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Can Cats Eat Squash? Vet Approved Facts and FAQs

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	Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

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

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Squash is a large fleshy fruit, although it is often mistaken for a vegetable and is usually considered so in recipes and cooking instructions. The most common forms of squash are the zucchini and the pumpkin. We humans typically enjoy the food scooped out of its skin. The seeds can be eaten or they may be removed, and the high water content of squashes like the zucchini do best with dry heat cooking techniques like stir fry or griddling the ingredient.

Generally speaking, all forms of squash are considered safe for cats to eat. In fact, while the cat is an obligate carnivore, this is one type of fruit that can be fed quite safely and that might give benefit to your feline friend.

There should certainly be no reason to be concerned if your cat steals some pumpkin from your plate and if they are looking longingly at your griddled zucchini, you can try sharing if you like.

It is always worth remembering that the cooking method and additional ingredients used will ultimately determine how safe a particular ingredient is for your cat. While squash might be good for your cat, pumpkin pie with its added sugars and other ingredients is not.divider-catclaw1

Cat Diet

Cats are obligate carnivores. In the wild, they would get all of their nutrients from animal and meat protein. The only vegetables, fruit, grain, and other ingredients they would consume, would come from the stomach of their prey.

Most commonly, wild cats would consume rodents and may take down some small animals like rabbits and birds. Rarely would they eat fish, although there are some exceptions to this rule, and they would never eat squash in the wild.

However, the modern cat is domesticated and not wild. They have unique dietary requirements, and the addition of some additional ingredients to their food can help ensure that they receive all the vitamins and minerals that are considered an important part of their diet. Ingredients like grains or substitutes like peas are used to bind dry food together, while vitamin-rich foods like blueberries are also found in the list of cat food ingredients.

cat eating squash
Image by: guvo59, Pixabay

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Is Squash Good for Cats?

Squash is another ingredient that cats would not eat in the wild but is considered a healthy addition to your cat’s diet.

Summer squash is low in calories so it won’t cause your cat to pile on the pounds. Despite this, it is high in vitamins.

It is also loaded with dietary fiber, which is vital to your cat’s digestive and gut health and could be the biggest benefit of this ingredient.

  • If your cat is already suffering some form of gastrointestinal distress, such as vomiting or diarrhea, feeding some boiled squash will give him the fiber and replace some of the lost vitamins and minerals he needs.
  • High fiber and low calories mean that squash will make your cat feel full but will not cause him to gain weight. As such, it is a great food for cats that have been put on a calorie-controlled diet.
  • Another benefit of fiber is that it flushes hairballs out of your cat’s system, so if your moggy is particularly prone to these hairballs, try feeding some pumpkin.

How Do I Prepare Squash for My Cat?

Squash is good for your cat, but you should not feed it raw. Raw squash is hard and very difficult to digest. It could cause an obstruction and prevent your feline from properly swallowing. For similar reasons, you should also ensure that the squash is thoroughly peeled before preparing and feeding.

  • A pumpkin puree is easy to prepare. Peel the fruit, wash it, and remove the seeds. Boil until the squash is soft right through and then mash with a fork until it is of the right consistency for your cat.
  • Boil some chicken and squash, mash them together using a blender, and add some fish oil if you want to give it an even more appealing taste for your cat.
  • For a healthy mashed meal, combine squash with salmon. Steam the salmon, boil the squash, and combine them in a processor. This won’t need the added fish oil but has the additional benefit of being high in omega fatty acids.
homemade pumpkin puree in bowl
Image Credit: Ildi Papp, Shutterstock

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What Vegetables Can I Feed My Cat?

Although cats are carnivores, some fruits and vegetables are considered safe and palatable for their consumption. As well as squash, in its various forms, you can feed:

  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Steamed green beans
  • Spinach
cat pumpkin
Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay

cat paw divider Should You Feed Squash to Your Cat?

Your cat needs meat to ensure that they receive all the required essential amino acids. While they should not be fed a vegetarian diet, they can benefit from having a bit of fruit and vegetables added to their diet. One such addition is squash, in its many forms and varieties.

Ensure it is peeled and properly cooked, because the skin and the raw flesh are too difficult to digest. Consider combining it with additional ingredients like chicken or salmon to make it more palatable, and avoid giving processed squash or dishes containing squash unless you have checked all the other ingredients.

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Featured Image Credit: guvo59, Pixabay