You may be thinking this as you take your cat to the pumpkin patch and indulge in pumpkin spiced treats. To remove any eerie undertones, we posed this question to a veterinarian who is board-certified in nutritional medicine.
Is it safe for cats to eat pumpkin? While we did discover that your feline friend can appreciate the occasional pumpkin treat, we recommend reading this first.
Can Cats Eat Pumpkin?
A staple this time of year, I was wondering if it was safe to give it to your cat. Yes, and while pumpkin disappears from popular culture after Thanksgiving, it makes a healthy and tasty addition to a cat’s diet all year long.
Pumpkin is a healthy treat for cats and is also a flavor many of them enjoy. It’s commonly prescribed for tummy troubles.
As a result of its low calorie count and high nutritional content, it can also aid in weight loss. If you sprinkle some on your cat’s food, they’ll probably gobble it up like it’s a treat.
While pumpkin is a fine choice for felines, many popular holiday treats, such as pumpkin pie, are best left to humans due to the presence of spices and rich fats that can be harmful to felines.
Is Pumpkin Good or Bad for Cats?
Cats can eat pumpkin if you cook it in the right way. It’s possible that pumpkin is already a regular part of your cat’s diet.
Pumpkin is a low-calorie, high-fiber ingredient used in many commercial pet food brands to help your cat feel fuller for longer.
But does your feline friend benefit from eating pumpkin? Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they can only meet their protein requirements through the consumption of animal products.
The Feline Nutritional Foundation explains that a prey-based diet provides cats with the same benefits as fiber by feeding them materials like fur, sinew, cartilage, and chitin.
However, when a prey-based diet isn’t available, cats can still benefit nutritionally and digestively from pumpkin due to its high fiber content.
According to Angela Rollins, DVM, PhD, DACVN, Clinical Associate Professor of Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, “pumpkin doesn’t provide much in terms of energy or required nutrients for cats,” but it does contain a nice mixture of soluble and insoluble fiber sources.
This additional fiber can aid in bowel regularity and promote better colon health. ”
Too much of a good thing can be bad, just like too much of any other delectable treat. If you give your cat too much pumpkin, it may have the opposite effect and slow him down or make him move a little too quickly, Rollins says.
How Much Pumpkin Can Cats Eat?
Rollins says, “The amount of pumpkin to add will depend on your cat’s stool quality.” You probably don’t want to add pumpkin to their diet if they have regular, healthy bowel movements. ”
In fact, according to Rollins, even in a healthy cat, adding pumpkin to its diet could lead to diarrhea.
Rollins recommends starting with about one tablespoon of pure canned pumpkin if your cat exhibits signs of digestive distress such as constipation or diarrhea, and increasing up to one-fourth cup per day if necessary.
Can Pumpkin Help With Weight Loss in Cats?
If your vet approves, adding pumpkin to your cat’s diet may help reduce their weight.
The fiber content can help cats feel fuller for longer after eating, and it might even aid in hairball prevention and general anal sac health.
Are All Types of Pumpkin OK for Cats to Eat?
However, not all pumpkin is safe for your cat to eat, including pumpkin pie and roasted pumpkin seeds.
Can Cats Eat Canned Pumpkin?
Your cat should eat only pure, canned pumpkin. Your cat can safely enjoy this treat in moderation because it has been cooked down into its most digestible form and contains no additives.
Where can one acquire canned pumpkin for feline consumption? Canned pumpkin in its purest form is available all year long.
Can Cats Eat Raw Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is slimy and stringy when it’s uncooked. Raw pumpkin is difficult for your cat to digest and is more than just a texture turnoff.
Canned pumpkin or cooked raw pumpkin puree are the best options for your feline friend. But don’t give your cat the pumpkin’s stem, skin, or any other leftovers on Halloween.
Can Cats Eat Pumpkin Pie?
Pumpkin pie, both homemade and from a can, has sugar, salt, and milk in its ideal form.
Allspice and clove, two common spices, are toxic to cats and may be present. Pumpkin pie may be tasty to humans, but it’s not something you should feed to your cat.
If your cat has eaten something that is toxic to cats, you should contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 immediately.
Can Cats Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Skip the salt and other seasonings when you roast pumpkin seeds for yourself, and give some to your cat instead.
The seeds can be ground and a pinch sprinkled on top of your cat’s meal to add fiber and other vitamins.
Can Cats Eat Jack-O-Lanterns?
The thought of “recycling” a jack-o’-lantern by feeding it to your cat is appealing, but it’s not a good idea. It may have spoiled from being left outside for too long, PetMD warns. (Fun fact: some animal shelters will even take pumpkins that haven’t been carved or painted to feed to animals like pigs and goats.)
Keep an eye on your cat if you discover that it has gotten into an old jack-o’-lantern, and if any problems arise, take them to the vet.
Does Pumpkin Help Cats With Health Issues?
Adding pure canned pumpkin to your cat’s diet is one of a few risk-free home remedies for constipation. However, if your cat has persistent stomach problems, it’s best to see a vet.
High in fiber and low in calories, pure canned pumpkin is a great choice for keeping your cat full for longer.
The Feline Nutritional Foundation points out that while pumpkin may seem like a good solution for cat weight management, cats actually have no need for this food source.
The Foundation suggests switching to a low-carb diet of canned, wet foods instead. Consult your vet to figure out how to get your cat to lose weight safely and effectively.
Since pumpkin has soluble fiber, it can help remove excess water from the digestive system. Therefore, pumpkin can be used as a home remedy to treat feline diarrhoea.
According to Rollins, “this could be a helpful strategy depending on the cause of diarrhea.” “However, for chronic or severe cases, it is important to understand and treat the underlying cause of diarrhea. ”
Pumpkin seeds are safe for cats to eat, but they shouldn’t be used to treat your cat’s intestinal parasites. Some people think that a compound in the seeds of pumpkins and other gourds can paralyze intestinal parasites, allowing them to be passed out of the body.
Rollins notes that there is limited evidence to support the use of pumpkin seeds for parasite control in cats.
Intestinal worms can be avoided by giving your cat preventative medication all year long and taking it to the vet at the first sign of illness.
How to Feed Cats Pumpkin
Pumpkin added to savory wet food is probably the best way to get your cat to eat it. Wet cat food, such as Weruva’s Pumpkin Jack Splash, is also available with pumpkin added.
If you want to try feeding your pet canned pumpkin, start with just one tablespoon per meal. As a snack in between meals, it can be served either unsweetened or baked into cookies.
You should take it slow when making dietary changes. As is the case with humans, eating too much fiber can actually have the opposite effect.
Your vet will be able to give you advice tailored to your cat’s individual needs.