Every year when autumn rolls around, we see cats and pumpkins paired up in troves. But have you ever stopped to wonder: Can cats eat pumpkin? Yes! It turns out that pumpkin is a healthy food choice for both cats and dogs. Find out which health benefits pumpkin offers for your pets, as well as which recipes you (read: your cat) may want to try below.
So why can cats eat pumpkin, of all things?
Fiber, fiber, fiber
Pumpkin is chock-full of fiber—up to five grams of fiber per half-cup serving, in fact. Fiber provides the following potential benefits in cats:
- Prevents hairballs: Fiber has laxative properties that move fur through your cat’s intestinal tract instead of expelling it out as a hairball.
- Soothes constipation: For this same reason, fiber helps soothe constipation and stimulates bowel movements.
- Also soothes diarrhea: On the other hand, soluble fiber can absorb excess water in the digestive tract, reducing or relieving diarrhea.
- Aids in weight control: Fiber helps your cat feel full more quickly.
Cat parents don’t realize it, but felines usually aren’t drinking enough water or getting enough moisture in their diets. That’s why vets often recommend giving your cat canned wet food over dry kibble. Pumpkin is rich in moisture, offering a hydrating element along with its fiber-friendly laxative properties.
Finally, pumpkin contains a plethora of other nutrients that benefit everything from your cat’s immune system and vision to cellular respiration and hemoglobin production. These nutrients include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, alpha carotene, calcium, iron, and lutein.
How should you feed your cat pumpkin?
100% canned pumpkin is the best option—as long as it’s without additives, fillers, sugar, or spices. Feed your adult cat 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of pumpkin daily, or mix that amount into her food. However, we recommend first checking with your vet before indulging in canned pumpkin for cats.
Do not give your cat raw pumpkin, pumpkin pulp, or the stem or skin of the pumpkin.
Can cats eat pumpkin seeds?
Cats can eat pumpkin seeds as long as they’ve been cleaned and roasted at 350°F for an hour so. Last but not least, grind up the seeds—you don’t want one getting caught in your cat’s windpipe.
Pumpkin recipes for cats
We’ve rounded up some of the best pumpkin recipes for cats the web has to offer. Try ’em out this fall!
Pumpkin spice cat treats
Courtesy of meowbox.com: These simple pumpkin cat treats contain only four ingredients: pumpkin puree, turkey, oat flour, and catnip. They’ll drive your cat wild!
Pumpkin tuna cat treats
Courtesy of Animallama.com: Tuna, pumpkin, and catnip—what could be better? Nothing, according to your cat!
Under the sea cat treats
Courtesy of Chewy.com: Canned pumpkin for cats plus canned sardines makes for a very happy kitty.
Pumpkin pie cat treats
Courtesy of Chewy.com: Save these for Thanksgiving—they may even be as delectable as your version of pumpkin pie.
Tuna pumpkin biscotti cat treats
Courtesy of Chewy.com: These fancy-schmancy pumpkin cat treats will soon have your feline drinking cappuccino and listening to opera.
So, can cats eat pumpkin? Yes—and they should! While cats and dogs will typically enjoy many health benefits from eating pumpkin, please check with your veterinarian before deciding that pumpkin is going to part of your pet’s daily diet.
Cover photo © Vanessa Kay / CC-BY-SA-3.0