Can Cats Eat Carrots?
Here’s what to know about carrots and cats 🥕
While eating your daily lunch salad, you might wonder: Can cats eat carrots? And are carrots good for cats like they are for people?
We spoke to Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian with Paramount Pet Health, to find out what you need to know about giving your cat carrots.
Are carrots healthy for cats?
Carrots have lots of vitamins and minerals that make them a healthy snack for cats. For example, the fiber and water content of carrots can help with your cat’s digestion, and vitamin A is an essential vitamin that supports your cat’s skin and coat health and eyesight.
“Carrots are an abundant source of vitamin[s] K, E and A, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, fiber and beta-carotene,” Dr. Burch told The Dodo.
Carrots are also low in calories, making them a good treat for cats who are overweight.
Potential risks of carrots
While carrots have tons of health benefits, there are some things you should know before feeding them to your cat.
If your cat’s never had carrots before, even a small amount can upset his stomach and make him throw up or have diarrhea since he’s not used to eating them.
Also, carrots contain natural sugars, which can cause your cat to become obese or raise his blood sugar. Because of the sugar, cats with diabetes definitely shouldn’t eat carrots.
Foods that contain carrots are OK for cats to eat as long as the rest of the ingredients are safe, too. (So skip the carrot cake — it has a ton of sugar.) Check that there are no other ingredients in the food that are poisonous to cats, like garlic, onion, grapes or xylitol.
And don’t give your cat whole, raw carrots because they can be a choking hazard or cause an intestinal obstruction if he swallows a big piece.
Can cats eat carrots sometimes?
According to Dr. Burch, you can give your cat plain, cooked carrots as a snack every day.
“I recommend cooking carrots and slicing them into small pieces to prevent a choking hazard to your cat,” Dr. Burch said.
Dr. Burch recommends that carrots make up only 10 percent or less of your cat’s daily calories. (The 10 percent rule is good to follow for all treats.)
If you want to give your cat carrots, here’s how to prepare them:
- Wash and peel the carrot to remove anything on it that could be dangerous to your cat, such as dirt and pesticides.
- Cook the carrot before giving it to your cat to make it easy to chew and digest.
- Don’t add any seasonings or butter since they can upset your cat’s stomach.
- Cut the carrot into small, bite-sized pieces so your cat can’t choke on them.
Keep in mind that carrots shouldn’t be given as a substitute for meat because they don’t contain protein. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they need meat and taurine, an amino acid that’s only found in animal protein, in their diets.
A taurine deficiency can cause your cat’s eyesight to degenerate, and it can even lead to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and eventually heart failure. Since cats can’t produce their own taurine, it’s super important to feed your cat a balanced diet that includes it.
So cats can eat carrots as a healthy treat. Just be sure to cook them and cut them up before letting your cat snack on them.
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