Carrots are packed in fiber, vitamins B6 and K1, as well as potassium, so there is no doubt that they are healthy and rich in lots of nutrients. But can cats eat carrots?
Find out the answer to this question and more by reading our article today!
Can I Give My Cat Carrots?
Yes. While a small piece of carrot might be alright every now and then, carrots (or any other fruits and veggies, for that matter), should never make up a big portion of your feline friend’s diet — cats are obligate carnivores, so most of their diet should consist of protein.
However, carrots do have a series of nutrients that cats might not be able to get from other food sources. We have already mentioned that they contain both vitamins K and B6, but they are also a good source of vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, folate, as well as phosphorus.
All of these vitamins and minerals make it possible for an animal’s body to function properly and even put up with the abuse of a germ in case your pet develops an infection.
Some of the minerals are essential when it comes to keeping your cat’s bones healthy (such as phosphorus), while others, such as magnesium, can support both nerve and muscle function and energy production.
Can Cats Eat Raw Carrots?
Even though some people might argue that raw carrots are the best as they contain the most vitamins and minerals, the truth is that they are quite hard, and in some cases, they can pose a choking hazard.
Naturally, adult cats and seniors might have no problem destroying and swallowing pieces of carrots, no matter how large they might be, but kittens might be less experienced in this sense.
Perhaps the best form of raw carrots that you might be able to give your cat would be the grated one — but do keep in mind that you should use only organic carrots since they have been exposed to no pesticides or weed killers.
Just to be on the safe side of things, you should grate the carrot at home, so it doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives like the one you get at the supermarket.
Can Cats Eat Cooked Carrots?
Yes. Small quantities of cooked carrot are perfectly fine so long as you do not use any seasonings, spices, condiments, or whatever else you might feel tempted to add for yourself when preparing a carrot dish for your family.
While we’re on the topic of cooked carrots, we’d also like to note that foods that contain it as an ingredient are considered unsafe.
For example, soups, stews, or even carrot cake, which are all made primarily for people, are considered unsafe for pets as they might contain too much salt, ingredients like garlic or onion, which both cats and dogs should not have, or artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which can be deadly for pets.
Is Carrot Juice Good for Cats?
No. While in theory, cats can have homemade carrot juice, the truth is that carrots are quite rich in sugar, and so they can cause a spike in your pet’s blood glucose levels. Not only is that unnecessary, but if you make a habit out of giving your cat carrot juice instead of water, for example, you might expose her to diabetes.
Store-bought carrot juice is not safe as it could contain a variety of additives such as artificial colors or preservatives.
If you did not know, your cat’s kibble already contains potentially carcinogenic artificial colors (they are present even in the best brands of cat food, including Royal Canin or Hill’s Science Diet — although some manufacturers are trying to replace them with safer alternatives) so it doesn’t make any sense to give her more of these chemicals from human food.
Can Feeding Carrots to Cats Have Risks?
Like any other food that isn’t primarily made for them, giving cats carrots on a regular basis can indeed be risky.
On the one hand, carrots do not provide this species with the right type of nutrition, so in theory, cats that were to have a diet mostly composed of veggies would have some vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as taurine deficiency — which can be deadly as it can cause heart failure, for example.
Carrots should make up less than 5% of any cat’s diet. A too high amount can cause gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting or diarrhea, mostly due to the fiber present in this food.
Besides, giving your cats carrots all the time can predispose them to diabetes or obesity.
Other Veggies Cats Can Have
If your cat really likes the crunch of veggies and there is no other way of going about things, there are some safe and low-calorie options you have at your disposal.
Pumpkin is great as it contains healthy fiber (although it might not be as crunchy as some cats might want).
Celery and zucchini are perfectly safe, and so are small amounts of peas, organic bell peppers, and even cooked sweet potatoes.