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Can Cats Eat Peas? What You Need to Know!

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Green Peas

If your cat has ever snuck a bite while you’re preparing dinner or harvesting fresh vegetables from the garden, you might be wondering whether cats can eat peas. The short answer is yes, cats can eat peas. There are actually numerous health benefits to eating peas. Many commercial cat foods include peas as an added ingredient.

As with any new food, if your cat has never eaten it before, be sure to consult with your vet before adding peas to your cat’s diet. In addition to speaking with your vet, here is everything that you need to know about cats and peas.

Are Peas Good for Cats?

Peas have several health benefits for cats, including high levels of vitamins B1, K, and C. Peas also contain large amounts of iron and potassium. As a high-fiber vegetable, peas can be a useful addition to your cat’s diet when they are having digestive troubles.

Like many vegetables, peas are low in calories, making them a great choice of snack or treat for cats that struggle with maintaining a healthy weight.

There are many varieties of peas to choose from. Feel free to select from snow peas, garden peas, or sugar snap peas to feed your cat. As long as they aren’t too hard for your cat to chew, you can even feed frozen peas to your cat as a crispy, cool treat.

british short hair cat eating
Image Credit: Lilia Solonari, Shutterstock

How to Safely Feed Peas to Cats

It’s important that when feeding peas to your cat, you stick to fresh or frozen varieties. Avoid feeding canned peas because they have a large amount of added sodium.

It’s also recommended to remove peas from their pods before feeding them. While pea pods can be safely digested by cats, they are choking hazards. While some cats can eat them, it’s best to err on the side of caution and only feed shelled peas to your cat.

Vegetables can provide your cat with important nutrients and be offered as low-calorie snacks, but it’s important to remember that cats are obligate carnivores. Most of their diet should always come from meat proteins, with vegetables added on the side.

What Other Vegetables Can Cats Eat?

There are five veggie options (in addition to peas) that are safe and healthy to feed your cat.

1. Cooked carrots

cooked carrot
Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

Carrots are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and beta-carotene. Be sure to cook carrots before feeding them, and chop them up into small, easy-to-chew pieces to avoid choking.

2. Broccoli

Steamed broccoli in your cat’s bowl is a great way to keep them from chewing on other, not-so-healthy green plants around the house. It has the added benefit of providing antioxidants to help your cat’s body filter out toxins.

3. Green Beans

Green beans are a good substitute for traditional cat treats if your cat is overweight. They’re safe and healthy and don’t have many calories.

4. Zucchini

Sliced Zucchini
Image By: webandi, Pixabay

Zucchini is found in many commercial cat foods and provides magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

5. Winter Squash

Plain winter squash contains large amounts of fermentable fiber that can help normalize your cat’s bowel function and relieve any constipation or diarrhea that they may have.

Components of a Healthy Feline Diet

  • There are tons of different recommendations for what comprises the best diet for your cat. Some of them are trendy, like raw foods or freeze-dried raw foods. Others promote all-natural ingredients, gluten-free diets, or high-fiber foods. It can be hard to sort through all the available information. Regardless of the food that you choose, veterinarians recommend that 52% of a cat’s diet should be animal-based proteins. The rest should consist of fat and carbohydrates. Overall, carbohydrates should make up no more than 12% of their diet.
  • Different life stages have different nutritional needs. While some foods are labeled as “for all life stages,” it’s best to seek stage-specific nutrition.
  • Whether feeding wet food or dry, high-quality food is key.
  • Beware of “gimmicky” labeling. These include “wild,” “primitive,” “all-natural,” etc. These words are used as marketing tactics to make certain brands of cat food stand out, but you should look at the food’s label to be certain that the food is what it claims to be.
  • Cats should avoid large amounts of carbs. Carbohydrates are essentially fillers in a cat’s diet. Too many grains can lead to GI issues and long-term obesity. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feed carbs to your cat at all, just that they should be fed sparingly.
  • Some occasional human foods are okay, like vegetables.
  • Cats should not eat dog food.
  • Treats should be fed as treats — too many can lead to problems

Ultimately, discussing your cat’s diet with your vet will help you determine what is best for your cat based on their individual needs.

Final Thoughts

Cats can consume peas in moderation. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and nutrients that make them a healthy addition to your cat’s diet. Since they are also low-calorie, they’re a great treatment option for cats that struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. However, It’s important that peas aren’t fed as your cat’s primary food, as cats require animal protein to make up most of their diet.

Featured Image Credit: 14170957, Pixabay

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