Can Cats Actually Eat Lasagna?

The answer is surprisingly layered.
Just because Garfield devours it doesn't mean this kitty should.
Just because Garfield devours it doesn't mean this kitty should. / Dornveek Markkstyrn, Moment Open Collection, Getty Images

When a comic strip about a cat who eats lasagna has been running for decades and is probably the most popular thing ever written about a cat, it creates the impression that every section of the feline food pyramid features pasta.

But tempting as it might be, enthusiastic Garfield fans may want to hold off before they host a lasagna party for their kitties. While it’s clear that a cat probably would eat the dish by pawing it one layer at a time, what’s not so clear is whether he should be eating it in the first place. Meow Mix doesn’t appear to sell an Italian line.

The safest outright answer is no: your cat should not be secretly eating lasagna off your plate while the dog distracts you. But it’s a little more complicated than that. The pasta in lasagna is not inherently toxic to cats, and they can handle it in small doses; it just may end up on your carpet afterward. That’s because cats are known as obligate carnivores, meaning their diet is composed almost entirely of meat. While they can nibble on plain pasta from time to time, they won’t get much nutritional value from it because they need protein to thrive, not carbohydrates. (They were onto the keto thing way before it became cool amongst people.)

It’s everything else in the lasagna that may be the real problem. A proper one tends to feature onions, garlic, tomatoes, and various spices, all of which are toxic to a cat’s digestive system. Serving a human a plate of lasagna with only plain cooked pasta and pieces of meat will result in a pretty lousy tip, but it’s the only version you should be giving your cat. Many of them are lactose intolerant, so all that wonderful gooey cheese won’t be doing them any favors, either.

Did this stop Garfield from inhaling pan after pan of what he described as “nature’s most perfect food”? Of course not. Good cartoons don’t show the consequences, which is why you never look down when running off a cliff.

If you’re still keeping track, the aforementioned issues pretty much eliminate all the core elements of a good lasagna. But this doesn’t have to ruin all the fun. You can still celebrate The Garfield Movie, which just arrived in theaters, and do something funny on social media with your cat, you just need to think outside the box a bit. Instead of a classic lasagna, consider altering the recipe. A small piece layered with ground beef and wet cat food for the sauce will be as safe and delicious to the cat as it is disgusting to everyone else.

Still, even if you do make a healthy feline-friendly version of lasagna, it’s worth noting a few things: this probably won’t lead to your cat getting a syndicated comic strip, animated series, three-picture movie deal, or a line of merchandise and memorabilia based on their likeness. But it might make them happy, and that’s all that really counts in the end.

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