Are green tomatoes poisonous?

Can Cats Eat Tomatoes? When Is It Dangerous?

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Our feline friends should not have certain types of food. This is because some of these foods can be toxic, or kitties can be allergic to them. Many experts will tell you yes when you ask can cats have tomatoes. The quick answer is that cats are able to eat the ripe fruit form of the tomato plant.

No need to worry – cats are highly unlikely to try to eat tomatoes that are raw, since they do not like the taste and texture of the green tomatoes.

Are Tomatoes Safe for Cats to Eat?

It can be frightening when your cat gets into something that she shouldn’t have, or you don’t know if a food they ingested is going to make her sick. You may be at a loss for where to go for quick information about if tomatoes are bad for cats, especially if you would rather avoid going to the vet’s office in case it’s a false alarm to worry about said food.

Here’s how you can lower your stress when it comes to your cat getting into tomato plants:

As with anything else, each pet differs based on their individual health background. Just like with humans, a kitty can be allergic to any number of foods. Make sure that you consult with your veterinarian to clear up any confusion if your cat shows an interest in eating a certain vegetable or fruit. If you don’t know the answer to the question can cats have tomatoes, your vet is the best source to consult.

No matter what it is your animal friend wants, you may feel guilty about denying them the joy of eating something that you enjoy. However, it’s best to keep in mind what could be harmful to her health. Putting your feline buddy at risk just is not worth the moment of happiness she will get from trying this food.

When Are Tomatoes Bad for Cats?

It can be confusing to learn the answer to are tomatoes bad for cats. Tomatoes only tend to be toxic to felines when they are unripe. The green fruit, as well as the stems and leaves of the tomato plant, can make your cat sick and even can be fatal. It does not matter if the plant is indoors in a container, or out in your garden. You need to ensure that none of your kitties consume the unripe tomato or anything that is connected to it.

Wondering how valid these claims are?

According to the Humane Society of the United States (also known as HSUS), the stems and leaves of the tomato plant are on a list of things that they should not eat. Though this site does not specifically mention the fruit, the ASPCA site does talk about how the unripe tomato fruit is not good for cats. This is because all of these parts of the tomato contain solanine, which also is harmful to horses and dogs.

You may be certain that the answer to the question of can cats eat tomatoes is no, but there are some people who say otherwise when you’re looking to random corners of the internet for answers. Even if you see online that people have given their cats tomatoes without any ill effects, you should avoid the risk at all costs.

Can Cats Eat Tomato Sauce?

An important point to note is that, although some of the cat food on the market may contain tomato, you should not give your kitty something that is far outside of her diet. This can cause stomach upset, among other things. If you are trying them on a new cat food with ingredients that are unfamiliar, you don’t have to worry as much.

To go a step further with the topic – can cats eat tomato sauce?

Even though a small amount of solanine is said to be fine for cats, you shouldn’t make it a point to give your feline any amount of green tomato. Although tomato sauce is made with ripe tomatoes, it typically will contain ingredients that are just plain bad for kitties, such as garlic. dairy, and onion powder. Also, they contain chemical preservatives and other additives that are dangerous to cats.

Once a cat ingests anything like this, she can be extremely sick and need immediate medical attention. Please use care when leaving food out that your pet can get into with ease.

Cats May Be Allergic to Tomatoes

Do you know if your pet is allergic to the tomato? It may not surprise you to learn that many owners have stated that their cats are allergic to this plant. When felines are allergic to a food, their reactions can vary between mild stomach discomfort and diarrhea, to extreme shock and even death.

That’s enough to make any pet owner worry about keeping little furball away from the garden.

For this reason, you should not take any chances. Keep your kitty friend away from all things tomato, and look out for any cat food that contains it. Though cat food is developed for the average feline without regard over if cats can have tomatoes, it still can cause issues that may be catastrophic.

You also should not give your cat the following:

  • Ketchup
  • Tomato soup
  • Tomato juice

You want the very best for your furry friend. This includes her diet and wondering what is true when it comes to are tomatoes bad for cats. Take great care with the foods you give your little buddy, and you’re sure to see her live a long, happy life.


