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Can Cats Eat Bok Choy? Is it Healthy for Them?

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	Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Bok choy, or Chinese cabbage, is a vegetable that’s packed with nutrients and is extremely healthy for humans and safe for cats. So, if you’re preparing a dish with bok choy and your curious cat nibbles on a piece of bok choy, there’s no need to worry.

In fact, you can occasionally give it to your cat as a treat. The only issue is that your cat may not like it at first because it tends to taste bitter. Keep reading to learn more about bok choy and how to feed it to your cat.

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Nutrients Found in Bok Choy

Bok choy originates from China, and it’s become increasingly popular in the United States. It’s a member of the Brassica family, which includes vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, and turnips.

This vegetable is starting to appear in more local grocery stores. However, if you’re having trouble finding it, your nearest Asian grocery store should have some in stock.

Bok choy is healthy for humans because it’s a good source of fiber and contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Folate
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Selenium

Studies have also shown that regular consumption of bok choy may be linked to reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

Bok choy may also help with improving bone health, protecting eye health, and aiding the immune system.

Along with all of its potential health benefits, bok choy can be a healthy snack for cats because it’s a low-calorie food. Since one cup of bok choy contains only nine calories, it can be quite a guilt-free snack for your cat. So, if you have a cat that requires some weight management, bok choy can be a safe alternative.

How To Feed Bok Choy to Your Cat

With all the health benefits surrounding bok choy, it may feel like a no-brainer to introduce this vegetable into your cat’s diet. However, there are some safety precautions to keep in mind.

First, the best way to prepare bok choy for your cat is to cook it.. Its bitter flavor is more prominent when raw, so cooking it can reduce  its bitterness. You can either steam, boil, or blanch it in water, and make sure to avoid using cooking oil.

Serving bok choy completely whole is much too large of a serving size, and it’s also a choking hazard. To avoid such health risks, only give bok choy to your cat in small pieces.

Keep in mind that not all cats can eat bok choy. Some cats may not be able to digest it well, and it can cause gas.

Cats with thyroid issues should also avoid bok choy and other cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens, which interfere with thyroid hormone production.

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Do Cats Need To Eat Bok Choy?

Blanched bok choy in steel strainer
Image Credit: allisonwiseman, Pixabay

Although bok choy is healthy for humans, cats don’t necessarily need it in their diets for several reasons. First, cats mainly get their nutrients from meat protein. They can never go on a vegetarian or vegan diet because it’s insufficient for them. They’re obligate carnivores and need to consume a high-protein diet containing high-quality meat.

Cats also don’t need a whole lot of variety in their diet. While humans can easily eat new kinds of food without any repercussions, cats have more sensitive stomachs. So, they can get an upset stomach if they’re suddenly introduced to a new food.

If you notice that your cat vomits or experiences diarrhea after eating bok choy, there’s a good chance it’s because they were given too much. If your cat has a bad reaction to bok choy, it’s not worth trying to feed it to your cat again. Since cats’ digestive tracts aren’t designed to consume a lot of vegetables, it’s best to feed your cat a meat-based treat.

Giving cats a variety of options can also cause them to grow into picky eaters. They can learn that they don’t have to immediately eat what’s given to them because a new type of food will eventually replace it.

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Final Thoughts

Bok choy is a low-calorie vegetable that contains a lot of nutrients and has many health benefits. However, it’s not going to be the best food to give to every cat. In fact, it should be completely avoided if your cat has any thyroid-related health concerns.

Since cats rely heavily on meat protein, bok choy and other vegetables should never make up the majority of their diet. So, you can always try feeding your cat bok choy, but if it doesn’t enjoy the taste, there’s no need to make multiple attempts to feed this vegetable to your cat. It’s best to move on to a meat-based snack that your cat will be sure to enjoy.

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Featured Image Credit: MetsikGarden, Pixabay

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