Spinach is an annual that can be eaten a wide range of ways. It is rather unusual in that it was domesticated in historical times. Thanks to that, there is a fair amount of information about its spread from its starting point. For example, spinach seems to have been domesticated in ancient Iran about 2,000 years ago. By the 7th century, it had been introduced to both China and India, and by the 9th century, it had been introduced to the Mediterranean. Eventually, spinach showed up in England and France in the 14th century where it proceeded to become very popular because it was available in early spring while other vegetables wouldn’t be available until later. Nowadays, its popularity can be seen in how it is consumed by people around the world, which in turn, makes it very natural for cat owners to wonder whether their cats can eat the stuff.
Can Cats Eat Spinach?
Unfortunately, this is one of those questions that don’t have a simple and straightforward answer. For starters, spinach isn’t poisonous to cats, so it isn’t one of those things that are guaranteed to either hurt them or worse when consumed. Unfortunately, cats are obligate carnivores. As a result, fruits and vegetables shouldn’t be anything more than occasional snacks for them. Furthermore, even though most cats can eat spinach, there are some cats that cannot because of their health issues. So that is something that interested individuals will need to watch out for as well.
Ask a Veterinarian
First and foremost, cat owners who are thinking about feeding spinach to their cats should ask their veterinarians whether it is safe for them to do so. As mentioned earlier, there are some cats that can’t eat spinach because of their health issues. Their veterinarians should be the ones in the best position to tell them whether their cats have one of those health issues. Besides that, veterinarians are also excellent sources of information about how they should feed spinach to their cats, how much spinach they should feed to their cats, and other relevant topics.
Feed Cats in Moderation
Cat owners should always start by feeding their cats a small amount of spinach. Even if they have checked in with their veterinarians, they can’t be 100 percent sure about the results. To be safe, cat owners should feed their cats a small amount of spinach to see what happens. That way, even if their cat has a negative reaction for whatever reason, they should be able to reduce the severity of it.
Spinach Does Contain Nutrients Beneficial For Cats
In any case, a wide range of people love spinach because of its reputation as a superfood. This means that a lot of cat owners are interested in feeding spinach to their cats because they are curious whether the latter can benefit from those nutrients as well. If so, they should know that this is indeed the case. For instance, spinach contains a considerable number of vitamins and minerals, with examples including but not limited to vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and potassium. Simultaneously, spinach contains a fair amount of fiber, which is good in moderation but bad in excess. When eaten in moderation, fiber should improve a cat’s digestion; when eaten in excess, fiber can cause diarrhea as well as gastrointestinal issues. As a bonus, spinach is low in calories. Something that can be very useful for cats that are overweight.
Spinach Contains Calcium Olaxate
One of the biggest issues with spinach is that it contains calcium olaxate. This shouldn’t be a huge problem for adult cats that are in good health. However, if a cat has a problem with either their kidneys or their urinary tract, it should avoid anything containing calcium olaxate because said substance can cause the formation of crystals in places where crystals shouldn’t be.
Both Raw and Cooked Spinach Can Be Eaten
It is common for people to eat both raw and cooked spinach. The same should be fine for cats as well. Of course, if people choose to feed raw spinach to their cats, they should make sure to wash it thoroughly. This means holding each leave under running cold water to remove dirt as well as other unwanted substances. Furthermore, this means submerging the spinach in a large container filled with cold water for five to ten minutes to remove anything remaining. After which, people should remove the leaves one by one before pouring out the water that might have unwanted substances in it.
Don’t Use Anything to Flavor the Spinach
Whether cat owners choose to feed their cats raw or cooked spinach, they should avoid using anything to flavor it. The spinach might be fine. However, there is no guarantee that whatever they use will be fine as well. This means that cat owners should also separate the spinach meant for them from the spinach meant for their cats. There are too many ingredients that are safe for human consumption but not for feline consumption, which includes a number that are very popular for flavoring spinach. To name an example, garlic is poisonous for both cats and dogs. As such, cat owners should stick with plain spinach for the sake of making things easier on themselves.
Summed up, spinach can be fed to some cats but not to others. It should be fine for most cats so long as everything is done in moderation. Unfortunately, that changes if cats either have existing problems or have had past problems with either their kidney or their urinary tract because it can make the situation worse. Due to this, it is even more important for people to check in with a veterinarian before feeding spinach to their cats than with other foods. Veterinarians are excellent sources of information about feline wellbeing, so it makes sense to make use of them when the situation calls for it.