  • Tomato Plant Poisoning in Cats at
  • Food Allergies at Cornell Feline Health Center
  • Tomato Plant at

Are tomatoes bad for cat?

The ripened fruit of this plant (the commonly eaten tomato) is considered non-toxic but the green parts of the plant contain solanine, a glycoalkoloid. Typically, when ingested by dogs and cats, it rarely results in toxicity.

What happens if cats eat tomatoes?

While humans can easily eat tomatoes, substances in the stems and leaves of the tomato plant are toxic for small animals. The tomato plant contains solanine, which is toxic for your cat. Fortunately for your cat, tomato plant poisoning isn’t typically fatal, but will definitely cause uncomfortable symptoms.

Can cats eat raw tomatoes?

Most experts agree that cats can safely eat the ripe fruit of the plant. Don’t worry though, as cats are unlikely to nibble on raw tomatoes because the texture and taste of green tomatoes aren’t pleasing for most of our feline friends.

Will tomato sauce hurt cats?

Cantaloupe, tomato sauce, and scrambled eggs are just a few feline favorites. It’s fun to give your cat a taste of what you’re eating, especially when he seems interested in it, but certain foods or ingredients can be toxic and even deadly.

Are Tomato Leaves Poisonous To Cats?

Solanine is also found in many other plants from the Solanaceae family, including the potato plant (green parts only).

Typically, when ingested by dogs and cats, it rarely results in toxicity.

Ingestion can cause severe gastrointestinal distress (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea), lethargy, weakness, and even confusion.

Can tomato plants kill cats?

Green tomatoes and potatoes: Cats won’t typically eat unripe tomatoes or raw potatoes, but they do love to nibble on leaves and other greens. The leaves and stems of tomato and potato plants, which belong to the deadly nightshade family, are highly toxic. Never leave these plants within your cat’s reach.

Is tomato sauce dangerous for cats?

Tomato is actually fine for cats to eat as it is used in cat foods, though i wouldn’t let him eat the sauce again. There could be garlic or onions in the sauce, which is poisonous to cats.

Can I eat tomato leaves?

But the leaves of the plant are tender, fragrant and, yes, completely edible. Contrary to popular opinion, you can eat tomato leaves just like any other garden green. And even though tomatoes do contain some of the harmful compounds in their poisonous counterparts, their leaves, stems and fruit won’t hurt you a bit.

What should you not feed a cat?

Common human food poisonous to cats

  • Alcohol. As little as a tablespoon of alcohol can lead to problems for your cat.
  • Chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine.
  • Coffee, tea and energy drinks.
  • Cheese and milk.
  • Fat trimmings, raw meat, raw eggs and raw fish.
  • Grapes and raisins.
  • Onions and garlic.
  • Xylitol.

Is pilchards in tomato sauce good for cats?

Cats cannot taste spices, not do their digestive systems cope well with acidic foods. Many sardines in tomato sauce also also garnished with garlic or onions, which are, again, unnatural foods for a cat and can prove toxic. In any case, it is best to rinse the tomato sauce off the fish before you give it to your cat.

Can cats lick tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce for Human consumption should never be fed to a cat because of the garlic and onion it often contains. A lick might not harm a cat but larger amounts may.

Is spaghetti sauce bad for cats?

Spaghetti bolognese: while the meat will be great for cats, full of protein as it is, the sauce is tomato based. Tomatoes are generally safe for cats, but they cannot eat too much of them. If you give your cat pasta with a little tomato sauce on it, it should be OK, but don’t go overboard.

Why are tomato leaves poisonous?

Tomato Leaves and Their Poisonous Rap

Wariness about tomato leaves stems, in large part, from the plant’s status as part of the nightshade family. While this family plays host to a variety of toxic, “deadly” plants, the tomato is not one of them, despite containing the alkaloids tomatine and solanine.

What’s eating tomato plant leaves?

