It’s that time of year: we’re going pumpkin-picking, carving pumpkins, making pumpkin pies, and drinking pumpkin spice lattes. But can cats eat pumpkin too?
The short answer is yes! Pumpkins can have great health benefits for your cat, so you shouldn’t hesitate to incorporate it into their diet. But like with everything else, you should always speak to a vet before making any major diet changes, and ensure you incorporate the new food slowly and carefully into your pet’s diet. Read on to find out exactly how!
Is pumpkin toxic to cats?
Pumpkin is safe for your cat to eat and is absolutely not toxic. In fact, it can immensely benefit your cat’s health. Pumpkin is a good source of vitamins A, E, and C, as well as beta-carotene. Because of its high fiber content, it’s both a great fix for diarrhea and constipation. By absorbing excess water and stomach acids, dietary fiber also helps things move through the digestive tract - including hairballs - which is particularly useful at this time of year when our cats are shedding non-stop! Additionally, pumpkin can be an aid in weight loss. Indeed, fiber promotes a feeling of fullness, even if the calorie intake is lower.
How do I prepare pumpkin for my cat?
An easy option is to purchase plain canned pumpkin. Careful though - do not make the mistake of purchasing canned pumpkin pie filling instead, as this contains spices that can be very harmful for your cat.
If you would prefer to feed your cat fresh pumpkin, just make sure you remove the stem, skin, and the pulp first. Then, cut the pumpkin flesh into cubes and cook them. Raw pumpkin will be hard to digest and could make your cat very sick. For this reason, it’s best to make sure your Halloween Jack-o-lanterns are kept well away from puss!
Pumpkin seeds can be crushed and mixed with your cat’s food, but they should be cooked for at least an hour first. Remember, don’t add any seasoning to the pumpkin or pumpkin seeds before you feed them to your cat.
How much pumpkin should I give my cat?
Start small - 1 teaspoon of cooked pumpkin mixed with your adult cat’s daily food should be more than enough. Wait and see how this agrees with your cat’s stomach before adding any more. If everything works well and your cat enjoys the pumpkin, then you can go up to 2 or 3 teaspoons in a meal.
As for pumpkin seeds, you shouldn’t sprinkle more than 1/16th to 1/8th of a teaspoon into your cat’s food. Always consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure.
Can you give your cat too much pumpkin?
Too much of anything isn’t good. If your cat starts having orange or soft stools, you may have overdone it with the pumpkin supplementation. Skip the supplement in the next meal and reduce the amount of pumpkin incorporated into the next one. If your cat suffers from a chronic disease such as diabetes or kidney problems, then they may be more sensitive to a new diet. You should always consult your veterinarian in this case.
If you’re careful, feeding your cat pumpkin can be immensely beneficial for them! So why not give it a go during this lovely autumnal season?