Cats are naturally drawn to food, just as any other animal would be. It’s not uncommon to find our cats face first in a bowl of food that doesn’t belong to them, which can be concerning for any pet parent. Luckily, if you find your cat snacking on the ginger in your sushi, you don’t have to worry about their health. A little bit of ginger root won’t hurt them, and when in its natural form, it might even be healthy! Read on to learn more about cats and ginger!
What Cats Eat: A Brief Guide
Cats are part of a scientific classification known as obligate carnivores. Animals within this classification eat a wild diet consisting of at least 70% animal proteins and usually lack the gastrointestinal enzymes to break down plant materials for nutrients. This means that cats don’t get the same dense nutrient profile from plant materials that herbivorous or omnivorous animals do.
However, cats still have nutritional needs best met by consuming certain plant materials. The running theory is that cats would meet these dietary needs by taking the food directly from their prey’s bellies since cats consume all their prey, including organs and bones.
By consuming the contents of their prey’s stomach, cats not only meet the raw need for plant material but also might have been able to supplement the enzymes they’re missing in the digestive process.
This nutrient source would be lost in the domestication process where cats no longer need to hunt for their food and thus aren’t consuming the contents of any prey, let alone their last meal. Some veterinarians have posited that this lack of nutrients is responsible for cats’ disparity in health outcomes. A healthy cat should live between 18 and 20 years, but the average cat lives only 12 to 15 years.
Potential Health Benefits of Feeding Your Cat Ginger
Ginger has many health benefits for humans, and anecdotal reports also claim certain health benefits for pets. Ginger is known to enhance and increase appetite. It also increases the mucus production of the mouth and stomach and speeds up the digestive process. A little bit of ginger can help with an upset stomach or nausea.
However, ginger does irritate the stomach lining a bit, and too much ginger can cause an upset stomach. Additionally, the health benefits may not outweigh the potential risks, depending on the ginger’s form and origin.
Forms of Ginger
The most common form of ginger is shaved ginger root. It’s perfectly safe for your cats to consume. The most common way of giving ginger to a cat is by boiling pieces of the root, like you would with tea. While too much ginger can cause an upset tummy, there’s no harm in letting your cat have ginger root tea—that is, if they accept it. Cats are particular, and yours might not even wish to try your ginger remedy.
Gingerbread is not a suitable way for cats to enjoy the finer points of ginger-based cuisine. Gingerbread contains sugar/xylitol and dough, which are incredibly unhealthy and dangerous for cat consumption.
Ginger beer is also not suitable for cat consumption because it’s essentially just sugar and ginger. Cats should not be consuming high amounts of sugar.
If you have ever remedied your upset stomach with ginger, it’s natural to wonder if this might also work for your cat. While there are no studies to prove ginger’s efficacy in cats, anecdotal evidence claims that it can be given to cats to help with nausea and relieve an upset stomach.
While ginger might help in mild cases of vomiting, it is vital to contact your veterinarian if you think that your cat may have ingested something toxic. They can best identify if the cat has eaten something dangerous or is suffering from an infection that requires medical attention, and they will guide you through best practices with your cat’s health in mind.