Should cats eat pumpkin?

Cat owners ask Google: should cats eat pumpkin? The answer is No. You don’t need to feed your cat pumpkin. Therefore there is no obligation to do it. That does not mean you can’t do it provided it is done in a controlled manner. And, of course, if your cat will eat it. I don’t think that the average domestic cat will be keen to eat it for obvious reasons.

This is because there are two good things about pumpkins which can help a cat’s health. Although I should state right away that the three best books1 on cat health and nutrition that I have do not at any stage mention pumpkins. That may be significant.

Pumpkin for cats

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Pumpkin contains fibre and some useful nutrients such as vitamins and chemical elements such as iron. However, high quality wet cat food will contain the necessary vitamins and other ingredients demanded by the domestic cat.

However, there may be special occasions when 100% canned pumpkin without any additives (e.g. cat pumpkin baby food, 100% organic with pumpkin as the only ingredient) may be an appropriate supplement. For example it can used to assist in the treatment of cat diarrhoea, constipation or to help prevent vomited hairballs.

Although there are other sources of fibre. Jude says that he feeds his cats raw green beans for example! It worked for him.

No doubt there are some wonderful cat caretakers/guardians who swear by pumpkins in keeping their cats in great health. That’s fine. Personally I am not convinced.

Here is a comment from a respected contributor:

“The danger with something like pumpkin lies in human nature not to pay attention to the details. Cooked, canned pumpkin with nothing added is the only safe way to add it to your pets diet. And it is not a substitute for taking your pet to the vet if they have continuing dietary upsets….”

The way a person delivers pumpkin to their cat is important. There are a lot of “don’ts” such as don’t feed raw pumpkin or the soft bit in the middle. It is not that straightforward.

Pumpkin seeds can fed to a cat provided they are cleaned, roasted and are without spices and salt. They can be added in a ground form to cat food2.

Notes:

  1. Your Cat by Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM — Cat Owners Home Veterinary Handbook Third Edition — The Cat It’s Behavior, Nuutrition and Health.
  2. cathealth.com




5 thoughts on “Should cats eat pumpkin?”

  1. I have found that a small amount of plain pumpkin mixed in with wet food can, actually, stimulate appetite. This may or may not be a result having created digestive balance.

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  2. http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/pmahaney/2012/nov/health_benefits_of_pumpkin_for_pets-29465

    The danger with something like pumpkin lies in human nature not to pay attention to the details. Cooked, canned pumpkin with nothing added is the only safe way to add it to your pets diet. And it is not a substitute for taking your pet to the vet if they have continuing dietary upsets. One of my cats loves pumpkin. I prefer it to mirilax or some of the oil based hairball solutions. Of course the real cure for her constipation was find a wet food she’ll eat. And the pumpkin was given via permission by my vet. During Mooks grieving for Kitten she ate poorly and became constipated over and over , pumpkin via finger along with a bit of nutrical helped restore her balance and desire to eat and drink.

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  3. I’ve read these things about pumpkin and I have a cat now who has elimination problems, but I only consider supplements like this if I can believe some kind of proof (hard data and experience). I learned to be skeptical of “common knowledge” that may as well be folklore when it comes to cats, especially regarding nutrition or holistic beliefs. I had a red cat named Danny who loved weird stuff too (like cantaloupe and RITZ crackers) but I’m not going to connect the orange dots and think pumpkin should naturally follow. I’ve read worse logic than that to support some stuff. Fiber, etc are necessary but there are ways to supply them that are more in line for these carnivores like you said, Michael.

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