We cat lovers are always on the search for a healthy little snack for our beloved cats. I found out quite by mistake that pumpkin is something my cat really likes – when I was whipping up a batch of pumpkin muffins one day, and had a smudge of canned pumpkin puree on my finger – Milo went wacky for it! I’d heard from a coworker that her dog loved pumpkin, so I was amused to see my little cat pal did, too. But then, I had to quickly do some research to see if pumpkin is a safe food for cats to eat. More importantly, I wanted to know if it was good for Milo’s health.
Yes, pumpkin is healthy for cats
Pure pumpkin – not the canned variety that is actually called pumpkin pie mix (that one has sugar and spices added) – is a healthy snack for cats! Because it is naturally high in fiber, some vets even recommend it as a healthy and natural way to relieve constipation in cats.
Plus, cats really love the taste of this stuff! Milo is one very picky little tabby cat – he likes his food, and his treats and that’s about it – but he really loved a treat of pure pumpkin. Besides fiber, pumpkin is packed full of vital nutrients and vitamins A, C, and E. So, not only is pumpkin delicious, but it is a wholesome treat for your pet cat. Win!
Pumpkin for Cats with Diarrhea
Pumpkin can also help settle your cat’s digestive system if they’re suffering with diarrhea. (Obviously – please take your pet to a vet if they’re not feeling well, and especially if the diarrhea is recurring or won’t go away.) About a teaspoon mixed in with their regular food will work well. Or, if your cat is picky- like my Milo boy – then I would just feed the pumpkin puree to them separately as a treat. I don’t think Milo would like his precious food being messed about with – even if it was with yummy pumpkin!
When you discuss your pet’s health situation and tummy troubles with your vet, you may be able to ask if pumpkin is a good solution rather than any medications. It’s nice to know that pumpkin is a natural choice to help a cat with either constipation OR diarrhea.
How much pumpkin should I feed my cat?
Since pumpkin is considered a very healthy treat for cats, you might be tempted to go overboard and give them a lot, reasoning that the more you give, the better they’ll feel. As with all aspects of feeding your pet, you should ease the pumpkin into your cat’s diet. Try a small amount as a treat – maybe half a teaspoon. This will let you see if: 1) your cat enjoys the taste of pumpkin and 2) if the pumpkin settles well in his tummy. By giving a small portion at first, your cat will adjust to the pumpkin and his or her little stomach will thank you!
The Pumpkin Diet for Cats: One tip some vets give is to use pumpkin as a replacement for a small amount of your cat’s dry or wet food. If your cat is overweight, then you can slightly lower their overall calorie consumption by replacing a tablespoon of their food with pumpkin. (Again, try the pumpkin test above first to make sure your cat likes pumpkin AND that their tummies are already accustomed to pumpkin. Too much extra fiber all at once could cause them digestive problems.) Over time, this is an easy way to help your cat lose a little bit of that extra weight .
Pumpkin for Cats is a healthy choice
For most cats, a healthy dose of pumpkin is a treat they’ll love AND that will benefit their health. Make sure to use pure pumpkin with no additives, sugar or spices added. And then, treat your cat – knowing that they’ll thank you for it!