Your plant is probably being attacked by hornworms. Despite their large size, these bright green caterpillars can easily hide among tomato leaves, staying out of sight until they have eaten most of the plant’s foliage. Inspect your plants for hornworms now before they strip it down to bare stems.

What is the most dangerous vegetable?

Avoid these top 12 toxic fruits and vegetables

  1. Each year EWG ranks produce for pesticide residue and presents consumers with both the safest and most toxic choices – here’s the latest list.
  2. Strawberries. Spinach. Nectarines. Apples. Grapes. Peaches. Cherries. Pears. Tomatoes. Celery.
  3. Avocados. Sweet Corn. Pineapples. Cabbages. Onions. Sweet Peas Frozen. Papayas. Asparagus. Mangoes.

Is tomato soup okay for cats?

As I state below (skip to the bottom line), based on my research, the short answer is yes, cats can safely eat ripe tomatoes without risk. Whether cooked, raw, or as an ingredient in commercial cat foods, ripe tomatoes don’t contain the levels of toxins that make unripe tomatoes, stems, and leaves dangerous.

Is cheese bad for cats?

Cheese is not good for a cat’s digestive system if they have shown to have some lactose intolerance (or sensitivity) from milk or any other DAIRY product. While giving your cat a small amount of cheese won’t hurt them, it is not recommended for you to feed them cheese regularly.

Photo in the article by “Max Pixel”

Peak summer tomato season is approaching, so we’re gathering all the information we can on making the most of this sweet, juicy and ultra-versatile garden bounty. You can devour tomatoes until they disappear for the winter, but here’s a question you might not have asked: can you eat tomato leaves?

Now we’re talking about the leaves of the plant itself, not the small leaves attached to the stem — those are generally too fibrous to eat. But the leaves of the plant are tender, fragrant and, yes, completely edible. Contrary to popular opinion, you can eat tomato leaves just like any other garden green. They’re tasty, abundant and packed with phytonutrients. So why do so many people think they’re poisonous? Leftovers from a less-informed era, and nothing more.

Tomatoes, like eggplant and chili peppers, are indeed part of the nightshade family. The family also includes plants famously toxic to humans, like oleander, hemlock, foxglove and larkspur. That’s why if you hear “nightshade,” you might also think “deadly nightshade.” And even though tomatoes do contain some of the harmful compounds in their poisonous counterparts, their leaves, stems and fruit won’t hurt you a bit.

So now that you know you can, how do you eat tomato leaves? We turned to Portland chef Jenn Louis‘ phenomenally informative cookbook, The Book Of Greens.

“Do not throw your tomato leaves away when you harvest them from the garden! They can be gathered throughout the season and cooked like any of the greens defined as sturdy in the introduction to this book,” says Louis. “Sturdy” includes vegetable tops like carrot, turnip, beet sweet potato and cauliflower greens, plus collards, kale, cabbage and other produce that generally takes longer to become tender.

The leaves do sport a strong herbal aroma, she adds, and recommends blending them into a pesto, combined with mint, basil and other garden herbs. At the restaurant, she blanches, dries and blends the leaves into pasta dough, and serves the pasta with butter and fresh tomatoes. Can you think of a better way to celebrate tomato season?

“One year a family of deer jumped my fence and munched on my tomato crop,” he added. “The leaves didn’t seem to deter them, in fact, they came back for more the second day. I tried a little in a sauce and I also came back the second day with no noticeable ill effects. From then on, I have used them steadily.”

Apart from Mr. Bertolli’s excellent leaf-enhanced sauce, I’ve found only a handful of obscure uses for tomato leaves, all of them from Asia. Exploring the East Indies in the 17th century, the Dutch botanist G. E. Rumpf noted that the people of Ambon Island, now part of Indonesia, ate the tender leaves raw with fish and with fermented shellfish, a precursor of Indonesian belacan and relative of Asian fish sauces. Later, the botanist J. K. Hasskarl found the young leaves eaten along with rice. But Sri Owen, an Indonesian food writer, told me by e-mail that she has never heard of any such dishes.

