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Can Cats Eat Broccoli? What You Need to Know!

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When we were kids, most of us turned our noses up at the plate of bright green broccoli our parents gave us at dinner. Many cats feel the same way about vegetables. However, some cats enjoy an occasional vegetable in their diet. If your cat is one of them, you can safely feed your feline broccoli and other vegetables as a special treat.

Broccoli for Cats

Broccoli is perfectly safe for cats. It doesn’t contain any toxic compounds that can harm your cat. In addition to not being harmful, occasionally feeding your cat broccoli can actually help cut down on your cat’s urge to chew other green things in your home, such as your houseplants! If your cat is interested in nibbling on broccoli, you can let them do so without worrying.

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Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

Broccoli Benefits!

Not only is broccoli not harmful to cats, but it provides them with some nutritional benefits. Although cats are obligate carnivores who don’t need vegetables in their diets, the nutritional boost they get from occasional veggie snacks can benefit their overall health.

Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse packed with many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals including:
  • Fiber – occasionally allowing your cat to have a little broccoli can give them a fiber boost that aids digestion.
  • Antioxidants – Broccoli is full of antioxidants that help protect cells and reduce the risk of cancers in both humans and cats.
  • Iron – Just like humans, cats need iron for essential bodily functions. Most high-quality cat foods should provide them with a good amount, but a little extra from broccoli won’t hurt.
  • Folic Acid – Cats need folic acid for DNA synthesis.
  • Potassium – This mineral helps regulate the rhythm of the heart, muscle contractions, and nerve function.
  • Vitamin A – While cats should not get too much vitamin A, they do need some to aid in teeth, bone, and eye health.
  • Vitamin K – This vitamin is important for normal blood clotting.
  • Heart Health – Broccoli can also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in both humans and cats.

Preparing Broccoli for Your Cat

Cats can eat broccoli that has been steamed or boiled and then cooled. They may prefer it this way because it will be softer and easier to chew. You can mix it in with their regular food or give it to them plain, as a treat.

They can also eat small pieces of raw broccoli. This might help them overcome any chewing urges that they may otherwise take out on other less desirable sources. Your houseplants will appreciate it. However, raw broccoli may be more likely to cause stomach upset in your cat, so be careful and practice moderation if you must feed them raw broccoli.

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Don’t Overdo It!

One of the benefits of broccoli is the high amount of fiber it contains. Unfortunately, there can be too much of a good thing. If your cat has too much broccoli, it might experience some gas, bloating, or stomach discomfort.

To prevent this, make sure you are only giving them a small bit, occasionally, as a supplement to their normal diet. Vegetables should be a treat for cats who like them, but should not replace their regular cat food. Cats need the protein and nutrients found in high-quality cat food. Too many treats can ruin their appetite for kibble or wet food.

Other Tasty Vegetable and Fruit Treats for Cats

If you can get your cat to try broccoli, they may also enjoy some other healthy vegetable and fruit treats. Fresh vegetables and fruits can be a great way to get extra hydration into your cat’s diet, especially if they are not fond of wet food and rely on dry kibble for most of their nutrition needs.

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  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots (steamed)
  • Cauliflower (steamed or raw)
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans (steamed)
  • Honeydew
  • Potatoes (steamed, baked, no seasoning)
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon (seedless)

Vegetables and Fruits to Avoid

You should never feed your cats avocados, green tomatoes, or any plants from the onion family. This includes both fresh and powdered onions, garlic, shallots, and chives. Similar to members of the onion family, green potatoes are also toxic to cats. If you are considering feeding your cat potatoes, they must be fully cooked. Finally, cats should never have grapes or raisins as even small amounts can cause kidney failure.

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Cats Can Eat Broccoli!

Next time you steam some broccoli for your dinner, feel free to offer a small bite to your cat. They might enjoy it and it will provide a nutritional bonus. Broccoli is a healthy way to give your feline friend some variety in their diet, just make sure you do it in moderation.


Featured Image Credit: ImageParty, Pixabay