If you have a cat or are planning to own one in the near or more distant future, you probably already know that cats will generally like to eat meat. Fish, chicken, or turkey might be their favorites but how abut veggies? Will cats eat anything that isn’t an animal product? Can cats eat carrots or other vegetables?
Cats, Vegetables & Vegetarianism
Cats are notorious obligate carnivores, which contrary to popular opinion, does not mean that cats will not (or cannot) eat vegetables. However, the cat does require meat protein in order to survive. If not eating veggies for survival, then cats can at least eat a veggie or two in order to remain healthy and thrive. Veggies benefit cats in similar regards as humans. Carrots offer a great amount of beta carotene among other vitamins and minerals, and if digested correctly, the minerals can offer before to your cat’s overall health.
Even when left to their own devices (outside cats or stray cats, for example), cats will chew on grass and other greens; they do not only prey on birds and small rodents. The reason for this is that they actually enjoy grassy foods and random veggies, and sometimes crave it. Craving or grass or veggies can help the cat with digestion and the elimination of fur balls. Cats know instinctually when they need to eat grass or other roughage to keep them healthy.
However, their carnivore quality also means that cats generally cannot and should not be vegetarians or vegans. The protein in their diet is needed for survival and should derive from meat sources and cat food. Cats cannot subsist on veggies alone, as they are not genetically able to survive as a human can. Cats also digest food different from humans and even dogs, ad by offering a veggie only diet to your cat, your will be hurting them rather than helping.
Can Cats Eat Carrots?
Yes, they can! Carrots are actually among the vegetables that cats will eat, especially if they are steamed or cooked. Not only rabbits are crazy over this tasty treat, but so are felines. In fact, most of the dry food you buy at the supermarket also contains carrots, as well as other vegetables, besides their typical meat content.
Together, they are extremely beneficial to the health and beauty of your cat and its luxurious fur. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is famously supposed to improve the vision. While carrot will not help your cat see better (after all, felines are already able to see at night), it definitely helps with the health of its eyes and vision, thanks to its content of beta-carotene.
What Kind of Other Vegetables Can Cats Eat?
First of all, let’s clear something up about cats and their vegetable consumption: while it is perfectly fine for them to eat vegetables, it should always be in moderation and they should be cooked. Otherwise, they will not be able to digest a raw vegetable and it will cause your cat to become ill.
Raw veggies are choking hazards due to their rough nature. A little kitty mouth and teeth cannot often break up and chew a rough piece of carrot and then swallow the piece. Their stomachs cannot digest the rough food either. Cooking or steaming carrots (and all veggies) may remove some vital nutrients, but at least your cat is able to chew and swallow. The vitamins s/he does get will be less, but their risk of choking will be lower.
Moreover, remember that your cat’s diet should only be 10% vegetables and no more, in order for it to remain at peak health. You will see on your cat food label that veggies are listed as ingredients. Cat food uses veggies as fillers, not as proper ingredients, so if you wish to include veggies into your cat’s diet, do not rely upon your cat food to provide a boost.
Cat should eat only pure, whole, clean, and steamed veggies that are without seeds, shells, or leaves. Carrots that are cleaned, scraped, de-tipped, and softened will make a good treat for your cat. You may even wish to puree the carrot into an orange mix that blends well with cat kibble. This may be the safest way in which to serve your cat carrot.
That being said, there are plenty of vegetables that are safe for your feline to eat, as long as they are steamed, baked or cooked. Winter squash is one of cats’ favorite kind of vegetable, as long as it is cooked. Unlike kids, cats will actually happily eat broccoli without making a fuss or crying about it. So next time you prepare steamed broccoli, do not forget to serve a piece to your pet. Steamed green beans and asparagus are also big cat pleasers.
Some cats may digest foods better than others. Always introduce new foods in small quantities. Offer bite size pieces and observe your cat for any abnormalities. Research as much as possible about human food before offering to your cat – you can never be too careful or too prepared in this regard.
Also, before giving any kind of fresh fruit or vegetable to your cat, remember to wash it thoroughly as fruits and veggies may have not only dirt, but chemicals and pesticides upon the skin if grown on a mass produced carrot farm. Even if your carrots are organic from a local farmer, be sure to clean the carrot. Cutting it into small pieces will make the carrot easier to eat and digest, and be better for your cat overall.
Can Carrots be Harmful or Dangerous to Cats?
As long as you respect the rules about cooking them first, carrots should not be in any way dangerous. However, if you give your cat raw carrots, they may be a choking hazard and they can generate digestion problems. Also, when introducing carrots to your cat for the first time, it would be best to offer it just a small piece. This can act as a test to see whether your cat likes carrots or not and if it will make him sick or not. If everything is fine, you can continue to give it carrots and increase the amount, but not too much.
In conclusion, cats can eat carrots and they should eat carrots for a variety of reasons. First of all, vegetables, as well as fruits, are actually good for a cat from time to time, as long as they do not make up more than 10% of their diet and are cooked before being fed to the pet. Second of all, carrots, in particular, are rich in the nutrients your cat needs in order to maintain its health, including vitamin A, which not only helps maintain eye health, but it also gives its fur a shine.
However, while humans benefit from a vegetable-based diet, cats do not or at least, not in the same way and it is not enough for them. Exceptions can be made to this rule (for obese cats or felines that are otherwise afflicted), but you should always check with your local vet before putting your cat on any kind of diet, vegetable-based or not.