Fresh pumpkin and pure 100% pumpkin purée are safe for cats to eat, and pumpkin has fiber and nutrients that can be beneficial for cats. So if you’re making fall desserts and your cat wants to lend a helping paw, or your cat is reaching for some of your can of pumpkin, keep reading to learn how to feed pumpkin to your cat.
Is pumpkin good for cats?
Plain pumpkin can be a healthy food for your cat to eat as part of a balanced diet. Benefits of pumpkin for cats include:
- Pumpkin is a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber, which is good for your cat’s intestinal health – pumpkin helps balance bulk and moisture to promote regular stools, and can provide relief for both diarrhea and constipation in cats
- Dietary fiber from pumpkin also helps hairballs move through the digestive tract more efficiently
- Pumpkin is a low-calorie food, making it a good supplement or treat for overweight cats (plus, the fiber will help them feel full)
- Pumpkin is rich in moisture, which helps your cat stay hydrated.
- Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin A, to support skin, vision, and immune health
- Pumpkin has vitamins E and C to support overall health
- Pumpkin is easily digestible which can be helpful for cats with sensitive stomachs.
- If your cat’s a picky eater and enjoys pumpkin (or just likes variety), adding a little purée to their food can make it more appealing.
Not only can cats eat pumpkin, it’s a fun, seasonal way to incorporate fiber and moisture into their diet!
Can pumpkin seeds be used as a dewormer for cats?
There’s an idea popular in social media and even plenty of online articles claiming that pumpkin seeds are a natural dewormer for cats. The claims stem from the fact that pumpkin seeds have an amino acid called cucurbitin that works against intestinal worms, but the effectiveness of pumpkin seeds as a dewormer hasn’t been proven in clinical trials. If your cat has worms you should take them to the vet and follow the recommended treatment.
What kind of pumpkin to feed your cat
- Wet cat food made with pumpkin is formulated especially for a cat’s nutritional needs, and is the easiest way to give your cat the benefits of pumpkin.
- Canned pumpkin purée is also a good option, but be sure it’s truly plain with no added salt, sugar, spices or additives. NEVER use canned pumpkin pie filling which often includes seasonings like nutmeg, which is toxic to cats.
- Fresh pumpkin that has been cooked or steamed, then mashed or puréed
- Pumpkin seeds can be a choking hazard for cats, so it’s best to roast or bake them (without oil or seasoning) and then crush or grind them before serving
Can cats eat raw pumpkin? Technically, yes, though it’s not recommended. Raw pumpkin flesh (as well as pumpkin skin) is tough, and harder for cats to digest.
How to feed your cat pumpkin
It’s easy to add pumpkin to your cat’s diet and it can be included in a variety of ways:
- Use pumpkin purée or ground pumpkin seeds as a meal topper or mixer
- Blend a little pumpkin purée with water (if your cat likes the taste it can encourage them to drink more)
- Slice up small pieces of fresh cooked pumpkin and feed it with their food or as a treat
- Mix pumpkin purée with plain yogurt (you can also freeze the mixture for a frozen treat)
- Make homemade cat treats that include pumpkin
- Choose a cat food made with pumpkin
Stella & Chewy’s Marvelous Morsels and Purrfect Pâté lines include pumpkin, as do several of our wet cat food recipes in can and pouches. Our Digestive Support Boost for cats also includes pumpkin, and has added probiotics and prebiotics for digestive health. Best of all, each of our cat foods (whether it has pumpkin or not) provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages!
How much pumpkin to feed your cat
If you’re feeding wet cat food with pumpkin, follow the feeding guidelines on the package.
As a rule of thumb, average-sized cats can safely eat 1 teaspoon of pumpkin purée once or twice a day with their regular food (just a half teaspoon for kittens or smaller cats).
If you’re feeding canned or cooked pumpkin to your cat, be careful about serving too much. With high-fiber foods like pumpkin, you can definitely have “too much of a good thing” as excess fiber can lead to diarrhea, gas, or stomach upset. It’s also important to remember that cats are obligate carnivores who need to get most of their nutrition from animal protein. Too much pumpkin (or any food outside their ancestral diet) can prevent them from getting the nutrition they need. Supplements and treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your cat’s daily calories.
As with any new food in your cat’s diet, it’s important to start with a very small amount and gradually increase it over time—and always consult with your veterinarian before making significant changes to your cat’s feeding routine.
What other foods are good for cats?
Since cats are obligate carnivores they need meat to survive (or at least thrive). But there are some other human foods that are healthy for cats to eat in moderation, including:
- Blueberries – a fun treat with high water content and fiber
- Cooked eggs – rich in protein, vitamins and minerals Learn the do’s and don’ts of feeding eggs to cats!
- Chia seeds -full of omega 3 fatty acids to promote skin and coat health
- Cooked carrots – a good source of vitamins and minerals (cut into small pieces)
- Watermelon – very hydrating and safe for cats (without the rind or seeds)
Be sure to always talk to your veterinarian before feeding new foods to ensure your cat is eating a nutritionally complete diet. Keep reading to learn more tips for choosing the right food for your cat!
Stella & Chewy’s Cat Food That contains Pumpkin:
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