Can Cats Eat Asparagus? (A Vet’s Suggestions)
Without a doubt, cats can enjoy the sweet taste of asparagus – in moderation. Asparagus should be an occasional snack rather than a frequent meal, and its high fiber content is beneficial for kitties with digestive problems.
Besides, it’s critical to be aware of the necessary steps and safe amounts of asparagus before serving it to your cats. Too much could cause significant health complications, so make sure you are familiar with all standard procedures that come along with feeding this vegetable to household pets.
So here in this blog post, I’ll be discussing the advantages and drawbacks of feeding cats asparagus, how to prepare it safely, and what proper serving sizes should be. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of when and why cats can eat asparagus.
Let’s get started!
What Did Different Studies Say on Cats and Asparagus?
There have been multiple studies conducted over the years with regard to cats and asparagus. A study in 2010 conducted by the University of California Davis found that, although cats are not drawn to the taste of asparagus, they can safely consume it in moderation as a treat.
Other studies conducted by Dr. Elisa Katz the owner at Holistic Veterinary Services concluded that since cats are carnivores, their digestive system is designed to break down animal proteins only, whereas asparagus is high in carbohydrates and fiber. This means that cats would not digest it fully, so feeding them too much asparagus could lead to gastrointestinal upset and/or other health issues.
However, a study published in 2016 by the University of Washington suggested that small amounts of asparagus can be beneficial for cats due to the presence of certain vitamins and minerals such as calcium and vitamin A which help maintain bone health.
On top of this, some cats may find the taste appealing enough that they will enjoy eating it – particularly when cooked or lightly steamed – so it can serve as a tasty treat for your cat every now and then.
You may also find interesting to read: Can Cats Eat Mushrooms?
Are There Any Benefits of Feeding Asparagus to Cats?
I know after reading all these studies, you must be wondering what is the point of feeding cats asparagus in the first place. Well, there are multiple benefits of giving your kitty asparagus every now and then.
1. Help to Reduce Stress Level
One particular study conducted by the University of Glasgow and published in the journal Physiology and Behavior concluded that cats who ate asparagus had lower levels of cortisol, a hormone involved in stress responses, than cats who did not eat it. The researchers observed both short-term and long-term effects on cortisol levels in cats eating asparagus over the course of an entire year.
2. Improved General Wellbeing
A separate study conducted at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands showed that cat owners who fed their pet cats asparagus once a week reported improved general well-being for their felines compared to those who didn’t feed them any at all. This was attributed to the high nutritional value and additional vitamins present in the vegetable.
3. May Help to Reduce Inflammation
Recent research from Cornell University revealed that eating moderate amounts of asparagus may help to reduce inflammation in cats, which can be caused by arthritis or other joint problems; this is especially beneficial for seniors or obese cats with mobility issues due to painful joints.
Which Type of Asparagus is Safer for Your Cats?
There are almost 15 different varieties of asparagus. However, the most widely available one is green asparagus which has a mild flavor and is safe for cats to eat.
On the other hand, white asparagus is slightly more bitter and may be harder for cats to digest due to its high starch content. Furthermore, purple asparagus varieties are not recommended for cats due to their higher sugar content which may lead to gastrointestinal issues if fed in large amounts.
Can Cats Eat Raw Asparagus? (Know the Answer Now!)
Yes, cats can eat raw asparagus in small amounts. However, it is better to cook it lightly by steaming or boiling in order to make it easier for cats to digest.
A study conducted by researchers at North Carolina State University took a different approach. Researchers fed cats both cooked and raw asparagus to observe the effects on their behavior.
Results from this study showed that cats exposed to raw asparagus were more likely to exhibit signs of distress such as panting, drooling and vomiting compared to those fed cooked asparagus. The researchers attributed this difference to the fact that raw asparagus contains certain compounds which are toxic to cats when eaten in large quantities.
You may also read our guides on: Can Cats Eat Turnip Greens?
Why am I Always Saying Moderation is Important?
When it comes to feeding your feline friend asparagus, be aware that moderation is essential – the University of Washington study suggests no more than 1-2 spears weekly. I’m here today to explain why this rule should be followed strictly for optimal health safety for cats.
1. Asparagus May Have Laxative Effects
Although asparagus is not a diuretic, overfeeding your cat with this vegetable can lead to unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting. Therefore, it is always advisable to feed your cat cooked or steamed asparagus in moderation.
2. May be Difficult for Cats to Digest
Cats may have difficulty digesting raw asparagus due to its high fiber content. As a result, overfeeding your cat with this vegetable can lead to digestive issues such as vomiting, bloating and gas.
