We all know that carrots are good for us. They are chock full of vitamins, especially vitamin A, and can be prepared in a variety of ways from cooked to chopped up in salads to simply eaten raw like Bugs Bunny.
But what about our feline friends?
As cat owners, we often want to share a little bit of what’s on our plate with our beloved kitties. But, can cats eat carrots?
Most cats won’t be interested in carrots- they don’t have much of a smell, they aren’t meaty, and they don’t have a texture that really appeals to cats.
If your cat loves carrots, though, there are a few things you should keep in mind before giving them a carrot or two. Or something like a carrot, such as fennel.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- Cats and Carrots, What You Need to Know
- Can Cats Eat Carrots?
- Can Kittens Eat Carrots?
- Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Carrots
- Alternatives to Carrots for Cats
Cats and Carrots, What You Need to Know
Carrots likely originated in Afghanistan, long before we kept records of such things. While here in the United States we are used to seeing orange carrots, there are in fact tons of other colors, including purple and white.
Nowadays, carrots can be found pretty much everywhere, and you may be wondering if your cat can join you in munching on this healthy, low-calorie root vegetable.
Let’s start by stating the obvious: carrots are a vegetable, and since cats are carnivorous, it’s very unlikely that they will be interested in eating a carrot, especially if it’s raw.
Cooked carrots can be a little more enticing, as they are usually prepared with flavoring and have a nice, mushy consistency that some cats may find appealing.
Can Cats Eat Carrots?
Carrots contain a lot of vitamins that can be beneficial to feline health, including vitamin A, biotin, vitamin K and potassium.
Even better, carrots don’t contain anything that could be harmful to cats, even if they eat more than one.
The issue with carrots and kitties all comes down to how the carrots themselves are prepared. Raw carrots, although crunchy and delicious, can pose a choking hazard for your cat, and may also be difficult for them to digest.
Cat’s don’t chew in the same way that we do, and their teeth aren’t made for crunching on raw veggies.
If you really want to give your cat a piece of carrot, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Cooked carrots are safer for cats. Baking the carrots or boiling them is a great way to serve your kitty a carrot or two. They are soft and contrary to what your grandmother may have told you, boiling the carrots doesn’t actually remove the vitamins and minerals. Cooked carrots and even also don’t pose much of a choking risk and are far more easily digested. Baby food carrots are another idea!
- Skip the dressing. While you may love smothering your carrots in ranch dressing, your cat doesn’t need the extra calories, sugars, and carbs that dressings usually contain.
- If you want to feed your cat raw carrot, try shaving a little bit onto their food. Carrots that have been shaved into very thin, almost transparent slices are a safe way to give your cat a little vitamin boost.
This cat is a little wary about the carrot just…lying on the floor.
Can Kittens Eat Carrots?
There is nothing wrong with giving your kitten a taste of carrot, but it’s even more important to be careful that they don’t choke. Kittens are much smaller than adult cats, and that includes their throat, mouth, and teeth!
You don’t want to risk your kitten hurting themselves while trying to take a bite out of a huge piece of carrot.
A tiny bit of boiled carrot (sans dressing) or a shaving or two on your kitten’s regular high-quality cat food is usually safe.
Generally speaking, though, it’s best to avoid adding human food to your kitten’s diet.
Firstly, because kittens have delicate digestive systems that may not react well to the introduction of foods that they aren’t accustomed to.
Secondly, kittens are growing like weeds and require the best nutrition possible.
Rather than filling them up with people food, your best bet is to start them off right on a high-quality kitten food, such as Wellness Natural Grain Free Wet Kitten Food, which is grain free and made from high-quality meat.
It’s not a good idea to get your kitten used to eating human food, as it may cause them to become picky eaters and turn up their nose at their feline food. Kittens also have a tendency to overeat as it is, so it’s often not necessary to add too much to their diets outside of their regular kitten food.
The safest carrot for a kitten is a stuffed carrot! You can get a catnip infused carrot here if you’d like to.
Benefits/Negatives of Feeding Cats Carrots
One baby carrot contains 24% of all the daily-recommended amount of vitamin A for human beings. Crazy, right?
Carrots are one of the best sources of vitamin A available, and vitamin A is very important for kitty health.
Your cat likely gets all the nutrition they need from their cat food, especially if you feed them high-quality dry food such as Taste of The Wild dry cat food, which lists meat as the first ingredient and is grain free. It also contains vegetables (peas and sweet potatoes.) That being said, a carrot once and a while (remember to cook it first!) can be a healthy addition to your cat’s diet.
Carrots only pose a danger to your kitty as a choking hazard, so avoid giving them chunks of raw carrot, which may also hurt their teeth.
While some cats may try to eat their carrots raw and whole (like this one), it’s generally not a good idea.
Alternatives to Carrots For Cats
Cats can eat a variety of vegetables, not just carrots. So if you don’t want to have to cook the carrots before feeding them to your cat, there are some vegetables that are healthy but require less preparation, such as peas.
There are also some specially made cat treats that can be great if you want to introduce fruits and vegetables in your cat’s diet, such as Dr. Becker’s Veggie Bites.
So, Can Cats Eat Carrots?
As long as you prepare them safely, there is no reason why cats can’t enjoy a carrot once and a while. They have tons of vitamins and can help with kitty digestion. While it’s not a good idea to simply give your cat a peeled carrot, you can either:
- Boil some carrot and mix them with your cats wet food, or you can simply buy cooked carrots in a can.
- Shave a little bit of carrot on top of their regular dry or wet food
- Bake baby carrots, cut them up into small pieces, and offer them to your cat as a tasty treat.
- Or, just give them some quality cat food treats like these veggie bites.
Is your cat cuckoo for carrots? Do you have questions about how to safely incorporate them into your cats diet? Let us know in the comments!