Your kids will not even taste the broccoli and will keep pushing it to the side of the plate no matter how much you try to entice them. Not even the different cooking methods you have tried seem to work and you end up throwing away the food. However, as you clear the table, you find that one of your family members, your beloved cat, seems to enjoy the broccoli a bit too much. It then has you wondering how your furry friend could be interested in vegetables, yet it has a particular fondness for tuna. Well, today, let’s answer the question, “can cats eat broccoli” so you can serve your pet some and put your reeling mind at ease.
Yes, They Can
According to Hepper, broccoli is safe for felines because it does not contain any toxic compounds. One of the benefits of feeding your cat some broccoli is that it reduces the chances of your pet eating any other green plants, for instance, house plants, which may not be beneficial to their health. It also provides them with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Some of the minerals include iron, which is essential in the proper functioning of the body. Since broccoli contains only a small dose, it is safe considering that too much iron can be lethal for the cat. A serving of broccoli which is equivalent to about 156gm contains 1mg. Another benefit of broccoli is that a serving contains vitamin C, which facilitates the absorption of iron. Other nutrients include vitamin A, necessary for optimal nerve, muscle, skin, and coat health. Also, broccoli only has a safe amount of vitamin A; otherwise, too much would result in muscle soreness and excessive bone growth. The vegetable contains potassium which, if not enough in the bloodstream, would cause your cat to have abnormal heart rhythm, muscle weakness, and inability to raise the head. It is packed with antioxidants that will reduce the likelihood of your cat developing cancer, while vitamin K will help in blood clotting should your cat get injured. Finally, it has fiber to aid in digestion. According to Ask My Cat, raw broccoli is the best to feed your cat if you are looking to have it benefit from the nutrients packed in the vegetable. On the other hand, a cat owner who wants to improve digestion in the pet should boil the broccoli. When boiled, the nutrients are depleted, but the vegetable is softened, making it easy to digest. If you want to balance nutrients and fiber, then steaming the broccoli will ensure that not all the nutrients are destroyed, but it will still be difficult for your pet to chew.
Should It Constitute a Large Part of Your Cat’s Diet?
As much as broccoli is safe and nutritious for your cat, you cannot make it the primary source of nutrients because felines are obligate carnivores. Rawz Natural Pet Food defines an obligate carnivore as one that depends mainly on meat found in animal flesh for nutrients. Plants do not have the necessary nutrients to sustain an obligate carnivore, and the cats’ bodies are not built to digest plants properly. You might then wonder why cats need fiber from plants. Well, obligate carnivores need the animal flesh to get the required energy, protein, and fat requirements. They do not need carbohydrates; hence, there is no need to feed your cat potatoes and other starch. They obtain fiber from the vegetables found in the intestines of their prey, but their primary source of fiber is from the fur, which they eat along with the meat. While the fur may have more than enough fiber to fulfill the dietary requirements, the vegetables obtained from the intestine are insufficient to supplement the nutrients. Therefore according to Martha Stewart, adding vegetables to the diet of cat ensures that it gets an adequate supply of phytonutrients that have lots of health benefits, including fighting cancer and infections. Besides, as the article further enlightens us, cats should obtain most of their water from foods hence the suggestion to wet their dry food. Broccoli is hailed as one of the vegetables with the highest amount of water since it is 90% water. For this reason, a small amount of broccoli will go a long way in preventing dehydration.
When is Broccoli Not Safe for Your Cat?
Broccoli may be healthy, but seasoning it will make it toxic. You might be tempted to fry your broccoli in some cooking oil to add some flavor. While oil is not toxic to cats, too much cooking oil can lead to an upset stomach characterized by diarrhea and vomiting. Therefore, if you must feed your cat some broccoli, only steam or serve it raw. You could also want to add a bit of salt and pepper to achieve the desired taste in your vegetables, but feeding your cat with such seasoned broccoli is signing their death sentence. Even the smallest amount of salt can result in a concentration of sodium which will cause thirst, lethargy, and vomiting. In severe cases, it leads to kidney damage, and once that happens, reversing the effects is impossible. Peppers and chilies, on the other hand, contain a toxic compound called glycoalkaloid solanine. Besides, cats do not like the smell of black pepper, and if inhaled, it can cause sneezing and eye irritation. Also, contrary to popular belief that cats love anything dairy, cheese is not recommended for cats because they don’t tolerate dairy well. It can cause an upset stomach, and it is up to you to be careful not to include cheese in the toppings because cats will smell the fat and proteins and rush to eat it. All the same, the general rule is to consult your veterinarian before including anything in your pet’s diet.