are unsafe for cat consumption because their stomachs do not handle spices well. As a result, cats can experience vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and stomach irritation.

Barbecue sauce also contains tomato paste as the main base which can mildly upset your cat’s stomach. Additionally, vinegar present in barbecue sauce can damage the mucous membranes of your cat’s digestive tract.

What should I do if my cat ate barbecue sauce?

Don’t panic if you suspect your cat has eaten barbecue sauce and follow the instructions given below:

  • Provide your cat with plenty of water because barbecue sauce can cause dehydration in cats.
  • If your cat refuses to drink water, provide them with wet cat food or mix warm water with their kibble to prevent dehydration.
  • Pay close attention to your cat for the next few hours and look for any signs of an upset stomach or unusual behaviour.
  • Take your cat to the vet as soon as possible, if you notice anything unusual about your cat. Whether your cat is acting out due to barbecue sauce or something else, you’ll find out.


We answered the question, “Can cats eat barbecue sauce?” We also discussed which ingredients of barbecue sauce are harmful to cats and what to do if your cat eats barbecue sauce.


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