More recently, on an episode of the original Japanese “Iron Chef” in 2000, the chef Hiroyuki Sakai served raw fish in a sauce that included dried tomato leaves. And there’s now a Japanese patent pending for a process that dries tomato plants and grinds them into an antioxidant-rich food powder.

With these examples in mind, I tried combining finely shredded tomato leaves and just a hint of fish sauce, and found that they made a savory garnish for both rice and pan-cooked halibut. Then I gently fried whole leaves for a few seconds on each side, and they came out crisp and beautifully translucent, delicious sprinkled with a few grains of salt. Dried, they taste like tea. Blanched and puréed, a few spoonfuls of tomato leaf added deep green flavor and color to a pesto. No side effects noted.

Pondering safety while making pesto prompted me to do a background check on basil. It doesn’t contain any alkaloids, but two of the chemical components in its aroma have been found to cause DNA damage and cancer in animals. These substances, estragole and methyleugenol, are also found in other herbs and are added to manufactured foods. A European food safety agency has proposed regulating their use.

There’s no evidence that eating pesto is hazardous. Researchers at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, found that an extract of the whole basil leaf can block the DNA damage caused by estragole.

But the ongoing stories of tomato leaves and basil show how little we really know about what we eat. Plant foods contain many thousands of different chemicals, and each one can have a number of different effects on the body, some benign, others not.

Added on May 31, 2014 Geoff McCabe

Toxic Edible Plants

Tomatoes – Cherry

It may sound like an oxymoron, but many plants that we have growing at the farm are highly toxic if the wrong part is eaten, if they’re eaten before they’re ripe, or uncooked, etc.

When giving tours of the farm, the guests sometimes freak me out by eating random stuff they find growing there! Let’s be clear: just because it’s natural, organic, and growing in nature, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, the vast majority of plants out there are toxic to humans. Many of them have dozens of toxic compounds that evolved in their systems to keep mammals from eating them.

Here’s a list of some of the dangerous plants that we can eat only if we know how:



Cashew trees grow very fast and we have several on the farm. Below the fruits, which look like a medium-sized bell pepper, is a shell which contains a syrup and a cashew seed. This syrup is highly toxic, and to make the cashews edible, they are cooked for quite a while in a high heat to boil off the urushiol poison. This is a tricky process that many of the local Ticos know how to do. Our volunteer coordinator, Joy Lopez, tried it with friends in another part of Costa Rica and they all got sick. As a result, the “raw cashews” you bought at Whole Foods probably aren’t.


Wild Tomatillo

We have wild tomatillo growing around the farm in random places. These small round fruits, surrounded by a paper “lantern” are toxic when they’re green. To eat them, you’ll need to let the paper shell dry out, leaving the tomatillos yellow and sweeter. Wherever we find them growing, we just leave them alone. Eventually the plant dries and collapses, and they continue to ripen on the ground for weeks. Eventually they’re yellow and ready to eat. They’re tasty, but not particularly sweet. If eaten when green, they’re mildly toxic, but not the type of thing that’s going to send someone to the hospital.

Tomato Leaves:

Tomato Plant Leaves

For years, tomato leaves have been known to be poisonous. I once read that assassins used to use them to murder people by slipping a few into their salad. Apparently, they could cause death by what appeared to be a natural heart attack. Other plants in the same Nighshade family are also toxic, such as eggplant, peppers, and potatoes. Sweet potatoes aren’t in this family so the leaves are fine (and very healthy) to eat. Some people cook with tomato leaves to enhance the flavor, which is apparently okay as long as you remove them and don’t actually eat them. Apparently the toxins stay inside the leaves during cooking/heating. Yet, this article claims that tomato-leaf toxicity is a myth, and not only that, but the leaves and green tomatoes have a great cancer-fighting chemical in them called tomatine. Read about that here:

Yucca / Cassava:

