Can Cats Eat Pumpkin?
Read this before giving your cat pumpkin 🎃
Once the fall comes around, you might find yourself immersed in the world of pumpkin-flavored everything.
And since you and your cat basically share everything, while you’re sipping on your pumpkin spice latte, you may even ask yourself: “Can cats eat pumpkin, too?!”
(You want her to enjoy the season just as much as you do, after all.)
Lucky for you, just like with dogs, cats can eat pumpkin — but just not in the form of a latte or any other sweet treat for humans.
We reached out to Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian working with Excited Cats, to find out more about how cats can enjoy pumpkin safely.
Is pumpkin healthy for cats?
Pumpkin can be absolutely wonderful for your cat. “Pumpkin is kind of a kitty superfood and a flavor that most [cats] love anytime of the year,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo.
Some benefits of pumpkin for cats include:
- Regulates the digestive tract
- Treats mild constipation
- Helps cats feel fuller longer
- Boosts vision
- Boosts immune system
- Maintains a healthy coat
The reason for all these amazing benefits is all the goodies that can be found in pumpkin.
Pumpkin has tons of fiber
Pumpkin is packed with healthy fiber that helps to keep a cat’s digestive tract regular. This also makes it a great and natural way to treat mild cases of constipation.
“The fiber in pumpkin stimulates the colon to get things moving, and it also helps a cat to feel full for longer — a great benefit when you’re trying to get your feline friend to lose a few pounds,” Dr. Bonk said.
Pumpkin has healthy vitamins and minerals
Pumpkin also contains some healthy vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc, that can boost vision, immune system and coat health.
“However, these vitamins aren’t necessary for the average healthy cat eating high-quality food, but they sure don’t hurt them,” Dr. Bonk said.
Dangers of pumpkin for cats
Pumpkin is considered a very safe additive or treat. “However, some cats will have some digestive troubles if they eat too much,” Dr. Bonk said. “Diarrhea can occur if your cat has a free-for-all.”
It’s important to note that cats should stick with cooked pumpkin flesh and not eat any other part of the pumpkin, including the following:
“These pumpkin parts don’t have any real nutritive value and may cause a cat to choke,” Dr. Bonk said.
Can cats eat pumpkin puree?
Pumpkin puree is just plain canned pumpkin with no additives, and it’s the best way for cats to eat pumpkin, according to Dr. Bonk.
“If you want to make some at home, simply boil the chunks of the pumpkin flesh until it’s soft, and then mash it or strain it to remove any stringy parts,” Dr. Bonk said.
Can cats eat pumpkin pie?
Cats should not have pumpkin pie, since it’s filled with a bunch of things that can make your cat sick.
“Even though the pumpkin part is safe, the sugar, milk and spices aren’t,” Dr. Bonk said. “Stick with plain pumpkin.”
How much pumpkin can I give my cat?
The amount of pumpkin that your cat can have will depend on your individual cat and her needs. For example, “if you’re looking to cure constipation, you’ll want to give more than if you’re just looking for a fiber boost,” Dr. Bonk said.
It’s best to talk to your veterinarian before giving pumpkin to your cat to ensure you’re giving healthy amounts. “That being said, most cats eat 1–2 teaspoons once or twice a day,” Dr. Bonk said. “Constipated kitties may have more like 4 teaspoons twice a day.”
If your cat gets diarrhea after eating pumpkin, skip it for the next meal and then decrease the amount you give her the next time, Dr. Bonk explained.
You can also give your cat pumpkin treats that are specifically made for cats.
So yes, you can absolutely give your cat pumpkin, and it’s actually really good for her when served plain and in small amounts. Just make sure to chat with your veterinarian to ensure you’re giving her the right amount for her individual needs.