Feline Wellness

Cats Should Eat Their Veggies Too (Part 2)

June 14, 2023

As obligate carnivores, the majority of your cat's diet should be high-quality animal-based protein. Cats’ digestive systems have adapted to digest and process meat rather than veggies. Their bodies even lack the digestive enzymes that break down certain types of vegetable fiber so too many veggies too fast can give your cat a tummy ache. Therefore, vegetables should only be offered as occasional treats or snacks. Cats absolutely cannot be vegans or vegetarians, but they certainly can enjoy the occasional veggie or two!

  1. Fiber: Certain vegetables, including pumpkin or sweet potatoes, are high in dietary fiber. Fiber aids in digestion and helps prevent or alleviate constipation or diarrhea in cats.

  2. Hydration: Other vegetables, like cucumbers and zucchini, have a very high water content. Adding these vegetables to your cat's diet can increase their overall hydration, especially cats who don't drink enough water on their own.

  3. Enrichment: Introducing vegetables as snacks can provide your cat with both mental and sensory enrichment. They will experience new tastes, smells, and textures, which stimulates their minds, bodies, and taste buds.

  4. Weight loss: Incorporating vegetables like carrots and spinach as treats can benefit overweight cats that need to lose a few pounds. Bite-sized, low-calorie veggies can be used instead of higher-calorie treats.

  5. Variety: Introducing your cat to new vegetables such as broccoli or peas adds variety to their meat-based diet and provides them with extra vitamins and minerals not available in animal proteins.  

While there are many benefits to feeding your cat their vegetables, some precautions should be taken as well. 

  • Always remember that cats are obligate carnivores and any vegetables added to their meals should be treated as supplements to a protein-based diet. 

  • Make sure the veggies you are offering are not harmful to cats beforehand. 

  • Cook the vegetables so they are soft and easy to digest and chop them into small pieces for ease of swallowing. 

  • Vegetables should be offered in moderation as too much fiber can overwhelm a cat’s digestive system and lead to illness. 

  • If your cat has any pre-existing health issues, consult with your veterinarian before offering them new veggie treats. 

  • And please be sure to avoid vegetables coated with seasonings - especially garlic and onion - as they contain ingredients toxic to cats.

Love Nala