Cassava / Yucca Root

This tasty root vegetable grows very well here in the beach climates of Costa Rica. However, you should never eat it raw! It has two types of cyanogenic glucosides, which convert to cyanide. This can be fatal or cause permanent paralysis. I have been told that some people are also slightly allergic to yucca and if eaten too frequently, they’ll start to go blind. Not eating it anymore will reverse the blindness. The more bitter the yucca, the more toxic it is, and when grown in drought conditions, it has even more toxicity.

by Geoff McCabe

Geoff lives in and oversees the Rancho Delicioso eco-village, overseeing his grand vision to build an amazing sustainable community in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. He is also CEO of Anamaya Resort, a yoga retreat center in Montezuma. When not farming, he enjoys writing for his many websites, surfing, and designing eco structures.

Tomato Plant Toxicity – Can Tomatoes Poison You

Have you ever heard that tomatoes can poison you? Is there any truth to the rumors of tomato plant toxicity? Let’s explore the facts and decide if this is an urban myth, or if toxicity of tomatoes is a valid concern.

Can Tomato Plants Poison You?

Whether or not the rumors are true, the idea that tomatoes might make you sick is understandable. Tomatoes are member of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) and, as such, are related to eggplants, potatoes, and of course, deadly belladonna or nightshade. These cousins all produce a toxin called solanine. This toxic alkaloid is part of the plants’ defense mechanism, making them unappealing to animals tempted to munch on them. All parts of the plant contain solanine, but the heaviest concentrations tend to be in the leaves and stems.

Tomatoes have a long, somewhat shady, history due to their association with nightshade. They are reputed to have been used in witchcraft and as an aphrodisiac and, thus, were slow to gain acceptance as a food crop.

All very interesting, but it doesn’t really answer the question, “Are tomato plants poisonous?”

Are Tomato Plants Poisonous?

Today, tomatoes are touted as extremely healthy food sources in large part due to their

high concentration of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and macular degeneration.

While it’s true that tomatoes are members of the nightshade family, they actually produce a slightly different alkaloid called tomatine. Tomatine is also toxic but less so. However, when ingested in extremely large doses, it may cause gastrointestinal problems, liver and even heart damage. It is highest in concentration in the leaves, stems and unripe fruit; ripe red tomatoes have very low doses of tomatine. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid fried green tomatoes though. It would take huge amounts of tomatine to make a person ill.

Note: Those suffering from autoimmune disorders should avoid digesting tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family, which may lead to issues with inflammation.

Tomato Toxicity Symptoms

Tomatoes not only contain tomatine, but also a lesser toxin called atropine. There are some people who report digestive issues from eating tomatoes, especially when combined with hot peppers. There are also unsubstantiated reports of tomatine and a relation to arthritis, but again, these are unsupported claims. The effects, while unpleasant, are not life threatening. In fact, I could find no record of an actual poisoning due to tomato plant toxicity; solanine poisoning from eating green potatoes is more likely to occur (and even that is rare).

As far as the toxicity of tomatoes with regards to animals, again, very large amounts need to be ingested. Tomato leaves have a distinct, pungent aroma and are also covered with prickly hairs which make them less than palatable to most animals. Tell that to some dogs or even cats who have a propensity for nibbling on any plant, especially when the animal is young. Tomato toxicity symptoms are more pronounced in dogs than in people with a list of side effects that include nervous system issues to digestive ailments. It’s best to err on the side of caution and keep your pets away from your tomato plants.

Some individuals may be more sensitive to the alkaloids found in tomatoes and should avoid them. People on specific dietary plans or taking certain supplements may want to consult with a nutritionist or their doctor. For the rest of us, eat up! The benefits of eating tomatoes are many and the possibility of toxicity barely worth mentioning — unless, of course, you detest tomatoes and are looking for a way to avoid eating them!

Common knowledge insists tomato leaves are poisonous, but is it true? Photo: Max Pixel

Well, this is kind of a mix of myth and truth, because tomato leaves can be seen as toxic or nontoxic, depending on your point of view.

Yes, they are toxic because they do contain toxic alkaloids, including tomatine and solanine.

