You may have decided to start incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your diet as you try to shed some pounds. As you take a bite of some celery leaves, your furry friend might be curious also to taste the weird green vegetable he has never eaten. So you throw him a piece, and he happily feeds on it after sniffing it, which makes you wonder, can cats eat celery? Before you go ahead to chop up the vegetable, read on to see if celery has any health benefits for your cat and how much is required.
The Benefits Cats Derive from Eating Celery
According to Pet Care Advisors, cats can safely eat celery, but as always, you should not add anything new to your feline’s diet without consulting your vet. The stalk, seeds, and stem are not toxic to felines, making the vegetable a great supplement to their diet.
However, cats can be picky; while some prefer raw vegetables, others will only eat celery if cooked, so you should know what your cat likes for him to eat it without a fuss. All the same, you should note that while celery is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals that are very beneficial to the human body, the cat’s body is unlike ours; hence it may not be as useful to them. Our body contains enzymes that help in digestion and absorption of certain nutrients.
It is, however, still great for the felines. Its richness in fiber makes it an ideal addition to your cat’s diet to help with the digestive system; therefore, it is excellent for obese cats to lose weight. The vegetable has pectin polysaccharides that promote a healthy gut by lining the stomach and protecting it from ulcers. The right amount can also increase a cat’s appetite. Since it has diuretic properties, celery helps felines to detoxify, ensuring a healthy liver for your furry friend.
The Precautions You Should Take
As much as cats can eat celery, there is a limit that you should observe. All Cat Secrets explains that while humans can eat 2,000 calories, cats only need 200 calories, and since celery is a vegetable, it does not contain too many. A celery stalk has around ten calories, and because you will also be feeding the cat with other types of food throughout the day, that single stalk might be enough. Too much celery can cause stomach upsets, diarrhea, vomiting, and foodborne illnesses.
Since celery has too much fiber, feeding your cat with more than the recommended amount causes a laxative effect, meaning your cat will diarrhea; however, you can solve this problem using probiotics. The foodborne diseases could be due to contamination with bacteria such as E.Coli. The severity of the symptoms varies from one cat to another, depending on their age, amount of celery eaten, tolerance, and metabolic rate. Kittens are more prone to the side effects; hence should be given fewer amounts of celery than the adults. Additionally, since their immune system is not yet well developed, kittens are at higher risk of foodborne illnesses.
Although we have said seeds, leaves and stalks are safe for consumption, you should get rid of the streak in the stem. The streak can cause intestinal obstruction, according to Can Cats Eat. The article does not give a reason for the obstruction, but better safe than sorry. It adds that regardless of whether you feed the cat with cooked or raw celery, the streak should always be removed. Celery consumption has also been associated with a healthy coat, but the leaves, on the other hand, can be a skin irritant. Your cat could behave as if it is allergic to the vegetable by sneezing whenever it sniffs the plant, or develop eye problems.
Some cat owners can opt to have their cats sip on celery juice instead, but caution should be taken because the juice is much more concentrated; hence felines should only drink a little. For cats that like to chew, then chopping the vegetable into bite-sized pieces is advisable. Also, remember to note if your cat prefers raw or cooked vegetables.
Your Cat Does Not Need to Eat Celery to Be Healthy
Celery has a few health benefits to cats; thus, it is unnecessary to incorporate it in a cat’s diet because whatever the felines derive from the vegetable, they can get it from other sources. That being said, you should know that it can pose a health risk to your feline. Celery, like most vegetables, including spinach and kale, contains oxalic acid, which is harmful to both humans and pets. You may not know this, but the main reason why vegetables are steamed is to reduce the oxalic acid in them.
Although cooking celery reduces the acidity, it is not eliminated, meaning that your cat is prone to developing calcium oxalate stones. Oxalic acid reduces the absorption of minerals by binding them in the gut; hence it has been associated with kidney stones. Cats that drink very little water have a high probability of developing kidney stones, leading to blood in urine, nausea, and severe pain.
Furthermore, cats are categorized as obligate carnivores meaning they are strictly meat-eaters. The nutrients they need are mainly sourced from animal meat, but each cat, depending on age and lifestyle, needs a different diet type. However, they might need a few treats during the day; thus, be careful about them gaining too much weight.
Pet Central advises on the best vegetables for the felines. Cooked carrots are packed with vitamins and minerals, and so are peas, cooked broccoli florets, green beans, zucchini, and squash. Even if you are vegetarian and prefer to feed your cat with vegan diets, you must always consult your vet to ensure that your furry friend is getting enough nutrients. After all, they need their meat, and no amount of safe vegetables can replace what they get from animal meat.