Is Soy Sauce Bad for Cats?

Soy sauce is a condiment that people have been using for many, many years, especially in Asia. 

It has become more popular in the rest of the world thanks to Chinese restaurants, and lots of people now cook their homemade meals with soy sauce (including the well-known Macaroni Chinois that Quebecers love and that I’ve had myself!). 

But is soy sauce safe for cats? Can you give your cat soy sauce without worrying that they will become sick? 

We’re answering these questions and more in today’s article, so keep on reading!

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Can cats eat soy sauce?


There’s only one answer to this question and it is a clear and hard NO. 

Soy sauce is extraordinarily rich in salt and even though cats are obligate carnivores, they shouldn’t have a diet rich in sodium whatsoever. 

Some kibble and canned cat food varieties do contain minimal amounts of sodium, but they are typically added for preserving purposes. 

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However, these quantities are never life-threatening to cats, as they are when it comes to soy sauce. 

To make things just a little worse, soy sauce is made with fermented soybeans, and cats are not supposed to have legumes, either. 

Are there any potential benefits of giving soy sauce to cats?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is also no. 

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Soy sauce does have some nutrients that are available to humans, but due to its salt content, it is a no-go for pets, in general, and cats in particular. 

For example, soy sauce contains some minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and iron. Furthermore, it is fairly rich in vitamin B6 since just 100 grams contain 5% of the daily necessary value for humans for this nutrient. 

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However, 100 grams of soy sauce also has 226% of the daily sodium value recommended for humans — so you can easily see why it’s a bad idea to give it to cats. 

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Health risks of giving soy sauce to cats

Digestive distress

As previously discussed, soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans, so off the bat it is not species-appropriate. 

But due to its massive salt content, soy sauce can also cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in cats (and dogs or other species). 

Just one teaspoon of soy sauce can cause havoc for a cat’s gastrointestinal system and it can take some time until they recover from indigestion. 

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Neurological symptoms

This is one of the more worrying symptoms that a cat that has had soy sauce can experience and what do you know?, it happens also because of the sodium content in this liquid condiment. 

Some cats, especially those that are malnourished or have a history of neurological complications, could experience seizures or tremors. 

If you see that your cat is behaving strangely and you suspect that they’ve ingested soy sauce, do not hesitate to go to the veterinary clinic. 

Time is of the essence when it comes to salt poisoning, including in humans!

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Cats don’t tend to drink huge amounts of water anyway, so giving them something that’s extremely salty depletes them from fluids that are necessary so that their internal organs function properly. 

If your cat isn’t a big drinker and they have soy sauce, they might end up at the emergency animal hospital with an IV. 

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Kidney disease complications

Every electrolyte that animals and humans ingest gets eliminated through the kidneys. 

The kidneys and the liver are two of the most important filtering organs that we are equipped with, so your cat will experience excessive urination and thirst.

Your pet’s body, in an attempt to get rid of the excess salt in its system, will get rid of other precious nutrients, as well, some of which maintain the fluid balance at a tissue and cell level. 

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Hypertension and other cardiovascular complications

Every person who’s ever monitored their blood pressure knows that salt is bad and can lead to hypertension. 

Well, the same rule applies when it comes to cats and soy sauce. 

Besides high blood pressure, your cat might also experience adverse reactions that affect their cardiac muscle – irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia), tachycardia, or feeling like they can’t breathe properly or they are dizzy. 

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Diabetes-related issues

Diabetic cats should not have a diet rich in sugar or salt. 

If your cat’s pancreas isn’t functioning properly, the worst thing you could do is allow her to have some soy sauce. 

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Is Chinese food safe for cats?


There are several reasons why table scraps are bad for cats, including Chinese food. 

First of all, the sodium content in fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, or garlic sauce is through the roof, so that makes all of these food dishes inappropriate for cats. 

Secondly, there are other ingredients that are problematic such as MSG or the rendered fat in some recipes. 

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Various pork dishes can be too fat, too, so they are also a no-go. 

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What happens if my cat licks soy sauce?

If you were enjoying a dish to which you’ve added soy sauce and your cat stole a noodle or licked something off your plate, the best piece of advice we have for you is to take them to the vet. 

If you do not think that your cat was exposed to more than a lick’s worth of soy sauce, just keep an eye on your feline friend for a few hours. 

Chances are that they’ll drink a bit more water and visit the litter box a little more often, but other than that, if your pet is a healthy adult, it’s probably nothing worth worrying about. 

However, if you think that your cat had more soy sauce by accident, seek out veterinary assistance right away. 

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Can soy sauce kill cats?

Depending on how much they’ve had, the answer to this question is a potential yes. 

The high blood pressure, the negative effects on the nervous system, the havoc on the kidneys and digestive tract, and everything else that your cat could experience can all lead to heaps of complications that result in death. 

Keep your pantry well-stocked and locked and teach your cat to enjoy only their pet food from the moment you adopt or buy them. 

This post contains affiliate links on some of the images. You can support this blog by trying out the products recommended in this article. 

Cristina Vulpe is a licensed veterinarian who has been a cat owner since she was 12. She is passionate about giving useful advice to pet owners across the world. Her favorite topics range from pathology and novel therapies to infectious diseases and animal welfare. Her work has been featured in many online publications from The Pet Friendly House to Alpha Paw, Animal Wellness Magazine, and Currently, she is a Pet Content Specialist for IkoBrands.

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