Even though cats are obligate carnivores, having a little roughage in the diet can help them with digestion. You won’t want them chewing on just any plant, however. Owners can run into trouble if their kitty gets into a toxic house plant or herb.
If you’re a fennel lover and wonder if your cat can partake, we have good news—cats can eat fennel and it is actually pretty healthy for them. Here’s why.
Fennel Health Benefits
Related to the carrot, fennel is an ancient vegetable that has been used in cooking for millennia. Fennel has a firm, layered texture at the base like an onion and the stems are light and fluffy like a carrot.
Fennel is a highly nutritious veggie with high water content. It is used in lots of dishes around the world. It has healing powers, used in both medicinal and culinary fashions. The highest nutrients therein are vitamin C and fiber.
Fiber Is Fantastic
Because the moisture content is so high, fennel has very high fiber. If your cat delights in a few chomps of fennel, they will get a kick of hydration. While they might not necessarily need that out of their regular diet, it is only helpful.
Fennel Nutrition Facts
Amount per one cup, sliced:
Cats Can Munch on Fennel
Fennel is totally harmless to your cat. The real trick might be getting them interested. It seems like when it comes to felines, they are plant munchers, or they aren’t.
If they do enjoy a crispy stem or leaf here and there, a bite or two won’t hurt them at all. It might give them a momentary kick of nutrition and up their fiber intake to help with regularity.
If you add fennel to their food, do so in small quantities infrequently. Since your cat doesn’t benefit from eating it any more than they would in their natural diet, it does no good to feed on the regular.
Benefits of Cats Eating Fennel
If you add a veggie like fennel into your kitty’s food dish, they will get a boost of vitamin C. Vitamin C improves immunity to keep your cat its healthiest. Don’t jump on board the fennel train just yet! Like some animals, cats produce vitamin C on their own—which humans cannot.
Also, like most plants, fennel contains a lot of fiber. Fiber helps your cat regulate their digestive tract to stay regular without constipation.
Potential Issues for Cats Eating Fennel
There are really no major drawbacks to eating fennel for felines. Since every part of the plant is non-toxic to your cat, it will cause general stomach discomfort at worst.
Fennel Oil & Photosensitive Dermatitis
Fennel oil is a different story. In oil form, it’s been linked to photosensitive dermatitis. According to the ASPCA, you should avoid concentrated oil entirely.
That isn’t unusual, however. Most concentrated plant oils should be handled with caution.
How Much Fennel Is Too Much?
You need to consider your cat’s overall weight and size when portioning. Just a few minced pieces in their meal should suffice. As a general recommendation, you shouldn’t feed your kitty more than a few small pieces of fennel per week to avoid stomach upset.
Do Cats Enjoy Fennel?
If you’ve ever eaten fennel, you can vouch for its pungency in smell, taste, and flavor. It’s very distinct, being a staple of soups and herbal concoctions.
We all know our felines are strange little creatures with minds of their own. Maybe a cat will enjoy fennel very much and another won’t. It’s all a matter of taste preference.
If your cat snubs their nose to raw fennel, but you want them to reap the benefits of it, you can try to sneakily sprinkle some fennel seeds in a wet dish to mask the taste a bit.
If you aren’t sure how much to give your cat, never hesitate to ask your vet for guidance.
So, as we laid out above, cats can safely eat fennel without any consequences. However, it’s best in moderation and it doesn’t offer any nutritional value your cat doesn’t already have in their daily diet.
If you’re looking to add fiber in, there are plenty of other plant foods your kitty can enjoy.