Pumpkin is one of the main staples of the fall season. It’s used to make pumpkin pie, jack o’lanterns, and pumpkin bread. We roast the seeds and sprinkle them with various seasonings, from savory to sweet. People love pumpkin, but can this type of squash be good for our cats?
If you’re a cat parent, you know how picky your feline family member can be. Sometimes it can be hard to find food or treats your cat likes, so maybe you’re thinking about trying to cook meals for your cat.
Maybe your cat was watching you make pumpkin pie for the holidays and started nibbling at some of your pumpkins, or you noticed them investigating the jack o’lanterns at Halloween. Whatever the reason, now you’re curious about whether or not your cat can have pumpkin.
Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we believe that our pets are part of our families, and we want to make sure that they have the best they can get. Being a pet parent can be a wild ride, but, at the end of the day, that purring cat makes everything worth it.
Keeping track of the human foods your cat can or can’t eat is important. So, with this article, we’re hoping to help you learn more about your cat. A great pet parent is an informed pet parent.
Is pumpkin a treat we can share with our cats? Yes, but there are some things you need to know first.
Can cats eat pumpkin?
Cats are carnivores, so they get their nutrients from meat. Depending on the plant on the menu, it could cause digestive issues; cats have difficulty processing some kinds of plant matter.
Cats can digest some plants, but cat food usually provides all the nutrients your cat needs.
Where does pumpkin fall? Cats can eat pumpkin in moderation. Small amounts don’t seem to cause any digestive problems. In fact, pumpkin may help your cat when they’re suffering from digestive problems, but wait on feedback from your vet before proceeding.
Of course, the pumpkin flesh needs to be prepared properly first. The stem, skin, and pulp don’t have any nutritional value, and they can be difficult for your cat to eat. You should also remove the seeds. Cats may enjoy the occasional pumpkin seed as long as the seeds are cooked correctly.
Are there any dangers to giving my cat pumpkin?
Even if they aren’t toxic, you should be aware of the possible dangers. So, what are the main factors to keep in mind?
Pumpkins should be given to cats in moderation. Too much pumpkin can be too much of a good thing. It might cause diarrhea. The pumpkin flesh should be pureed before being offered to our feline friends, and certain pumpkin parts, like the stem or even pumpkin chunks, can be a choking hazard.
Read more Pumpkin for Cats: 3 Ways to Use It
If you want to try giving your cat pumpkin seeds, they can be a choking hazard if they aren’t ground down first. The seeds are inedible if they aren’t cooked.
Many people leave their jack o’lanterns outside for deer and other animals to eat after Halloween, so you may be wondering if you can feed bits of the jack o’lantern to your cat. However, jack o’lanterns usually end up being slightly rotten or moldy, which would make your cat sick. It’s best to avoid giving them to your cat.
It’s possible for your cat to be sensitive or have an allergy to pumpkin. If this is the case, you may notice an allergic reaction, which can include vomiting or diarrhea, a rash, or, in cats with severe allergies, anaphylaxis.
If your cat seems to be allergic, you should stop feeding them pumpkin and take them to the vet to determine if the pumpkin is the cause.
Are there any types of pumpkin my cat should avoid?
Even though pumpkin itself is safe for cats to eat, not all pumpkin products are suitable. For example, some types of canned pumpkin contain sugar, spices, or other additives that can be unhealthy for your cat.
Pumpkin pie is a beloved Thanksgiving dessert. Even if you aren’t a pumpkin pie lover, there is probably someone in your family who does. Can you share this delicious treat with your cat?
Unfortunately, pumpkin pie has a lot of added spices and other ingredients that may harm your cat. Since it’s a dessert, it contains more sugar than your cat should have.
Other pumpkin treats also tend to have similar issues. Things like pumpkin bread or pumpkin pancakes usually contain extra sugar and spices. To help your cat be healthy and happy, it’s best to avoid anything other than plain pumpkin.
What are the benefits of giving pumpkin to cats?
Are there any benefits to giving our cats a taste of pumpkin?
When used in moderation, a sampling of pumpkin may provide some helpful boosts to your cat’s regular food and care plan.
Pumpkin isn’t necessary for your cat to live a happy and healthy life since their cat food is carefully-engineered to meet their needs. However, if your cat suffers from a condition like constipation, your cat’s vet might recommend something like pumpkin since it can help your cat pass their stools.
It may help with constipation
Constipation is a common issue in the cat world. Cats are finicky creatures, and they won’t go just anywhere. Some cats tend to put off drinking water, causing constipation or other health issues.
In this case, pumpkin may help relieve constipation. This fall favorite is high in fiber, which is fantastic at retaining water. The water and fiber in the pumpkins make it easier for constipated cats to pass dry and hard fecal matter.
It can help prevent your cat’s fur from forming large hairballs in the digestive tract, another common cause of constipation.
If your cat still seems to be suffering from constipation, it may point to an underlying cause, so you should inform your veterinarian that there aren’t any changes. You should consult your cat’s vet about using pumpkin for constipation before you do so. The vet will be able to guide you in what to do.
Read more How to Feed a Cat with Sensitive Stomach – Recipes Included!