But they’re not toxic enough to poison you unless you consume them in very large quantities. (An adult would have to consume about 1 pound/450 g of tomato leaves to become sick.) Also, the leaves’ unpleasant smell is usually enough to discourage most people from munching on them.

Since they can be safely eaten under most circumstances, some chefs recommend adding one or two tomato leaves to tomato recipes to enhance their “tomato flavor” which can otherwise be diluted by cooking.

Green Fruits Too

Immature (green) tomatoes do contain toxic alkaloids, but not enough to be harmful. Photo: Hans,

Still not sure you should try them? Remember that many people who would never think of eating tomato leaves use green tomatoes (that is, immature ones, not the “green tomatoes” that remain green when ripe) in recipes (fried green tomatoes, tomato chutney, tomato relish, etc.), yet immature tomatoes are as rich in tomatine and solanine as tomato leaves. In fact, the level of those alkaloids only diminishes to almost nothing when the fruit reaches its final coloration.

Destroyed by Cooking?

Cooking won’t significantly reduce alkaloid levels in tomato leaves. Photo: Ildar Sagdejev, Wikimedia Commons

A few sources I looked at suggested that tomatine and solanine are destroyed by cooking, which would make the leaves safe to eat, but in fact, they are very stable compounds that don’t break down to any great degree when they are heated. On the other hand, they do dissolve in water, so if for some reason you boiled tomato leaves, then drained away the cooking water, that would be a way of reducing any toxicity.

Can Toxins Be Good for You?

Like many toxins, alkaloids like tomatine and solanine can also be, at the appropriate dose, good for your health. Tomatine, for example, has antibiotic and antifungal properties and it would appear it can even help prevent cancer … but many studies still need to be done before offering tomato leaf pills as a cure-all!

Leaves as Insecticide?

While tomato leaves when used in moderation may be non-toxic to humans, they do appear to be toxic to some insects, especially aphids. In fact, some gardeners produce an insecticidal spray by soaking tomato leaves overnight in water. But what is toxic to insects is not always for humans, so that really proves nothing.


There appears to be no risk in consuming tomato leaves in moderate quantities, so it’s best to conclude that the idea that tomato leaves are toxic is a myth. Just don’t overdo it!

By Jo Marshall
Certified Veterinary Technician at Pet Poison Helpline

We are getting close to gardening season here in Minnesota – and I cannot wait for those fresh tomatoes from the garden! They are so good and so sweet when they are warmed in the sun and eaten directly from the vine. Truly, there is nothing better to this farm girl and so it seems for my dogs from time to time. For whatever reason, I have had some competition in my tomato picking and eating from my dogs. My old Golden Retriever would literally strip the vines clean of anything that was remotely ripe but never touch a green tomato or the vines. She was not good at sharing and a fence finally needed to be put up around the garden to stop her little raids. Clearly, we have no concerns with toxicity from the actual ripe fruit of the tomato as the worse case scenario for her was limited to bouts of diarrhea when there were lots of tomatoes. But what about those green tomatoes and the vines?

The tomato plant is part of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. This plant family contains more than 3000 species with the most common cultivars in our area being tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplants, ground cherries and tomatillos. The plants in this family are considered toxic and immature fruit that has not yet ripened contain the highest concentrations of the toxins and should be avoided. Ripe fruit are typically non-toxic.

What happens if your dog ingests tomato plant leaves and green tomatoes? What clinical signs are seen with ingestion of plants in the nightshade family? In most cases, with a small ingestion, we can see gastro-intestinal irritation. Larger ingestions can be more serious and in addition to vomiting and diarrhea, we can see dilated pupil, depression and increases in heart-rate.

As your garden starts to grow this year, prevention is the best medicine! Fencing in your garden and keeping your dog out of the area is your best course of action. If your pet has an exposure to a tomato plant or other potentially harmful plant, we are available 24/7 to assist you in evaluating the exposure and recommending the best course of action to be taken to keep your pet happy and healthy!

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