While you might love asparagus in risotto or as a side for your steak, should you be offering your leftovers to your cat?
Maybe you’ve been thinking about making homemade food for your cat and are wondering if asparagus is something that you can add.
Plenty of cats have a curious streak and love to investigate the smells (and tastes!) coming from your kitchen. But does that mean we should let our cats eat asparagus?
We’ll answer all your questions, including whether asparagus is poisonous to cats and if there are actually any benefits to letting your kitty take a nibble on this green vegetable.
Is Asparagus Poisonous for My Cat?
Luckily, the brief answer to this is a firm no. It’s not included on the Pet Poison Helpline’s list of common poisons.
There are a few scenarios where you’d want to avoid feeding your cat asparagus, however.
Let’s take a closer look at why you might want to feed your cat asparagus and ways to do it safely.
Interesting Facts About Asparagus
The root of the name “asparagus” comes from the Greek language, where it means “shoot” or “sprout.”
The Latin name for asparagus is Asparagus officinalis.
From seed to harvest, it takes three whole years to produce a crop of these lush green stems.
While China might lead the way in terms of global production, the U.S.A. is home to the self-proclaimed “Asparagus Capital of the World” in Oceana County, Michigan.
Are Vegetables Safe for My Cat to Eat?
Vegetables are packed full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as a range of antioxidants.
It might seem logical to want to feed your cat vegetables, given how beneficial they are to humans.
But will your cat really be benefiting from vegetables in their diet?
We all know that cats eat meat, but did you know they’re also defined as “obligate carnivores?” This means their digestive systems are specifically designed to thrive on a meat-only diet. Your cat’s digestive system is not designed to digest plant matter in even the smallest quantities.
Which Vegetables Can I Feed My Cat?
If you still want to give your kitty a small portion of vegetables, then many won’t do them any harm.
Asparagus and Vitamins
Asparagus is an extremely well-balanced vegetable in terms of nutrition. It’s a wonderful source of potassium, folacin, vitamin B6, and thiamin.
As well as being an excellent source of fiber, it’s low in calories. A 5.3-ounce serving of asparagus only contains 20 calories yet provides 3 grams of fiber.
Given these great credentials, you might be tempted to start adding a little asparagus to your kitty’s diet. Keep on reading to see if there are reasons you shouldn’t.
Is Asparagus Safe for Cats?
If your cat seems to like eating asparagus, then the good news is that it’s safe for some cats to continue doing so, as long as you prepare the asparagus properly. But asparagus is an alkaline vegetable, and as a result, eating it is not a good idea for all cats.
The pH value of asparagus prepared in a variety of ways varies from 6.00-6.70. Any cat who has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection should definitely not be given asparagus.
A side-effect of eating asparagus could be that the pH of your cat’s urine will become more alkaline. This increases the risk of struvite stones forming in their bladder. Cat’s urine should fall at a pH of around 6.00-6.40 to avoid struvites, so feeding them too much asparagus could cause this to increase.
So, let’s assume your cat doesn’t have a history of urinary tract infections, and you’ve decided to feed them a little asparagus. What’s the best way to prepare it?
Can Cats Eat Raw Asparagus?
Many cats would probably give a stem of raw asparagus an exploratory chew, but they might not enjoy the crunchy texture of an older and more fibrous stalk.
They’re probably more likely to savor the top part of a younger and tenderer stem.
It’s best to chop this up into small pieces so it doesn’t pose a choking hazard, though.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Asparagus?
If you do want to feed your cat asparagus, then cooked is probably the safest way. Steaming or boiling the stems will make it easier for your cat to chew the asparagus before swallowing.
Definitely don’t give your cat cooked asparagus that’s been seasoned with anything like salt, garlic, or onions. These are toxic for cats and would do more harm than good.
It’s also worth remembering that asparagus should only ever be fed as an occasional treat, rather than making up a large proportion of your cat’s diet.
Can Cats Eat Asparagus Ferns?
It’s important to note that asparagus ferns are a plant directly unrelated to the vegetable of the same name. They are a common houseplant, though, so it’s worth a mention. Asparagus fern is also sometimes called emerald fern, flagstaff fern, foxtail fern, and racemose asparagus, among other names!
Unlike its vegetable counterpoint, asparagus ferns are poisonous to cats and are listed on the Pet Poison Helpline as a plant with mild toxicity to cats.
If the berries or greenery are ingested, it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Skin irritation may also occur if your cat brushes past this plant close enough to get it on their skin.
Now You Know
We hope you’ve enjoyed our article about whether cats can eat asparagus. The answer, for most cats at least, is that they can. But whether they should is something that only you can decide.
On the other hand, if your cat has a urinary tract infection, then it’s probably best to avoid feeding them alkaline foods like asparagus, which could increase the pH of their urine to harmful levels.
If in doubt, we would always recommend sticking to a high-protein and meat-based diet for your kitty. This way, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they’re eating something specifically prepared for their obligate carnivore needs!
Featured image credit: Mustafa ezz from Pexels, Foodie Factor from Pexels