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Can Cats Eat Cauliflower? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Cats Eat cauliflower

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are notoriously picky about their meals, but they often surprise us when they grab a bite from the dinner table. Human meals are not always safe for felines, but can cats eat cauliflower? Yes, cats can safely eat this fibrous vegetable. Cauliflower is packed with antioxidants, and its high fiber levels can aid digestion.

However, cauliflower should not be served as a meal replacement for cat food. Cats need a high-protein diet primarily composed of meats. Fruits and vegetables should not make up a significant part of their nutrition.

How Do You Serve Cauliflower to Cats?

Cauliflower can benefit mature kitties who suffer from inflammation and problems with mobility. Cauliflower contains glucosinolates that help reduce inflammation and may have anti-viral and anti-cancer properties. Arthritis is a common condition with older cats, and you can introduce a small portion of cauliflower every week to help with your pet’s aching joints. Also, cauliflower’s high moisture content can help hydrate pets who have problems drinking from water bowls.

Cauliflower contains essential nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron, but the vegetable is not as nutritious if it’s overcooked. Frying, sautéing, or baking it will reduce its nutritional value. However, raw cauliflower is more difficult for a cat to digest and may pose a choking hazard if it’s not diced into smaller pieces.

Here is how you can prepare and serve cauliflower to your cat:
  • Steaming or boiling the vegetable for 5 minutes or less is ideal for preparing it for your pet.
  • After lightly cooking the cauliflower, you can chop it into small pieces to make it easier to consume and digest.
  • Serve it unseasoned and avoid cooking it with butter or oil to keep the fat content low.

Cauliflower is non-toxic to felines, but it’s not as nutritious as cat treats or meals. Felines have short digestive tracts that are more efficient at processing meat proteins than proteins from plants, and an excessive amount of cauliflower can result in minor gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea and vomiting.

Image By: Pxfuel

Which Vegetables and Fruit Are Safe for Cats?

Several fruits and vegetables are acceptable for your pet to eat, but before serving them, talk to your veterinarian to ensure they’re safe for your cat. Cats with specialized diets for medical conditions may have to limit their intake of fresh vegetables and fruit. Cats are more likely to favor vegetables over fruit because, unlike humans, they do not have sweet teeth.

Some of the fruits and vegetables you can serve your cat include:
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Pumpkin
  • Celery
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Bell pepper
  • Sweet potato
  • Coconut
  • Apple
  • Kiwi
  • Pears (without pits, stems, seeds)
  • Cucumber
  • Pineapple (fresh)
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries
  • Blackberries
  • Mango
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew

How To Prepare Fruit & Vegetable Treats for Your Cat

Fruits and vegetables should only account for 2% of your cat’s daily diet, but nutritionally balanced cat food and treats are all your pet needs to live a healthy life. However, cats with weight problems can benefit from eating fresh snacks rather than cat treats. Although serving vegetables and fruit to your pet is safe, you can reduce the chances of an adverse reaction by following these tips.

Thorough Rinsing

Although humans sometimes forget to rinse fruits and vegetables, you should not skip the step with your cat. Rinsing removes dirt and pesticide residue that can irritate your feline’s stomach. Also, do not forget to remove the small inspection sticker on the fruit. A small sticker is unlikely to cause a medical issue if swallowed, but it could cause choking if it’s not removed.

kiwi fruit on wooden table
Image Credit: Piqsels


For harder vegetables like cauliflower and asparagus, it’s best to steam the vegetables before serving them to your cat. Steaming makes the food easier to chew and digest, and it does not reduce the vegetable’s nutritional composition like boiling or frying.


Each cat eats at a different speed, and felines that devour their meals in seconds are more vulnerable to choking than slow eaters. Chop the fruit into bite-size pieces or pulse it for a few seconds in a food processor.

turkey breast dog food
Image credit: freefoodphotos, CC 3.0

Fresh vs. Canned

Although a piece of canned fruit is safe for your pet, try to serve fresh vegetables or fruit instead. Canned items have more sugar and preservatives that can disrupt your cat’s digestion, and some brands may contain artificial colors and flavors. Frozen items typically contain fewer additives than canned goods but be sure to thaw the vegetables first to prevent damage to the teeth and gums.

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The Ideal Diet for Your Cat

Fruits and vegetables can be healthy additions to your cat’s diet in small quantities, but they’re not essential to the animal’s health. Fresh water, nutritionally balanced cat food, and the occasional cat treat are all you need to keep your pet happy and healthy. The pet food industry seems to grow every year with new items, and you have several options for how the food is prepared and delivered.

close-up of a Bengal cat eating wet food from a white ceramic plate on the floor
Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

1. Animal Proteins

Carnivorous diets are best for cats, but some cat food brands boost their protein levels with plants rather than meat or seafood. When you’re reading the food’s ingredients, check for the source of the protein. Since cat owners are more aware of the importance of animal proteins in cat food, most companies are transparent about their product’s protein levels, and some brands even use their protein statistics in their advertising campaigns.

2. Low Carbohydrates

Cats convert fat and protein into energy more efficiently than carbohydrates, but the inclusion of carbohydrates in cat food continues to be a source of controversy. Carbohydrate levels vary widely between brands, and veterinary experts have not established a maximum or minimum level. However, most vets recommend that only 10% of a cat’s diet should come from carbohydrates. High carb levels can lead to obesity and cause blood sugar spikes for cats with diabetes.

cat licking mouth after eating
Image Credit: mik ulyannikov, Shutterstock

3. Vitamins and Minerals

Most premium cat foods (wet and dry) contain essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, vitamin B12, potassium, magnesium, and calcium to keep your pet healthy. Vitamin and mineral supplements are available to boost your pet’s nutritional content, but you should check with your vet before adding any new products. Senior cats typically require meals with higher vitamins and minerals than adults and kittens.

4. Wet vs. Dry Food

Although today’s dry food for cats is more nutritious than kibble made only a few decades ago, it does not contain enough moisture compared to wet food. Since domesticated cats descended from wild felines that depended on small animals to stay hydrated, they’re not inclined to drink from their water bowls as often as dogs or other pets. If your cat prefers dry food, try to add a small portion of wet food every day to ensure they consume enough water or add a bit of unsalted broth to their water dish to entice more drinking.

Now that you know what you can safely feed your cat, it’s just as important to find a bowl that supports their health and well-being. With whisker-friendly bowls and a wide tray to catch any spills, our Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite option.

hungry white cat hepper nom nom bowl licking lip

Final Thoughts

Cooked cauliflower is safe and somewhat nutritious for your cat to consume, but it is not a suitable replacement for cat food. Serving cauliflower as a treat is okay but use premium food (primarily wet) as your cat’s main course. Fruits and vegetables are not essential for adult cats that enjoy nutritious commercial meals, but they are not harmful in small quantities. When you prepare veggies and fruits for your pet, chop them into tiny pieces and be sure to remove stems, seeds, and leaves before serving to prevent choking.

Featured Image Credit: skeeze, Pixabay

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