Is Pumpkin Good for Cats?

Pumpkin For Cats. Are pumpkins good for cats? Like most things in life, the answer is it depends.  Some people say that pumpkins are a great source of fibre and vitamins for cats and can help keep them healthy and happy.

However, others warn that giving pumpkins to cats can cause stomach upset or even diarrhoea. So, what’s the truth? Are pumpkins safe for cats or not?

Feeding Pumpkin to Cats

Pumpkin For Cats

Cats are always looking for a taste of something new, and who can blame them?  Did you know that giving your cat pumpkins is actually beneficial to their health too? Pumpkin contains vitamins A, E, and C providing antioxidant protection from cancer-causing free radicals, plus many other benefits.

While pumpkin is a great treat for cats, too much can cause diarrhoea. If your cat has an upset stomach after eating pumpkin, try reducing the amount or frequency.  You might also want to talk with the vet about the recommended levels to feed according to your cats’ weight, age and general health.  It is worth bearing in mind that cats fed a well-balanced diet should not suffer any deficiency of vitamins.

It is important to introduce pumpkin very gradually, feeding small amounts at a time.  Pumpkin can be fed on its own or mixed into the usual food.

Health Benefits of Feeding Pumpkin to Cats

Pumpkins can benefit your cat in many different ways –

Pumpkins are high in fibre, which can help keep your cat’s digestive system regular.  Many vets advocate pumpkin as a remedy for constipation in cats.

Pumpkin is a great natural supplement – containing vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C which support the immune system and vision.  Essential fatty acids and antioxidants help promote healthy skin and coat and prevent infections.

Weight control – pumpkin is ideal for overweight cats by adding bulk to the diet, with few extra calories and contributing to cat weight loss.

Diarrhoea Treatment – a safe and effective treatment for mild diarrhoea, the natural fibre in the pumpkin absorbs any excess liquid in the digestive tract, and firms up stools.

Urinary Tract Health – a high water content helps to prevent blockages, stop crystals forming, and prevent urinary tract infections.

Hairball treatment – the high levels of fibre contained in pumpkin help pass ingested fur through the intestinal tract.

Pumpkin Seeds as a Natural De-wormer – pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin, which effectively eliminates tapeworms and roundworms.  A teaspoon of raw ground pumpkin seeds can be mixed with the usual food as a treatment.

Pumpkin For Cats

How to Feed Pumpkins to Cats

Natural (or organic) plain canned pumpkin puree without any additives, seasoning or sugar is the best choice for your pet and keeps in the fridge for up to a week.  For extra economy, large cans can be divided into individual meal-sized ice-cube portions and frozen.

When preparing fresh pumpkin from scratch, remove the skin, seeds and pulp, cut it into small pieces and boil or steam until soft.  Drain, and mash well. 

For adult cats, mix between one and two teaspoons with cat food once a day.  Many cats enjoy the taste so much that they will eat pumpkin straight off the spoon.  Kittens may only require half a teaspoon.

Pumpkin seeds can be given raw or lightly toasted and crushed into a powder, to avoid the danger of choking.  Double-check to make sure any pumpkin seeds you purchase don’t have any added salt, sugar, or spices.

If in doubt, it is always a good idea to check the litter tray.  If you are over-feeding the pumpkin the cats’ stools may appear to be orange, and pudding-like in solidness.  Try reducing the amount fed or skipping the frequency.

Possible Dangers with Feeding Pumpkin to your Cat

Pumpkin is a moderately safe and straightforward added substance.  However, if your cat has a sensitive stomach, you may want to avoid giving them pumpkin altogether. And if your cat has any food allergies, you should definitely consult with your veterinarian before feeding them pumpkin. Most cases of pumpkin-related gastrointestinal distress in cats are mild and resolve without any treatment.

It is better to avoid feeding the stem, skin, or mash of pumpkin to your cat. These pieces of pumpkin don’t necessarily have a sufficiently high dietary benefit to be valuable.

If cats eat too much pumpkin, it may cause digestive upset and diarrhoea.  Using over-ripe or rotten pumpkins can also cause sickness.

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