Despite being a widely popular flavor during winter and autumn, pumpkin is actually available all year-round to satiate our cravings.
But how about our feline companions? Would it be okay to incorporate pumpkin into your cat’s diet? Can cats eat pumpkin?
As fur-rents, we know that cats are obligate carnivores, but we also know that they need a well-balanced diet. As such, we can’t help but wonder if pumpkins, being a rich source of nutrients for humans, are also good for cats?
What’s in it for them if they eat pumpkin puree for cats for breakfast?
Can Cats Eat Pumpkin?
Well, it turns out that pumpkin is a healthy food choice not just for cats, but also for dogs. And our pets can also get several health benefits from eating pumpkin (but definitely not pumpkin pie filling or canned pumpkin for cats that is filled with sugar, spices, fillers, and other additives).
Also read: Can Cats Eat Cucumbers?
What Are the Health Benefits of Pumpkins for Cats?
The most significant health benefits of pumpkins for cats have something to do with their digestion. Pumpkin is a rich source of fibers for cats – up to five grams of fiber per ½ cup serving of pumpkin.
So, for occasional hairballs, abnormal stool, or cat constipation, pumpkin can be a saving grace for our kitty companions. However, for cats with regular or sustained GI tract upsets, it’s still best to consult your local veterinarian.
Being a good source of dietary fiber, pumpkin can serve as an easy fix for a cat’s mild case of constipation. The water and fiber in pumpkins will be absorbed by the dry stool inside your cat’s GI tract to help get things moving. And you can expect to see your cat pass out his stool with ease after a few hours.
The high fiber content in pumpkin also helps in preventing the formation of hairballs using the same mechanism of action in relieving constipation.
The soluble fiber in pumpkins absorbs excess water in the digestive tract. That is why it’s also beneficial to serve pumpkin for cats with diarrhea.
However, if your cat is experiencing loose bowel movements for more than 24 hours, you must take him to the vet right away to prevent other serious complications due to dehydration.
The fiber in pumpkin seems to be causing all the good stuff for our feline buddies, and it doesn’t stop there. Pumpkins can also help obese and overweight cats with their weight loss goals since the rich fiber content of these veggies can add bulk to their diet.
And with the added bulk, cats can feel a sense of fullness more quickly thereby making pumpkin a great addition to your cat’s weight control solutions.
Alongside its fiber content, pumpkin also provides cats with added moisture thereby helping them with their hydration needs.
Pumpkins also contain a plethora of essential nutrients that cats can benefit from. In particular, it is packed with essential fatty acids and antioxidants that are good for a cat’s skin, fur, and overall health.
Pumpkin is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E, beta carotene, alpha-carotene, iron, calcium, lutein, and potassium.
All of these nutrients help cats with various bodily functions from getting a stronger immune system and cellular respiration to having a healthier vision, and substantial hemoglobin production. These nutrients may also help your cat to reduce the likelihood of getting cancer in his lifetime.
However, while all of these are important for your cat’s overall health, it doesn’t mean that you should just rely on pumpkins. As long as your cat eats a well-balanced diet, they won’t have a deficiency in any of these vital nutrients.
How Should You Feed Your Cat With Pumpkin?
As cat parents, it’s our responsibility to always put the health and safety of our cats first. As such, even if we have good intentions for wanting to feed our cats with pumpkins, our actions can still cause them harm if we are not extra careful.
Before you feed your cat with pumpkin parts from your Jack-O-Lanterns, ask yourself first if it should be fine for your cat or not.
And when you are in doubt, ask your vet or you may start with the following guidelines for feeding pumpkin to cats:
- The best way to add pumpkin to your feline’s diet is by using an unsweetened, pure canned pumpkin without fillers, spices, and additives. You can buy canned pumpkins from the nearest grocery store in your area. Cats love pumpkin flavor, so they would also enjoy licking on it straight from the spoon as a cat treat. You can also add the pumpkin directly to their food.
- For adult cats, you can start with ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of pumpkin per day, and adjust the amount as needed.
- You can also bake a fresh pumpkin for your cat. Don’t forget to remove the seeds, and to let them cool before adding them to your cat’s food.
- Do not feed your cat with raw pumpkin, pumpkin pulp, or the leaves, stem, or skin of the pumpkin.
- Do not feed your cat with pumpkin flesh parts from your Jack-O-Lantern, as molds and bacteria may have already grown on them.
How Much Pumpkin Should You Feed Your Cat?
Although pumpkin is good for cats, too much of it in their meal can still have a negative effect on their health.
As a start, stick to the recommended daily serving: 1 teaspoon for adult cats and ½ teaspoon for kittens and smaller cats. You can increase up to 4 teaspoons for larger adult cats.
And while you are feeding your cats with pumpkins, be sure to monitor the consistency of their stool and the frequency of their bowel movements.
You can suspect that you are overdoing their pumpkin supplementation if you notice that your cat’s stools become orange and larger than usual with a pudding-like consistency
Before feeding your cat pumpkin, it’s also better to consult your vet about it. This is especially true if your cat has an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
Can Cats Eat Pumpkin Pie?
No. You can’t feed pumpkin pie to your cats since these contain sugar and other additives that may be harmful to your feline companions.
Can Cats Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, you can feed your cats with pumpkin seeds. However, before doing so, you need to clean and roast the fresh pumpkin seeds first at 350 °F for 1 hour.
Of course, you can’t add salt or spices and don’t forget to grind the seeds before adding them to your cat’s food.
Below are wonderful recipes should you want to incorporate pumpkins into your feline's diet.
DIY Pumpkin-Salmon Kitty Bites
- food processor
- 1 can Wild Alaskan Salmon, bones removed
- 1/4 cup Puréed Organic Pumpkin
- 1/4 cup Fresh Organic Spinach, chopped
- 1 Organic Pastured Egg
- 1/2 cup Organic Coconut Flour
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Add all ingredients to a food processor, blend on high until fully mixed.
- Pour blended ingredients into a separate mixing bowl.
- Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop out mixture and roll into small balls, place each on a non stick baking sheet.
- Insert the pan into the oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow the bites to cool before serving.
Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Cat Treats
- 14 oz Can of salmon, no salt or oil added
- 1/2 cup Old fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup Pumpkin puree
- 1 Egg
- 2 tbsp Avocado oil
- Preheat the oven to 325 F.
- Add the oats to a blender and blend into a fine flour.
- Open the can of salmon and drain the excess liquid.
- Combine the oat flour, salmon, pumpkin, egg, and avocado oil and mix well.
- Form into small “cookies” (or use a silicone mold) and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until firm.
- Allow to cool before serving to your cat. Serve will supervised and break into smaller pieces if needed. Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
DIY Pumpkin Tuna Cat Treats
- 7 oz (200 grams) Fresh tuna
- 1 Egg
- 0.7 oz (20 grams) Carrot
- 0.7 oz (20 grams) Pumpkin
- 1.5 tbsp Olive oil
- 1 tsp Catnip herb
- 0.8 cup (200 grams) Integral oat flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C)
- Roast fresh tuna and pumpkin. Cool and crush.
- In a bowl, beat the egg, add peeled and grated carrot, catnip herb, olive oil, tuna and pumpkin. Add the oat flour and mix until homogeneous dough forms. Rest 5 minutes.
- Spread the dough up to 0.5 inches thick. Cut with molds of your choice. Place the cookies on a greased paper tray and bake at 350 °F (180 °C) for 10-15 minutes. Rest at room temperature.
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