As with many healthy foods like broccoli, celery, or spinach, it is known they are a good choice for people who are trying to eat a healthy diet. You may be wondering if broccoli is also a healthy snack for cats.
For the most part, broccoli can be a fun treat for your cat, but it really shouldn’t be the main part of your cat’s diet.
In this article we’ll cover the following:
- Cats and Broccoli, What You Need to Know
- Can Cats Eat Broccoli?
- Can Kittens Broccoli?
- Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Broccoli
- Healthy Alternatives to Broccoli for Cats
Cats and Broccoli, What You Need to Know
Originally cultivated by the people of the Northern Mediterranean, broccoli is a domesticated form of wild cabbage, Brassica oleracea. Along with domestic cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, collards, and kale, all are considered to be the same species as broccoli, though they look and taste different from one another.
Nutritionally, broccoli contains high levels of vitamin C and K, along with many other important nutrients, though in lesser amounts. Broccoli is also very low in fat and calories, making it a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight.
Although cats are primarily meat eaters, as the following video shows, many enjoy noshing on a bit of broccoli from time to time.
The best thing about that video is that all those cats wear ties to dinner!
Can Cats Eat Broccoli?
Yes, your cat can eat broccoli! Broccoli can be a tasty and fun treat if your cat is interested.
Just don’t be surprised if they don’t actually eat the broccoli. Since cats are meat eaters, many will just rip it apart, leaving a mess for you.
And, as you can see in the following video, some cats may just play with the broccoli:
Can Kittens Eat Broccoli?
Kittens tend to be even more susceptible than adult cats to most things because they are tiny and are not yet fully developed. Though rare, any pathogens on broccoli leaves are even more likely to affect a kitten than an adult cat.
Similarly, kittens could be more sensitive to the bloating and laxative effects from the fiber in broccoli. This could cause abdominal discomfort and diarrhea, possibly leading to dehydration and a trip to the vet.
Instead of broccoli, why not try giving your kitten a healthy kitten food like Blue Wilderness Kitten? This type of food has everything your kitten needs to grow up big and strong, and without anything that could cause harm.
Benefits/Drawbacks to Cats Eating Broccoli
While broccoli is usually a safe snack for your cat, you should know they won’t really benefit nutritionally from eating plants. This is because cats are obligate carnivores, which means all they really need to eat is meat.
In fact, cats don’t actually need plants to meet their nutrient requirements as humans do. For example, humans don’t produce enough vitamin C in their livers, so they must eat oranges, grapefruit, and other vitamin C-rich foods, like broccoli.
While cats need vitamin C to survive, they don’t need any additional vitamin C added to their diets. This is because cats make plenty of vitamin C in their own livers, so they don’t need to eat plant-based foods to get enough.
Similarly, broccoli contains significant amounts of fiber. In humans, these indigestible carbohydrates can cause bloating and flatulence.
Cats don’t need fiber in their diet. When a cat eats food containing fiber, it can have a laxative effect on the cat resulting in runny stools and messy litter boxes.
Additionally, while broccoli is not considered toxic to cats, foodborne pathogens have been found on broccoli. Listeria monocytogenes, Clostridium, and E. Coli are all species of bacteria which have been found on broccoli or in broccoli sprouts.
Bacterial contamination of broccoli is rare, and cats may not be affected in the same ways or as severely as humans. If you do decide to feed your cat broccoli, stay alert for any signs your cat may show from eating contaminated broccoli, such as the following symptoms:
- High fever
- Lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
Though unlikely, in severe cases, life-threatening septicaemia and endotoxemia may develop and infections could spread to different organs causing pneumonia, meningitis, and abortion in pregnant cats. To be safe, make sure you thoroughly wash broccoli before giving it to your cat.
Healthy Alternatives to Broccoli for Cats
There are many healthy alternatives to feeding your cat broccoli. If you really want your cat to have plant nutrition in their diet, try a cat food that has been formulated with plants that meets the feline’s specific nutritional needs.
Organix Dry Cat Food contains sweet potatoes along with real chicken so your cat can eat a healthy and balanced diet.
You can also try offering your cat some cat grass. Unlike regular grass, this is completely safe for cats to munch on, so it’s a great way to add some greenery to your home that your cat can safely eat.
So, Can Cats Eat Broccoli?
Now that you know cats can eat broccoli, many cats may not be all that interested in the leafy plant.
If you decide to give you cat broccoli, just follow these simple steps:
- Wash the broccoli thoroughly before giving it to your cat.
- Give broccoli to your cat in moderation as too much could cause your cat to have indigestion and loose stools for a day or two.
- If you want to incorporate vegetables into your cat’s diet on a regular basis, consider a high-quality cat food like Organix Dry Cat Food, which provides all the nutrients your cat needs.
- For a special treat, you can also try Purina Beyond Wet Cat Food which contains spinach leaves and can satisfy the cravings of even the most finicky cat.
If you have any questions or would like to share a story about your cat and broccoli, please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!