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Can Cats Eat Rice? Yes, But There Are Still Risks

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Rice is cheap, affordable, and goes well with many foods.

If you own a cat, it has probably tried to eat from your bowl of rice.

Can cats eat rice?

That’s a question I get from many readers, which is why I’ve put together this guide explaining the pros and cons of feeding rice to your cat.

Can Cats Eat Rice?

Yes. Rice is safe for most cats as long as they eat rice only in moderate amounts.

However, most cats don’t need rice as it doesn’t offer them much nutritional value.

That’s especially true if you’re feeding your cat white rice.

Since cats are obligate carnivores, they don’t need carbohydrates like humans.

Rice is a significant source of carbs.

While it won’t harm most cats, you need to consider whether it would benefit your cat before deciding to feed it rice.

Can Cats Eat Brown Rice?

Yes. Brown rice is generally healthier than white rice.

That’s because it retains the bran and germ, which white rice does not have.

These two layers include most of the vitamins and minerals present in rice.

Brown rice is also high in fiber compared to white rice.

Therefore, it can be beneficial to a cat suffering from constipation.

Cats need fiber, like humans, to achieve digestive health.

Can Cats Eat White Rice?

White rice isn’t as healthy as brown rice.

It does not offer the same benefits  — for example, it is unlikely to help your cat with constipation.

However, like brown rice, white rice is not toxic to cats.

The ASPCA maintains a list of unhealthy foods to avoid giving your pets; rice is not on that list.

That means most cats can eat small amounts of brown and white rice without any issues.

Is Rice Good for Cats?

Not usually.

While it’s non-toxic, it doesn’t offer a lot of benefits.

Since cats are obligate carnivores, their bodies require a lot of meat and no carbs.

However, brown rice may be an excellent way to deal with constipation due to its fiber content.

In addition, if your cat has digestive issues or a sensitive stomach, white rice can help it feel full.

Since white rice is low in fiber and pretty bland, it’s easier on the stomach and won’t aggravate conditions like diarrhea.

When Is Rice Bad for Cats?

While rice isn’t toxic to most felines, there are times when it can harm your cat.

Let’s examine some situations where you should never feed your cat rice.

Digestive Issues With New Foods

If your cat has a sensitive stomach, it may experience digestive issues every time it eats a new food.

In that case, avoid feeding your cat rice.

If you do, start with minimal amounts to get its digestive system accustomed to rice.

Taurine Deficiency

Taurine is an essential amino acid that all cats need.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

Since cats can’t manufacture enough taurine themselves as other mammals can, they must get it from their diets, making it an essential amino acid.

A taurine deficiency can occur when cats can’t absorb taurine from processed diets.

A lack of taurine can lead to severe conditions, such as vision loss or weakening of the muscle cells in the heart.

A taurine deficiency could lead to permanent blindness or death if you don’t catch it on time.

Studies have shown that eating rice can lead to taurine deficiency in cats due to its ability to alter the excretion of bile acids.

Feeding your cat dry foods instead of canned foods can make taurine deficiency less likely.

At Risk for Obesity

One of the issues with feeding your cat carbs is that it could lead to obesity.

While small amounts of rice aren’t toxic, large amounts of carbs can lead to weight gain.

If your cat is already chubby, avoid feeding it rice.

Is There Rice in Cat Food?

Yes. Many processed cat foods contain rice.

Around 45% of dry cat foods have some sort of rice, although only about 20% of wet cat foods include rice.

There are a few possible reasons for this.

Many cats like the taste of rice, so adding rice can make cat foods tastier.

Furthermore, it acts as a filler due to it being so cheap.

Do Cats Like Cooked Rice?

Many cats enjoy the taste of cooked rice.

However, every cat is different; there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

If your cat doesn’t come up to you when you’re eating a bowl of rice, it probably doesn’t care for it.

How Much Rice Can Cats Safely Eat?

There are no specific dietary guidelines for how much rice you should feed your cat. It depends on your cat — if it’s chubbier, larger portions are riskier.

Sticking to one to three tablespoons of rice at a time is best.

In addition, you shouldn’t be feeding your cat rice every day.

Once a week is enough for most cats; two may already be too much.

Remember, your cat doesn’t get much nutritional value from rice, so use it as a treat.

How To Feed Rice to Your Cat

If you decide to feed your cat rice, do it properly.

Use the following guidelines to keep your cat safe while feeding it rice.

Cook It Properly

First, cook the rice properly.

It’s best to boil your rice before giving it to your cat.

Raw rice is dangerous for your cat.

It’s difficult to digest and can lead to severe digestive issues, including diarrhea and vomiting.

Don’t feed fried rice to your cat, either.

Boil the rice without adding spices, and serve it to your cat while still warm and soft.

Make Sure It’s Plain

Cats have a difficult time digesting spices.

Avoid putting spices, especially pepper, in the rice, as it can lead to digestive problems and gastrointestinal upset.

While cats can eat some vegetables, it’s best not to mix them with rice but serve them on the side.

Offer Them a Tiny Bit

Give your cat only a tiny bit of rice.

Your cat might want more, but it’s your job to take care of it by not giving it foods it can’t handle.

Rice should never become a staple of your cat’s diet, regardless of how much it enjoys it.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’ve been considering feeding rice to your cat, you may also be wondering whether you can provide it with bread or meat.

Here are answers to those common questions.

Can cats eat bread?

Like rice, bread isn’t toxic to cats. That applies to both white and brown bread.

However, bread is mostly carbs, and cats don’t need carbs due to being obligate carnivores.

Like rice, the bread usually offers no nutritional value to cats, so feed it only in moderation.

Can cats eat meat?

Yes. Cats require meat to survive, just like other obligate carnivores.

The majority of your cat’s diet should be meat. Lean meat is best — avoid giving it fatty beef.

Most cat food products contain meat, including dry kibble and canned food.

Final Thoughts

So, can cats eat rice? Yes, but only in moderation.

Before giving your cat rice, consult with your vet.

Your vet will be able to provide you with more accurate guidelines for how much rice to feed and how often to do so.

It’s also essential to consult a vet before treating your cat’s constipation or digestive issues with rice.

In general, if you are not sure of what to feed your cat, ask your vet to advise you.

If you have any questions, please comment below, and share this article with your friends!

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