It is an unlikely scenario that you would want to feed your cat broccoli or that your pet would come over and sniff the dinner plate with broccoli present, but for those wanting to know if cats can eat this rather delicious green vegetable, the answer is yes, they can.
In fact, broccoli is completely safe for cats to eat. It is nontoxic to felines and does not appear on the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ toxic plant list or list of human foods unsafe for pets.
Cats and Broccoli — Any Feline Health Benefits?
Broccoli is actually packed with antioxidant properties. Broccoli can help ward off free radicals in the body, and some studies even suggest that broccoli in the diet can assist in the prevention of several disease processes.
In 1997, a research study carried out at the John Hopkins University in the U.S. found that broccoli sprouts have 10 to 100 times the amount of antioxidant, disease-prevention value as the head of the broccoli. So, for an extra free-radical fighting punch, you give a broccoli sprout to your cat (and yourself for that matter – these benefits apply to humans too).
Nice little treats containing broccoli that you might want to offer your cat are Sassy Cat treats. A rather wonderful-sounding rabbit- and duck-flavored treat with broccoli and cranberry additives is available.
The meat ingredients balanced against the vegetables and fruit make this a very healthy choice. What’s more, the treat can boast being grain and filler free with no artificial preservatives.
Cats and Broccoli — Any Precautions?
While a cat may gain the above health benefits from eating broccoli, you should still exercise caution the first time your cat eats this vegetable.
As with any type of human food that you decide to give to your pet, it is best to feed them a small amount, especially the first time they try it. While there are no toxic elements present in broccoli (from a cat’s perspective), there are still no guarantees that your cat’s stomach will respond to the new food without complication. Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, and those are known to produce excessive gas, even in omnivorous creatures like us.
Your cat may have problems processing some of the chemical compounds found in vegetables like broccoli, (cats are obligate carnivores, after all). If they are fed too much broccoli, they may have tummy ache merely due to the fact it is a newly introduced food that they are just not used to.
Whenever you feed your cat a new food, you should watch for any concerning signs afterward. If vomiting or diarrhea occurs or they seem weak and under the weather, it might be time to call the vet.
The Best Way to Serve Broccoli to Cats
The best way to serve broccoli to your cat is to boil it first (wait for it to cool afterward). Raw broccoli (like other raw food diet options) has more of a chance of leading to stomach pains after consumption because it is harder for a cat’s digestive system to break it down.
If the broccoli has come from your own dinner plate, ensure that it isn’t coated in oil, salt, or butter. These ingredients that we enjoy on our vegetables are just plain bad for cats. If your broccoli was seasoned with garlic or onion, please take the necessary precautions to ensure that your kitty cannot get to it.
However, do not feed them too much that very first time, and be sure to watch for any adverse effects.
Feature Image Credit: Shutterstock, Tertyshnyk Oksana