The idea of a feline eating a pumpkin may seem laughable, but this highly nutritious food represents a great option when it comes to overall health and well-being. Fresh pumpkins are around everywhere in the autumn, and you can buy canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) any time of the year. Many cats not only benefit from the vitamins and nutrients in this large, orange squash, they also love the taste.
What Nutritional Benefits Do Cats Get From Pumpkin?
Perhaps the most prominent health benefit of pumpkin for cats comes from the high amount of fiber found naturally in this food. Fiber helps regulate digestion, can minimize the risk of hairballs, and help overweight cats feel satisfied with fewer calories overall.
Ripe pumpkin also offers a variety of healthy vitamins your cat needs for optimum health. This delicious snack acts much the same way in a feline's body as it does in a human's and offers up the same health benefits. Most especially, pumpkin offers a host of antioxidants that help fight off free radical damage. Specific nutrient benefits include:
- Vitamin C – Powerful antioxidant and immune support
- Vitamin E – Antioxidant especially good for skin and fur
- Vitamin A – Healthy for bones and eye health
- Potassium – Supports kidney health and other systems
- Essential fatty acids – Overall boosts for whole-system health
- Iron – Boosts red blood cell health and may improve energy
These unique nutrients offer both antioxidant characteristics to fight the signs of aging and minimize the risk of disease and boost overall health to keep your cat active, at an appropriate weight, and feeling their best at any age.
How Can You Add Pumpkin to Your Cat's Diet?
Avoid pumpkin pie filling in a can or a baked good when feeding your cat. The nutmeg spice frequently found within can be dangerous for animals. Canned pure pumpkin is fine, but you can also purchase a whole squash and cut up the flesh inside. Cats enjoy roasted or baked pumpkin instead of raw. You can also purchase prepared snacks that include pumpkin and other nutritious ingredients that are specifically formulated for pet cats' health.
Due to the high fiber content, add pumpkin to your cat's diet slowly. Start with one tablespoon and work up to two or three tablespoons over time. This ensures that they will not have adverse digestive issues due to the change in their diet. You can mix it in with their existing food or feed it separately.
Opt for natural pumpkin without any additives, extra sugar, or spices for maximum health benefits. Your cat may love the sweet and hearty taste on its own or prefer one of the pre-made treats with pumpkin as a prominent ingredient. Although not all cats may like the taste, you just may find a new favorite for your own feline friend.