As pet owners, we like to provide our cats with the best possible diet, and while they are obligate carnivores, they do eat other things, including fruits, vegetables, grass, and herbs. Since parsley is popular ingredient in the meals people eat, you might wonder if it’s safe for cats to eat it as well. Unfortunately, the answer is not as clear-cut as many other food items, so keep reading while we discuss the benefits and possible hazards you should consider to help you be better informed.
Is Parsley Good for Cats?
There are a few benefits from consuming parsley. Here are some of those benefits and how they can be helpful to your cat’s health:
Parsley is an excellent source of fiber that can help balance your cat’s sensitive digestive system. Fiber helps regulate the amount of water in the digestive tract, which can help reduce the frequency of constipation and diarrhea. Fiber is essential to keeping your cat healthy.
Vitamins and Minerals
Parsley has several vitamins and minerals your cat needs, including vitamin A, K, and folate. Vitamin A, in particular, is an important vitamin that many cats suffer a deficiency from, which can affect their health. Too little vitamin A can affect your pet’s skin, coat, and muscle, causing the cat to be weak with a disheveled appearance. While most brands provide your cat with a balanced diet with plenty of vitamin A, stray cats may not get enough, and it could explain why they might be eating parsley out of your garden.
Parsley is a great source of antioxidants as it contains many carotenoids like beta-carotene. It also contains vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant, even for humans. These antioxidants can help strengthen your cat’s immune system so it can fight disease better, and it will require fewer trips to the vet.
How Does Parsley Harm Cats?
The ASPCA lists parsley as a toxic plant to cats, dogs, and horses but states that need to eat quite a lot of parsley to reach toxic levels. However, did you know that parsely can make humans and animals more sensitive to sunlight? The increased risk of sunburn is one of the main reasons that people are afraid to feed parsley to their pet, especially in hairless breeds like the Sphynx that get more sunlight than most cats.
Should I Feed My Cat Parsley?
While the ASPCA lists parsley as a toxic plant, it admits that it takes a considerable amount to be harmful. However, for most of us pet lovers, even minimal danger is too great, so we recommend choosing another food to give your pet. If you have found your cat eating some off the counter or from your garden, it will likely be fine as most cats don’t like the flavor enough to eat a large amount and cause health problems.
We should also mention that parsley is an ingredient in some popular cat food brands, like Blue Buffalo, which many people regard as a high-quality, healthy food for both cats and dogs, so determining if parsley is safe is not easy.
What Are Some Safe Alternatives to Feeding My Cat Parsley?
One of the most time-tested and safest herbs you can feed your cat is catnip. You can purchase any of the commercial brands available in the grocery store. However, if you have a green thumb, we highly recommend growing some in your garden, as the catnip you receive will be of much higher quality, and your cat will enjoy it more. The downside to growing this herb around your home is attracting other cats.
Cat grass is another excellent choice if you are looking for a plant that’s safe for your cats to eat. Cat grass is inexpensive, and there are several varieties, so you can experiment a bit while you find the one your cat enjoys most. Many commercial brands provide you with a growing tray that makes it easy to grow the grass in your home for your indoor pets.
While the ASPCA lists parsley as toxic to cats, dogs, and horses, the amount required to be a health risk is more than most cats usually eat, especially on accident. So, there is likely no danger in small quantities, and many cat food brands even have it listed among the ingredients. However, we would avoid making it part of their daily diet.
We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide and found the answers to your question. If we have helped you improve your cat’s diet, please share this article about cats and parsley on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay