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Can Cats Eat Jicama? Is It Healthy for Them?

Pet cats are typically offered a commercial food diet that meets all their nutritional requirements. However, cats are natural predators, so they tend to go after small mammals and pests like cockroaches both for sport and food. Cats sometimes also gravitate to plant foods, which they don’t need much of, if any at all, to meet their nutritional requirements.

You might notice that your kitty tries to grab bites of food while you chop veggies for a salad or to stir-fry for dinner. So, what if they grab a piece of jicama off your cutting board or dinner plate and gobble it down? Can cats eat jicama? Is this root veggie healthy for cats? These are important questions to answer as a cat owner. Here’s what you need to know.

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Yes, Cats Can Eat Jicama

Jicama is a root vegetable that grows in the ground like a potato or yam does. It is starchy, dense, and almost flavorless, which makes it a great addition to Asian meals and other types of food fare around the world. Jicama can be sliced into strips and deep-fried like French fires or cut into chunks and added to a salad. They can be cooked in stews, casseroles, and rice dishes too.

Cats can easily eat and digest jicama with no problems. However, it is important to keep in mind that the root veggie should never be offered as a main staple of a cat’s diet. It should be offered as a snack or supplement and only occasionally. Jicama will not provide your kitty with all the nutrients that they need to thrive, let alone survive.

Cat eating cat food from a bowl
Image Credit: sweetlouise, Pixabay

The Benefits of Jicama for Cats

What’s great about jicama is that it has a variety of health benefits when consumed. They are full of antioxidants that your cat needs to fight off the development of cell damage and health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Jicama is low in calories and sugar but contains a high amount of water, which will help keep your kitty hydrated without contributing to problems like diabetes.

The Downside of Feeding Jicama to Cats

The flesh of a jicama is not dangerous for cats in any way. However, jicama skin and seeds contain a compound called rotenone, which can negatively affect your cat’s health. Overexposure to rotenone can result in symptoms such as nausea, indigestion, muscle tremors, vomiting, gastric pain, respiratory depression, and hypercapnia.

Cat vomiting
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

What Other Root Vegetables Can Cats Eat?

Cats can eat various types of root vegetables as supplements to their diet, provided that they are properly and thoroughly cooked for optimal digestion. Some root veggies can be eaten raw if they are shredded or cut into small enough pieces. For instance, yams, sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes should be thoroughly cooked, while jicama and carrots can be eaten raw by cats. In addition to these root veggies, your cat should be able to consume:

  • Sunchokes
  • Beets
  • Radishes

Cats can also eat various greens for better health. Consider offering your cat lettuce, kale, spinach, collard greens, and cabbage as occasional snacks. Your cat might not like everything that you offer in terms of vegetables, so be patient and stick with the stuff that they tend to enjoy the most.

cat eating food
Image Credit: Seattle Cat Photo, Shutterstock

What a Cat Should Eat During Mealtime

Cats are obligate carnivores, so they require animal protein to thrive. In fact, wild cats and stray cats can live solely off the animals that they hunt, kill, and eat. However, in captivity, domestic cats rely on their human owners to feed them. We must be aware that our cats can’t eat what we eat if we want them to live their best lives.

If you are providing your cat with a homemade diet, many factors must come into play, including animal protein, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and even water, to ensure that they get the nutrition that they need for a healthy body and mind. If you are providing your kitty with a commercially produced diet, it is important to look for a formula that includes animal protein as the first ingredient and avoids ingredients that don’t offer any valuable nutrition. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian for advice and recommendations.

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In Conclusion

Cats may enjoy testing out their palette on different kinds of foods that they find while exploring their environment, so don’t be surprised if yours decides to munch on jicama. As long as no seeds or skin are consumed, there should be nothing to worry about. If your cat does consume jicama seeds or skin, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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Featured Image Credit: VG Foto, Shutterstock

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