Some of our cats love to keep a close eye on our kitchen activities; after all, who knows when you might drop a tasty morsel on the floor for them to investigate? What if you’re chopping cucumber and drop a piece, and your cat gobbles it up?
Before we get into the details, cucumber is safe for cats to eat in limited quantities. So there’s no need to worry if your cat eats a piece of this green vegetable.
What’s good about cucumbers?
Cucumber has a very high water content of around 95%. So it’s a great way of making sure your cat stays well hydrated. It also contains potassium, copper, and magnesium, all of which are essential nutrients for your cat’s health and wellbeing.
It also contains the trace mineral molybdenum, which is used by your cat’s body to help maintain a healthy metabolism.
Cucumber contains Vitamin K, which can help healthy liver function and blood clotting.
It also contains beta-carotene within the green skin, but if you peel the cucumber before feeding, the level of beta-carotene will drop significantly. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can help protect your cat against inflammatory disease and protect your cat’s cells from free radicals.
When it comes to us humans, regularly adding cucumbers to our diets has been shown to help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, and potentially reduce cardiovascular disease. This benefit hasn’t been shown in cats, but it’s something to bear in mind as a possibility.
This vegetable is very low in calories, containing only 15 kcal per 100 gram serving. That means if you’re struggling to find a low-calorie treat for your overweight cat, small pieces of chopped up cucumber could be a good idea as the occasional treat. As long as they like it, of course!
What’s bad about feeding your cat cucumber?
Cats are obligate carnivores, so they really don’t need any vegetables in their diet in order to thrive. Never substitute a meat-based meal for cucumber, as it’s unlikely your cat will get the correct balance of nutrients.
The high water content of cucumber also means that feeding too much of it to your cat regularly could result in your cat suffering from diarrhea.
What’s the best way to feed your cat cucumber?
Now you know that cucumber is safe for your cat, what’s the best way to treat them to some?
Firstly, cucumber should only ever be fed as a very occasional treat. Even if your cat seems to love the taste, it’s not an essential part of their diet, so keep the amount you feed them to a minimum.
Feeding one or two thin slices of cucumber to your cat once a week should be more than enough. It’s a good idea to wash or peel the cucumber to reduce the chance of your cat ingesting any chemicals like pesticides that may have been used. The skin of cucumbers can also be harder for your cat to digest than the soft inner.
Fresh cucumber is the only type you should ever feed your cat. Pickled cucumber definitely isn’t recommended!
Do cats hate cucumber?
If you love cat videos as much as we do, you’ve probably seen those clips showing cats leaping in the air when they spot a whole cucumber that has been placed next to them without them noticing. While this can look pretty funny at first glance, it doesn’t indicate any deep-seated fear or hatred of cucumbers themselves.
Cat behaviorists think that the jumping reaction is most likely to be your cat’s self-preservation instincts kicking in. If your cat isn’t expecting to see something suddenly appear so close to them, they may simply be terrified. A cucumber can look a little like a snake to a cat, so their first instinct will be to try and get away from it as fast as possible. It’s this fear and survival mode that causes your cat to jump away. This self-preservation or “flight mode” will also release a dose of adrenalin into your cat’s system, and they will likely feel stressed and unsettled afterward.
We’re not sure that putting your cat through all that stress is worth it just to get a few likes on social media!
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Wrapping it up
Cucumbers don’t smell strongly attractive to cats, so they’re unlikely to seek this out as a treat themselves. If you drop some chopped pieces on the floor, a curious cat may come over to investigate them. Offering your cat a very small piece of peeled cucumber may be the best way to see whether or not your cat is interested in accepting your offering of a different type of treat.
The high water content of cucumbers can help keep your cat hydrated, but on the flip side, too much cucumber could cause diarrhea. Cucumbers do contain some beneficial nutrients like potassium and Vitamin K, but nothing that your cat can’t get from their regular cat food.
Cucumbers are safe for cats to eat in small quantities, but remember your cat may not actually get much nutritional benefit from it, as their digestive systems are designed to process the nutrients from a meat-based diet.
Does your cat love eating cucumber? Let us know in the comments!
Featured Image Credit By: ka_re, pixabay