It is not uncommon for cat owners to feed their cats a variety of foods, including vegetables. Can cats eat spinach, or is this vegetable one of the harmful foods? Here are all the facts concerning cats and spinach that every pet owner should know…
As a general rule, healthy adult and senior cats can eat spinach as an addition to a balanced cat diet. Spinach provides various vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein that can be beneficial for cats. Nevertheless, this vegetable should not be fed in high amounts or as a substitute for carnivorous cat food. Owners whose cats experience urinary tract problems should be mindful of spinach as very high oxalate in this vegetable can cause further health issues.
I’ll clear up some of the misconceptions about spinach, as well as answer the most commonly asked questions so you can feed your furry friend responsibly.
Can Cats Eat Spinach?
Cats are carnivores and will naturally be drawn to meat, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to sneak some spinach into their diet now and then.
However, the benefits of spinach are minimal compared to other cat food sources as it contains very little protein.
Spinach is great because it provides vitamins, minerals, and protein that are perfect for adding on as an extra ingredient in your cat’s balanced diet if they’re feeling like trying something offbeat.
This green leafy veg should not be fed to cats who have urinary tract problems or eaten by themselves with too much frequency since some parts of the spinach contain oxalates which may cause further health issues.
Can Kittens Eat Spinach?
Kittens need a lot of energy. Their mother’s milk and carnivore diet will provide them with sufficient food power for the first few months. With that said, vegetables (including spinach) are not appropriate to feed kittens.
These adorable furry feline balls become adults when they are about one year old. Until then, spinach shouldn’t be offered to them, especially not in those crucial early weeks after birth when their sensitive digestive system can digest only their mother’s milk.
Can Senior Cats Eat Spinach?
At seven to twelve years of age, cats begin showing obvious signs of aging. There are metabolic changes, as well as immunologic and body structure which all happen slowly over time.
It is always important to stay proactive when it comes to your senior cat’s diet. As they get older, their digestive system can change and become more sensitive to certain foods like vegetables, including spinach.
One particular concern might arise as seniors cats age—digestion changes due to a slower stomach process and sensitivity as time passes.
Many cats will become irritable from sudden dietary adjustments such as adding too much spinach. This may lead to causing other health issues down the road, so proceed carefully without any hasty decisions about what content should go into your senior cat’s dish.
Nutritional Value Of Spinach
Cats can be picky eaters, but adding spinach to their diet is beneficial.
The following is the nutrition information for 100 grams of raw spinach according to USDA:
- The protein in spinach is needed for the cat’s energy. Spinach may not give much of the protein, but with other sources like kibble and meat, there’s no need to worry about your feline friend getting plenty!
- Fiber plays an indispensable role in cat’s health by providing them with dietary roughage. Fiber helps keep their gastrointestinal tracts running smoothly along without any difficulties or blockages.
- Potassium is a crucial electrolyte in cat’s blood that helps them move and maintain their bodily systems.
- Magnesium is required for a cat’s body to function as it should. Without sufficient magnesium, the whole system suffers and can’t do its job properly on many levels. Magnesium helps with enzyme functions that are needed by cells in the body to work efficiently. It also plays an essential role in building teeth and bones.
- Your cat needs vitamin A to support optimal health. Cat’s nerves, muscles, skin, and coat all require this important nutrient for proper function.
- Vitamin E is essential for your cat’s diet—it must be included to maintain optimal health. As an antioxidant, Vitamin E plays a vital role in defending cells from oxidative damage and should not be ignored.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Spinach?
Your cat can eat cooked spinach. This tangy leaf has a lot of nutrients that your furry friend could enjoy. The taste or texture may turn your cat off, but you should give it a try and see if they fancy its flavor.
There is a way for you to give your cat some vegetables without them noticing. Cooked spinach can be mixed in with their food, and they will never know the difference.
Do Cats Like Spinach?
Not every cat likes spinach, and some of them are notorious for disliking vegetables in general. But why would you pass up on such a healthy dish for your feline friend?
Not only does the spinach provides them with additional nutrients, but it also contains plenty of fiber and liquid, so your kitty’s digestive system will be able to take care of business.
It’s important to know that spinach is not a crucial element of your cat’s diet despite the nutrients, and the cat will be okay without ever eating it.
How To Introduce Spinach To Your Cat?
If you would like to introduce some variety in your cat’s food – maybe because you want them on the healthy side or just for something new, there are many ways to do so!
Like any good parent who wants to make sure their furry kids eat right from an early age, you can give your cat some age-appropriate cat food with this leafy green by following these simple steps:
- Mince 2-3 spinach leaves finely, so they’re easier to digest—Cats’ stomachs have a hard time breaking down whole pieces of greens due to their short digestive tract that doesn’t produce much acid or enzymes needed to break down the spinach.
- Mix it up with your cat’s favorite wet food— You want your kitty to eat the spinach, and by combining it with their favorite food is a higher chance for success.
- Introduce it slowly—Once a week is a good routine.
If your cat is not onboard with trying spinach, don’t force it. As a carnivore, the vegetable is not food cats will naturally eat, nor is it essential in their diet.
If spinach makes your kitty purr and paw for more, then go ahead and provide it occasionally.
Oxalate In Spinach and Cats
Although cats don’t eat much spinach, it’s worth mentioning that this vegetable contains oxalate—an organic acid found in many plants.
According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, spinach contains high levels of oxalates. There is a difference in oxalate values of raw and cooked spinach, though. Half a cup of cooked spinach has 755 milligrams of oxalate, which is a high volume for such a small amount.
Some cats have urinary tract conditions, and spinach can potentially worsen these symptoms.
Cat owners might not know this, but cats with any kidney-related condition should avoid consuming spinach in any amount because it may exacerbate their medical problems.
Can Cats Eat Spinach Dip?
Cats are not known for being the most adventurous animals around, but this doesn’t mean they should be eating the owner’s spinach dip!
The ingredients in this dish are not intended for feline consumption. Spinach dip contains sodium, which is bad for cats; pepper can cause some serious gastrointestinal irritation and even vomiting if ingested by felines.
One ingredient stands out as being particularly harmful and even toxic to cats—garlic! No matter the quantity of garlic, spinach dip should never be fed to a cat.
Lactose-intolerant cats can’t process dairy products like cream cheese, sour cream, and parmesan. If you feed your cat spinach dip with these ingredients, they’ll likely experience digestive upset, which may manifest as diarrhea or worse.