Green Pepper and Soy

by Alysa
(Detroit, MI)

I have a kitten named Marlon, almost 16 weeks old now, and he likes the oddest things. Once in a while when I'm not looking, he'll snatch a bit of green pepper off of my pizza. While he hasn't had any bad affects from it, I wanted to know if that was safe for him to eat.

I've had other cats who like soy milk as well as Marlon. Is that alright for cats as well? They don't drink it, but if I leave my cereal bowl unattended, Marlon will hop up onto the table to get a sip. Same happens if I have some soy-based yogurt (no milk whatsoever). I'm just want to know if I'm hurting him in the long-run or not.


Cats that live in the wild often include grass, berries, flowers and leaves of some plants in their diet so a small piece of green pepper occasionally stolen from your pizza won’t harm your cat.

However, it is one of the nightshade plants that are to be avoided. A way to recognize nightshade plants is that they have similar leaf shapes that resemble the holly leaf. The green parts of the nightshade plants (and immature fruits) contain solanine which is a bitter tasting poison. The plant actually produces this ingredient as a defense mechanism against insects, predators and disease. Although the green color is from chlorophyll which is harmless, it typically indicates the presence of an increased level of solanine. Green potatoes, green tomatoes, eggplant, green, yellow or red bell peppers and the tobacco plant are the most common.

Ingesting large amounts of these can cause gastrointestinal upsets, diarrhea, vomiting, small sores around the mouth area, etc. Huge amounts could even lead to death (like small amounts of onions, chives and garlic can) but most pets find the tastes of these foods only briefly interesting. In humans, there are many persons with arthritis who claim that their condition is aggravated by eating nightshade plants so they avoid them.

Marlon should be fine with a bit of soy milk as long as it doesn’t replace his intake of water which is also needed. Most cats are lactose intolerant so the soy milk can substitute as a treat. Soy based yogurt is fine also. Even regular yogurt is diluted with things such as water or added fats. They may also be cultured, meaning microorganisms have digested part of the lactose. If Marlon likes a milk treat you can try the one I use for my cats. It’s called Whiska’s Catmilk and it’s a milk replacer. It’s available in most grocery stores near the cat food or at a pet store. Every couple of weeks I put out a small dish of it and the cats that like this treat make short work of it.

It sounds like you’re doing fine with your curious little critter, Marlon. I hope you have many happy years with him. Sounds like he’ll keep you amused.

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