It could help relieve diarrhea
It may seem counterintuitive, but pumpkin can help your cat if they suffer from diarrhea. The soluble fiber can absorb the excess water in the digestive tract, which should help return the fecal matter to a more normal consistency.
Too much pumpkin can have the opposite effect and cause diarrhea instead of helping with it, however, which is another reason to limit your cat’s pumpkin intake.
You may want to discuss the amount of pumpkin you give your cat with your cat’s vet, especially if you notice continued diarrhea. It may mean that there is an underlying cause that needs to be treated, or it might mean that you’ve been giving your cat more pumpkin than they can handle.
It contains antioxidants
Antioxidants are helpful for almost everyone. They help protect cells from potential damage, which can support your cat from head to toe. Antioxidants could possibly lower the risk of cancer and heart disease or even slow aging and improve vision.
Why do we have such a puppy crush on antioxidants? Well, antioxidants defend cells from oxidants known as free radicals. Free radicals lack a critical electron needed for a neutral charge. If they are left alone, free radicals can steal electrons from the cells in your body or your cat’s body.
Antioxidants have an extra electron that they can give up to the free radical, keeping the cells safe from damage.
It can help with keeping your cat hydrated
Along with fiber and antioxidants, pumpkins contain some water. The moisture can help cats stay hydrated. Even though pumpkin can help with hydration, it isn’t a substitute for water, which is necessary for your cat’s health. (Sometimes, cats prefer drinking from moving water, so a fountain can encourage thirsty kitties to take a drink.)
It strengthens the immune system
The vitamins and minerals in pumpkins are good at strengthening the immune system. A weak immune system makes it easier for your cat to catch a virus or other illness that might cause severe health issues.
A strong immune system is much better at fighting off germs. Your cat will have many nutrients that can help the immune system in their food already, but it might not hurt your kitty to give their immune system an extra boost.
It may be able to help prevent intestinal parasites
One of the most exciting things about pumpkins is that they can help prevent your cat from getting intestinal parasites. Although it isn’t a replacement for medication, pumpkin can help your cat keep out any unwanted visitors.
It can help your cat’s skin and hair
Antioxidants, as well as other vitamins and minerals in pumpkins, can potentially improve the health of your cat’s coat and skin since this food contains zinc. Maintaining your cat’s coat can be difficult, especially if you have a long-haired cat.
Usually, your cat does an outstanding job of taking care of their own hair, but sometimes, things happen that are out of their control. If your cat is suffering from a skin condition or other illness, it might negatively affect their coat.
Read more Is Pet Insurance Worth It In 2023?
Pumpkin isn’t a cure, but it can be part of your cat care toolbelt.
How should I serve my cat pumpkin?
While the easiest way to serve pumpkin is from a can, approach with caution; canned pumpkin sometimes contains sugars, spices, or other additives. Double-check the label to ensure that the canned pumpkin is totally plain. Additionally, you could bake the pumpkin for your cat to eat and puree it.
When first introducing pumpkin to your cat, start with a little bit. It might be best to mix it into your cat’s wet food as an added bit of flavor. The easiest solution would probably be to pick cat food that has pumpkin as one of the ingredients. There are also many different baked treats that you can make for your cat that include pumpkin in the recipe.
If your cat loves pumpkin, they might be willing to just lick it off the spoon. However, many cats are picky and don’t love trying new things. To introduce your cat to something new, you should add it a little at a time, increasing the amount each day your cat tries it.
Whatever way you decide to serve it, you should give adult cats around one teaspoon, and kittens or smaller cats should only have half of a teaspoon.
If you are thinking about giving your cat pumpkin seeds, you must roast them first, but don’t add any oil, butter, or seasonings. Oil and butter are unhealthy for cats, and seasonings might be harmful to your cat.
Before adding any food to your cat’s diet, consult a vet. Your vet should have a better idea of your cat’s dietary needs and may be able to give you an idea of how much pumpkin you can safely give your cat based on their size.
A healthy treat for cats
Although cat food has all the nutrients your cat needs for a well-balanced diet, pumpkin can be beneficial for your cat. When prepared correctly, pumpkin can help your cat with many things from their coat to bowel movements.
Pumpkin may be ideal for reducing both constipation and diarrhea since it has a good amount of fiber and water. It can be a clever way to help your cat get more water, although it shouldn’t replace their water bowl.
The vitamins and minerals in pumpkin can keep your cat’s cells safe from damage, promoting their overall health and possibly reducing the possibility of cancer. It can also promote the health of their skin and coat.
Cats can eat the flesh of the pumpkin and seeds, but they need to be prepared correctly. Whole pumpkin seeds can cause choking, and both the flesh and the seeds need to be cooked first. You should also puree the pumpkin flesh before giving it to your cat.
Before giving your cat pumpkin, it’s always wise to talk to your cat’s vet. With care, pumpkin is an excellent treat for your cat to try with many benefits for your beloved furry family member.
Benefits of Pumpkin for Cats | PetMD
Understanding antioxidants | Harvard Health
The Importance Of Greens For Cats | Sunvet Animal Wellness
Cats Are Carnivores, So They Should Eat Like One | Texas A&M