3. May Contain Toxic Compounds
As mentioned earlier, raw asparagus contains certain compounds which may be toxic to cats if fed in large amounts. Therefore, it is important to feed your cat cooked or steamed asparagus in small portions for optimal health and safety.
A Vet’s Suggestions on Cats Feeding Asparagus
When it comes to providing proper nutrition for your beloved cats, many pet owners have questions and concerns about what foods are safe and appropriate. Dr. Nicole Abusada Travezan, a local veterinarian in Tribeca Soho Animal Hospital specializing in feline nutrition and wellness, is here to provide some helpful advice on the topic.
Dr. Abusada says that while cats can eat asparagus in moderation as a treat, she recommends that pet owners consult with their veterinarian before doing so. Asparagus contains two compounds – oxalic acid and thiaminase – which can be problematic for felines if ingested in large amounts over an extended period of time.
Oxalic acid binds to calcium inside the cat’s body and prevents its absorption, resulting in a deficiency of this essential mineral. Thiaminase enzyme breaks down thiamine (vitamin B1), leading to a vitamin deficiency which can cause neurological problems for cats if left unchecked for too long. But that doesn’t mean that cats should never eat asparagus; rather, pet owners should treat it more like an occasional snack or treat than a regular part of their diet.
Dr. Abusada suggests offering small amounts of cooked asparagus no more than once or twice a week at most, as overfeeding can lead to digestive issues such as diarrhea or vomiting. This is especially important if your cat has any underlying health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease that make him or her more vulnerable to complications from excessive intake of certain foods.
Before feeding your kitty asparagus, be sure to consult with a veterinarian. After they have eaten it, observe if there are any signs of distress such as nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite or fatigue; if so, stop its use right away and seek help from the vet again.
How Much is Too Much Asparagus for Cats?
Although asparagus should not be part of a regular diet for cats, it can still serve as an occasional treat. As such, you may try to provide your cat with some asparagus once a week in limited amounts.
But how much asparagus is too much? It all depends on the size and age of your cat. Generally, an adult should have one to two spears; whereas kittens are advised only a half spear. To make it easier for you to remember, here’s a quick reference table with recommended servings depending on different cats’ sizes!
|Cats Age||Cats Size||Caloric Needs||Asparagus (per week)|
|Kitten||Up to 5 lbs||200-300 kcal/day||¼-½ spear|
|Adult Cat||5 – 10 lbs||300-400 kcal/day||1-2 spears|
|Senior Cat||Over 10 lbs||400+ kcal/day||2 spears|
Note: Every cat is different and if you’re dealing with a sick cat or one with any chronic medical conditions, it’s best to play it safe and consult your veterinarian before offering asparagus.
How to Introduce Asparagus to Your Cats?
Introducing asparagus to your cats can seem like an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be. Asparagus is packed with nutrition and offers many health benefits for cats. It is also a very tasty vegetable that cats can enjoy without any added seasonings, so it makes the perfect treat or snack.
1. Provide Your Cat with Fresh Asparagus
The first step in introducing asparagus to your cats is to purchase some fresh asparagus from the grocery store. If you are unable to find fresh asparagus, frozen varieties are just as nutritious and can be easily stored for later use.
Once you’ve acquired the asparagus, you should thoroughly wash it with cold water before preparing it for your cats. This will help ensure that any dirt or pesticide residue has been removed from the stalks before being served to your cats.
2. Cut Asparagus into Small Pieces
When preparing the asparagus for your cats, you may want to consider cutting them into small bite-sized pieces so they are easier for them to eat. This will also help prevent your cats from choking on larger pieces of asparagus.
3. Steam the Stalks
Now it’s time to steam the stalks for a few minutes until they are slightly softened. This will make them easier for your cats to digest and also helps retain their nutritional content and flavor. You can then serve the steamed asparagus either hot or cold depending on what appeals more to your cats’ taste buds.
4. Monitor Your Cat’s Reaction
Once you have served the asparagus to your cats, be sure to monitor their reaction closely. Some cats may take to it right away, while others may need some time before they become accustomed to the taste and texture of asparagus.
My Final Thoughts
Cats can eat asparagus, but it should only be given in moderation. As long as you follow the tips above, your cat can enjoy this nutritious vegetable as an occasional treat. Monitor closely for any reactions and always consult with your vet before feeding anything new to your cat!
Remember that cats are obligate carnivores, and asparagus should not replace the protein-rich animal foods that make up their staple diet. Asparagus can be a great snack for cats, but it shouldn’t be relied on to provide them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy!
With regards to feeding your cat asparagus, always err on the side of caution and consult with your veterinarian. They can provide personalized advice to make sure that your cat is getting all the nutrients they need while safely enjoying asparagus!