Can Cats Eat Pumpkin? Is It Harmful to Them?
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Can cats eat pumpkin? This is a question usually tossed around by pet lovers online, and not just during the Halloween season. This only proves that there are a lot of cats who have shown a predilection to this human food.
So should you let your cat eat pumpkin? The answer is yes. In fact, it is safe to be incorporated in their daily diet. It is also a very effective treatment for constipation and diarrhea in felines.
In fact, if you read the label of a canned pet food, there’s a good chance you will see pumpkin as one of the ingredients.
Benefits of feeding cats with pumpkin
Plain, unflavored and cooked pumpkin presents a number of health benefits to felines. For one, it is rich in fiber which is very good for a cat’s digestive system. Did you know that pumpkin has up to five grams of fiber per every cup of serving?
Fiber is particularly good for cats as it:
- Prevents constipation. Fiber acts as a laxative or a substance that loosens the stool. It can promote regular bowel movement in cats.
- Treats diarrhea. The soluble fiber in pumpkin can absorb extra water in the digestive tract. This can relieve diarrhea in cats. For both diarrhea and constipation, a ½ teaspoon of pumpkin should be good enough to treat a sick cat. You should see an improvement in your cat’s condition within a couple of hours.
- Promotes weight control. Fiber is low in calorie, but promotes satiety in cats. Thus cats can feel full faster if they are given this food.
- Treats hairball in cats. Regular bowel movements can push swallowed hair out of the cat’s body.
Aside from being rich in fiber, pumpkin is also packed in nutrients such as Vitamin A which promotes good vision.
Pumpkin is also rich in Vitamin C. One cup of pumpkin has around 11mg of the substance known for promoting a well-functioning immune system.
How much pumpkin should you feed your cat?
Because of the health benefits of pumpkin to cats, it can be very tempting for cat parents to give too much of this fruit to their pets. But it is advisable to limit the portions so as to maximize its health benefits.
You can start feeding an adult cat with ½ teaspoon of pumpkin daily. You can then increase this to a teaspoon after a week or so.
If you are to give pumpkin seeds to your furry pal, start with a very small amount like 1/16 teaspoon. You may want to consult with your veterinarian first if you want to give higher amounts.
How to feed cats with pumpkin
You can feed your cat with fresh pumpkin seeds. However, it is recommended that you clean and roast the pumpkin seeds for about an hour, and at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should not add any spices or salt to the pumpkin as this can cause stomach upset. Most pumpkin products with spices are flavored with ingredients such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. These ingredients may be toxic to cats.
Cinnamon, for instance, can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and changes in heart rate. Nutmeg, meanwhile, can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Ginger has been linked to stomach upset, while cloves can cause liver toxicity.
You may also give your feline friend canned pumpkin. Just be sure that the canned food you are giving her is free from additives and fillers.
How to preserve canned pumpkin
The typical 15 ounce of canned pumpkin is usually too much for a cat to consume in one sitting. Unless you have a dozen or so cats in the household, a typical can of canned pumpkin won’t be consumed within a reasonable amount of time.
You can’t also keep it in the fridge and expect it to remain fresh for more than a week. So what’s the best way to make the most out of a canned pumpkin?
You can preserve the contents of a canned pumpkin by putting the contents in an ice cube tray. Put the tray into the freezer. Once the cubes have been frozen, scoop them out and put them in a freezer bag.
When you need to feed your cat with canned pumpkin, simply thaw one scoop by putting it in a small glass. The leftover pumpkin cube can then refrigerated and served the next day.
Pumpkin is one of the few human foods that vets recommend to be fed to cats. What’s more impressive with this food is that it can be part of your feline’s daily diet.
You can give plain, cooked pumpkin to your pet. You can also feed her with pumpkin seed, or canned pumpkin.
As you have learned, giving pumpkin to your pet can be one of the best cat feeding tricks you can try.