Yes, cats can eat pumpkin. It isn’t suitable as their whole diet, or even most of their diet. However, it can be a nice treat or be used in specific circumstances to add nutrients to your cat’s diet. Pumpkin has been used as a home remedy for a few minor conditions and does include many vitamins that our cats need.
As obligate carnivores, though, our cats truly don’t need pumpkin. Most of their diet should be made of meat.
If your feline grabbed some pumpkin off the counter, then you don’t have anything to worry about. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should feed yoru cat pumpkin. In this article, we’ll take a look at the benefits and risks of feeding your cat pumpkin as a snack.
Canned Pumpkin vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling
Before we get into the meat of this article, it is important to understand that we are talking about plain pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling. Both of these foods come in cans and can look verry similar. However, they are actually very different.
Pumpkin pie filling has many things added to it. Canned pumpkin is just plain pumpkin. Many of the things added to pumpkin pie filling is not suitable for our cats. For this reason, we recommend avoiding it whenever possible.
Instead, choose plain pumpkin in a can. Be sure to check the ingredient list to ensure that it really is plain pumpkin.
Pumpkin Health Benefits for Cats
Pumpkin includes a lot of fiber. It is a good source of fiber for cats. If yoru feline is constipated, they may need extra fiber in their diet. Pumpkin is an easy way to add some extra fiber to their diet.
It is truly only suitable for mild cases of constipation, though. If the constipation is severe, your cat likely needs a prescription medication for the vet. Of course, it can be hard to figure out if you’re dealing with a minor or severe case at home. For this reason, we still recommend speaking to your vet – even if they end up recommending extra fiber for the problem.
Because of all the added fiber, pumpkin is also very heavy. It fills cats up quickly and helps them stay full for longer. If your cat is overweight, this can be a helpful way to help them lose some of this weight. A change in diet and increased activity is usually called for as well, though. You can’t just give your feline pumpkin and expect them to lose weight.
Pumpkin is high in many vitamins as well. For example, it contains a lot of vitamin A and C. These two vitamins help support immune health. However, commercial cat foods have enough of these vitamins for our felines, so they do not typically need their diet to be supplemented.
These vitamins alone are likely not a good enough reason to add pumpkin to your cat’s diet.
Pumpkin contains a lot of zinc too, which may help protect from intestinal parasites. But a proper diet and regular vet care should remove this concern anyway.
Potential Downside of Feeding Pumpkin to Your Cat
No food is perfect, and pumpkin is no different. It is a generally safe for cats to eat – as long as it is plain pumpkin.
If your cat eats too much pumpkin, it may upset their stomach. You should not feed your cat very much pumpkin at all. Diarrhea is possible as your cat’s stomach gets used to the new addition to their diet. You may also need to change the serving size if you notice these symptoms.
Furthermore, pumpkin can be very filling. This is helpful in some situations. However, if can also prevent cats from eating other foods. If they don’t eat enough of other foods, this can cause nutritional problems. Pumpkin doesn’t provide them with everything they need, after all.
Can cats eat pumpkin every day?
Yes. You should preferably feed your cat a small amount of pumpkin every day. You don’t have to feed them a small amount of pumpkin every day. However, as long as you’re only feeding them a small amount, there is no reason you can’t.
You should not continue to feed your cat pumpkin if they have gastrointestinal symptoms. For example, if they continue to have diarrhea or constipation after eat pumpkin daily for about a week, you should likely stop feeding it to your feline.
How do I prepare pumpkin for my cat?
You can feed them plain pumpkin or canned pumpkin. You should not feed them the seeds or outside of the pumpkin. Instead, you should feed them just the middle after it has been cooked.
Canned pumpkin is often the easiest option. You should check to ensure there isn’t any extra additives to the pumpkin, though. Some canned pumpkin includes added ingredients.
Featured image credit: mattycoulton, Pixabay